Business Class to Europe + 7 hotel nights for $2225: Investing in Marriott Travel Packages

Aeroplan 30 bonus

This morning, Greg wrote about some of the potential opportunities that could be in store as the SPG/Marriott/Ritz loyalty schemes meld into one over the coming year(s).  The merger with SPG has presented some interesting opportunities for big wins both today down the road — even for those who do not yet have a large stash of Marriott Rewards points.

I recently wrote about the possibility to indirectly buy a Southwest Companion Pass and 7 nights at a Marriott hotel for $2,225 or less. By leveraging Aeorplan’s current bonus on miles converted from hotel partners, another interesting opportunity for the same price could provide enough points for a round trip business class ticket to Europe and 7 nights in a hotel. You would even have enough miles left over for a round trip economy class ticket to Mexico/The Caribbean/Central America or a 1-way premium economy ticket to Southern South America — all for the same $2,225 or less. While business class fare sales to Europe do happen now and then, prices are typically much higher. While this method is neither free nor cheap, it could save you a substantial amount of money over paying cash prices.

To recap the main ideas involved in making this work (from the previous post):

  1. Starwood is currently selling points at a discount (At the max discount, 30k Starpoints = $735)
  2. Starpoints convert 1:3 to Marriott Rewards
  3. If one were to purchase 90,000 Starpoints, they could be converted to 270,000 Marriott Rewards points
  4. It would then be possible to redeem 270,000 Marriott points for a Marriott Travel package that includes 120,000 miles and a 7-night certificate for a Category 1-5 Marriott.

Of course, it’s not quite that easy. Starwood limits members to purchasing 30,000 points per year. In my previous post, I covered how three people could combine forces to buy and consolidate the points. You can see that article and scroll to the section titled “A team that works together”. One benefit here is that since Aeroplan’s conversion promotion is on through April 17th, you would have enough time for a family member to create an SPG account today and buy points for one of these packages before the promotion ends.

Air Canada Aeroplan

As we previously covered, Air Canada’s Aeroplan is offering a bonus when transferring miles from hotel partners. This would stack on top of Marriott’s already-generous travel packages. Here’s the chart for Marriott Travel Packages with Air Canada: Air Canada Marriott Hotel and Air Package Let’s again focus on the top-right corner of the chart — 270,000 Marriott points will buy 120,000 miles and a 7-night stay in a Category 1-5 Marriott before the Aeroplan bonus. The bonuses are tiered and cumulative (meaning that if you make multiple transfers, you will receive the bonus based on total miles transferred during the promotional period):

  • 20% bonus when converting hotel points into 2500-99,000 miles
  • 25% bonus when converting hotel points into 100,000-199,000 miles
  • 30% bonus when converting hotel points into 200,000+ miles

Purchasing the top right Marriott Travel package will place you in the second bonus tier.  With the 25% transfer bonus, you would actually receive a total of 150,000 Aeroplan miles. To get an idea as to where those can take you, here is the Aeroplan award chart for travel originating in the continental US and Canada (note that these prices are round trip — a one-way journey requires half the points):

aeroplan award chart

With 150,000 Aeroplan miles, you could get a round trip business class ticket from the continental US/Canada to Europe (110k miles) and still have enough miles left over for a round trip economy class ticket to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America (40k miles). Another option for your leftover 40k miles is a one-way premium economy flight to Southern South America. Perhaps you’d rather use your 150k miles for a round trip business class ticket to Asia 1.  There are many possibilities; it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to redeem these miles and come out substantially ahead of the $2,225 investment. Of course, you’ll be limited by award availability — but if you either plan ahead or have the flexibility to book closer to departure, it’s far from impossible to find Star Alliance availability to Europe at least. You would want to choose airlines without hefty fuel surcharges for your awards.

Business class to Europe could get a lot more comfortable as United Polaris service continues to roll out.

Business class to Europe could get a lot more comfortable as United Polaris service continues to roll out.

