Though many hotel rewards programs inflate the value of their points, Marriott Bonvoy points can be extremely versatile and valuable.
With the updates to the Marriott rewards program in recent years, you may be wondering about the value of Marriott points. In 2018, Marriott merged its loyalty program with the Starwood Preferred Guest program and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program, creating a new hotel loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy. In 2019, Marriott transitioned from a fixed awards chart to a tiered system, dividing its properties into eight categories and categorizing travel nights as peak, off-peak or standard.What does this mean for you, as a Marriott rewards member? Have all of these changes increased or decreased the value of your points?
Well, we have good news: Marriott points are more valuable than ever. Though Marriott Bonvoy points don’t have as high a redemption value as Starwood’s famous Starpoints, you can collect Marriott points at a much faster rate – and since Marriott has incorporated Starwood’s point transfer options (giving you the ability to transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer partners), Marriott points are extremely versatile.
There are many ways to earn Marriott points, and one of the best ways to maximize your points is by signing up for a Marriott credit card. These cards not only accelerate your points-earning capacity but also offer perks like Elite status benefits and free awards nights. Plus, you can use your Marriott credit card sign-up bonus to earn even more points.
A great introduction to Marriott Rewards
Why should you get it?
With 6 points per dollar on Marriott hotel purchases, 2 points per dollar on other purchases and a free night certificate every year on your card anniversary, you can easily score a few free hotel nights with the card in the first year.
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Marriott points value
As you can see from our chart below, Marriott points are a bit inflated. While the average rewards program point is worth around 1 cent, we estimate that Marriott points are worth only 0.8 cents apiece. Still, this is a pretty good value for a hotel program, especially one that offers such generous sign-up promotions and is so flexible on redeeming points.
Marriott outmatches many other hotel loyalty programs, including its closest competitor, Hilton, whose points are worth only 0.5 cent each:
How we value Marriott points
Our value of Marriott points comes from comparing the number of points to the price of a standard room over a range of dates and locations. While the redemption value can vary quite a bit by location and tends to increase for each location during peak travel times due to the rise in room rates, we find that the value averages 0.8 cents per point.
How to value your Marriott points
We’ve told you how we value Marriott points, but the value of your Marriott Bonvoy points ultimately depends on how you choose to redeem them. Here are a few things you should consider in deciding what Marriott points are worth to you:
- What redemption option do you prefer? Are you planning to use your points for standard room nights or a room upgrade? Do you want to transfer your Marriott points to another loyalty program? (Specifically, which program do you intend to transfer them to?) Or, are you thinking of using Marriott’s Shop With Points option to make purchases at major retailers? (Note: we don’t recommend redeeming points for merchandise, since the value is low). Each of these options can result in vastly different point values.
- What level of hotel do you want to stay at? Marriott has eight tiers of hotels, each with a slightly higher redemption value. If you want to stay at one of Marriott’s higher-end resorts, prepare to pay extra points for the privilege.
- When do you want to travel? Marriott offers different redemption rates based on standard, off-peak and peak travel periods. If you plan to book an award night during a peak travel time, it’ll take more points – and reduce the value of each point.
In addition, you need to consider whether the points are flexible enough for your needs, since points are worthless if you can’t redeem them. Fortunately, Marriott points are fairly flexible (more on that below).
How to calculate the value of Marriott points
While there are varying philosophies on valuing reward points, the calculation boils down to figuring out the cost of your intended redemption option (subtracting out any taxes or fees that you still have to pay when redeeming with points) and dividing that value by the number of points:
Point Value = Rewards Value (in dollars) / Number of Points
There are countless other factors that can affect your rewards value, such as whether you are booking during a peak or off-peak travel time. That said, if you’re looking for a simple comparison between hotel redemption options, dividing the value of your rewards by the number of points required to redeem them should do the trick.
How flexible are Marriott points?
Overall, Marriott points are pretty flexible. Thanks to Marriott’s vast worldwide hotel network and its generous transfer options, you should find it easy to redeem points, though you may have to deal with a few quirks along the way:
Pros of Marriott points:
- Marriott points don’t expire as long as you make purchases on your credit card at least every 24 months.
- Marriott has the largest network of hotels in the world. With more than 7,000 properties in more than 130 countries, including the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Sheraton hotel brands, you should be able to find redemption options for most places you want to travel to and at most price points.
- Marriott has a no-blackout-date guarantee for standard rooms – so you should be able to find availability at most properties for most dates if you look far enough in advance.
- You can get a good value on upgraded rooms, in case you want to book something nicer than a standard room.
- Marriott allows you to transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer partners at a good value, giving you a plethora of other redemption options besides Marriott hotel stays. Points transfer at a 3:1 ratio with most partners.
- Marriott’s PointSavers program lets you save up to 20% on points redemption at top destinations around the world.
- If you don’t have enough points to book a hotel room, you have the option to combine points and cash.
- Marriot’s “Stay for 5, pay for 4” incentive gives you a complimentary hotel night when you redeem points for five consecutive nights.
Cons of Marriott points:
- Although Marriott offers a no-blackout-date guarantee on standard rooms, some properties get around the rule by limiting the number of standard rooms available for redemption. A small number of luxury hotels and resorts are not included in the no-blackout-date guarantee.
- You need at least 4,000 points to book an award night if you choose an off-peak night at a PointSavers location. A standard night at a non-PointSavers location starts at 7,500 points.
- If you don’t have enough points to book an award night, you don’t have a lot of good redemption options. If you want to redeem your points for merchandise or gift cards, for example, your point value could be significantly lower than what you might have received if you’d been able to redeem for a hotel stay.
- You may find that many of Marriott’s high-end luxury resorts have a poor redemption value.
- In September 2019, Marriott transitioned to an award chart that offers standard, peak and off-peak pricing for award rooms, as well as an eighth tier for its top tier resorts. In other words, it’s become more expensive to book award rooms during peak travel times and at Marriott’s most luxurious properties (but you should also be able to find bargains during off-peak times).
Are Marriott points worth it?
Despite their inflated value, Marriott points are so versatile and flexible and give you access to such a large hotel network that they’re almost certainly worth your while, especially if you’re looking at maximizing your Marriott points with a Marriott credit card sign-up bonus. Whether you are a fan of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton or Westin hotels, or you are looking for points that can take you many places, Marriott points are a great way to go. Visit our dedicated page for more information on the best hotel credit cards.