Our Marriott rewards guide gives a complete overview of the new Marriott Bonvoy program, including what Marriott points are worth and how to earn and redeem points for the most value.
With the merger between Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton hotels complete and its new loyalty program – Marriott Bonvoy – officially launched, Marriott is now the world’s largest hotel company, and, with this move, Marriott Bonvoy may have cemented its place as the ultimate hotel rewards program.
With more than 6,900 hotels in destinations such as the Maldives, Bora Bora, Europe and the Caribbean, Marriott Bonvoy is a strong hotel loyalty program for consumers who love to travel, whether they prefer to soak up the sun on a stunning beach or sip coffee at a sidewalk cafe in the old world.
What is Marriott Bonvoy?
Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty program of the Marriott corporation, whose portfolio of hotels includes Marriott hotels, as well as Starwood and Ritz-Carlton brand hotels, which were previously under the fold of the Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs. With Marriott Bonvoy, you can earn points on many types of purchases, including hotel stays and spending through one of its co-branded credit cards, and redeem those points for rewards, such as free hotel nights.
Marriott acquired the Ritz-Carlton and Starwood brands in 2016 and a revamp to the Marriott rewards program has been in the works since then. The updated program was launched in August 2018 and rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy in February 2019, and it’s pretty impressive: Not only can you seamlessly redeem points at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels worldwide across a huge portfolio of brands, but the new program incorporates many of the best features of the Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest programs, including the ability to transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer programs at a good ratio.
Read on to see why Marriott Bonvoy may be your best bet for flexible, versatile hotel points.
Marriott Bonvoy program overview
|Type of currency||Hotel points|
|Average point value||0.8 cent|
|Credit cards||Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card|
|Redemption options||Hotel nights, room upgrades, Cash + Points, travel packages, hotel statement credits, cruises, car rentals, experiences, merchandise, charity|
|Minimum required to redeem||5,000 points for an off-peak rewards night, 7,500 points for a regular rewards night|
|Do rewards expire?||Yes – if your account is inactive for more than 24 months.|
|Blackout dates/travel restrictions||None. If a standard room is available, you can book it.|
|Hotel brands||Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Edition, The Luxury Collection, Bulgari, W Hotels, JW Marriott, Marriott, Sheraton, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels, Westin, Autograph Collection Hotels, Design Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Gaylord Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points, Springhill Suites, Protea Hotels, Fairfield, AC Hotels, Aloft, Moxy, Marriott Executive Apartments, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Element|
|Hotel coverage||Excellent. 7,000+ properties in 130+ countries.|
How to earn Marriott points
The Marriott Bonvoy program had a lot to gain when it merged with the Starwood Preferred Guest program, including more than 6,900 hotels in destinations such as the Maldives, Bora Bora, Europe and the Caribbean. These options make Marriott Bonvoy a strong hotel loyalty program for consumers who love to travel, whether they prefer to soak up the sun on a stunning beach or sip coffee at a sidewalk cafe in the old world.
If your goal is planning a lengthy vacation with rewards or scoring free nights as you skip around the globe, make sure you are aware of all the different ways you can rack up points with this program. Read on to learn the top 12 ways to earn more Marriott points over time.
12 ways to earn Marriott points
- Sign up for a Marriott credit card
- Get your spouse involved
- Spend money on co-branded credit cards
- Add authorized users
- Stay at Marriott Rewards properties
- Earn elite status
- Sign up for Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards
- Book meetings and events
- Rent a car
- Book a cruise with CruisesOnly
- Refer friends
- Dine out
1. Sign up for a Marriott credit card
Marriott Rewards also has a selection of co-branded rewards cards from Chase and American Express that allow you to earn bonus points. Keep in mind that, on the American Express side of the equation, you can still only earn the introductory bonuses on each of their credit cards once per lifetime.
Marriott card introductory bonuses
|Introductory bonus||Estimated value|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card||30,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months||$240|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card||75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months||$600|
|Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card||75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months||$600|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months||$600|
You may not be eligible for an introductory offer on these cards if you currently own or have recently earned the introductory bonus on another Marriott card. Check the terms and conditions on the issuer’s site for details.
2. Get your spouse involved
If your spouse or partner is inclined, he or she can also sign up for co-branded credit cards to earn additional sign-up bonuses. This is even true if you live at the same address.
If you are saving up for a big redemption, it’s especially important to get your partner in the game. You can quickly accumulate points by doubling up on sign-up bonuses.
3. Spend money on co-branded credit cards
Using co-branded Marriott credit cards for every purchase, including Marriott purchases, is another great way to rack up Marriott points over time. Doing so will net you 2 points per dollar on regular purchases and up to 6 points per dollar on hotel purchases with the brand, and that’s on top of the 10 points per dollar you earn on hotel stays.
