Chase Marriott Transfer Bonus
We generally don’t transfer bank points to travel partners. My wife and I have healthy balances in our airline, rail, and hotel loyalty accounts, and we prefer to book travel with those preexisting balances. We have no need to buy travel points, instead opting to cash out our bank points for our favorite rewards currency – cash money. But a current Chase Marriott transfer bonus has tempted me more than any other recent one. It ultimately doesn’t make sense for us at this time, but many of you should consider it for your situation. Today, I’m stepping through why to pursue it and the reasons we’re avoiding it this time.
The Highest It Gets
The current Chase Marriott transfer bonus is 50%. That meets the highest offer I’ve ever seen for any of the bank currencies compatible with the Marriott Bonvoy program. We’ve routinely seen 20-30% bumps, but 50% is enough for me to consider. The 50% bonus comes around at least once a year or so from Chase and/or Amex.
But Pay Yourself Back complicates things a bit – in a good way. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can pick up an easy 1.25 cents per point right now, probably easiest via wiping out grocery store purchases. Deciding to forgo this to pick up more Bonvoy points means an individual is effectively buying points at 0.83 cents each.
As always, it’s key to understand what buying those Marriott points can accomplish, which leads to the next topic.
A Respectable Return
I don’t overly focus on cent per point valuations, as I consider most any redemption aligned to my goals a worthy one. But when faced with multiple options for accomplishing a given goal, I like to find extra value where I can. Like other hotel currencies, Bonvoy cent per point value can vary widely. Redemptions at many properties come in well under 0.5 cpp. I’ve seen this most often at Fairfield Inns and Courtyards, among other brands. But with a bit of hunting and flexibility, I’m easily able to obtain over 1 cent per point. And I can often obtain closer to 2 cents each. I’ve seen this trend at higher-end properties mostly, which is where we like to smartly splurge. Pairing that discounted buy rate of 0.83 with the right aspirational redemption can make a transfer a no-brainer.
Probably the trickiest part of Marriott’s program, behind their elite breakfast policy (FM has done the Lord’s work untangling this), is efficiently earning Bonvoy points. This predicament comes at us in two primary ways. In a quite diabolical arrangement, our ability to earn Bonvoy points in significant chunks via credit card welcome offers across banks has been throttled. The rules are intentionally convoluted, but in my view the most logical way to think about it is this: to earn Bonvoy credit card welcome offers, it’s easier to focus on one card issuer – Chase or Amex. It’s tougher, and often impossible, to do both.
The other challenge is cardholders aren’t significantly rewarded for everyday spend on Marriott cards. The only angle I can squint and justify is 4x Bevy grocery spend while reaching a 50k cert big spend bonus. And even that 4x category is capped at $15k calendar year spend. Perhaps the other best Amex/Marriott alternative is the Bonvoy Business card gets 4x at gas stations, but other cards often work out better there. I think you get the point.
So given the challenge of efficiently earning Bonvoy points, the bank transfer bonus option becomes more attractive. I also can’t ignore this mental trap set for us. Essentially, these engineered, user-unfriendly earning policies probably make these transfer bonuses look better than they should. But given the dreadful Marriott everyday earning world we’re in, a transfer bonus is one of the few ways to eek out a bit more value.
Why We’re Not Transferring
Again, I got closer to going after this transfer bonus than any other in recent memory. But we ultimately decided against it for a few reasons. First, we have healthy enough balances with Marriott currently. Second, we only have one trip with a definite Marriott stay planned for the next year or so. Holding onto even more of a surplus currency for an extended period subjects it to devaluation risk. Third, we have more Bonvoy credit card applications and their respective welcome offers on the way, and we want to maximize that method first.
Chase Marriott Transfer Bonus – Conclusion
I can understand why many will jump on this Chase Marriott transfer bonus now. Take into account your travel plans over the next year or so and consider how Marriott fits in. Transferring over with a 50% bonus may work out nicely in your situation. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the next time such a significant bonus is offered, as our travel situation and Marriott balances may change substantially by then.
What transfer bonuses have you jumped on recently? Why?
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