When your Marriott Rewards points expire, and how to stop it

I receive regular emails from readers asking ‘How can I stop my Marriott Rewards points from expiring?’ or ‘When do my Marriott Rewards points expire?’. This new series looks at the major hotel loyalty programmes and shows you how to keep valuable points intact.

Marriott Rewards is the loyalty scheme for AC Hotels, Autograph, Courtyard, Delta Hotels, Edition, Fairfield Inn, Gaylord, Marriott, Protea, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Springhill Suites and Towneplace Suites.

Whilst Marriott has acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the Starwood brands will not be integrated into Marriott Rewards.  Instead, a new combined programme will launch in 2018.

If you need to refer to this article in the future, there is a link to it on our ‘Hotel Promos’ page in the Marriott Rewards section.  This also includes details of current Marriott promotions.

When do Marriott Rewards points expire?

According to clause 8 of the Marriott Rewards terms and conditions here:

Members must remain active in the Rewards Programs to retain Points they accumulate. If a Member is not active for 24 consecutive months, that Member will forfeit all accumulated Points. The Rewards Program will start enforcing this policy on February 1, 2016. Members can remain active in the Rewards Programs and retain accumulated Points by earning Points or Miles in the Rewards Programs or redeeming Points in the Rewards Programs at least once every 24 months, subject to the exceptions described below.

If a Member does not maintain an active status for five consecutive years, the Member’s account may be deactivated. Once Points have been forfeited, the Points cannot be reinstated, but a Member can earn new Points, unless that Member’s account is deactivated too.

  1. Not all Points activities help maintain active status in the Rewards Programs. The following activities do not count toward maintaining an active status in the Rewards Programs:
    • gifting or transferring Points; however, converting Points to Miles or Miles to Points does count toward maintaining an active status
    • receiving Points as a gift or transfer
    • earning Points through social media programs, such as #MRPoints
    • the transfer of points from a Member’s Rewards Program account to their SPG Program account, or the transfer of points from a Member’s SPG Program account to their Marriott Rewards account. Note that following the transfer of points across accounts, the points expiration policy of the account to which the points were transferred will apply to such points.
    • Linking a Rewards Program account with a SPG Program account

What do they mean by ‘earning or redeeming’?

The key point is that YOU DO NOT NEED TO STAY AT A HOTEL TO KEEP YOUR POINTS ALIVE. You simply need to have some activity go through your account.

Marriott has a very lenient policy (you only need one item of activity every two years) so there is no reason why you should lose your points.

JW Marriott Venice main building

There are various ways of achieving this if you live in the UK:

Earning points:

Buy Marriott Rewards points – $12.50 gets you 1,000 points and your problem is solved

Earn points with Travelling Connect by registering your mobile phone and using it abroad

Credit a Hertz or Sixt car rental to Marriott

Convert Diners Club points to Marriott

Refer a friend to Marriott Rewards

Note that Marriott Rewards is NOT an American Express Membership Rewards hotel partner.

Spending points:

The easiest way to trigger some spend activity is book and then cancel a redemption night. This should count as activity, in my opinion, but of course you try this at your own risk.  A Category 1 hotel redemption costs just 7,500 points.

Transfer points into an airline loyalty scheme.  The minimum transfer is 10,000 points.

Redeem points for cash credit when staying at a Marriott hotel (although if you had a stay, you would be earning points from it anyway unless you booked via an intermediary such as Expedia)

Redeem for merchandise or High Street shopping vouchers via Exclusively Yours

Redeem 2,500 points for a $10 Marriott electronic gift card (search ‘$10 Marriott gift card’)

Do transfers between Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest help?

In preparation for the eventual merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, you can now move your points between the two schemes for free.

The ratio is 3 Marriott Rewards points = 1 Starwood point.

This has a number of impacts of the expiry of Marriott points:

You can ‘save’ any expiring Marriott Rewards points by transferring them to Starwood.

This does NOT count as ‘activity’ for the purposes of resetting the expiry of your Marriott account.  Neither does transferring points INTO Marriott Rewards from Starwood.

So …. you can ‘hide’ your Marriott Rewards points by moving them into SPG and moving them back AFTER you’ve generated some other activity on your Marriott account.  You cannot move them to Starwood and then immediately move them back as that does not impact the expiry date.

This is confirmed in these FAQ on the Marriott website here.

As you can see, there is no excuse at all for letting Marriott Rewards points expire – just spend $12.50 on buying 1,000 points.

If you want to track the expiry dates of all of your miles and points, I recommend signing up to AwardWallet for free. It keeps all of your points balances, including non-travel loyalty schemes, in one place and updates them automatically. If you pay for the premium version it also tracks your expiry dates and emails you when points are about to expire.

(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.)

Bits: easyJet and the £475 airport lounge, win a £1000 Dubai hotel stay on Monday
New BA Holidays promo - fly to New York etc in Club World with hotel from £1,299!
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. I am writing this from the Delta Suites Downtown Vancouver which is my first Marriott stay, but do not tell the staff. They think that because I have Gold elite status (from Amex plat via Starwood) I must have stayed the relevant number of nights. Even the maid has left a note thanking me for my loyalty and the service is excellent even by Canadian standards. I will switch my stays from Hilton in future which will make no difference to either. BA F was also excellent on the flight to Seattle and am looking forward to coming home in A380.
    Thanks once again to Rob and all the commentators who made this almost free trip possible.

    • Forgot to say that we were upgraded to one of the best suites on the top floor.
      Hope that the merged scheme retains the good parts.

  2. Does the annual 2,000 point bonus for holding the Creation Marriott credit card count? Not that it’s open for new applications anymore, but still.

    • RussellH says:

      I do not know specifically about the 2 000 annual bonus, as I use my card most months. Certainly ordinary use of the card counts. (My last stay in a Marriott was nearly 18 months ago, and the points for that stay went on my partner’s a/c, as she does not have a Marriott Credit card).

      I use my Credit Card fairly regularly and the points are always credited on 14 of the month, so my expiry date is currently 14 June 2019.

      So maybe Rob could add a sentence to the article:- “If you do have a Marriott Credit Card, use it.”

      • As it is nearly 2 years since the card went AWOL I thought it wasn’t worth mentioning.

        • RussellH says:

          Surely most people who have the card would have kept it, at the very least, for just this purpose? But I suppose that they would be aware of the situation.

          While I routinely use my Hilton Visa, maintaining points validity is why I have IHG and Miles+More credit cards. I would keep an SPG one too if it were free, but £75 a year is a high price for just stopping points from expiring. Churning and getting a regualr bunch of sign-up bonus points is a different matter, of course.

  3. BigDave says:

    still waiting for the 1000 sign-up bonus avios – anyone else got them yet?