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Marriott is the world’s largest hotel brand, with more than 30 brands and over 7,000 hotels in its portfolio. A brand that meets almost every type of travelers vacation preferences, with properties ranging from budget like the Fairfield Inn & Suites to ultra-posh St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.
It’s not surprise that the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program is also one of the most popular loyalty programs in the hotel industry. The program allows visitors of all types to earn various benefits including free nights, late check out, free breakfast and more at hotels across the world.
Whether you are looking to build loyalty with Marriott hotels or just simply planning to stay in one on vacation we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this hotel group.
Marriott Bonvoy Hotel Types and Brands
Marriott Bonvoy has one of the largest portfolios of hotels amongst any group. With over 7,000 hotels in its portfolio there is no shortage of options when it comes to picking a hotel. Whether you are traveling to New York City, London, or Rome, there is a Marriott property for every type of traveler.
Here are the latest brands that make up the Marriott group.
The reason many people choose to give their loyalty to Marriott is for their top tier luxury brands notably The Ritz-Carlton, St Regis, JW Marriott, and more recently The Edition. Not only are these properties rated some of the best hotels in the world but the amount of locations is what truly makes them special.
The luxury Marriott brands can compete with any of the best hotels in the world but what sets them apart is benefiting from the Marriott Bonvoy program. Having the ability to redeem points for free nights, upgrades, and even breakfast keeps travelers coming back for more.
Note on the downside, some properties like Ritz-Carlton and Edition don’t participate in all Marriott Bonvoy member benefits like room upgrades, free breakfast, or suite night awards. However, the St Regis, JW Marriott, and W Hotels do making them well worth the reason to get status with Marriott.
Marriott has a huge collection of premium brands, which are the core to their hotel portfolio. This includes notable hotels such as Westin, Le Meridian, Renaissance, Sheraton, and the signature Autograph Collection. You can find these hotels in almost all major cities as well as throughout the world offering an elevated travel experience for an affordable price.
In our experience these hotel brands can sometimes compete with the Luxury tier amenities including pools, spa, and fitness centers and even offer better rewards for Marriott Bonvoy loyalty. Hotels in this tier are also great about room upgrades often making suites available to members that are Platinum and up.
Marriott Select Brands are a tier of hotels that vary great in design but are all at extremely affordable price point. These brands include Moxy, Courtyard, Springhill Suites, AC Hotels, Aloft, and Fairfield. The best part of this tier is the amount of cities and towns you can find these hotels in all throughout the USA and world.
Nothing beats getting a cheap deal on a hotel but that doesn’t mean the select brands lack quality. Hotels like the AC and Moxy are some of the most modern and stylish you can find with many being in the sub $100 price point per night. Added benefits at these hotels typically include a bar, lounge, or nightlife as part of the hotel making the property a scene to have a great time in.
Longer Stay Brands
Marriott has a number of properties that are designed for extended stays by offering larger rooms, kitchens, and amenities designed to make it comfortable enough to be an apartment. Brands that offer this include Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites, and Marriott Executive Apartments, among others.
One thing to note is that because these properties are designed for longer stays, and generally offer cheaper nightly rates, Marriott does not provide full bonus points on each night stay. However, you will receive credit for each night that can put you on a faster track to higher status.
For your stay at each of these brands, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points. In addition, you can use the points you earn to get free nights at Marriott hotels. Don’t be put off if you haven’t stayed in a Marriott property before. Apart from hotel stays, there are various more ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
Overview of Marriott Bonvoy Loyalty Program
This Marriott Bonvoy program is one of the world’s most extensive rewards programs, with 30 brands and price points ranging from budget-friendly hotels to opulent retreats all over the world. Yet, despite its scale, the Bonvoy program is simple. Marriott has simplified most aspects of the program, from earning points to obtaining elite status. We’ll go over each one separately here.
At comparable status levels, Marriott Bonvoy is typically regarded as providing fewer advantages than competitors. Because the Marriott Bonvoy elite qualification requirements are the most difficult to meet, many people use the program out of need rather than preference.
However, this doesn’t mean status doesn’t come with some perks for frequent travelers. Think free breakfast, late checkout, suite upgrades, and points that can be redeemed for some incredible experiences.
Marriott Bonvoy elite levels vary greatly and we will break down everything you need to know about each status level.
The first tier of status is unfortunately a virtually non-status and comes with few perks. Members can achieve this status after staying 10 nights in a calendar year. Benefits include 10% more points on stays, priority late checkout, and free wifi. While silver status is nothing to aspire for, the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards include it complimentary as a perk.
