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Credit Cards

How I got over 10 cents in value from my Chase Ultimate Rewards points will surprise you

Marriott isn’t known for being the most favorable Chase transfer partner, but maybe it should be.

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The offer mentioned below for the for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is no longer available. Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are one of the highest regarded rewards currencies in the world of points and miles.

There are three big reasons for this: For one, they are easy to earn — many Chase credit cards help you earn them quickly with large sign-up bonuses and high return rates for everyday spending. Likewise, Chase points are easy to redeem. You can redeem them for cash back, you can use them to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal and you can transfer them to over a dozen airline and hotel partners. Most importantly, the redemption possibilities can be extremely valuable — you may easily get 2 cents or more in value per Chase point, depending on how you use them.

I recently received a higher value than ever before from my Chase points by taking advantage of a limited-time Marriott Bonvoy transfer bonus.

Below, I explain how I got a whopping 10.8 cents per Chase point toward a two-bedroom villa in the Maldives, and you can too.

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Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points

Before jumping in, let's start with a rundown of credit cards that earn transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

There are also some no-annual-fee cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, but you can only transfer those points to airline and hotel partners if you have one of the aforementioned cards, such as:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase's 14 transfer partners include World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards for hotels and United Airlines, Southwest and JetBlue for airlines. You'll typically yield more value by transferring your points to airline partners and booking flights, but you can sometimes do well using points for hotel stays when cash prices are high or when booking luxury properties, as I did with Marriott Bonvoy in this example.

Maximizing Marriott Bonvoy redemptions

Although the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program has undergone massive changes over the last year — most notably, eliminating its award chart in favor of a dynamic award pricing model — it still offers some unique features.

If you can use your points strategically, hotel loyalty programs still offer huge value and can help you book amazing trips for pennies on the dollar. I was able to maximize my Marriott points for a stay at a top-tier hotel in the Maldives.

Let me explain how I did it, and how you can too.

Fifth night free on award stays

The St. Regis Maldives is one of the most aspirational hotels you can book with points. I've been there once before (thanks to Marriott points), and I've been wanting to go back.

The price you'll pay generally fluctuates between 80,000 and 120,000 points, depending on the season. However, Marriott Bonvoy offers a fifth night free when booking five or more consecutive nights with points. Fiddling with the dates, I found a five-night stay that would cost a total of 332,000 points.

Cash Upgrade option on award stays

In addition to making standard rooms available on points, some Marriott hotels also present opportunities to upgrade your room by paying more points or a flat cash fee per night.

One of my options at the St. Regis Maldives was a 2-bedroom ocean villa for an extra $250 per night. That sounds outrageous, I know — upgrading to this room would cost me $1,250 out-of-pocket for the five-night stay. Factor in the mandatory $780 per person seaplane transfer fee and taxes and my "award stay" is already up to $2,260.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Normally, this would be a non-starter for me. I collect points so I can experience luxury for cheap, after all.

But look at the cash price of this room: A five-night stay would cost $28,108.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

After subtracting the $2,260 I'm spending for my stay, I realized I would be getting $25,848 in value by redeeming 332,000 Marriott points. That amounts to 7.7 cents per Marriott point— hands down one the best uses of Marriott Bonvoy points you can find. Plus, I'll be able to bring friends along for the trip — and split the costs — since the villa will be twice the size.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott with a 40% bonus [Expired]

At the time, I hardly had any Marriott points to my name. But what I did have is scads of Chase Ultimate Rewards points — thanks to the giant sign-up bonuses that have been floating around — that I could transfer to the program at a 1:1 ratio.

There is also a 40% bonus when transferring Chase points to Marriott Bonvoy (ends Dec. 20, 2022). In other words, you can receive 1.4 Marriott points for every Chase point you transfer.

By using this bonus, I was able to reserve this stay at the St. Regis Maldives for 239,000 Chase points (which amounted to 334,600 Marriott points after the bonus). Because of this, I received an incredible 10.8 cents per Chase point for this stay.

If you were to use your points similarly, you could theoretically get:

  • $6,480 in value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card welcome offer, which is currently 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • $10,800 in value from the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card welcome offer, which is currently 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase TravelSM.
  • Up to $8,100 in value from the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, which offers $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening, or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card welcome offers, which offers $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (note that you must also have an annual fee-incurring Ultimate Rewards card to unlock the ability to transfer the points you earn with this card to Marriott and get this value).

As a point of comparison, you'd normally only get 1 to 1.5 cents in value per point if you were to redeem them directly through the Chase Travel Portal, as opposed to transferring them to Marriott Bonvoy.

Just realize that, while you'll likely have to travel somewhere exotic to get this value, it is possible to get enormous value by transferring Chase points to Marriott.

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy probably isn't the first transfer partner for which folks collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points. More often they're transferred to partners like Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt or a handful of other valuable programs.

But if you find the right Marriott property, it can be one of the best Chase transfer partners. And through December 20, 2022, you'll get a 40% transfer bonus when moving Chase points to Marriott.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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