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)
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!
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.
I have more to write about ways of exploiting the Starwood and Marriott deal to your advantage ….
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)