Marriott Rewards and United Airlines Mileage Plus have an exclusive partnership when it comes to reciprocal benefits and mileage transfers, but apparently, these transfers aren’t all that flawless these days.
According to several readers and a self experiment, United and Marriott can’t get it together to credit transfers even within a week while other carriers such as ANA often credit within 72 hours.
One would think that an “Exclusive Partnership” would at least ensure that mileage transfers are processed quickly, if not instantly, but Marriott seems to think differently.
You can access the special partnership page here to review all the benefits.
After we received complaints from several readers, I decided to put it to the test and transferred a small number of miles from my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium account to United Mileage Plus:
This was on December 14th, and it indeed took the two partners six full days until the transfer finally hit my Marriott account a few hours ago.
I planned to use the points for a short haul between Tokyo and Soul but the mileage just wouldn’t post so I ended up buying a few Lifemiles and booked the award that way which was cheap enough (just 8k miles that I bought for $99).
Why does it take this long for the two parties to get miles posted? If I transfer for example to ANA (which I do regularly as you can’t buy ANA miles) then the points hit my account within 72 hours at the latest, in many cases after 36 hours.
Marriott just recently ended their lucrative transfer bonus with several airlines, first with American Airlines, Avianca and Delta:
Just a few weeks after they canned the bonus for Korean Air Skypass:
You can still convert points to miles at a 3:1 ratio with most airlines. When you convert 60,000 points, Marriott has bonused these conversions with 5,000 bonus miles (a total of 25,000 miles per 60,000 points).
It could very well be that Marriott doesn’t find it financially rewarding anymore, having to buy 25,000 miles for every 60k Bonvoy points a member transfers to airline partners.
For sure, that’s much more expensive for Marriott than reimbursing their own properties for award night redemptions, and therefore, there isn’t really any motivation for them to entice members to transfer points to miles. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the 5,000-mile bonus go away entirely or even some more drastic changes.
Not that is related to the speed of transfers, or maybe it could be, however, I don’t see why Marriott/United would purposely slow down these transfers when transactions, let’s say from Chase Ultimate Rewards, post within seconds to United. Unless they try to make transfers as long and painful as possible, pretty much eliminating the option of booking awards short term.
Did you have any issues with such a points-to-miles transfer to United recently?
Marriott and their “preferred partner” United Airlines appear to have major issues processing points to miles transfers in a timely fashion and in a way that’s satisfactory to the customers. It’s really sad that wherever you look, Marriott really can’t get it right at the moment.
Marriott Rewards used to have a great redemption option called Travel Packages that allowed you to redeem a reasonable number of points (270,000) for a week in a hotel combined with 120,000 airline miles. These were first devalued after the program merger with SPG and then killed off altogether.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the mileage transfer award option were soon to be further significantly “enhanced” and moved to something other than the generous 3:1 conversion ratio (Hilton has 10:1). We have previously (just three weeks ago) confirmed with a Marriott spokesperson that this change only affects three partners (AA, AV ,DL) but now another airline (KE) has been axed.