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