Usually transferring points between competing programs through a third party is a losing proposition. There is, however, a workaround for transferring Marriott Rewards points to Hilton HHonors at competitive rate by going through the Travel Package route. You can read more about Marriott Travel Packages here.
You can redeem a Marriott Travel Package that comes from 50K to 120K Virgin Atlantic miles. For example the category 1 to 5 Travel Package costs 270K Marriott Rewards points if you choose 120K Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles option.
After the miles have shown up on Virgin Atlantic, you can transfer them to Hilton HHonors at the rate of TWO Hilton HHonors points per ONE mile. Your 120K Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles just turned to 240K Hilton HHonors points.
Hilton HHonors inspirational properties
Hilton has properties in many locations that are desirable and rather expensive by paying. Marriott doesn’t have properties in French Polynesia, Maldives, Bali (Courtyard doesn’t count although I have stayed there), Seychelles etc. Also, best value Hilton HHonors award redemptions are at these locations.
What you can do with 240K Hilton HHonors points?
Hilton HHonors offers VIP awards for Gold & Diamond members and it is very easy to get Gold status.
Here’s an example for staying 6 nights at the Conrad or Hilton in the Maldives. Six nights stay using points costs 225K Hilton HHonors points.
You can also use Hilton HHonors points in Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia at the same 37500 points per night when you book a six night stay.
Hilton HHonors has a very nice Conrad property in Bali where I have been several time. It is far better than the nearby only Marriott property on the island the Courtyard. The Conrad is only 26250 points per night if you do a six nights stay. Total of 157500 points for six nights stay.
Seychelles properties are both at the 37500 level for 6 nights stay also. Total of 225K for a nice stay.
Getting Hilton HHonors Gold/Diamond status match
Hilton’s Gold status is comparable to Marriott’s Gold, but includes a complimentary breakfast even at resort properties. If you are planning to do a swap for Hilton points, you should at least arrange a Hilton Gold status. There are quite a few shortcuts to it.
Hilton offers instant Gold status for Visa Infinite card holders in Asia. You need to move your address to Asia and find usable Visa Infinite number to apply for the account upgrade.
Other option is to do a Gold via MVP program for just four stays.
Hilton also emailed an instant Gold offer for number of different airline program elites.
I have written a piece how to do a “traditional” Hilton HHonors Gold/Diamond status match.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Decide if this is something that you would like to do
2. Redeem a Travel Package and choose Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as the airline
3. Once the miles are in your Flying Club Account, you need to call Virgin Atlantic and make the transfer
4. You cannot book awards with Hilton before the points are in your account
5. Consider doing one of the Gold status match/fast track options above.
6. Hilton award stays are status qualifying
7. Book the award and enjoy
If you want to stretch your Marriott Rewards points to the fullest, you should always redeem for travel packages. Also, this transfer option via Virgin Atlantic is fantastic for those aspirational Hilton properties in locations where Marriott is nonexistent.