Why Marriott Travel Packages are exceptional for Avios if you have lots of SPG points

In my discussion of the implications of Marriott’s decision to transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points into Marriott Rewards at the ratio of 1:3, I said that Marriott Travel Packages looked a very good deal.

Today I want to go into this in more detail.

Marriott Travel Packages allow you to redeem large quantities of Marriott Rewards points for 7 nights in a Marriott hotel plus a large pile of airline miles.

I have never focused on them before because of the sheer volume of Marriott points needed.  Because you can’t easily earn Marriott Rewards via credit card spending or Amex Membership Rewards transfers, it meant that very few UK residents would find them useful.

This has now changed.  It is now fairly easy to build up a large pile of Marriott Rewards points:

You can boost your existing Marriott Rewards stash by transferring across any Starwood points, or by converting any Amex Membership Rewards points to Starwood (at 2:1) and then onto Marriott (as 1:3)

You can earn 3 Marriott Rewards points per £1 by getting the Starwood American Express card (my review) and transferring the SPG points you earn to Marriott

You can earn 30,000 Marriott Rewards points via the sign-up bonus on the Starwood American Express card (my review)

You can earn 30,000 Marriott Rewards points via the sign-up bonus on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card (my review) which is free for the first year

You can earn 45,000 Marriott Rewards points via the sign-up bonus on the American Express Platinum card (my review)

How does a Marriott Travel Package work?

This page of the Marriott website outlines all you need to know.  There are different deals for different airlines.  In this article I am looking at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Here is the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic conversion chart.  Remember that you need to divide these numbers by three to get to the relevant number of Starwood points (click to enlarge):

As you can see, 270,000 Marriott Rewards points (90,000 Starwood points) will get you 7 nights in a Marriott Group Category 1-5 hotel AND 120,000 Avios points.

This is a very attractive deal.

At present, if you convert 90,000 Starwood points to British Airways or Virgin you will receive 110,000 Avios points or Flying Club miles.

If you move those 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott Rewards and redeem for this travel package, you will receive 120,000 miles AND 7 nights in a Marriott Category 1-5 hotel!

If you want a more luxurious hotel, you can use you more points.  Let’s take the JW Marriott in Venice where I was in August and which I reviewed here.

That is a Category 9 hotel, not surprisingly given the €400+ per night cost.  If you have 130,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points, they would convert into 390,000 Marriott points.  That would get you:

7 nights at the JW Marriott in Venice, worth at least £2,500


120,000 Avios points or Virgin Flying Club miles

You are getting around 2.5p of value per Starwood point in this case.

The only downside of these packages if that you may not want to stay for a week in the same hotel.  Even if you do, there is no guarantee that reward nights will be available for a seven night block.  The Marriott call centre can book stays with a mix of paid and free nights, for example an 8 night stay which had 3 free nights, 1 paid night in the middle due to no reward availability and then 4 free nights on the end.

To be clear – the miles are dropped into your airline account. You do NOT need to use them for a redemption linked to your stay. You can spend the miles as you please.

Now that you can convert into Marriott Travel Packages, there is NO reason at all to transfer large volumes of Starwood points into Avios or Virgin miles via SPG.

You can learn more about Marriott Travel Packages here.

I have more to write about ways of exploiting the Starwood and Marriott deal to your advantage ….

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. click to enlarge not enabled

  2. ‘exceptional’ doesn’t really express it fully: it’s a giveaway! (almost glitch/ error price)

    you think it can last long?

  3. Yes, I doubt this will last. Expect an enhancement soon!

  4. This deal has always been available. I am a member of Marriott Vacation club for 18 years and have a Marriott Visa card and the reps were always telling me about it. It certainly worth saving up all those rewards to get the miles/avios.

    • Although I suppose the question is how long it will last now there are large chunks of SPG points also in the system!

  5. Although the 7 day booking is restrictive, presumably the credit the miles regardless so you could leave the hotel a couple of days early and just not check-out? It would be wasting a couple of nights of stay but would still be an excellent deal overall.

  6. Sorry for the basic question but I assume those figures quoted on their summary schedule are per person? So a week for a couple and a child at a category 1-5 hotel for a week would be 3 x the values in the schedule?

    • No the the amount of Marriott points you see gets you a certificate for 7 nights hotel plus the miles portion into the FF account of the Marriott card holder making the booking.

      • Ok, so there isn’t actually a flight involved here? It’s just a hotel eCertificate you get for your miles?

        • That’s about it , you get a seven night hotel booking and a chunk of airmiles into your chosen FF account.

          The new SPG to Marriott route is what is drawing all the attention, for certain levels of redemption you are getting extra miles into your FF account plus 7 nights Hotel thrown in.

          You often see the 7 night hotel certificates for exchange on Coupon Connection in FT.

    • No, per room

  7. Am I understanding this correctly? Say I have 200k spare avios. These convert to 100k SPG points at 2:1. Then convert to 300k Marriott rewards at 1:3. That would get me 7 nights in a category 6 hotel and 120k avios back. So 7 nights for a net outlay of 80k avios?!

    • I don’t believe you can convert avois to spg points?

    • You can’t convert from Avios to SPG, however you can from Amex MR points – as Raffles points out you’d therefore be better doing it this way than going direct to Avios.

      • To add, SPG points can be transferred FOC between members so is a way of combining MR points and for the avios to then go into one person’s account.

        • That is correct, only change in recent months is a min of 1,000 points and in chunks of 1,000 for transferring.

  8. As you can see, 270,000 Marriott Rewards points (90,000 Starwood points) will get you 7 nights in a Marriott Group Category 1-5 hotel AND 120,000 Avios points.
    This is a very attractive deal.