Here are the cobranded Marriott cards that include Silver Elite status:
The second tier of Marriott Bonvoy status does come with a few perks making it somewhat valuable. Members can achieve this status after staying 25 nights in a calendar year. Benefits include 25% more points on stays, enhanced room upgrades, and 2pm late checkout. However, on the down side members no longer have access to main lounges or breakfast privileges, making it harder to justify pursuing this status level through hotel stays or cobranded credit card spending under the new program.
You can obtain Marriott Gold Elite status with the following cards:
At the third tier of Marriott Bonvoy status the benefits start to get a lot more compelling. Members can achieve this status after staying 50 nights in a calendar year. Benefits include 50% bonus points on stays, enhanced room upgrades including select suites, 4pm late checkout, and a welcome gift upon checkin. Additional perks include access to a lounge, free breakfast where offered, and an annual gift choice.
The annual gift allows members to choice from one of the following: five Suite Night Awards, give the gift of Silver Elite status, 40% off your favorite mattress, five Elite Night Credits or a $100 charity donation.
We find the Platinum Elite level to be worth shooting for with our favorite gift selection being the five Suite Night Awards.
The fourth tier of Marriott Bonvoy status offers a number of great benefits for frequent travelers. Members achieve this status after staying 75 nights in a calendar year. The benefits include 75% bonus points on stays, enhanced room upgrades prioritized over platinum, 4pm late checkout, and welcome gift upon checkin.
The main difference between Titanium and Platinum is the priority in which you get upgraded and the chance to choose 2 of the annual gifts. This means you can select up to 10 suite night awards or mix and match different selections.
The Titatnium level is also the last Marriott Bonvoy elite level that does not require a spend threshold making it much easier to achieve by using branded credit cards to increase your nightly credits.
Marriott Ambassador Elite is their publisher top tier level that comes with many of the benefits of Titanium with a few added perks. Members achieve this stats after staying 100 eligible nights and meeting a spend requirement of $20,000. The benefits for this status include all of the Titanium benefits plus notably Ambassador Service and Your24.
Ambassador Service is effectively a personal Marriott assistant that can help you with booking stays or anything related to your Marriott property. Often times you will receive a dedicated person that will help you with all your travel needs. We’ve heard from Ambassadors that they have kept the same assistant for a number of years, developing a relationship that can help them out with any of their travel needs.
Your24 by Marriott gives you the flexibility to choose the 24 hours of your stay. For example you can check in to a property at 9 p.m and have your check out at 9 p.m. — it’s up to you. This is a nice perk for those that arrive late into cities and gives you an extended period of time in your room.
Marriott Ambassador Service is the only status tier that includes a spend requirement, making it the hardest to achieve. Travelers have shared mixed reviews on if they think its worth extending for but for those that are extremely frequent travelers the benefits do make a difference.
It takes a lot of effort to any Marriott Bonvoy elite level that offers noticeable benefits. To achieve status, you’ll need a lot of stays and brand loyalty. If you are a less frequent traveler you may benefit from looking at other hotel groups since Marriott Bonvoy is known for their heavy usage amongst business travelers.
An added bonus is Marriott Bonvoy has been helping their elite travelers to keep their status in the slow down of 2020 and 2021. They are giving all members 50 percent of the Elite Night Credits they earned in 2020 for 2021. As a result, in 2021, the expenditure required for the Ambassador Elite level will be cut by 30%, from $20,000 to $14,000 making it easier to achieve.
An easy way to gain nights is by owning and using a Marriott Bonvoy credit card. Every year, Marriott Bonvoy credit cards are given 15 free qualifying nights. While possessing multiple personal Marriott Bonvoy credit cards does not get you double Elite Night Credits, holding one personal and one business Marriott Bonvoy card does. So each year, you’ll receive a bonus of 30 Elite Night Credits, automatically putting you in Gold Status.
Other credit cards also offer elite status automatically such as the American Express Platinum gifting gold status to all members. Keep an eye out for these perks as you can sometimes get great benefits at hotels just by having the right credit card.
If you acquire status by staying at Marriott properties, your status will last until the end of the calendar year.
How Much Marriott Points Are Worth
Marriott Bonvoy points aren’t precious but if you plan your trip correctly you can get some great value out of them. On average Marriott Bonvoy Points are usually worth 0.77 cents per point. While this is a low value compared to certain rewards programs, it is pretty common pricing for hotel incentives, with Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards points valued equally.
