How Does the Marriott & United RewardsPlus Partnership Work?

Marriott Bonvoy and United Airlines have a special partnership, officially known as RewardsPlus.

Through the partnership, elite members of the respective programs, Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus, receive reciprocal benefits, as well as seamless points/miles transfers between the programs.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the preferred partnership between Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus, and how you could stand to benefit from it.

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What Is Marriott and United’s RewardsPlus Partnership?

Simply put, upper-tier elite Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus members receive reciprocal status and benefits through the RewardsPlus partnership.

For example, if you’re a Titanium or Ambassador Elite member with Marriott Bonvoy, you’ll automatically qualify for United MileagePlus Premier Silver status, and enjoy its associated benefits.

Meanwhile, if you have United MileagePlus Premier Gold, Platinum, or 1K status, you’ll automatically qualify for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status through the RewardsPlus partnership, and enjoy its associated benefits.

You’ll automatically qualify for the higher status given under the partnership, as long as you’re eligible and register your accounts. This means that you don’t have to achieve the required nights at Marriott properties for Gold Elite status, or take the required flights with United to receive Premier Silver status.

Moreover, you’ll enjoy the full suite of benefits associated with the status you receive through RewardsPlus. In other words, you get the same benefits as someone who organically qualified for the status.

Aside from reciprocal status and benefits, the preferred partnership between Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus also entails the seamless transfer of points and miles between the two programs.

When transferring to United MileagePlus, all Marriott Bonvoy members get 10,000 bonus United miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred. By comparison, transferring to other airline programs gives you only an extra 5,000 miles/points, or none at all.

On the other hand, members who hold United MileagePlus Silver status or higher may convert United miles to Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio. Miles-to-points conversions aren’t at all available with other hotel chains United has a partnership with.

To benefit from the preferred partnership, make sure your Marriott Bonvoy account is linked to your United MileagePlus account, and vice versa. You can do so by accessing the respective landing pages for Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus.

United MileagePlus Benefits for Marriott Bonvoy Elite Members

As mentioned, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium and Ambassador Elite members qualify for United MileagePlus Premier Silver status, which in turn, grants the following benefits:

  • Eligibility for complimentary upgrades to First Class
  • Complimentary access to Economy Plus seats at check-in for you and one companion
  • One complimentary checked bag (70lbs/32kg)
  • 7x miles earned on every flight (base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges)

Keep in mind that United MileagePlus Premier Silver status is the lowest among the airline’s elite tiers, and thus, the benefits reflect that accordingly.

Still, you get complimentary Economy Plus seat selection and a free checked bag, both of which are chargeable with most economy class tickets. 

Plus, you might also receive the occasional upgrade to domestic First Class in the US, or between the US and Canada.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re gunning for higher United status, you’ll have to fulfill all requirements, and you won’t be boosted up from Silver as a baseline. In other words, you won’t get accelerated to higher United status through this program.

Marriott Bonvoy Benefits for United MileagePlus Premier Members

On the other hand, United MileagePlus Premier Gold, Platinum, and 1K members receive Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which comes with the following benefits:

  • 25% more points on stays
  • Priority late check-out up to 2pm
  • Eligible for enhanced room upgrades
  • Welcome gift of points (250 or 500 points, depending on the brand)

Gold Elite is the second status tier within the Marriott Bonvoy program. Normally, this level requires 25 elite qualifying nights through actual stays or co-branded credit cards, so benefits aren’t as lucrative as Platinum, Titanium, or Ambassador Elite status. Most notably, it lacks the option of free breakfast as a welcome gift.

Still, you might find the 2pm late check-out beneficial, as well as room upgrades, which are entirely possible with Gold status with some “suite-talking“.

Note that receiving automatic Gold Elite status through this program doesn’t give you a shortcut to attaining higher Bonvoy status. You’ll still need 50 elite qualifying nights through stays or credit cards to reach Platinum Elite, for example.

How to Transfer Bonvoy Points to United Miles

Marriott Bonvoy lets any member transfer points to almost 40 airline loyalty programs. The usual transfer ratio is 3 Bonvoy points = 1 airline mile/point, with some airlines allowing for a bonus of 5,000 miles/points when you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points at one time.

With the Marriott and United RewardsPlus partnership, all Bonvoy members receive a higher bonus of 10,000 United miles upon transferring 60,000 Bonvoy points. This effectively makes the transfer ratio 2 Bonvoy points = 1 United mile.

To convert Bonvoy points to United miles, you’ll have to go through Marriott’s website and log in. After logging in, select “Transfer Points”, and from there, complete the following actions:

  • Choose United MileagePlus from the list of frequent flyer programs
  • Enter your United MileagePlus number
  • Input how many Bonvoy points you’d like to convert

The converted miles with the corresponding bonus will be credited to your United MileagePlus account within 7–10 days.

How to Transfer United Miles to Bonvoy Points

As mentioned, only United MileagePlus Premier Silver members and above may convert United miles into Bonvoy points.

If you’re eligible, you may transfer up to 100,000 United miles to Bonvoy points per year, at a rate of 1 United mile = 1 Bonvoy point. The minimum you can transfer each time is 500 United miles.

To make a transfer, you’ll have to login to your United MileagePlus account through the preferred partnership landing page. From there, you must complete the following actions:

  • Enter your Bonvoy account number
  • Input how many miles you’d like to convert

Is Marriott & United RewardsPlus a Good Deal?

The short answer here is yes; however, keep in mind that there are two aspects to the partnership: reciprocal status and benefits, and points transfers. Let’s then break the answer down into two parts.

As for reciprocal status and benefits, it’s a no-brainer to match your status if you already have the required level of status with one program. You can register online in a matter of minutes, and it doesn’t involve any more steps, as other status matching programs might.

In addition, from time to time, Marriott and United jointly come up with promotions, such as those that allow you to simultaneously earn points between the two programs.

On the other hand, the status you’ll get from either side of the partnership only provides a few meaningful benefits, especially compared to what’s available with higher status levels. 

When it comes to points transfers, you’ll surely benefit more by transferring Bonvoy points to United miles than the other way around. You don’t really get any extra benefit from transferring United miles to Bonvoy points, other than the ability to do so.

We value United miles at 1.2 cents per mile (USD) and Bonvoy points at 0.6 cents per point (USD). Using this metric, transfers don’t really make sense at all when the rate is 1 United mile = 1 Bonvoy point.

One of the few exceptions might be when you need a small top-up for a planned redemption, or if you have absolutely no use for United miles.

Meanwhile, given the valuation above, transferring Bonvoy points to United miles is a much better deal, when the effective rate is 2 Bonvoy points = 1 United mile. Note, however, that United MileagePlus recently underwent a series of devaluations, and other Star Alliance programs offer much more competitive award pricing.

Therefore, you should only consider a transfer when you already have a specific redemption planned.

Remember that transfers can’t be reversed without losing any value. For example, if you change your mind and want your Bonvoy points back, you’ll lose value by transferring them back at a rate of 1 United mile = 1 Bonvoy point.

Conclusion

Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus have a preferred partnership, officially known as RewardsPlus, which allows higher-tier members of both programs to enjoy reciprocal status and benefits.

If you hold Marriott Bonvoy Titanium or Ambassador Elite status, you’ll automatically qualify for United MileagePlus Premier Silver status. In the same vein, if you hold United MileagePlus Premier Gold, Platinum, or 1K status, you’ll automatically get Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.

The preferred partnership between the two programs also entails seamless transfer of points/miles between the respective programs.

Be sure to register your accounts and enjoy extra perks through the RewardsPlus partnership if you stand to benefit.

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