    For me the best deal is transferring the miles portion of the deal to AA miles.

    Raffles your screen grab is not showing AA in the Package 1 group of airlines, I am sure AA is in group 1

  9. Do the miles element of the redemption just post into the relevant airline account so you’re free to use them or not on the particular trip?

  10. I agree these deals are great, BUT it is worth bearing in mind that for the same 390,000 points you could get 11 nights in a category 9 hotel (well it would be 15,000 points more). That is 4 nights extra, which shouldn’t be ignored in the calculations.

    What all this does show is how amazing the spending opportunities are for SPG members with decent balances – 11 nights at the JW Marriott Venice for 135,000 SPG points at 12,000 a night is bordering on the ridiculous!

  11. OT- Trailfinder….
    This is possibly last chance to use the Amex offer.
    Any experience shared here on using TF is appreciated.
    Particularly if you biught GC and received Amex statement credit.

  12. OT- Trailfinder….
    This is possibly last chance to use the Amex offer.
    Any experience shared here on using TF is appreciated.
    Particularly if you bought GC and received Amex statement credit.

  13. Don’t forget the 25% transfer bonus from SPG->Avios too

    • Yep so 100k SPG get you 120k Avios but in this it gets you 7 nights at a Cat 6 marriot as well

      what are the chances they will carry over the best of both schemes when they merge, would make for some very happy customers.

  14. We’re also Marriott Vacation Club owners and as such have been typically been very loyal to Marriott over the years. I’ve also purchased many of these travel packages. What I will say though, is that there is an “under the counter” 5 night travel package available for MVCI owners only. These aren’t always well publicised but represent outstanding value. You have to call Marriott Rewards to order them and they’ll check your eligibility when you call. Again, we have used these many times and in fact I purchased one yesterday!

  15. Following from behind says:

    I did a travel package just this summer. I was looking for a category 6 and ended up in the Renaissance Tuscany with 70,000 avios. Hotel is satisfactory just a bit isolated and you’ll definitely need a car. It’s pretty simple to book and the avios posted quickly from memory.

    Shout out to Raffles who tipped me off on the travel packages – a hidden corner of the points world!

    PS I have heard some stories of people blagging 5 night stays instead of 7 on a different tariff.

    • If you own a Marriott timeshare you can book 5 night packages. Some agents, accidentally or not, have booked these for non timeshare holders. It is not something I want to actively encourage.

  16. John Gallagher says:

    What should I do for the best here>>>>>

    I have 22k Starwood points and 400k Amex points and am looking to stay for 7 nights in Cape Town in February 2017?
    What should be my best approach for booking via Marriott Rewards (all schemes UK based, Now Gold in Marriott thanks to status match)

    • John Gallagher says:

      just to add – I’m looking to stay at a category 4 property in Cape Town.
      Do I also get my Gold benefits on a reward stay?

      • Yes, not a problem.

        The Protea hotels that Marriott just bought in South Africa are very cheap for rewards if I remember correctly compared to paying cash.

        You would want to use all your SPG points and then just transfer enough Amex to SPG, and then to Marriott, to get to what you need for a travel package.

        Remember that Marriott does NOT, unlike SPG, have ‘guaranteed last room availability’ on reward nights so you want to be sure the availability is there.

        • John Gallagher says:

          thank you Raffles
          Have do I check Marriott award availability – log-in to Marriott and do a serach using points I get for 7 nights120,00 points per stay or R2,793 per night? (R2,793 = £157 x7 = £1,099)

          Can I assume as it’s quoting 120,000 points then it’s availbale for redemption?

          I have 22,822 SPG points to transfer to Marriott. How many Amex points do I thus need to transfer to SPG and then to Marriott?

          If I end up with the necessary 120,000 Marriott points how many BA avios will this also give me along with the 7 nights in a 1-5 category hotel?

          Thanks again

          • Transfer 35k MR points.
            You’d get no avios as this is not a travel package but a simple hotel booking.

          • If it shows as available on points for all 7 nights then you are fine. 120,000 points is just the straight redemption though without going via a travel package so you get no Avios.

            If you want Avios as well then you need to redeem for the travel package version.

            Room only redemption would need 40,000 SPG so move enough Amex (at 2:1) to get to 40,000. The travel package would need 90,000 SPG so a similar calculation.

            The question you need to ask is whether it is worth (to you) using the extra Amex points in order to get 120,000 Avios.

            • John Gallagher says:

              I think I’m getting there slowly……

              so I could transfer 80,000 Amex to get 40,000 SPG to get 120,000 Marriot points to get 7 nights in category 4 gotel which saves £1,099

              or I could transfer 180,000 Amex to get 90,000 SPG to get to get 270,000 Marriot points to get 7 nights in category 4 hotel which saves £1,099 and 132,000 BA avios

              are both my calcs above correct?
              if so then I’m effectively using 100,000 Amex points to generate the extra 132,000 avois?

            • It is 120k Avios – you only get 132,000 if you take United Airways miles.

              And actually, as you already have SPG points, you would use those first and only add on whatever Amex points were needed.

              However, if we purely use your example, this is the issue: you can, any day, transfer 100k Amex into 100k Avios via a normal transfer. You obviously get 20,000 additional Avios this way. However, unless you have a definite plan for the Avios, you may prefer for now to keep your points sitting in Amex in case a good non-Avios redemption comes along.

            • I thought you already had 22,822 SPG points?

  17. Colin mackinnon says:

    Before rushing to merge you SPG account, why not sign up separately for your Martiott account and claim your two stays and get a free night deal?

  18. Just checked into the Ritz Carlton, booked it this morning and upgraded to a suite. 16,000 SPG’s. Not bad.