The low value is due to the fact that hotel awards are considerably easier to come by. With so many hotel credit cards and options to earn hotel points, the value of each point is dwindling.
However, you may boost the value of Marriott Bonvoy points by searching for better than normal redemptions.
Take the example above where you are receiving more than double the average value of Marriott Points at 1.7 cents per point. This is well above the norm but redemptions like this can come around more often then you would think.
To get a great redemption like this you will want to look at high profile properties that typically go for over $1,000 a night.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be earned in number of different ways, mainly including stays at Marriott locations and spending on Marriott branded credit cards. Here is every way you can earn Marriott points.
Staying at Marriotts
Marriott members will get a base of 10 award points per dollar spent on eligible charges for stays at most Marriott hotel brands. However, to that general rule, there are a few exceptions. For example, element, Residence Inn, as well as, TownePlace Suites receive five Marriott points for every dollar spent. In addition, while Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay earn 2.5 Marriott points per dollar spent on qualifying hotel rates, Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay do not.
Furthermore, your elite status and current hotel promos would further enhance your earnings: 2,250 points ($225 qualifying spend multiplied by 10 points per dollar spent) from base earnings. As an elite bonus, you’ll get 1,125 points (50 percent bonus as a Platinum Elite). As a welcome gift, you will have 500 points. For completing five stays with the Unlock More program, you’ll receive 12,000 bonus points. For ignoring housekeeping for two days, you get 500 points.
To earn points for a stay, however, you must book directly with Marriott. Rooms booked through online travel agencies (such as Expedia, Hotwire, and Priceline), as part of an event, through a tour operator, or as a comped stay do not earn points.
Spending On Marriott Credit Cards
Marriott has four credit cards available from Chase and American Express that allow cardholders to earn extra Marriott points. All of your credit card purchases will earn you Marriott points, and you’ll also be eligible for a hefty welcome bonus.
Make sure you keep an eye on the rules and eligibility of each credit card as they can have a big impact on how many rewards you can earn.
Note: Credit card terms and details are subject to frequent change and are written when this article is published. Please visit the credit card providers site to get the latest details on the credit card offer.
The only personal Marriott cobranded card available through Amex is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. The current welcome bonus earns 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, for the first six months of card membership, collect up to $200 in statement credits for qualified purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants. This card has a steep annual cost of $450, but it comes with many benefits.
Another benefit is you can earn up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership when you make qualified purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. In addition, every year on the anniversary of your card account, they’ll give you a free night at a Marriott Bonvoy hotel with a redemption level of up to 50,000 points (certain hotels have resort fees). And TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit of up to $100 (once every 4 years for Global Entry or else every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck) will be offered. Also, you’ll receive Priority Pass Select Membership (enrollment required)
If you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year, you will receive automatic Gold Elite level or Platinum Elite status. And you’ll receive 15 elite qualifying nights to help you reach Platinum Elite or higher level. Also, you’ll get 6 points per dollar spent on qualifying purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3 points per dollar spent on buying at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per dollar used up on all other eligible purchases.
Business owners can apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, which now features a welcome bonus of 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy points once you spend $3,000 in the initial 3 months on your new card. Plus, throughout the first three months of card membership, you can earn up to $150 in statement credits on qualified purchases made on your new Card. This card has a $125 annual charge (see rates and fees), but it compensates for it with a 35,000-point certificate awarded each year on your card account anniversary.
In addition, you’ll earn 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 4x points at U.S. restaurants and gas stations, 4x points on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and 2x points per dollar used up on all other eligible purchases in the United States, and 2x points per dollar used up on all other eligible purchases in the United States.
After spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, Chase’s Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is presently offering three free nights (each worth up to 50,000 points). Furthermore, within six months of account opening, earn 10X total points per dollar spent on up to $2,500 in combined buying at gas stations, eateries, and grocery shops. In addition, this card offers benefits such as automatic Silver Elite status and a path to Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 on purchases in a single account year.
Furthermore, the card earns up to 17x Bonvoy points each $1 spent at over 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and also 2x points on all other purchases. In addition, every year after the account anniversary, you’ll receive a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption worth up to 35,000 points as a free night award.
Chase offers the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card with no annual fee for people looking for a no-fee credit card. Despite the lack of an annual charge, you’ll get 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the initial 3 months after opening your account. This card also comes with 15 elite night credits, giving the cardholder Silver Elite rank and a head start on moving up the elite status.
