How To Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points For Marriott Hotels

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of my favorite credit card rewards currencies.  These points are easy to earn and they are versatile when it comes to redemption options.  The two options that provide the most value for booking travel are:

  1. Transfer Ultimate Rewards to airline and/or hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. There are 10 airline partners and 3 hotel partners.
  2. Redeem via the Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. This is basically using your points as cash to book through the portal.

Transfer partners are my preferred way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards because I can usually get more value.  But there are some scenarios in which option 2 is better.

Learning how to use airline transfer partners is a great way to make your Chase Ultimate Rewards stretch further.  Hyatt is a great Chase hotel transfer partner, but if you’re redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a Marriott stay, transferring Chase UR to Marriott Bonvoy isn’t always the best move. Instead, you may be better off using the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal.

I’ll give examples and explain why it is important to do a little simple math so you can make sure you’re redeeming the least amount of points possible.

Marriott’s award chart is inflated compared to Hyatt

Hyatt’s highest category requires 40,000 points per night.  

world of Hyatt award chart 2021
World of Hyatt award chart

In general, I want to be sure I’m going to get at least 2 cents per point if I’m going to transfer Ultimate Rewards to an airline or hotel partner.  The scale of Hyatt’s chart makes it easy to get 2 cents per point (or more) on a redemption.  For example, our Andaz Costa Rica redemption was about 4 cents per point!

Marriott Bonvoy is a different story

Remember how I explained that not all miles and points are equal?  Well, for many properties, the value of Marriott Bonvoy points are going to be worth significantly less than what you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for, even at the bare minimum. What I mean by this is that Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point, depending on which Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card you have, when you redeem them in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. So these numbers should be your “floor” when you’re calculating the cents per point value of a stay if you were to transfer Marriott Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy to book.

Due to Marriott Bonvoy’s redemption pricing, many times the value of a Marriott Bonvoy point will be less than 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point. That means that you would be losing value by converting Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy points. When this is the case, you’re better off redeeming in the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. I promise this will make more sense when you see the examples below.

Compared to Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy’s award chart is inflated. Their highest category, category 8, is 70k/85k/100k (off peak/standard/peak), whereas Hyatt’s highest category (8) is 40k per night. 

Remember, all Ultimate Rewards transfer partners are a 1:1 ratio, so booking Marriott’s highest category on standard redemption pricing dates (85k/night), is double that of 1 night at Hyatt’s highest category (40k/night).

Marriott Bonvoy redemption chart 2021
Marriott Bonvoy award chart

The Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption portal may be a better value than transferring Ultimate Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy

Redeeming via the Ultimate Rewards booking portal is like using your points as cash to book travel.  It’s similar to cash back cards in that you do not have to worry about award space/availability.  So you’re going to have more options for both hotels and flights.

Also, you are not limited to Chase’s transfer partners.  In other words, several hotel brands will be bookable through the portal.  The Ultimate Rewards booking portal gets its inventory from Expedia.  So anything bookable on Expedia should be bookable through the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal.

More options sounds great, what’s the catch?

The catch is that like cash back credit cards, the redemption rate is a fixed value. This means that when paid rates are high, redemption prices are going to be high. But the good thing is that if paid fares/rates are low, your redemption price is lower.

There are 3 cards that earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points and the redemption value when booking via the portal depends on which card you have:

If transferring Chase UR to Marriott Bonvoy to book the stay doesn’t result in a value of at least 1.25 or 1.50 (depending on which card you have), you would want to see if the hotel is available to book in the redemption portal.

Earn your first 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points

No matter what your travel goals are, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is the first card I suggest for almost anyone. The welcome bonus of 100,000 is worth at least $1250 in travel. The annual fee is reasonable at $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2021

Current offer: Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

This card earns 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases, 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Chase UR points earned from these cards can be transferred to 11 different airlines and 3 hotel programs.  UR can also be redeemed in Chase’s redemption portal.  More on that in this post.