And you would, of course, also have a 7-night Marriott certificate. Let’s say you wanted to go to France. In Paris, you could easily get over $1,000 USD in value out of your 7-night Category 1-5 certificate. Here are Category 5 rates for 7-night stays in September in France (shoulder season): Marriott Category 5 France Even if we conservatively value a 7-night stay in Paris at $150 a night, that’s at least $1050 in value. Between the hotel, a business class ticket to Europe and back, and the points left over for your next trip, an investment in a travel package today could already produce a nice win. If you’re able to extend the certificate into 2019 and use it at Starwood properties, it could be a very big win indeed.

Speculatively buying points is not something I would generally consider no less recommend, but the merger between Marriott and Starwood creates interesting possibilities for the future — particularly with these Marriott Travel Packages. The bonus from Aeroplan further extends the value of these of the packages such that buying points might make sense.  If you are interested in purchasing Starpoints for a package like this, you can even go through a shopping portal and save a bit more. Alternatively, you could use our affiliate link with our thanks.

While mergers inherently create uncertainty, there is no doubt that opportunities will continue to abound for those looking to maximize the value of both money and miles with Marriott Rewards and SPG.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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  1. But …. the 140K Aeroplan miles you would get from a 270K Marriott package would not be the result of converting hotel points to miles in the context of Aeroplan’s bonus. I’d be very surprised if this worked. Do you have hard data, or is this just speculative?

    • Why wouldn’t it be considered converting hotel points to miles? Marriott Rewards is a hotel points program. You are transferring those MR points to Aeroplan, which will become Aeroplan’s miles. The only difference is Marriott’s transfer rate for the miles is MUCH better with the vacation packages, which is essentially 1:1.

    • Maria is absolutely right. From Aeroplan’s end, you’re transferring Marriott points to Aeroplan. I wouldn’t imagine Aeroplan knows whether you also got a hotel room with your points — they just see a transfer from Marriott same as any other.

      As to hard data, you can see the Flyertalk thread on Marriott packages:

      http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-ritz-carlton-rewards/1403715-marriott-travel-1.html

      Or you could see this spring’s thread on this promotion:

      http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-canada-aeroplan/1829307-2017-spring-convert-promo-mar-13-apr-17-a.html

      Or here are all of the threads mentioning the packages with an Aeroplan bonus:

      http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/search.php?searchid=37815405&query=marriott-travel-package-aeroplan-bonus

      Many people talk about redeeming the Marriott points for these packages with the bonus and how it can be a great value. I think this particular time around is more interesting than usual because of the ability to buy Starpoints at a discount and redeem for these packages.

      • Right: so I acknowledge my math was a bit off. Should be 150K Aeroplan miles, if it works.

        And thanx for the three links, altho the last one doesn’t seem to go anywhere….

        So: there’s no question that Marriott’s travel plans are a good deal, and I know how they work. There’s also no question that one can buy SPG points, and that 90K SPG will get 270K Marriott, which will get 120K Aeroplan miles + 7-day voucher.

        The question is how Marriott gets those 120K Aeroplan to give you. The Aeroplan T&C says to “select the eligible hotel partner you have points with and follow the conversion process on their website.” The Marriott travel packages are *not* the normal conversion process for Marriott; those are found elsewhere on Marriott’s website.

        It might be the case that Marriott has a purchase agreement with the various airline programs to get the miles that they give you in some way not connected to “normal” conversion, whatever that is.

        So I ask again: Do you have hard data that this works (ie: a report from someone who has done it), or is this just speculative?

      • @Mary: Seriously? Stop trolling? I ask a legitimate question, get no answer, and I’m a troll?

        FWIW, I did precisely what is described in this post, so i’ll find out for myself if it works. Not likely to post about it here tho. I’ll keep my data point for a quality blog….

        • Actually, I can now definitively say that it does *not* work. Hope none of your other readers took your advice….

        • Hi Ken!

          There were many success stories in the threads I pointed you to above — and on plenty of other blogs going back years. Aeroplan has been running promotions like this for years.

          If you check the terms of the Aeroplan promotion, it says:

          BONUS MILE CREDITING: Bonus Aeroplan Miles may take up to 4-6 weeks to be credited after the promotional offer end date of April 17, 2017.

          Today is March 25th. So you shouldn’t have the bonus miles for a while yet — but I’m confident you will get them and I hope you plan a great trip with them. Best of luck and thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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