Marriott is Coming Under Too Much Criticism for Failed Points to Miles Transfers. Let’s Not Forget Why

Earlier in the week I wrote that customers were transferring points from Marriott to Lufthansa and they were just getting lost in the ether.

I noted that there seemed to be a broad issue with Lufthansa transfers, and that this was a sudden decision on Lufthansa’s part that applied pretty broadly. Hyatt removed the option to transfer points to Miles & More from its website. Hilton still showed the option, but confirmed they were subject to the same issue.

So why was Marriott the one getting all the heat?

First, it’s fair to give them criticism.

  • They knew about the issue.
  • They left the option to transfer points to Lufthansa’s Miles & More on their website
  • Customers kept transferring points, those transfers didn’t go through
  • Marriott support was of no help.

Marriott could and should have taken the option down right away, like Hyatt did. But Hilton did the same thing as Marriott.

Copyright: jremes / 123RF Stock Photo

This morning Marriott shared, “points will begin to be returned to members’ accounts today and the majority will be completed over the weekend. This issue effects about 500 transactions.” The option to transfer to Lufthansa Miles & More has been removed from They previously indicated that “points to miles transfers from member accounts were made through May 20, 2019.” I’m not sure what took two and a half weeks but there you go.

Hilton on the other hand doesn’t appear to be handling things as well as Marriott. They tell me,

We are in the process of updating our website. Any requested transfers submitted prior to Thursday, May 16, 2019 will be honored and miles credited. Members who have requested points to miles exchange post this date will have their points credited back to their account within the next 14 days.

Lufthansa Miles & More still appears as an option for Hilton’s points exchange and they say customers who transferred points into the ether may not see their points back for two weeks.

Exchange Hilton Honors Points for airline miles or rail points with partners that participate in our points exchange program. Add preferred travel partners below now and exchange when you are ready.

That’s worse, right? Yet Marriott gets the heat pretty much exclusively here. And that, I think, is for one simple reason. Marriott points-to-miles transfer represent reasonable value and Hilton’s do not.

Hilton points transfer at 10,000 : 1000 (thus a ration of 10:1). I value Hilton Honors points at 4/10ths of a cent so you’re buying Lufthansa miles at 4 cents apiece.

Marriott points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, and 60,000 points yields 25,000 miles thanks to a 5000 mile bonus. With the bonus, which is the ideal way to transfer points to miles, you’re effectively paying $420 (at a value of 7/10ths of a cent per Marriott point) for 25,000 Miles & More miles, or 1.7 cents apiece. Hilton is charging you more than double that.

In this case Marriott is coming under criticism for how they’re handling Lufthansa’s withdrawal from points transfers because their points transfers are actually useful. Who would transfer Hilton points to Lufthansa miles if they had any other option?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Well, that and the general destruction of their CS function since August ’18, an issue which Hilton does not share.

    With Marriott, it’s one step forward, three steps back, lather rinse and repeat.

  2. Just did a transfer to United and no points shown on United but deducted from Marriott. No email confirmation nor shown any activity.

  3. It seems this issue is becoming emblematic of greater issues at Marriott once the benchmark that other hotel flags were judged by but then it was run my the Marriotts not equity capital

  4. What you outline is a very small aspect of what/why people are critical of Marriott. There are an abudence, but basically lack of understanding how to combine IT systems, and management response might be valid don’t you think?

  5. I was looking at the Marriott site this morning and cannot find ANY options for transferring points to any airline programs. I was surprised to find the option of booking flights using points and points/cash…tried looking and found a reasonable flight that was offered on 5 or 6 airline choices, not the best redemption, but certainly not the worst if you’ve got points to burn. I’m wondering if they’re eliminating the points transfers altogether and just going to this system?

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