One of the Starwood features that was adopted by Marriott after it bought the company was the ability to redeem your hotel points for a flight ticket.
Two facts make this offer sound quite attractive. Marriott Bonvoy is buying you a cash flight ticket so there is no problem with reward availability. And, because it is a cash ticket, you will receive airline miles and tier points when you fly.
Historically, looking at the cash value of your SPG (now Marriott Bonvoy) points, this deal was terrible value. Things have now changed. The Marriott Bonvoy flight booking system is priced in US$ and, with the £ hovering around $1.20 compared to the $1.65 it was at for many years in the early 2010s, it’s worth taking another look.
If you want to book a ticket, you need to go to this page of the Marriott Bonvoy website and click on ‘Take Off’. You are diverted to a Switchfly-powered page to make your booking.
What do I get for my Marriott Bonvoy points when used to book a flight?
Marriott does not publish a pricing table for flight redemptions.
However, Starwood DID publish one and it has not changed substantially. The chart below is ROUGHLY correct but may be a few thousand points too high or too low in some cases.
Based on the cash cost of your flight, the number of Marriott Bonvoy points you need is approximately:
up to $150 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Looking at a few random examples I ran yesterday:
a $109 ticket came out at 27,500 points (slightly better than the list suggests)
a $296 ticket came out at 75,000 points (as per the chart)
a $380 ticket came out at 97,500 points (slightly worse than the list suggests)
These three examples work out at 0.396c, 0.395c and 0.389c per Marriott Bonvoy point.
At the current exchange rate, it means you are getting 0.30p per point.
Let’s be clear. 0.30p is not great value. We normally target 0.5p when redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points. It isn’t totally terrible, however, and ‘totally terrible’ is what you normally expect when a redemption involves the programme handing over hard cash to a third party company. If you earn all of your Marriott Bonvoy points via business travel, which makes them effectively ‘free’, then you might consider this acceptable.
For comparison, remember that Marriott Bonvoy points convert to Avios at the ratio of 3:1, although this improves to 2.4:1 if you convert in chunks of 60,000 Marriott points.
If you value an Avios point at 1p, then getting 0.33p per Marriott Bonvoy point by converting them to Avios is not a lot better than getting 0.30p by redeeming directly for a flight – and you have zero availability problems and you will earn miles back when you fly! On this basis, you might find redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for flights offers some value.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (August 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.
Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
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.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), 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.)