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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Step by step guide to converting points from your American Express Cobalt Card to Marriott Bonvoy


In this post I cover the details on how to transfer points from your American Express Membership Rewards account to your Marriott Bonvoy account as I recently completed the first such transfer since the integration of Starwood Preferred Guest into Marriott.  You may recall our very popular post from 2018 covering almost the exact same subject entitled Step by Step guide to converting points from your American Express Cobalt Card to Starwood Preferred Guest. That post covered the transfer from Amex to SPG when the ratio was 2 Membership Rewards Points to 1 Starwood Preferred Guest points which then converted to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. That was an amazing transfer ratio which I feel we were very lucky to get as Marriott did not have to value SPG points as such.

Unfortunately this changed with the integration of SPG into Marriott (see: Amex Membership Rewards to the new Marriott Rewards/Starwood Preferred Guest program conversion rate is here!) and American Express made the new ratio 1 Membership Rewards points = 1.2 Marriott Bonvoy points. This is still nothing the balk at - seeing that the majority of my Membership Rewards points earned, roughly 99%, with my Cobalt card are in the 5x points for eats and drinks category. That means I am effectively earning 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on the card and with my personal valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points being 1 cent per point means I achieved an amazing 6% return on that spending. This is just one of the reasons why we rank the Cobalt Card as the number one travel rewards credit card in Canada (see our rankings here). And that's my minimum valuation - if you recall my post looking at pulling value out of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, you'll see you can get more than 1 cent per point when redeeming these points for hotel stays!

Now on to the transfer process!

The first thing that is required to complete this transfer is to add your Marriott Bonvoy member number to you American Express Membership Rewards account if you haven't done so already.  If you have multiple American Express cards, such as The Platinum Card and Cobalt Card, you will have two separate Membership Rewards accounts. The Cobalt Card comes under Membership Rewards Select Tier. This means when you are on the Membership Rewards website and logged in you'll want to click on 'Your Points Account' and choose 'Switch Account' to access the right one - in this case "MR Select Tier' for the Cobalt Card.
As seen above, in the latest update of American Express' website the menu no longer delineates between Membership Rewards and MR Select Tier like it used to:
The old menu actually told you which tier
This means you'll have to guess which menu item is MR Select Tier, which for me is the bottom option.
Once switched over you'll want to click on the 'Travel' tab and select 'Frequent Traveler Participants'  
At this point you should see the following:
Click on Marriott Bonvoy and you'll find the following on the next page:
Click on Add Another Account and complete the following: 

Note that for Canadian American Express Membership Rewards accounts the name from the other loyalty programs must match that on your credit card so you cannot transfer to family or friends. Once you add that the account must be verified by American Express and this can take a couple of days before you have access to transfer.

Once confirmed, go back to your Membership Rewards account and follow the first couple of steps to get to your MR Select Tier account and click through to Frequent Traveller Participants and then underneath Marriott click on 'Transfer my points'

 
  You'll then input the transfer amount and your security details for the card:
Then you'll have one more step to confirm and click on 'Complete Transfer':
  and your confirmation:
The website states up to 5 business days to complete the transfer however the points were transferred and completed in roughly 24 hours.
There you have it - a pretty simple process.  As you can see I transferred 107,000 Membership Rewards Select Tier points to 128,400 Marriott Bonvoy points. Here is a screenshot from my Marriott account confirming the points were deposited:
I will follow up with another post showing how I will be transferring 100,000 of these Marriott Bonvoy Points over to my wife as Marriott does allow family pooling up to that amount per year. This is one change from the old SPG program that isn't as good as SPG was unlimited points transfers versus this 100,000.

As I mentioned at the start of this piece if you are thinking of making this transfer option from your Cobalt Card (or any other Membership Rewards card)  I would start planning it out now and complete it soon. Given that it can take a few days to have your Marriott Bonvoy account confirmed and up to 5 days for the points to transfer you'll want to make sure you have leave enough time to have the points in your account to make a booking.
Have you completed this transfer? Let us know how it worked out for you! Or are you considering it here in the next month? Let us know as well in the comments below! Oh yeah, I'm sure you may ask why did I transfer 107,000 points, not 100,000 or some even number like that - I did so to clear out my account as I haven't been using my Cobalt card of late, instead I have been using an additional card for my wife's account to boost her Membership Rewards balance.

Disclaimers: American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. 

This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

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