Only 3x points are earned in participating Marriott hotels (half the rate of other Bonvoy credit cards), 2x points are earned on travel expenditures, and 1x points are earned on all other purchases.
Spending On Premium Credit Cards
Marriott Bonvoy is also affiliated with credit card programs beyond their cobranded ones mentioned above. This can be an easy way for you to top up your points if you are short on a redemption.
You can transfer points from either American Express or Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Marriott provides an incentive to host events by providing points bonuses based on your status. A bonus for event planners will earn two points per dollar for any qualifying event held at a Marriott property, up to a maximum base earning of 60,000 points per event for non members. However, if you are Titanium Elite or higher you can earn up to 105,000 per event.
Here is the current benefits chart for hosting events:
If you are planning to host an event in the future make sure you are receiving Marriott points as part of your package.
Referring Friends To Marriott
Marriott has a referral system where you can get points for referral friends and family to open an account. You can do so by filling out the Refer a Friend form that will send a unique link to your referal.
You can refer up to five new members each calendar year, and you’ll earn 2,000 points for each of up to five of their paid stays.
Dining at Select Restaurants
Marriott launched their Eat Around Town program that rewards you for dining at select restaurants, bars, and clubs. The program has over 11,000 restaurants to choose from, it’s easy to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
The way the program works is you link your credit card to your Marriott account and when you dine at select restaurants you earn points. Currently you will earn 6 points for every dollar you spend, which is a great way to accumulate additional points.
Buying A Mattress
Marriott gives members 10,000 bonus points for buying a mattress from a select brand.
Marriott makes points available to buy or gift up to a maximum of 50,000 points annually. The purchase rate is generally $12.50 per 1,000 points, which is not a great deal but Marriott is known to run promotions from time to time.
Combing Points With Another Member
Marriott Bonvoy gives you the ability to combine your points with another Marriott Bonvoy member. A member can transfer up to 100,000 points to another account, and each member can receive up to a total of 500,000 points per year. An added perk is these transfers are completely free, making them an easy way to top up your account for a redemption.
How To Use Marriott Bonvoy Points
Marriott Bonvoy points can be redeemed in a variety of ways. Marriott points are worth 0.8 cents each, according to TPG, which is roughly the value you’ll get from hotel stays or airline transfers. The majority of other redemption choices, on the other hand, do not provide a good return on your Marriott Bonvoy points.
Redeem For Free nights
Marriott points are straightforward to use because the company has a standardized award system that shows you how many points you’ll need for a free stay. Dynamic pricing is used by loyalty programs like Hilton Honors, which isn’t ideal for members because award fees fluctuate dramatically depending on demand. When it comes to Marriott, the price of a room is fairly apparent.
Depending on the hotel category and if the date is off-peak, standard, or peak, a free night with Marriott will cost anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 points.
Note: Marriott has announced that as of March 2022 hotels will be switching to dynamic pricing rather than an award chart. For the remainder of 2022 we expect many hotels to still follow the below award chart but rates are subject to change by property.
Here is the official award chart for Marriott hotels:
Keep in mind Marriott includes a 5th night free making the rates a bit better.
The above is the standard rate chart but it’s possible to book properties for cheaper by using Marriott PointsSavers.
The PointSavers program allows you to book stays at participating Marriott properties while saving up to 20% on points redemptions.
Here is the PointSavers award chart:
If you are able to get a hotel stay under the PointSaver discount you can save thousands of points off your redemption.
If you don’t have enough points to cover an entire night then Marriott still lets you use lets points by combing it with cash. They also have a standard rate chart that can tell you how much you expect to pay.
While the cash option is nice to have we typically don’t find it to be that attractive of an option. Use cash if you have to but otherwise we think saving up points is a better redemption value.
It’s best to estimate your favorite hotel during peak pricing for your stay when planning your points and miles strategy. You’ll have enough points regardless of demand if you do it this way. Likewise, when reserving an award night, it’s crucial to keep in mind the value of your Marriott points.
Get A Free 5th night at Marriott
When you book a four-night stay with Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll earn a free fifth night at any Marriott Bonvoy location. This is a good approach to get extra points for the same amount of money spent. This offer is also valid for stays of four nights or more. For example, you’ll get two free nights if you stay for eight nights, three free nights if you stay for twelve nights, and so on.
Avoid using points for stays of 3 nights or less, keeping this in mind. If you want to conserve your points for a five-night stay, pay cash instead of using points.
