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I recently wrote about the current Amex to Marriott Bonvoy transfer bonus and shared some of the reasons why I think it’s a promotion that should be taken very seriously.
One additional reason that struck me today was that it provides the opportunity to turn Amex Membership Rewards Points into cash off Marriott stays at a relatively decent rate.
On the Marriott website, you can trade 25,000 Marriott Points for a $100 (£78) Marriott gift card.
That isn’t a rate many people would be tempted by, but there are situations where it could potentially make sense.
Given the current 50% Amex transfer bonus, you would effectively be trading 11,112 Amex Points for a $100 (~£78) Marriott gift card. In other words, you would be getting about 0.7p of Marriott credit for each Amex Point.
It really depends.
If you have the money available to just pay cash for your stays, then you would be better off keeping your Amex Points or Marriott Points for higher value redemptions.
If money is a bit tight though, redeeming for Marriott gift cards to pay for your stays can certainly sometimes be a better deal than using points for a traditional hotel redemption.
For example, say that you want to spend a night in York in the run up to Christmas. Some nights (particularly Sundays for regional UK cities) the cash rate is much better value than a standard points redemption:
Remember, a ~£78 gift card requires just 25,000 Marriott Points, so would clearly be a better deal than a standard redemption for both the York Marriott or the Moxy in the example above.
You can, of course, also collect cashback and earn Marriott Points on cash stays paid for with a gift card.
Other reasons you might favour indirectly using points for cash stays rather than for standard redemptions is if you want to take advantage of Marriott’s status challenge offer, or if you wish to book a specific room type that isn’t available as a standard redemption.
I personally value Marriott Points too highly to use them in the way outlined above, but everyone’s travel goals and circumstances are different.
If you are just looking for a nice free hotel stay, remember to check the cash rate as well as the standard points rate to make sure you are getting the best possible deal.
Would you be tempted to convert Amex Points into Marriott gift cards?