4. Add authorized users
Consider adding authorized users to your co-branded Marriott credit card. If your authorized users use their cards for regular purchases, monthly bills, travel or even groceries, you will earn more points for free stays over time.
5. Stay at Marriott Rewards properties
You can also earn a ton of points just by staying at Marriott, Ritz Carlton and Starwood properties. The base rate for stays is 10 points per dollar, and you can earn even more points if you pay for your stay with a co-branded Marriott or Starwood Preferred credit card.
6. Earn elite status
You can boost your earning rate substantially by achieving elite status with Marriott Bonvoy. Silver Elite members earn a 10% bonus on their base points, Gold Elite members earn a 25% bonus, Platinum Elite members earn a 50% bonus and Platinum Premier Elite members earn a 75% bonus.
Also, remember that you can achieve status just by picking up certain credit cards. For example, you can earn Silver Elite status automatically if you sign up for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card.
7. Sign up for Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards
Chase Ultimate Rewards has a handful of premier travel credit cards that let you earn points that transfer to Marriott Rewards and other hotel and airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. Getting one of these credit cards is an easy way to earn more Marriott points over time, although you’re not obligated to transfer your points if you don’t want to.
|Sign-up bonus||Estimated transfer value|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months||$480|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months||$400|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months||$800|
8. Book meetings and events
Marriott Bonvoy lets you earn additional points when you book meetings at a participating hotel. You can earn up to 60,000 points per each qualifying event or up to 105,000 points per qualifying event if you’re a Platinum Premier Elite member.
You can also opt to earn miles with select airline partners when you book a meeting or event.
9. Rent a car
You can earn up to 2000 points when you book a Hertz rental car through Marriott Bonvoy. Rentals must be for more than two days at participating locations across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand. Rentals of one day will earn 500 points.
10. Book a cruise with CruisesOnly
CruisesOnly powers a cruise booking engine that lets you earn Marriott points for each dollar you spend on their cruises. Promotions change all the time, but you can frequently earn up to 60,000 Marriott points when you book a balcony or suite and spend $10,000 or more. Make sure to check with CruisesOnly to see the current promotions.
11. Refer friends
You can earn up to 50,000 points for referring friends to the Marriott Bonvoy program, provided they book paid stays with Marriott after they sign up. You’ll earn 2,000 points for each stay your referred friend makes, up to 10,000 points per referral.
Your friend will also earn 2,000 points per stay on up to five stays, for a total of 10,000 points (in addition to their base point earnings). So it’s a win-win for everyone.
12. Stack up points at restaurants
Join Marriott Bonvoy’s Eat Around Town program and earn points for eating out at 11,000+ participating restaurants, bars and clubs. Earn 1,000 bonus points in your first 30 days of joining and 4 points for every dollar spent. Marriott Bonvoy Elite members will earn 6 points for every dollar spent.
If you register a Marriott Bonvoy co-brand credit card (either through Chase or American Express), you will earn 6 points, plus the points earned for dining, which could end up somewhere between 8 and 10 points per dollar spent.
How to use Marriott Bonvoy points
One of the best features of the Marriott Bonvoy program is the versatility of its points. Not only do you have the option of redeeming points for a free night at any hotel within the world’s largest hotel network, but, unlike most competing hotel loyalty programs, you can transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer programs without losing most of the value of your points.
With so many ways to redeem your rewards, how do you decide which option is the best? Our analysis shows that you’re best off using your points for free nights with Marriott, though a few other options – such as Marriott Moments and point transfers – can be a good value if you’re careful to run the numbers first.
Best ways to redeem Marriott points
Marriott redemption options
|Point Value (cents)|
|Cash + Points||0.6|
|Point transfers||Varies by the airline you use|
|Travel packages||Varies by the airline you use|
If you want to get the most bang for your buck with Marriott points, standard hotel nights are the way to go. The value of a free room night with Marriott is high (we estimate around 0.8 cents per point). In particular, hotel rooms in the lower ranges of the chart – categories 1 through 3 – offer a great opportunity to stretch your points. For instance, you can turn 80,000 points into a four-night stay at a category 3 hotel and score an additional night with Marriott’s free fifth-night benefit.
Marriott standard room rewards
|Category||Off-peak rewards||Standard awards||Peak awards|
Marriott is pretty generous with its standard room awards – it guarantees no blackout dates on its free night awards, which means you should be able to book a room with your points as long as the hotel has a standard room available. Unfortunately, some properties can restrict their inventory by limiting the number of rooms in the standard room category. However, our examination of the site suggests that you should be able to find reward availability at most properties, as long as you look far enough in advance.
If you’re looking for more than a standard room, Marriott also gives you the option to redeem your points for an upgraded room, such as a suite or a room with an oceanfront view. Upgrades start at 5,000 additional points on top of the standard rate and go up from there, depending on the regular rate, and you have to cover the entire price of the room with points.
