New Marriott Points Bonus Shows Why You Shouldn’t Transfer Points From Chase

Marriott is offering a 45% bonus on purchased points through December 8 when buying at least 2000 points. Marriott co-brand cardmembers can take advantage of the offer through December 15, 2021.

  • Points purchases are in increments of 1,000 up to 50,000 and 5,000 up to 100,000.
  • Buy up to 100,000 points per calendar year, however bonus points are excluded from this amount. So you can buy 100,000 and get 145,000.
  • Points don’t show up instantly and can take up to 72 hours which seems insane in the modern age
  • The bonus applies to gifted points as well as purchased points

  • And they’re giving a 10% discount on purchases of 2000+ points made with a China UnionPay credit card

Marriott sells points for 1.25 cents apiece. Buy 100,000 at a cost of $1250 and you’ll get 140,000 points, at a cost of $0.0086 apiece. That’s somewhat more than a Marriott point is worth in my view (nearly 3 years ago I valued Marriott points at $0.007 and they’re worth a bit less now).

I would not buy points speculatively with this offer. However it can be useful to top off an account for an award you’d like to book. There are no additional fees, nor the taxes you face when buying miles from a U.S. airline.

But the point I want to flesh out here is why this offer illustrates the reason not to transfer Chase points to Marriott even with the current 50% bonus for doing so. Chase points transfer at 1:1 into Marriott points, but with that offer get you 1.5 Marriot points per Chase point.

  • Given how much Marriott points are worth, you’re still not getting more than a penny apiece for your Chase points.

  • But the logic is: you’ll do better converting your Chase points to cash via ‘Pay Yourself Back’ and buying Marriott points with a bonus than you will transferring Chase points to Marriott.

For the simplest example, take a Sapphire Reserve card and use points against the card’s annual fee or dining charges to reduce your expenses. This gets you 1.5 cents apiece for your points.

Redeem 83,333 Chase points this way and save $1250. Use that $1250 to buy 145,000 points with this offer.

In contrast, transferring 96,000 Chase points to Marriott with a 50% bonus gets you 144,000 Marriott points. So you’re saving over 12,500 Chase points to get the Marriott points you seek.

With a card that gets you only 1.25 cents per point in value from “Pay Yourself Back” you’ll break even against this Marriott purchase points bonus. But unless you would purchase Marriott points at 0.0086 apiece (more than they’re worth) it’s not worth transferring points from Chase, either, except to top off an account for a specific award you know you can book at a specific price (Marriott generally re-prices between off-peak, standard, and peak rates monthly and the cadence of repricing will go up in March with the elimination of award charts).

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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