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Devaluations are just a part of life in the miles and points world. Nobody LIKES them, but I think most people are at least resigned to know that they’re going to happen. It’s one reason that it’s not a great idea to hoard your miles and points. Generally speaking, your miles are never going to worth as much as they are right now. Earn em and burn em baby!

So while I at least have accepted the fact that companies are going to devalue their miles and take away their sweet spot redemptions, what galls me the most is when companies change their program with no notice to customers. I get that companies can do whatever they want, but it is a “loyalty” program – people spend months and years of their lives collecting these miles and points, so it’s a bit irritating when we get the rug pulled out from under us.

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Marriott removes United bonus on miles redemption

Marriott has long offered the ability to transfer Bonvoy points to a variety of different airline miles. In most (but not all) cases, 3,000 Bonvoy points becomes 1,000 airline miles, and you can transfer between 3,000 and 240,000 Bonvoy points per day. This was a legacy of the Starwood Preferred Guest program that came over when Marriott bought Starwood several years ago. The one exception was that you could get an extra 10% when transferring to United MileagePlus miles.

That 10% bonus has been removed, effective immediately

Marriott adding bonus miles to United transfers

The other important part of Marriott’s airline mile transfer program was the ability to get 5,000 bonus miles if you transferred in blocks of 60,000 Bonvoy points. So instead of 60,000 Bonvoy points transferring to 20,000 airline miles, you would instead get 25,000 airline miles. That perk is still staying, and Marriott has upped the bonus on United transfers to 10,000 miles (for a total of 30,000 miles). That makes the Marriott to United transfer ratio 2:1, as long as you transfer in blocks of 60,000 Bonvoy points.

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So Is This Good? Or Bad?

When I first heard of Marriott removing the 10% bonus on United MileagePlus mile transfers, I pegged it as a devaluation. And it is somewhat of a devaluation, though it’s tempered by the change to the increased bonus on larger transfers.

  • It’s good news if you transfer from Marriott to United in blocks of at least 60,000. Before you would have gotten 27,000 United miles (20,000 + 2,000 for the 10% bonus and the 5,000 bonus). Now you’ll get 30,000 United miles.
  • But it’s bad news if you just need to transfer over to United to top off your account for an award redemption, since you only get the increased bonus if you transfer at least 60,000 Bonvoy points.

My guess is that most people who transfer Bonvoy points to United miles do so in at least 60,000 Bonvoy point blocks, to take advantage of the bonus. So for those people, this will actually be a positive change.

The Bottom Line

Marriott has changed the rules of their airline transfer ratios. Instead of getting a 10% bonus when transferring to United miles, you’ll now get an extra 5,000 miles (so 30,000 miles total) when transferring 60,000 Bonvoy points. While I never like to see loyalty programs changed with no notice, at least you’ll actually come out ahead if you are transferring from Marriott to United in larger blocks.

What do you think of this change? Does it make you more or less likely to transfer Bonvoy points to United MileagePlus miles? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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