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Cobalt: Transferring points to Marriott Bonvoy… or not?

A recurring question in the milesopedia Facebook group: does it make sense to transfer Select Membership Rewards from the American Express Cobalt™ Card to Marriott Bonvoy, or should we use them as credit against hotel/airbnb purchases?

Reminder of the Cobalt card features

american express cobalt card

The American Express Cobalt™ Card is my favourite credit card in my wallet because it allows me to:

And it offers an excellent welcome bonus that can amount to $600 in the first year by spending in the 5 points/$ categories

In short, it is surely the best travel hacker credit card in Canada.

Transferring Select Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy

American Express Membership Rewards can be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 (or 5:6 if you prefer) rate.

cobalt bonvoy transfert

This means that:

  • 10,000 Membership Rewards = 12,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • 50,000 Membership Rewards = 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points

Here is the Marriott Bonvoy rate chart for a free night’s stay, with the number of Membership Rewards required.

Category Marriott Points Membership Rewards points
1 7,500 6,250
2 12,500 10,417
3 17,500 14,583
4 25,000 20,833
5 35,000 29,167
6 50,000 41,667
7 60,000 50,000
8 85,000 70,833

 

But what is particularly interesting with Marriott Bonvoy, is when you stay 5 nights for the price of 4! It means you’re saving almost 20% in points on the whole stay.

So here is the Marriott Bonvoy rate chart for 5 nights in a hotel, with the number of Membership Rewards required.

Category Marriott points – 5 nights Membership Rewards – 5 nights
1 30,000 25,000
2 50,000 41,666
3 70,000 58,333
4 100,000 83,333
5 140,000 116,667
6 200,000 166,667
7 240,000 200,000
8 340,000 283,333

Using points for a travel credit

American Express Membership Rewards can also be used as travel credits at the rate of 1,000 points = $10.

cobalt credit voyage 1

This means that:

  • 10,000 Membership Rewards = $100
  • 50,000 Membership Rewards = $500

The big advantage of this solution is that Membership Rewards points can be applied to any type of travel purchase:

cobalt airbnb

Now that we know more about the two possibilities, let’s see in which case it becomes interesting:

  • transfer Select Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy points
  • or redeem them as travel credits

Transferring or redeeming for credit: a difficult choice!

It will be up to you to calculate if it’s best to transfer towards Marriott Bonvoy or to redeem them for credit.

To help you, here are 2 tables which more detailed than the previous ones, to which I added the value of the points if they were used as a travel credit. This will allow you to easily determine the best solution FOR YOU!

There are several things to consider:

  • the price of your hotel room including all taxes in Canadian dollars
  • savings on 5 hotel nights with the advantage of the fifth night free
  • promotions available, if your stay is paid in cash rather than points
  • alternative accommodation solutions (after all, there is more than Marriott! Your Membership Rewards can be applied to all hotels and even airbnb rentals)

For 1 night in a Marriott Bonvoy hotel:

Category Marriott Bonvoy points Membership Rewards points Travel credit
1 7,500 6,250 $62.50
2 12,500 10,417 $104.17
3 17,500 14,583 $145.83
4 25,000 20,833 $208.33
5 35,000 29,167 $291.67
6 50,000 41,667 $416.67
7 60,000 50,000 $500.00
8 85,000 70,833 $708.33

So, let’s take the example of a night in a category 4 hotel. You would need 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, which you could get by transferring 20,833 Membership Rewards.

Since these 20,833 Membership Rewards have a value of $208.33 if used as travel credits, your stay at this hotel – OR any alternative accommodation that suits you – would have to cost more than $208.33!

For 5 nights in a Marriott Bonvoy hotel:

Category Points Marriott Bonvoy – 5 nights Membership Rewards – 5 nights Travel credit
1 30,000 25,000 $250.00
2 50,000 41,667 $416.67
3 70,000 58,333 $583.33
4 100,000 83,333 $833.33
5 140,000 116,667 $1166.67
6 200,000 166,667 $1666.67
7 240,000 200,000 $2000.00
8 340,000 283,333 $2833.33

So let’s take the example of 5 nights in a category 4 hotel. You would need 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, which you could get by transferring 83,333 Membership Rewards.

Since these 83,333 Membership Rewards have a value of $833.33 if used as travel credits, your stay at this hotel – OR at any alternative accommodation that suits you – would have to cost more than $833.33!

Conclusion

Being a travel hacker means knowing how to calculate to avoid making mistakes by transferring points unnecessarily… or by not taking advantage of the flexibility offered by them by booking the accommodation that suits YOU!

If you want to learn more about the American Express Cobalt™ Card, check out this article that details it!

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