Maximizing Chase Ultimate Rewards Value With Marriott Rewards

by Lyle Daly | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Jan. 17, 2019

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man in suit on hotel bed

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Check out how you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the Marriott Rewards® program, how to use Marriott Rewards® points to book a stay, and getting the best value in the process. Image source: Getty Images.

If you want to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a place to stay on your next trip, one option is to transfer those points to the Marriott Rewards® program. Marriott has dozens of different hotel brands operating across the globe, and you can find everything from smaller properties to luxury hotels.

The downside is that it can be hard to get much value for your points this way. That's why I'll be covering both how to transfer your points and finding the best deals when you do, along with some alternative options to consider.

What you need

Before you get started transferring your points, you'll need a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, a balance of at least 1,000 points to meet the transfer minimum, and a Marriott Rewards® account where you can send the points.

Here are the current Chase cards that are in the Ultimate Rewards program:

What are Marriott Rewards® points worth?

When it comes to Marriott Rewards® stays, high-value redemption options are few and far between.

You'll usually get around $0.006 to $0.008 per Marriott Rewards® point on your booking. I've looked up quite a few properties in cities large and small around the globe, and it was rare to find one where an award stay would fetch $0.01 per point or more. Some of the lowest-value options even had rates that came out to under $0.004 per point.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points, on the other hand, are among the most valuable rewards currencies. You can get a fixed rate between $0.0125 and $0.015 per point on travel purchases using the method below, so that will provide a better value on your booking than a transfer to Marriott Rewards®.

Redeeming points through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book Marriott stays

If you want to want to book a Marriott stay using Ultimate Rewards points, the best option is almost always to use the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. This portal lets you redeem points at a fixed rate to pay for travel, with the rate depending on what Ultimate Rewards card you have. Here's what you get with each card:

  • $0.015 per point -- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • $0.0125 per point -- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

This redemption option has an important advantage over transferring your points to Marriott Rewards® for an award booking. Redemptions through the Ultimate Rewards program are considered cash bookings, which means your stay will earn points and count towards elite status in Marriott Rewards®. Award bookings don't do either. Considering that and the difference you can get in value, this method is ideal for maxing out your Ultimate Rewards points.

Here's how you can book a Marriott hotel stay this way:

  1. Search for hotels on Marriott's site and note the name of the hotel you want to book.

One drawback of the Ultimate Rewards travel portal is that it doesn't let you search by hotel. Marriott's site has a much easier to use search tool that can show you all available hotels in an area under any Marriott brand. You should use that to find your hotel, and then book it through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

  1. Go to your Chase Ultimate Rewards home screen.

The fastest option is to visit the Ultimate Rewards site and log in there. Note that if you have multiple Chase credit cards, the site will prompt you to select the card with the points you wish to use.

You can also access your Ultimate Rewards from your Chase credit card account. From your account, choose a credit card, click "See Balance" under the header for "Ultimate Rewards," and then click the "Redeem Rewards" link that appears. Chase uses a different format for accounts with business credit cards, so if you have one of those, then you can just click the Ultimate Rewards link on the right side of your home screen. 

  1. Click "Travel" from the Ultimate Rewards navigation menu.
Chase website with "Travel" link highlighted

Image source: Getty Images

4. Click "Hotels", and then perform a search after entering your trip details, including the location, the dates of your stay, and the number of guests.

Selecting travel destination on Chase website

Image source: Getty Images

5. Enter the name of the hotel you found in step one under the "Hotel Name" search filter, and then click "Apply Filters".

6. Go through the checkout process to book your stay and pay with points.

How to book a Marriott Rewards® stay by transferring Ultimate Rewards points

Although I recommend booking Marriott stays through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal instead of transferring your points, you may find yourself in a situation where you've already collected some Marriott Rewards® points. If you don't quite have enough to book your stay, you could transfer Ultimate Rewards points to make up the difference.

From the Ultimate Rewards site, you can transfer your points within minutes. Transfers to every one of Chase's travel partners, Marriott included, are at a 1:1 ratio, and they're all non-reversible.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Rewards®

1. Log in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards home screen.

You can do this through the Ultimate Rewards site or through your Chase credit card account.

