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

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

Million Mile SecretsMarriott Merger Loopholes: AMEX Membership Rewards Points Can Now Transfer to Marriott!Million Mile Secrets Team

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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:

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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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Can I transfer my wife’s AMEX membership points to the Starwood account that is in my name?

Million Mile Secrets

You can but only if you are an authorized user on the account you want to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points from.

@Bill you can change your companion I think by calling Southwest. Change it from your wife to your son.

Have your wife be the 2nd main and have your daughter as her companion.

Unfortunately, if you couple want to have a getaway, you’d both pay in full. Unless it’s one time (I think Southwest allows you to change companion 3 times(?) so she can change from her daughter to you, and after the getaway, she can change it back to your daughter….

I redeemed 270K Marriott for a 7 night, Category 5 stay plus 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points and was able to get the companion pass that I’ll use for my wife. Two questions: (1) Is it possible to upgrade the Category 5 certificate to a Category 8? I’d like to stay in NYC this summer but all of the hotels are Category 8 or 9. (2) I have enough Southwest Rapid Reward points for another companion pass, but it would only make sense if its for my 10 year old son so that his sister can be his companion when our entire family travels together…..any idea if Southwest will allow a minor to earn a Companion Pass? Thanks.

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

@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.

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