Comparing the two ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards for Marriott stays

For this example, I’m going to use a 5 night stay in October 2021 at Vanna Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand.

OPTION 1: Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy

Vanna Belle is a Marriott Bonvoy category 8 property. This means that Marriott Bonvoy’s redemption price would be 70,000/85,000/100,000 (off-peak/standard/peak dates).

Tip: When you redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for 4 nights, the 5th night is free. This only applies when you’re booking with Marriott Bonvoy(meaning you transferred the Chase UR point to Marriott Bonvoy). This isn’t the case if you redeem via the redemption portal.

So let’s check the paid rates and the redemption price of a stay October 9-14.

These dates are a total of 320,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (or 320,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Marriott Bonvoy)for the 5 night stay, or $1,449.62 USD. At a rate of $289/night, I can already tell that redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points would not be a good value, but let’s do the math anyway.

  • 1449/320,000=0.00453
  • 0.00453 X 100= .45 cents per point

Considering you would get a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point in the portal, 0.45 cents per point is a terrible value! You would definitely want to check the Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption portal next to see if this property is available.

OPTION 2: Use the Ultimate Rewards booking portal

Since you would be booking through Chase’s portal and not Marriott.com, rates could vary slightly from what you see on Marriott.com.

The rate before taxes and fees averages $271 over the 5 night stay. After taxes and fees the total comes to $1610.86 for the 5 night stay. If you have the CSP or CIBP, that’s a total of about 128,800 points after taxes and fees. With Chase Sapphire Reserve, the total after taxes and fees would be 107,390 points.

I can book this stay at Vana Belle through the Ultimate Rewards portal for less than half of the amount of Ultimate Rewards as the other option!  

Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred

Points are worth 1.25 cents each.

At a nightly rate of $271, the redemption price is 21,714 Ultimate Rewards points before taxes and fees.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Points are worth 1.50 cents per point.

After taxes, the total comes to 107,390 points for 5 nights.

To recap, here are my options

Here are my options for booking a 5 night stay on these dates at Vana Belle (assuming I do not already have points in my Marriott account):

  • Book with cash ($1449.62 at Marriott.com)
  • Transfer 320,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy, then redeem the Bonvoy points for the stay
  • Redeem through the Ultimate Rewards portal for a redemption price of 128,800 (CSP, CIBP) or 107,390 (CSR)

In this case, redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards booking portal is going to be your best option (unless you want to pay cash, which could also make sense if you prefer to save your points for more valuable redemptions).  Keep in mind that the redemption cost through the booking portal will vary since the amount of points required depends on the paid rate for the dates of your stay.  In other words, the price in points could get a lot higher on dates when the rates are higher such as holidays.

So let’s just say you’re able to find a 5 night stay at the off peak redemption pricing of 70k Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Since the 5th night is free, you would need 280k Marriott Bonvoy points (70k X 4). If you divide that over 5 nights, your redemption price per night is 56k Marriott Bonvoy points per night (280k/5). Obviously, this is better than 70k per night, but in order to get a value of at least 1.25/1.50 cents per point, the paid stay for 5 nights would need to be $3500/$4200.

  • 280,000 x 1.25=350,000
  • 350,000/100=$3500
  • 280,000 x 1.5=420,000
  • 420,000/100= $4200

This stay is nowhere near those totals! Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is still the better way to book!

Now let’s look at an example of when it does make sense to transfer to Marriott Bonvoy

When the hotel is in a lower Marriott Bonvoy category but the paid rate is high, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy could be a better value.

For this example, I’m going to use a 5 night stay in October 2021 at Le Meridien Maldives, a brand new property opening in September.

OPTION 1: Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy

Le Meridien Maldives is currently designated as a Marriott category 5 property. This means free nights are 30k/35k/40k (off peak/standard/peak).