2. Click "Transfer to Travel Partners" from the Ultimate Rewards navigation menu.

Chase website with "Transfer to Travel Partners" link highlighted

Image source: Getty Images

3. Go to Marriott Rewards® under the Hotel Partners and click "Transfer Points."

Selecting Marriott Rewards to transfer points

Image source: Getty Images

4. Select the transfer recipient.

There's a dropdown menu where you choose the recipient's name. After that, you'll enter the corresponding Marriott Rewards® account number.

Your only recipient options are yourself and anyone who's both a member of your household and an authorized user on the credit card with the points you're transferring. A transfer to anyone else would be a violation of Chase's rules and could lead to serious consequences, so I wouldn't recommend trying it.

5. Enter the number of points for the transfer.

As I mentioned earlier, the minimum is 1,000 points. The transfer must be in thousand-point increments, meaning you could transfer 5,000 or 6,000 points, but not 5,500 or 5,700.

6. Finalize the transfer.

You're at the finish line now, and submitting the transfer is the final step. Unfortunately, Ultimate Rewards points don't transfer instantly to Marriott Rewards® like they do to most other travel partners, so you could wait up to one business day before you have the points in your account.

How to book a Marriott Rewards® stay

From the Marriott homepage, enter:

  • Your destination
  • Your desired number of rooms and how many guests there will be
  • The dates for your stay (you can also perform a flexible-date search to see what rates are available for a specific month)

Make sure to check the "Use Points" box, and then click "Find Hotels."

The search results will list any hotels Marriott has in the area, and that includes hotels from all of Marriott's brands. It could be a long list if you're searching for a hotel in a big city, but there are search filters to help you narrow down the results.

Each search listing includes the property's starting room rate in points, unless that property is sold out on your desired dates. Many listings also have the average room rate in cash, which makes it easy to estimate the value you'd get per point with an award stay. When you see a hotel you like, click "View Rates."

The hotel's page will have the different room and payment options available. Click on the option you want, and the site will prompt you to log in if you haven't already. After that, you can proceed through the checkout process.

Maximizing the value of your Marriott Rewards® points

Marriott Rewards® points clearly aren't the most valuable rewards currency, but you can get the most out of them by saving them for stays of five nights or longer.

On award stays of at least five nights, your fifth night is free, as long as it's of equal or lesser value (this means it wouldn't work if the fifth night was at the peak rate and the other four were off-peak). This bumps up the value you're getting quite a bit. And for lengthier stays, every fifth night is free. For example, on 10-day stays, you'd get two free nights.

How is Marriott's coverage?

To put it simply, Marriott's coverage is as good as it gets. It operates over 6,500 properties in more than 125 different countries around the world. With its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, Marriott became the largest hotel company in the world.

Marriott Rewards® credit cards

The Chase credit card lineup includes one personal card and one business card in the Marriott Rewards® program. They have similar sets of features, but there are a few differences to note.

Card Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus credit card Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card
Annual fee $95 $99
Sign-up bonus 75,000 points for spending $3,000 within three months 75,000 points for spending $3,000 within three months
Rewards rate 6 points per $1 at participating Marriott Rewards® and SPG® hotels; 2 points per $1 on all other purchases 5 points per $1 at participating Marriott Rewards® and SPG® hotels; 2 points per $1 for airfare purchased directly from airlines, at car rental agencies, restaurants, office supply stores, and for internet, cable, and phone services; 1 point per $1 on all other spending
Free night One every year after account anniversary at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points One every year after account anniversary at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points
Elite status Complimentary Silver Elite Status; Gold Elite after $35,000 in spending within one account year Complimentary Silver Elite Status; Gold Elite after $50,000 in spending within one account year

Data source: Chase.

Even at a glance, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus credit card clearly comes out ahead. It offers the higher rewards rate and gets you to Gold Elite status with less spending.

If you're looking for a versatile travel rewards credit card, then an Ultimate Rewards card will better suit your needs. But if you stay at hotels under the Marriott umbrella often and you like to keep all your spending on one credit card, then the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus credit card could work out well for you.

Final thoughts

With the number of hotels available through the Marriott Rewards® program, it's almost never difficult to find one or more that fit your needs. The hard part is finding one where you can get more than $0.01 per point.

That's why Ultimate Rewards points are typically better spent on other redemptions or on Marriott stays through the travel portal. If you're a frequent Marriott customer, then you should consider a card in its rewards program, since you'll rack up points much more quickly on your stays.

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