Between June 1 and June 30, 2021, you’ll receive an extra 30% bonus when you transfer your MR points to Marriott Bonvoy, resulting in an effective transfer ratio of 1 Amex MR or MR Select point = 1.56 Marriott Bonvoy points!
This is a very exciting opportunity to make excellent use of your Amex MR Select points from the Cobalt Card and Business Edge Card in particular, and there are also a variety of new opportunities to access a wider range of frequent flyer programs thanks to Marriott Bonvoy’s 40+ airline partners. Let’s delve into all the details.
30% Transfer Bonus to Marriott Bonvoy
With a temporary 30% bonus throughout the month of June, this transfer ratio has been bumped up to an effective 1:1.56 ratio: 1,000 MR points will earn you 1,560 Marriott Bonvoy points.
The transfer ratio is hard-coded into the American Express online dashboard for the month of June:
Transfers to Marriott Bonvoy typically take two business days to complete. The name and address should match between your Amex MR and Marriott Bonvoy accounts, although keep in mind that Marriott Bonvoy members can send up to 100,000 points per calendar year to another member, and can receive up to 500,000 points per calendar year cumulatively from other members.
Effectively, this represents the best transfer ratio we’ve ever seen between Amex MR and the Marriott loyalty program – even taking into account the pre-merger days when Amex MR points could be transferred to SPG Starpoints at a 2:1 ratio.
Since the equivalency was set at 1 SPG Starpoint = 3 Marriott Bonvoy points when the two programs merged, the old transfer ratio was effectively a 2:3 ratio in today’s Marriott Bonvoy terms – and the current 30% bonus is even better than that.
Is It a Good Deal to Transfer Amex MR to Marriott Bonvoy?
Converting Amex MR points into Marriott Bonvoy points represents one of the many potential valuable uses, although the value proposition isn’t necessarily the strongest for regular MR points.
That’s because regular MR points can be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs as well (notably Aeroplan or British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio), which typically provide better value when redeemed for flights in premium cabins, compared to the average hotel redemption via Marriott Bonvoy. If you’ve already got enough points to cover your flights, though, then transferring to Marriott Bonvoy would certainly be a compelling next-best use case.
However, the most attractive opportunity here is to use your Amex MR Select points, earned from either the Cobalt Card or the Business Edge Card, to convert into Marriott Bonvoy at the elevated 2:3 ratio.
That’s because MR Select points cannot be transferred to airlines, and their typical best-case usage is to transfer to Marriott Bonvoy in the first place. Now that the transfer ratio has received a boost, the value of MR Select points has been temporarily elevated as well.
The Amex Cobalt Card is most well-known for its ability to earn 5 MR Select points per dollar spent on food and drinks, including dining, groceries, and food delivery.
With the 30% transfer bonus in place, you can effectively earn 7.8 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all purchases in the food and drinks category; since I’d value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point (CAD), that’s equivalent to a spectacular 7.02% return on your spending, or easily more than that if you redeem your Bonvoy points wisely at a high value.
If you don’t currently hold the Cobalt Card, then you can apply now and benefit from the 5x earning rate in conjunction with the month-long 30% transfer bonus; however, you wouldn’t receive the full signup bonus in time, because the Cobalt Card delivers its bonuses on a monthly basis.
On the other hand, the American Express Business Edge Card might be a better choice to apply for if you’d like to give your Marriott Bonvoy points balance a boost.
As the “base” signup bonus, the Business Edge Card gives you 55,000 MR Select points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months.
If you can complete the minimum spending before June ends, then you’d have at least 61,000 MR Select points (taking into account the additional bonus of 1,000 MR Select points for each of the first 12 months that you spend $3,000) – which would convert into 95,160 Marriott Bonvoy points under the 30% transfer bonus!
Given the fact that a transfer to Marriott Bonvoy is one of the strongest possible uses of MR Select points, the 30% transfer bonus means that there’s been no better time than the present to maximize your spending on the Cobalt Card and sign up for the Business Edge Card if you don’t have it already.
Don’t Forget: Transferring Marriott Bonvoy to Airline Partners
We must also consider the possibility of transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to their 40+ airline partners at the optimal ratio of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 airline miles.
With the elevated 1:1.56 transfer ratio from Amex MR, this opens up many more doors in terms of using your Canadian-issued Amex MR points to access a far greater range of frequent flyer programs than usual.
Remember that the optimal transfer ratio takes effect in chunks of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. This gives us the following ratio for the month of June:
38,470 Amex MR (Select) points = 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 airline miles
Almost every frequent flyer program worth its salt is a partner of Marriott’s – and can therefore be accessed at an effective ratio of 38,470 MR (Select) points = 25,000 miles, as seen above.
As before, MR Select points will be the most compelling transfer candidate if you have any to spare, but even if you’re sitting on regular MR points, this very favourable effective transfer ratio is still worth considering if you have your eye on any of the award chart sweet spots out there that might usually be harder to access.
Want to fly ANA First Class round-trip for 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, for example? That’ll only be 192,350 Amex MR points, which is a good chunk lower than the 220,000 points you’d need through Aeroplan.
Want to book an ANA round-the-world award for 125,000 ANA Mileage Club miles in business class, with eight stopovers and four open-jaws? Same price.
Also: 30% Transfer Bonus to Hilton Honors
It’s also worth noting that there’s also a parallel 30% transfer bonus from Amex MR points to Hilton Honors for the month of June. The standard transfer ratio is 1:1, so under the 30% bonus, you’ll get an effective transfer ratio of 1:1.3.
However, it’s almost never a good idea to transfer your MR or MR Select points to Hilton Honors, because they lose a lot of value along the process.
We’d value Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents per point (CAD), so if you were to transfer 1,000 MR points and earn 1,300 Hilton Honors points, they’d be worth about $7.80. But those 1,000 MR points would’ve been worth at least $10 in the first place, so you’re actually losing value by initiating this transfer.
Instead, a far better way to rack up Hilton points would be to sign up for the US-issued Amex Hilton credit cards and collect their welcome bonuses, while saving your hard-earned Amex MR points for more valuable uses – such as the current 30% transfer bonus to Marriott Bonvoy.
American Express has launched a very exciting 30% transfer bonus from Amex MR to Marriott Bonvoy, which will surely entice many of us to convert our MR points over to the world’s largest hotel loyalty program.
Not only will there be excellent value in redeeming for free hotel nights, but Marriott Bonvoy’s 40+ airline transfer partners also greatly expand the possibilities for redeeming MR and MR Select points towards amazing flight experiences as well.
I’m sure we’ll all be putting in every effort to maximize the 5x multiplier on our Cobalt Cards this month, and if you haven’t signed up for a Business Edge Card yet under its record-high welcome bonus, there’s no better time than now!