So let’s check the paid rates and the redemption price of a stay October 9-14.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1295-615x1024.jpg

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1296-571x1024.jpg

These dates have standard Marriott Bonvoy redemption pricing, so each night is 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Since the 5th night is free, the total would be 140,000 points.

What makes this one even more interesting is that one of the base room types for an award stay is an overwater bungalow. Many properties in the Maldives or Bora Bora do not have overwater bungalows as their base room that is available to book on points. They would require you to upgrade (with more points or sometimes with cash) if you want your award stay in an overwater bungalow. 

Here’s the catch: there’s a mandatory transportation fee of about $420 per person because you have to take a seaplane from MLE to the resort. This is typical in the Maldives no matter which hotel you book. Other fees on this award stay are only $60, whereas the paid stay has significantly higher fees on top of the transportation fee.

The paid total for the 5 night stay is just under $3900. For the purpose of calculating value, we will subtract your total out of pocket on the award stay ($900) from the paid total.

Here’s the cents per point math using a value of $3,000(3900-900):

  • 3000/140,000=0.0214
  • 0.0214 X 100=2.14 cents per point

Considering you would get a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point in the portal, transferring to Marriott Bonvoy definitely the way to book this stay! But I’ll still show the price using the portal so you can see the difference in points.

As always, booking with Marriott Bonvoy points is subject to availability, but I found several dates available at this property for a 5 night stay at off peak (30k per night) or standard dates pricing (35k per night).

OPTION 2: Use the Ultimate Rewards booking portal

Since you would be booking through Chase’s portal and not Marriott.com, rates could vary slightly from what you see on Marriott.com.

The rate before taxes and fees averages $500 per night.

Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred

Points are worth 1.25 cents each.

At a nightly rate of $500, the redemption price is 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points before taxes and fees.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2021-07-12-at-11.00.07-AM.png

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Points are worth 1.50 cents per point.

At a nightly rate of $500, the redemption price is 33,333 Ultimate Rewards points before taxes and fees.

After taxes and fees, the total comes to $3980 for the 5 night stay.

If you have the CSP or CIBP, that’s a total of about 318,400 points after taxes and fees. With Chase Sapphire Reserve, the total after taxes and fees would be 265,333 points.

To recap, here are my options

Here are my options for booking a 5 night stay on these dates at Le Meridien Maldives (assuming I do not already have points in my Marriott account):

  • Book with cash ($3900 at Marriott.com)
  • Transfer 140,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy, then redeem the Bonvoy points for the stay
  • Redeem through the Ultimate Rewards portal for a redemption price of 318,400 (CSP, CIBP) or 265,333 (CSR)

In this case, redeeming by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy is going to be your best option.  

A note about Amex Membrship Rewards points

Amex Membership Rewards points also transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio. So this Le Meridien Maldives example also works if you have Amex Membership Rewards points.

But the Amex version of the Chase redemption portal (amextravel.com) is less valuable. When you redeem Amex Membership Rewards points at amextravel.com, your points are only worth .7 cents per point. With certain types of Amex MR earning cards, select hotels are redeemable at a value of 1 cent per point, but even that is not a good redemption value when you compare it with the Ultimate Rewards portal values!

The Vana Belle stay in the first example would still be a better value than transferring points to Marriott Bonvoy, but not as good of a value as the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Marriott allows you to book the stay even if you do not yet have all of the points needed.

One feature that Marriott Bonvoy members can utilize is Points Advance.  Basically, you can go ahead and reserve the room as soon as you find availability even if you do not yet have the points or certificates.  Points or certificates must be in your account 14 days prior to check-in, but if you know you have a bonus on the way, or if you’re close to having enough points and will have them before your stay, this is a great way to make sure you get the hotel you want even before you have all of the points or certificates.

This is a great feature, and I would definitely take advantage of it if you find availability. The catch is, this only holds the room; it does not guarantee the off-peak, standard, or peak, redemption pricing will stay the same. For example, if you find availability at the off peak rate, you could hold the room with Points Advance. But by the time you have all of the points needed, the pricing could change to standard or peak.

