A Trick To Transfer Membership Rewards To United MileagePlus Miles
Yesterday I shared a pretty good deal with you for transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to United MileagePlus miles. With the current 30% United transfer bonus promotion you get 35,750 United miles for 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That is a pretty stellar deal. But that got me to thinking, does this make it a good deal for Membership Rewards too? Especially when you consider there is a Bonvoy transfer bonus for Membership Rewards points. I found the thought intriguing. Let’s crunch the numbers and see.
How To Transfer Membership Rewards To United MileagePlus Miles
United is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Marriott Bonvoy, as a hotel program, also has access to many airlines that are “exclusive” to one bank currency. That is because they are looked at differently than bank points and most hotel programs offer a terrible transfer rate to airlines.
All of this means that Membership Rewards earners haven’t had a good option for earning United MileagePlus miles in the past. If you wanted to fly United, or it’s partners, you would need to transfer to partner programs like Avianca Lifemiles etc. (which also has a transfer bonus right now).
But by stacking these promotions can we backdoor a transfer to United?
Crunching The Numbers
In yesterday’s post I showed you that transferring 60,000 Bonvoy points to the United MileagePlus program should earn you 35,750 miles.
- 60,000 Bonvoy points turns into 20,000 miles.
- You get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred bringing it to 25,000.
- United earns at a slightly higher rate than everyone else (3 to 1.1). That brings the total to 27,500 (25,000 x 1.1).
- United should throw in 30% more miles bringing the total to 35,750 (27,500 x 1.3)
If we look at the Membership Rewards program it normally transfers Membership Rewards to Bonvoy points at a 1 to 1 rate. (Check transfer rates for all the major programs here). With the current promotion, there are 12 in total, you get a 30% bonus. So a 1 to 1.3 transfer quantity.
- We need 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to make the transfer. At a rate of 1 to 1.3 that would require 47,000 Membership Rewards (60,000 / 1.3).
It would take 47,000 Membership Rewards points to earn 35,750 United MileagePlus miles. Or you would earn .76 miles per 1 MR point essentially.
Is It Worth It?
I did this more as a thought exercise, a look at how stacking promos can give you other unique options. Normally you want to get at least 1 mile per bank point when transferring. If you take advantage of the current Membership Rewards transfer promos you would be getting 1.2 – 1.4 mile per point. So this isn’t a great deal on the surface. If you value United miles at 1.5 cents each this brings you a return of 1.14 cents per point. Not great. But, that is better than the current Charles Schwab cash out rate of 1.1 cents per point, unless they still haven’t updated it.
This deal isn’t good enough to transfer points just to bulk up your United balance. But it could make sense if you have a specific booking or if you are short some United miles for booking an award.
Let’s say you needed an additional 25,000 or 30,000 United MileagePlus miles for a booking you wanted to make and had no Ultimate Rewards points. This could bridge that gap. Or, if you have a specific booking you wanted to make and it had a good cent per point valuation, then this could make sense. If you value Membership Rewards points at 1.5 cents each you would need to have a United booking that brings you 2 cents in value or more.
- 2 cents per United mile x .76 miles per Membership Reward point = 1.52 cents per MR point.
I would also say to check partner bookings, like LifeMiles, to see if you could get the same flight for way cheaper etc. Plus you could take advantage of the current transfer bonus to their program.
I had fun crunching the numbers for this. My goal was to see if transferring Membership Rewards to United MileagePlus miles was possible. But even more than that, would it make sense if you could stack the two current promotions together?
The answer is that most of the time it won’t make sense. There are a few, very specific instances, where it could make sense. But, most will be better transferring Ultimate Rewards to United instead or using partner airlines to book the same flight.
Have you ever stacked promos to do a double dip transfer?