The availability of upgrades varies by the property, and many locations don’t offer them at all. Also, unfortunately, upgraded rooms aren’t covered under the free fifth night benefit. But, the value of upgrades with Marriott is good – we found them to be worth around 0.7 cents per point on average.
Cash + Points
Marriott also allows you to use a combination of cash and points to pay for nights at some locations, giving you the flexibility to redeem a lower number of points. Unfortunately, you have to choose from a set amount of points and cash (so, unlike some hotel programs, you can’t choose the number of points you want to redeem), and the value of points when redeemed this way fluctuates wildly. While you can find great values using Cash + Points, you will also find terrible values, so be prepared to do some math.
Marriott allows you to transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer programs at mostly a 3:1 ratio, with a 15,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points that you transfer. While you’ll usually lose some value on the transfer, this is a good option in case you need to top up your balance in a loyalty program account, or in case you don’t want to use your points on Marriott hotel stays. Plus, if you know your way around an airline award chart, you may be able to get an even better value than 0.8 cents per point. (For more information on transferring Marriott points, visit our point transfer page.)
Redeeming Marriott points for a travel package through the Marriott rewards program can be a good deal. Marriott Hotel + Air Packages offer seven nights at a category 1 through 8 hotel, plus 55,000 to 110,000 miles with any of Marriott’s airline partners, depending on the airline on the number of points that you redeem. If you redeem for a flight with United, you’ll also get 5,000 to 10,000 bonus miles.
If we subtract the number of points Marriott would require for a transfer to most of these airlines (132,000 for 55,000 miles or 247,500 points for 110,000 miles), the remaining points amount to a 6% to 40% discount on the cost of your room (except for hotel tiers 1 and 2, which result in an increase in price). By booking a travel package, you can significantly boost the value of your Marriott points, but it requires a serious stockpile of points: Redemptions start at 255,000 points and range all the way up to 750,000 points.
Our estimate also assumes that you will maintain the value of your points when you convert them to miles with a Marriott partner. However, as mentioned above, the value of the conversion varies with each partner – some of Marriott’s partners, such as Singapore Airlines, can be a great bargain, but many, unfortunately, are a poor trade-off. To estimate the value of a travel package, you’ll need to figure in the value of miles with the particular airline that you wish to fly on. (See our article on transferring Marriott points for some mile estimates.)
Marriott Hotel + Air Packages
|Hotel tier||7 nights + 55,000 miles||7 nights + 110,000 miles|
Marriott’s instant redemption allows you to redeem your points as statement credits against the charges on your hotel bill. While it may sound convenient, it’s a terrible use of your points – points are worth only 0.2 cents apiece when redeemed this way.
You can redeem Marriott points for a certificate toward a variety of cruise lines, such as Norwegian and Carnival. Certificates come in increments of $250, up to the entire cost of the cruise. The redemption value for cruise certificates is poor, worth only 0.4 cents per point.
You can book car rentals with your Marriott points at car rental locations around the world. Unfortunately, the selection of car rental agencies is very limited (we found one to two agencies at the locations that we checked) and the redemption value is poor – worth only 0.4 cents per point on average.
Through the Marriott Rewards MORE shopping portal, you can redeem points for merchandise (as well as earn points on your purchases) with a variety of retailers, such as Macy’s and Best Buy. Once you enable Marriott’s browser extension, you simply click on a link from the portal and shop on the retailer’s site as usual, then apply your points when you check out. While the shopping portal is a great way to earn extra Marriott points, it’s not a wise way to redeem them – points are worth only around 0.4 cents apiece.
With the Marriott Moments program, you can use your points to bid on experiences, such as private dinners with celebrity chefs, backstage tours and VIP seats at sporting events. While the value of Marriott moments depends on your final bid and also how much you value the novelty of, for instance, a hands-on basketball lesson with an NBA star, the list is worth a look. Many of the items on the list are unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
Share your points
Now Marriot Bonvoy lets you share your points with others! Transfer between 1,000 and 1000,000 points per year to any other Bonvoy member and spread the rewards.
If you want to make things simple for yourself, redeeming your Marriott hotel points for free hotel nights – especially for rooms in the lower tiers – will net a consistently good value. That said, if you’re ready to crack out a calculator and do some digging, you can also find great redemption options among Marriott’s multitude of airline partners.
- What are Marriott points worth?
- Which Marriott credit card is the best for you?
- Marriott elite benefits
- Transferring Marriott points
Other news and advice
- Marriott Bonvoy launches peak pricing, other program changes
- The Marriott Bonvoy program officially launches
- Earn introductory bonus points with Marriott credit cards
- Marriott Bonvoy Business card ups annual fee
- Book your next Marriott stay for less with Marriott PointSavers
- Chase launches no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy card