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Today’s questions about what to do when Marriott points expire comes from reader Theresa.  She writes in to ask:marriott

I am a long-time reader of your blog Points with a Crew and have a question.  I don’t think the answer is on your blog so I am curious WWYD?
I have a Marriott Rewards credit card with 92,128 points on it.  We hardly ever stay at Marriott, though.  They’re just sitting there doing nothing and the credit card has an annual fee, so I plan to cancel it.
Finally getting to my question: what should I transfer those Marriott points into to get the MOST point value?
I think you will say either two options:
1. Chase Sapphire (they have a portal where I can save 20% off travel so it’s 1.25 per point, right?)
2. Chase Southwest (I think it’s 1:1, right?)
Which of these two is better??  Thank you for your help!

Do Marriott Rewards points expire when you close the credit card?

The good news for Theresa is that Marriott Rewards points do NOT expire when you close the credit card.  We’ve talked about this before, but the only time that your points will go away when you close a credit card is if your points are issued by the same bank as your card is on.  So if you close a Chase Sapphire Preferred card before transferring your points to a different Chase card (like the Chase Freedom), or if you close an American Express Platinum card without having another American Express card that earns Membership Rewards

[Top 10 credit cards for travel]

But if you have a Chase card that earns Marriott points (like Theresa does), if you close your Chase credit card, your Marriott points will not expire and they will remain safely held in your Marriott account.  It is sometimes possible to close after the annual fee hits (and your anniversary certificate posts) and still be refunded for your annual fee, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Do Marriott points expire?

That doesn’t address the question of what to do when Marriott points expire.  According to Marriott’s website, to keep your Marriott Rewards points from expiring, you need to earn or redeem points at least once every 2 years to stay active and retain your points

The following activities DO count towards keeping your Marriott points from expiring

  • Make a paid (or redemption) stay at any of our 4,000+ participating hotels worldwide
  • Redeem points
  • Use your Marriott Rewards Credit Card for purchases every 24 months and your points won’t expire.
  • Earn points with one of our program partners
  • Purchase points
  • Hold a qualifying meeting or event, including earning points through the Rewarding Events Program

The following events specifically do NOT count towards resetting the expiration of your Marriott points

  • Gifting or transferring points
  • Receiving points as a gift or transfer
  • Earning points through social media programs, such as #MRPoints
  • Linking your accounts with other programs
  • Receiving Status Matching across program accounts
  • Transferring points to accounts in other programs

What to do with expiring Marriott points

Of course, points that are just sitting in your account aren’t doing you any good.  Earn em and burn em baby!  Going back to Therese’s initial question, you can’t transfer Marriott points to Chase (and then to the travel portal or to Southwest).  Chase transfers to Marriott, but not the other way around.

The good news is that due to the recent Marriott-Starwood merger, you can transfer Marriott points to Starwood points at a 1:3 ratio.  So 90,000 Marriott points would become 30,000 Starwood points, and due to Starwood’s airline relationships, you could turn that into 35,000 airline miles (because of the 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 transferred miles)

[SEE: The 3 SPG transfer partners you do NOT want to use]

One other option would be a Marriott vacation package.  90,000 Marriott points isn’t enough to do it, but if you had Chase points or any other way to get more Marriott points, it could be an option – the cheapest 7 night packages start at 200,000 points.


Sharon just talked about using Marriott points for a vacation package the other day – if you could get up to 270,000 points in addition to a 7 night Marriott stay you could get 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points (enough for a Companion Pass)

Good luck Theresa!  Does anyone else have suggestions for what to do when Marriott points expire?

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