Important off peak/standard/peak pricing info

There are no published or designated dates for off-peak/standard/and peak pricing. The only way to check is to search for your dates. Fortunately, Marriott makes this very easy and will show a calendar with redemption prices for each month if you select “flexible dates” when you search. Marriott updates redemption pricing monthly. So if you check this month and you find off peak pricing on the dates you want, it could change if you wait to book. You aren’t locked in to off peak, standard, or peak pricing until you actually redeem the Marriott Bonvoy points.

Side note: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card free night

If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card from Chase, you’ll receive a free night certificate every year starting at your first cardmember anniversary. This certificate is valid for a 1 night stay with a redemption price of up to 35k points. So if you’re booking on off peak or standard dates (30k or 35k), you could use this certificate at a category 5 property such as Le Meridien Maldives. Considering the annual fee of this card is $95, this benefit can be super valuable. In fact, we keep ours open almost solely for this benefit. This is what’s known as a sock drawer card because it sits in a drawer and we hardly ever use it for spending. 

Final thoughts

It is important to learn how to use transfer partners if you want to maximize the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  But it is just as important to know when it is not best to use transfer partners.

Checking both redemption methods and/or doing some simple math is the best way to make sure you’re redeeming the least amount of points possible when redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a Marriott stay.

If you do not already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and you qualify for the welcome bonus on a Sapphire card, I suggest opening a Sapphire Preferred since the welcome bonus is currently the highest we’ve ever seen at 100k.

I recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred for beginners because the annual fee is more reasonable at $95, and the welcome bonus is currently 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Those points are worth at least $1250 in travel, but they’re potentially worth a lot more with Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

You are eligible for the welcome bonus as long as you do not currently have an open CSP or CSR and as long as you have not received a bonus on either in the last 48 months.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2021

Current offer: Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Check out our list of 37 ways to spend some of the bonus!

I suggest opening a Sapphire card before moving on to other Chase cards such as co-branded hotel and airline cards. But if you already have a Sapphire card and you’re under 5/24, you can open the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card from Chase for even more free nights at Marriott.

As of August 16, bonus categories have been added and/or improved!

  • Earn 5 points per dollar on travel purchased via Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases
  • Instead of the old earn rate of 2, you can now earn 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout)
  • 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3 points per dollar on select streaming services
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Also, receive credit of up to $50 annually on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will receive this credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after the next anniversary.

Each anniversary, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year. This excludes any sign up bonus points, so it’s only on points earned from spending.

The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that. Also, you’ll receive a year of DashPass (normally $9.99 per month) for free. You must enroll by 12/31/21.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card from Chase
Marriott convoy boundless chase credit card 2021

Current offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and 1 free night award (for a night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Annual fee: $95. The bonus and benefits are worth a lot more than that.

Free night benefit: In addition to the nice welcome offer, you will receive a free night at each anniversary. Starting at your first anniversary of card membership, receive a free night certificate redeemable for one night worth up to 35,000 points (This benefit kicks in at your first anniversary of card membership, not when you open the card). 

Though the annual fee is $95, the annual free night can be valuable. We used a certificate to book the Tambo del Inka property (a Luxury Collection Resort) in Peru. This hotel is now a higher category, but this is still a good example of the potential value of this certificate. The rate on our dates was over $400 per night, but we were able to use the certificate since at the time, the hotel was a category 5 property. So even if we get no other benefits out of having this card, think of it like this: we booked a $400 room for $95. 

Earn rate: With the the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card, you earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at Marriott properties, and 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar on everything else. The earn rate on this card seems high, but Marriott points aren’t as valuable as other points. 

Silver status: This card also gives the cardholder automatic Marriott silver status, which is… meh. But I thought I would mention it in case anyone cares. If you spend $35,000 per year you’ll receive gold status.

Fast tack to elite status: Receive 15 Elite night credits each calendar year

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Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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