Marriott Merger Loopholes: AMEX Membership Rewards Points Can Now Transfer to Marriott!

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Here’s another way to build your Marriott points balance, this time with AMEX Membership Rewards points!

The Marriott-Starwood merger is underway.  It’s created new ways to use your Marriott and Starwood points, like the ability to earn a Southwest Companion Pass with Starwood points.  And now you can indirectly transfer AMEX Membership Rewards to Marriott, at virtually a 1:1 ratio!

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points To Marriott

When You Transfer Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Starwood, Then to Marriott, You’ll Get an Almost 1:1 Transfer Ratio!

Marriott is not a direct partner of American Express Membership Rewards, but I’ll show you how to get a ~1:1 transfer ratio from AMEX Membership Rewards points to Marriott!  

Need More Marriott Points?  Transfer From AMEX

Link:   AMEX Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

Link:   Link Your Marriott and Starwood Accounts

When you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards point to Starwood, you’ll get a ~3:1 transfer ratio (1,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points = 333 Starwood points).

And when you transfer your Starwood points to Marriott, you’ll get 3 Marriott points for every 1 Starwood point.  With the ratios considered, you can effectively transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points and end up with a near-even 1:1 ratio to Marriott, when you use Starwood as the middleman!

The numbers aren’t exact because of the rate AMEX charges for transfers to Starwood.  But it’s very close.  And it could be an easy way to get more Marriott points in your account!

For example, when you transfer 3,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points, you’ll get 999 Starwood points.  But because you must transfer in 1,000 point increments, you’ll need an extra Starwood point to make the transfer to Marriott.  Then, you get a nearly 1:1 transfer ratio from AMEX Membership Rewards to Marriott!

When Should You Transfer from AMEX to Marriott?

In general, you’ll get better value from your flexible points like AMEX Membership Rewards points by transferring them to airline partners for Big Travel.  That’s because most of the hotel partners require a LOT of points for an award stay.

For example, one award night at a Marriott Category 5 hotel costs 25,000 Marriott points per night.  But if you transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Delta instead, you can get a round-trip coach award ticket within the US.

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points To Marriott

Not All Marriott Category 5 Hotels Are Worth Spending 25,000 Marriott Points for a Free Night

Considering many Marriott Category 5 hotels cost under $100 to ~$150 per night, you’d do better with most award flights.  But of course, it’s always case-by-case.  Always do the math to make sure you’re getting a good deal for your points!

That said, there a few times you might consider indirectly transferring your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Marriott.

1.   Save Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer directly to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.  But I’d much rather use transfer them to more valuable partners, like British Airways, United Airlines, or Hyatt.

Chase Ultimate Rewards are also my favorite kind of points.  If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards AND AMEX Membership Rewards points, and want more Marriott points, you might consider transferring from AMEX instead of Chase.  That way you can save your Chase Ultimate Rewards point for a different travel goal with a more valuable transfer partner!

2.   Top-Off Your Marriott Account

Are you close to having enough points for a Marriott award stay?  If you’re just shy of the points you need, you might consider transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to Starwood, then to Marriott.

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points To Marriott

If You’re Close to an Award Stay at the Relaxing Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, You Can Easily Get Extra Marriott Points to Book It!

The transfers are usually instant.  So you can quickly and easily have enough points for your award nights.

The merger has made it possible to transfer Starwood hotel points to Marriott as well (in a 1:3) ratio.  And the ability to now transfer Membership Rewards points to Marriott gives you many more options to earn Marriott points.

3.   Book a Marriott Hotel + Air Package & Get the Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Marriott Hotel + Air Packages (Log-In Required)

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass  

Link:  Marriott Merger & the Companion Pass

Marriott Hotel + Air Packages can be a fantastic value because you get airline miles AND free nights with Marriott.  And I’ve written how they’re an easy way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.  

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points To Marriott

You Can Turn Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points Into Airline Miles AND Marriott Award Nights

If you have a lot of AMEX Membership Rewards points, this can be a terrific way to access several types of airline miles – not to mention a week-long vacation!

For example, it costs 270,000 Marriott points to get 110,000 Southwest points (enough for a companion pass) AND 7 nights in a category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel.

You can now transfer both Starwood hotel points AND AMEX Membership Rewards points to get Marriott hotel points.

Need More AMEX Points?

The following cards earn AMEX Membership Rewards points:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Premier Rewards Gold Card From American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
American Express® Mercedes-Benz PlatinumThe Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Green Card
Blue from American Express® Note: These are the ONLY AMEX cards that earn Membership Rewards points that can NOT be transferred to airline & hotel programs. But you can use these points on the Membership Rewards website for other redemptions. Includes personal AND small business versions of the card.

Here’s my guide on how to redeem AMEX Membership Rewards points.

Bottom Line

Another benefit of the Marriott-Starwood merger is the ability to transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Starwood, and then to Marriott.  Because of the transfer ratios, you end up with a ~1:1 ratio from AMEX to Marriott!

Although I recommend transferring your AMEX Membership Rewards points to airlines for the most valuable award opportunities, there are a few times you might consider transferring to Marriott.

Such as saving your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, top-up your Marriott account if you’re close to an away stay, or to access Marriott’s valuable Hotel + Air Packages.  It’s also an indirect way to earn a Southwest Companion Pass!

Would you transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Marriott?

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8 responses to “Marriott Merger Loopholes: AMEX Membership Rewards Points Can Now Transfer to Marriott!

  1. That’s so funny because I was just telling my wife about this yesterday and then when I pull up your website this morning I see this blog. It’s like your in my head.

  2. Do you need to have Southwest Chase credit card in order to get Southwest Companion Pass?

  3. Hello,

    I was wondering if the following is a good idea to get 7 nights/companion pass (and a good use of my SPG points):

    1) Move 60K SPG points to my husband’s Marriott account which only has 10k pts. If I can’t do that directly, I can create my Marriott account first. I know I will have to pay $10 to transfer to spouse account.
    2) Get another 15k pts marriott points from family by paying $10
    3) Move Amex pts to SPG > marriott
    4) Sign up for a southwest card.

    Comments appreciated.

  4. do you have to book hotel right away?

  5. Hi Darius,

    In the article, you mentioned “when you transfer Amex Membership rewards points to Starwood, you get a 1:3 transfer ratio (1,000 Amex Membership rewards points = 333 Starwood points). I believe you meant to say (1,000 Amex Membership rewards points = 3000 Starwood points) if the ratio is 1:3:)

  6. @Ed – No, you don’t.

    @Namrata – That’s certainly an option! Just run the numbers before you pay any fees to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

    @leslie – No, you have a year.

    @Juan McLemore – Thanks, I updated the post to make it more clear.

  7. Poster Namrata, that wouldn’t be a very good use of very precious 60k points.