Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
Before yesterday, we hadn’t seen a new transfer bonus from Chase since last year. As of right now, however, anyone wishing to transfer Ultimate Rewards Points over to their Bonvoy account can do so with a 50% bonus thrown in for good measure. The question is, just how good a deal is this?
Chase Ultimate Rewards offers transfers to just three hotel loyalty programs and one of these is Marriott Bonvoy. Right now, Chase is offering a 50% bonus on all Ultimate Rewards Points transferred over to Marriott by 31 August 2021, but this is a “deal” that almost everyone should be approaching with care.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value that I know I can get out of them with very little effort) and, as valuations go, this is probably one of the more conservative valuations you’ll see.
When it comes to Marriott Bonvoy points I struggle to value them at anything higher than 0.6 cents each so with this transfer bonus seeing Ultimate Rewards Points converting to Marriott Bonvoy points at a ratio of 1 to 1.5, I’m essentially being asked to convert points worth 1.5 cents each into points worth 0.9 cents.
On the face of things, that looks like a terrible deal (and for many people it will be) but there are times when a transfer from Chase to Marriott can make sense so it’s important not to dismiss this transfer bonus out of hand.
Allow me to explain…
On a random night in July, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara will charge a guest $1,247 (including taxes and fees) or 60,000 points + 63.70 in resort fees and taxes.
Buy using points instead of cash to make this booking, a Marriott Bonvoy member could get approximately 1.97 cents of value out of every Bonvoy point used, and that’s pretty incredible when you consider that they’re not really worth more than 0.6 cents each, and when you consider that Marriott will often sell points at approximately 0.83 cents each.
With the 50% transfer bonus that’s now on offer, 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points can be generated from 40,000 Ultimate Rewards Points which, based on my valuation of 1.5 cents/point, are worth $600. In this example, a transfer of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Marriott would see you effectively pay $664 (including resort fee) for a night that would otherwise have cost $1,247.
Things can look even better on stays of 5 nights thanks to the fact that Marriott Bonvoy members get the 5th night free on award bookings.
A 5-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara in August can cost $1,028/night ($5,140) or 280,000 points + $319 in resort fees and taxes.
280,000 Bonvoy points can be generated from 187,000 Ultimate Rewards Points which, based on my valuation of 1.5 cents/point, are worth $2,805.
When you add in the obnoxious resort fees and taxes that get added on to the award booking, someone transferring Chase Points over to Marriott to reserve this 5-night stay would effectively be handing over $3,124 in points and cash in exchange for a booking that would otherwise have cost $5,140.
That’s a saving of $2,016.
Yes, this is an extreme example so there will be plenty of other examples where transferring Chase points over to Marriott makes no sense whatsoever. But I mentioned that towards the beginning of this post.
What I’m trying to show with this Ritz-Carlton example is that what may appear to be a terrible deal at first glance, may not really be terrible in all circumstances. If you’re booking high-end properties that cost a lot of money, a transfer of Chase points may be a very good idea.
The majority of the time the math will dictate that transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to Marriott Bonvoy is a poor value proposition regardless of what transfer bonus gets offered because UR Points are so much more valuable than Bonvoy points. As shown above, however, there will be times when a transfer makes sense and when it can save you a substantial sum of money.
If you’re topping up an account or booking a standard room at a property where prices are high (especially if you’re booking a 5-night stay) then a transfer from Chase may save you quite a bit of cash, but make sure you do the math before you enact any transfers as there’s no going back!