So check this out: We all know, because I just said it 50 times, that SPG points can be transferred to 34 airline programs, and that’s one of the reasons people like them, right? Well, guess what; it’s really 45 airline programs now, plus a hotel (that isn’t SPG/Marriott/Ritz). No one is telling you this, because no one pays any attention to Marriott points transfers. But they exist, and bring along with them 11 airlines (and a hotel) not on SPG’s list.
SPG and Marriott are now one big happy megalopoly. But, until they go through the I’m-getting-a-headache-just-thinking-about-it logistics of merging, they are still operating as two companies, with two reward programs. For now, you can shuttle points back and forth between the programs at a 1 SPG to 3 Marriott ratio, which means until they get their shit together, the getting is good.
No one ever seems to talk about Marriott Rewards (or other hotels) being a transferable points program, but it is. Not a very good one, but one not totally without value. Like, say you wanna fly Frontier, because you hate your life, or maybe you need to fly Aeroflot or China Southern. Marriott points are what you need if you can’t get it done with a partner airline from SPG or another transferable points program. Marriott points transfers are also the best way to get SPG points to United miles.
The problems: Marriott Rewards points are inflated, and therefore not worth as much as most other kinds of points. That makes transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points not very, uh, rewarding, and it makes spending on a Marriott card, for anything other than Marriott or SPG stays, a dumb idea (though now you can spend on an SPG card to earn three times as many points). And Marriott points transfers to airlines have to be done in coarse, pre-set increments, making them not very flexible, and you really only get passable value if you transfer in larger amounts. The transfer ratios are not as good, and sometimes much worse, than via SPG, with the exception of United; so if you can also transfer to an airline via SPG, you should totally do that instead. Finally, the transfers can take days or weeks, or so I’ve read.
Marriott also has Hotel+Air packages, which, if you have a lot of points, actually represent an excellent value (and again, especially on United, and even more so right now, until November 30). I get into all the boring math of both kinds of transfers here.
Enough talking. Here are the airlines (and one hotel) transferable from Marriott, and not SPG. (If they’re also transferable from another program’s points, I’ve shown that, since it might be more flexible and/or a better deal. Or it might not. You’ll have to figure it out.)
South African Airways
TAP Air Portugal
Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
And these too, though you might get better value or flexibility by transferring from another program, or maybe not:
JetBlue [Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou]
Qantas [Citi ThankYou]
Southwest [Chase Ultimate Rewards]
Turkish Airlines [Citi ThankYou]
Virgin America [Amex Membership Rewards] (Hotel+Air Package only — no transfers)
Here are the airlines common to both SPG and Marriott (meaning, you should probably transfer from SPG, except for United and GOL):
Delta Air Lines
GOL Airlines (2:1, bad deal)
LATAM Airlines (1:1.5)
United Airlines (2:1, bad deal)
These are the airlines transferable from SPG, and not Marriott:
Air New Zealand (65:1)