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

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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, The 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 January 2019.

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
  2. Rewards redeemed by a Member prior to Point forfeiture are still valid even though the Reward may not have been fulfilled at the time of Point forfeiture.
  3. The points expiration policy does not currently affect the Points in Elite Lifetime member accounts; however, the Rewards Programs may choose to apply a points expiration policy to Elite Lifetime member accounts in the future.

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

Refer a friend to Marriott Rewards who completes a stay – you earn 2,000 points

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, although it is worth noting from the comments below that this does not appear to work, especially if the cancellation is does immediately after booking. 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 on the expiry of Marriott Rewards 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.)

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  1. Would the free points Marriott like to give away on Twitter count as activity on an account? Assuming that they continue to do so?

    • No, it doesn’t count as activity. The T&C quoted above state that social media points are excluded. Mine were due to expire even though I’d accumulated a fair number from the Twitter promo. It wasn’t until I bought 1000 points for $12.50 that the expiry date was extended.

  2. You forgot Marriot Rewards More shopping portal – much less attractive since they launched with but seemingly immediately dropped Amazon. M&S or Boots spend as an example, will earn you a couple of points, but also appears to reset your expiry.

  3. Trickster says:

    Booking and cancelling a redemption night does not work in my experience, at least not booking then cancelling immediately. Maybe need to leave it a while before cancelling?

    Anyone else got experience to that contrary, as I have some points expiring in April?

    • Same here by the looks of it. I made a points booking 4 days ago, and have cancelled it today, but this doesn’t look to have reset the expiry date, unfortunately.

  4. How to check status expiry?

    • RussellH says:

      Log in to your Marriott Rewards a/c – your account activity page will have a line that says “Your account will remain active and points won’t expire as long as you stay or use some of your points by xx/yy/20”

  5. OT but Marriott – how frequently do they run the +35% avios promotion on the travel package?

    I almost have enough for a cat 5 package but thinking of holding out for the avios.

    Also given im not sure where we want to go is it better to get a cat 5 and then upgrading it to a cat 6 if needed later?

    • ankomonkey says:

      The 35% avios bonus is a BA/Avios promotion, not a Marriott promotion. I think BA/Avios tend to run it every 9 months or so.

      Many people get the Cat5 package to start and upgrade to a higher Cat if they need/want to once they’ve chosen their hotel. I believe upgrading to a higher Cat moves the expiration date of the hotel certificate to 1 year from the upgrade date rather than the 1 year from original Cat5 redemption date.

      • “Many people get the Cat5 package to start and upgrade to a higher Cat if they need/want to once they’ve chosen their hotel. I believe upgrading to a higher Cat moves the expiration date of the hotel certificate to 1 year from the upgrade date rather than the 1 year from original Cat5 redemption date.”

        I did exactly what ankomonkey said last month and I can confirm this.

        • Maybe I’m being stupid, but what’s the benefit of ‘purchasing’ a cat5 package first and then upgrading? why not just wait until you have decided what hotel to go for, and buy then?

        • Because you get the miles now.

          If you don’t need the miles now, then obviously it makes sense to wait especially as there is a chance of a hotel point transfer bonus coming along.

        • I see, thanks.

      • New Card says:

        I have the 35% offer mentally diarised as hopefully occurring again in May/June.

      • Ah I see – so it’s actually a bonus on the conversion of the Marriott points to Avios rather than a bonus on the travel package itself. Makes sense.

        Managed to find the article from last time it was on back in Sep/Oct which hopefully means it will likely return in May/June…..
        Judging by how long it seems to take points to transfer across from the SPG Amex, the bonus might well be running by the time the points hit my account!

        Now i just need to figure out how many SPG points to buy in the current bonus sale. Might just buy the 6k that I will need to get up to 90k for Cat 5 and then figure out where to get the extra 10k if i need them later.

  6. I assume that earning points via a marriott credit card also counts as retaining membershio?

  7. Slight OT- but Marriott

    Any recommendation of using Marriott Travel Package in Thailand during October half term?
    This is for a family (four of us) with young kids – 10 & 5.

    • ankomonkey says:

      What category?

      • Category 5 and above, have points

        • ankomonkey says:

          If you search for Marriott hotels Thailand you should get a Marriott website page listing all the hotels. From memory, and excluding Bangkok, around cat 5/6 there are resort properties in Rayong and Hua Hin – both around 3 hours’ drive from BKK and I believe (crucially) both will allow 4 in a single reward room. If you want the better known islands then you’re looking at cat 7 and above. There are quite a few properties in Phuket and Samui. I don’t know how many allow 4 in a reward room. We haven’t made the stay and opted for the JW Phu Quoc ahead of the Thai options.

    • I have been to Nai Yang beach next to Phuket airport. Loved it, although not much for kids, and the sea disappeared a long way leaving a long walk if you wanted to swim.
      Nearby slightly north of the airport there are two or three other Marriott that were recommended to us – I think MVC – so maybe more family oriented.

  8. RussellH says:

    I know that the Ts+Cs say that moving points from SPG to Marriott does not extend the life of Marriott points, but for various reasons I have moved a number of points back and forth on both my own accoputs and my partner’s accounts.
    Every time I moved SPG–>Marriott I saw a 24 month validity extention after about 24 hours.
    Surely worth a try if you have points about to expire, as my partner did!

    • trickster says:

      I’ve just transferred some SPG points into Marriott – I’ll report back if I see my validity extended!

    • Trickster says:

      I can confirm this works, as you say despite the t&cs! Account reset until 26th Feb 2020. Thanks!

  9. OT: Can anyone confirm that if I book 7 night rewards stay with Marriott, that I can always upgrade this to a travel package?

    • ..within the period cancellation period of course but I would like to ensure availability.

      • New Card says:

        I’ve done this – all call representatives confused (and actually deducted double the points initially) at first but once I got put through to the Marriott Rewards team (US based) rather than normal Marriott reservations line this was all sorted out.

  10. Another option is to take a Marriott airport-hotel transfer package. You get 10 Marriott points per USD plus, what goes through your SPG card attracts double points.

    • New Card says:

      What is this package? I’ve never heard of it and can’t find it, but it sounds interesting…

      • They’re in Marriott moments. To get there go to the Marriott website and click on :

        1) MENU (top left hand side)
        2) DEALS & PACKAGES
        3) Cars, Tours, Activities
        4) In DESTINATION box enter place you are interested in i.e. London
        5) Press SEARCH

        It then lists all that areas add ons like day trips etc. Among these are the hotel transfers. Check it, the earnings’s good plus you can nominate whether to earn Marriott or SPG points.

  11. I transferred from SPG to MR last week to extend the date of SPG points and it also extended the MR date. Bonus. Worth a try.

  12. Hi quick question, if my partner and I have an SPG account each is there anyway we can pool our points together to use?

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