Having purchased a timeshare from SPG, we were offered the ability to purchase rewards points at a discount rate. It's still a significant cost at $2,275 for 330,000. I thought it was good deal for purchasing future airline tickets, but now I don't think so.
When I went to Europe in 2016 and using SPG points (pre-merger) we transferred points to American Airlines to purchase tickets that they will hold for up to five days. So obviously the transfer process must be accomplished within that time. SPG made the transfer; American Airlines credited my account. It was relatively easy and simple. Now Marriott tells me it takes 3 to 6 weeks to transfer points to an airline. How can a customer wait that long? It then requires you to decide to use that particular airline and take whatever price you get in 3 to 6 weeks rather than have the ability to shop around and choose the best priced ticket and airline that meets your needs. Maybe I'm too price conscious, but I am not a wealthy person and price is important to me.
Now Marriott has a web page at airandcar.marriott.com on which you can book air flights through them without going to the airline site. It's like booking through Kayak or other 3rd party vendor. The rub is they only have access to a limited number of flights, none of which meet my needs. So this web site is only of very limited value. By going directly to American Airlines I can find a hundred or so flights on the days I want to travel. But then you are required to transfer your points to their frequent flyer program to "buy" their miles.
Next, simply comparing the cost of points (if you purchase them on promotional offers) to the points required, you can see it's much cheaper to pay for your airline tickets with cash. Using points means you are paying 1.75 times the cost of a cash ticket. So does anyone disagree with this assessment. I suppose if you have points to burn and would rather not use cash, it would be okay, but that's not my situation. Your thoughts?