Use Points To Upgrade Rooms
Members of Marriott Bonvoy can upgrade a paid or award reservation to a higher category, like an ocean view room or a suite, by using their points.
These Upgrade Awards do not have a published chart, and they are not available at all properties. As a result, for your specific stay, you’ll need to look for these upgrades.
Book Marriott Moments
Consider checking out the Marriott Bonvoy Moments program if you’re searching for a different form of redemption. You may use your points to purchase unique experiences such as concert tickets, culinary events, seats to see your desired sports team and even attend the TPG Awards by redeeming Marriott points.
Redeemable for a hotel and airfare
Your points can be exchanged for airline miles and a seven-night stay at any Marriott Category 1-8 hotel. This program used to be a good deal, but it was devalued in July 2018 and now offers a poor return on your Marriott points.
Packages start at 255,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for seven nights in Category 1–4 hotels and 50,000 miles in your preferred airline program. The price of the packages varies depending on the hotel type and the number of miles you choose to acquire. The Category 8 and 100,000-mile option, which costs 750,000 points, is the most expensive.
These packages change on a regular basis, and while some are auctioned, others have set prices. As a result, it isn’t easy to put a monetary value on items because many aren’t simply replicated with cash.
Transfers between airlines and travel redemptions
There are several ways to use your Marriott Bonvoy points to earn free travel.
Marriott points can be exchanged for airline miles on 44 different airlines. The majority of these airlines have a 3:1 transfer ratio. Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1), JetBlue TrueBlue (6:1), and United’s MileagePlus, which offers a slightly better 3:1.1 ratio, are the exceptions to this norm.
Here are all of Marriott airline transfer partners currently.
FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS
POINTS : MILES
Aer Lingus AerClub
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Air New Zealand Airpoints
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™
American Airlines AAdvantage®
ANA Mileage Club
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles®
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
Korean Air SKYPASS
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer®
Southwest Rapid Rewards®
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
Transferring at least 60,000 Marriott points earns you 5,000 additional miles. For transferring 60,000 points to most airline partners, you’ll receive a total of 25,000 airline miles. Keep in mind that flight timings differ depending on the carrier.
You can use your points to purchase air tickets or rental cars through Marriott’s Air and Car program, but these redemptions are worth less than 0.4 cents per point.
Hotels that qualify for Marriott STARS include: EDITION, BVLGARI, Luxury Collection, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and St. Regis. The benefits that are offered at these hotels include:
Complimentary full or continental breakfast daily for up to two people per room
Hotel credit valued at 100 USD once per stay
Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
Personalized welcome amenity and note
Hotels that qualify for Marriott Luminous include: Autograph Collection, JW Marriott, Le Meridien, Marriott, Renaissance, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels, and Westin. The benefits that are offered at these hotels include:
Complimentary daily breakfast for two people per room
Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
Early check-in & late check-out, subject to availability
Complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
Local welcome amenity and note
Hotel credit valued at 100USD once per stay, but only at select hotels
You may notice many of these perks are similar to those of the regular Marriott Bonvoy program but it is a great way to get the benefits if you do not have status.
The program benefits will only qualify for rate that are the “Standard Rate” and do not qualify for special rates, advanced paid rates, or points rates. You will also still receive points and elite night credit when booking with a travel agent making them good benefits even if you have status.
If you are a business traveler you may be getting benefits through Marriott corporate rates but if you are looking to travel for leisure then going through a travel agent will give you the most benefits.
What type of travelers are best suited for Marriott?
Marriott Rewards is committed to finding a brand that can fit almost every type of traveler. Across their portfolio there is a brand for everyone, whether you are searching for luxury travel, adventure travel, family vacation, or an urban escape.
Marriott is also keen on offering discounts to friends and family with a dedicated program provided even steeper discounts. This program known as the Marriott Explore Program gives discounts to both employees direct family and friends of employees. Only select locations apply but if you know a Marriott employee and are able to find a deal you can save significant money on a booking.
Summary and Takeaways
Marriott Bonvoy is a program that is well worth signing up for. Even if you only stay at Marriott hotels occasionally, you can earn points redeemed for free hotel nights. You have many options for using points and elite level advantages because many Marriott hotels to choose from.
Make sure you don’t hoard Marriott Bonvoy points if you have a large number of them. Because rewards points are constantly devalued, redeeming travel miles as often as possible is a good strategy. When points are devalued, they become less effective for achieving your trip objectives right away.
The purpose of earning Marriott Bonvoy points is to save money on travel, so make the most of them. The best feature is that you don’t need a million points to begin.
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