Use your Marriott status on United Airlines (and vice versa) via RewardsPlus

In 2013 the Starwood hotel group and Delta Airways announced a unique tie-up. This gave Starwood Preferred Guest elite members certain privileges when flying on Delta, and gave Delta top tier members special privileges when staying at a Sheraton / Westin / W etc hotel.

One part of the deal was the ability to earn Starwood hotel points for spending money on Delta flights, and indeed the ability to earn Delta miles when staying at Starwood hotels. This would be on top of the standard points you would not, NOT instead.

In November 2014, Starwood launched a similar partnership with Emirates Skywards.  This allows elite members of either scheme to access special benefits with the other partner.

United Airlines responded to the Delta tie-up with Starwood by getting into bed with Marriott Hotels.  After a brief hiatus, Marriott and United relaunched this partnership yesterday so I thought it was worth looking over again.

United Marriott

The scheme is called RewardsPlus and you can find all the details here.

If you are Premier Gold or above with United, you can receive Marriott Gold status. This gives you upgrades (not guaranteed), free internet and 25% bonus Marriott points.

More interestingly, United Premier Silver or higher members are able to transfer up to 50,000 United MileagePlus miles per year into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. You also get a 20% improvement on transfers of Marriott points to United miles and a 10% bonus when you redeem Marriott points for a ‘hotel plus miles’ travel package.

If you are a Marriott Rewards Platinum member (which is the situation Head for Points readers are more likely to be in), you can receive Premier Silver status with United.

Don’t get too excited about this. In Star Alliance, Silver status only gets you lounge access with the airline which issues your card. You cannot therefore use this card to get, say, lounge access when flying Lufthansa or Swiss.

Silver does get you upgraded to United’s Economy Plus at check-in. However, this would involve a flight with very few Gold or above members on it, as they would have priority. You also get a free checked bag and 25% bonus MileagePlus miles.

For UK-based Head for Points readers, the most common scenario is that you will have Marriott Platinum and can therefore get United Silver status. This will then allow you to credit occasional Star Alliance flights to United and, instead of being stuck with a few useless miles, transfer them to Marriott. (You could even transfer them to Marriott and then on to Avios!)

Unfortunately, whilst the United website for RewardsPlus is OK, the Marriott version of the site (which you need to use to match your Marriott Platinum status) is still saying ‘we will resume registrations on January 8th’.  By the time you read this it may be active.

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

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  1. If you are United Premier Silver and can therefore get Marriott Gold, that is well worth having. Gold status gives you free breakfast or Executive Lounge access at higher-level Marriott group hotels (Renaissance, Marriott, Autograph Collection…), which makes it much better than IHG status!

  2. Sam Wardill says:

    Rob said that HfP readers are more likely to have Marriott platinum. Why is that? There is. No easy way to get it (other than Marriott stays). Is there?

    • Because there are lots of Marriot hotels in the UK whereas United is US based.

      Not that I’m convinced he’s right. I use United more than Marriot personally, and their star alliance frequent flyer scheme is quite attractive. Mexico to the Galapagos Islands then back to Canada with two stopovers is only 30,000 miles. BA want half that just for the 4hr round trip between the Galapagos and the mainland!

  3. I’m Marriott Platinum and used the United Silver status last year in Washington and Nashville airports a couple of times. The biggest benefit was being able to use the priority security lanes, on one flight over Easter it literally saved our bacon as the general line through security at Washington Dulles was at least an hour and a half long. The free stowed luggage (1 bag each) saved $100 between my wife and I on each return trip as well. Hadn’t thought of moving United points into Marriott and then in Avios, useful tip.

  4. Doesn’t appear to be open yet for United MileagePlus members either:

    Thank you for your interest in RewardsPlus. We are currently in the process of reviewing qualification records for the 2015 RewardsPlus program and will resume registrations for the 2015 program soon.

  5. I don’t know if it is possible and Raffles you might have done this already, but it would be great to have an article on the possibilities of attaining airline status through credit card sign-ups. For instance is there a route of achieving Marriott platinum via a credit card sign up, perhaps indirectly through status matching between hotel loyalty schemes?

  6. RIcatti says:

    With SPG partnerships, one earns Delta/Emirates miles (additional to Starpoints) ONLY if they already have a status with that airline.

    That has been my reading.

  7. RIcatti says:

    Given how many Marriott network properties are out there, it would be an erosion of an airline status/benefits. I find airline status harder to achieve — no status miles from UK cards, and it’s harder to find cheaper tickets, earning 100% miles for times/locations that are remotely convenient! Finding cheaper rooms is easier.

    • I’m fairly certain all mileage earning fares on United earn at least 100%.

  8. cue BA-Hilton partnership.

    GGL already get Hilton Diamond. How about Gold for Gold.. well at least if you earn BA Gold you should get Hilton Gold. The latter is given away so often anyway. There’s probably a 100,000 of us BA Golds who would be persuaded to stay at Hilton (over Marriott) if we had Hilton status (I do and it matters, mostly because you get treated less well without status. Last year we moved to the Hilton across the street from the Marriott in Prague because I didn’t like the tiny room they gave us, we got a junior suite at the Hilton. The Marriott room was already paid for, which gives you an idea of how much Mrs hates tiny rooms). Golds travel so much that this would make money for Hilton, my average spend on hotels rooms was $225 a night last year and I paid for 85 nights. BA Gold members don’t stay at Travelodges. I have Hilton gold until 2017 so I’m thinking more of the benefit for Hilton than for myself.

    Now that Marriott has tied up with United the die is set.

    • Not really. This isn’t a new partnership, it’s been around a while. Though if you stay 85 nights a year and Hilton Gold is often given away, why don’t you have it already!

  9. I do have Hilton Gold, but I am also a Hyatt Diamond, which I much prefer. It is tough to keep Hyatt Diamond since I’m UK based. I could go for Hilton Diamond, but I would miss Hyatt top tier more… At 85 nights a year you can’t keep up both based on stays.

    Short of a getting a Centurion card which confers Hilton Diamond status and costs $1800 a year, or going for GGL which would cost a lot more. I don’t think there is a way for us UK folk to get Hilton Gold without staying a lot at Hilton. Yes, there’s the Hilton credit card, but I prefer avios through my BA and HSBC cards.. and I do have Hilton gold until 2017…

    My point is that it is beneficial for Hilton to grant BA Gold holders Hilton Gold status. In fact they’d make money by doing so by taking high end trade away from Marriott and IHG. In fact they should pay BA for the privilege. . ha