Complete Guide to Marriott Bonvoy Loyalty Program: Earning Points, Redeeming Points, Elite Status, and Everything Else

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Marriott Bonvoy

Overview

Hotel Brands

32
See All Brands

Hotel Categories

8
View Award Chart

Status Levels

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Titanium
  • Ambassador
View Benefits

Credit Cards

5
Compare Cards

Resources

The Marriott hotel loyalty program has undergone major changes recently. Marriott acquired Starwood Preferred Guest in 2018 and merged its loyalty program with Ritz-Carlton and SPG then rebranded it as the Marriott Bonvoy program with new hotel categories, elite status tiers, and more.

The good news is Marriott Bonvoy remains one of the best hotel loyalty programs in the world with a huge footprint of properties across 30 brands, a large luxury portfolio, and solid benefits for elite members.

This comprehensive Marriott Bonvoy guide will cover everything you need to know to get started with the Marriott Bonvoy program and get the best value from your benefits.

JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort. Image courtesy of Marriott.

Everything You Need to Know About Marriott Bonvoy

Ready to start earning free Marriott stays at properties around the world?

The Marriott Bonvoy program can be a bit confusing thanks to its five elite tiers and range of benefits -- all with exceptions and rules to understand. Still, the program offers a lot of value.

This Marriott Bonvoy guide will cover everything you need to know about earning and redeeming Marriott points.

Marriott Bonvoy Program Basics

Before you start earning Marriott Bonvoy points, you'll need to know the basics of how the program works, which Marriott properties are part of the Marriott Bonvoy program, and why it's worthwhile to earn elite status in the program.

Here's an overview of the new Marriott Bonvoy program and a look at its huge portfolio of properties.

What Is Marriott Bonvoy?

Marriott Bonvoy is Marriott's new hotel loyalty program, replacing the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest programs which merged into one of the world's largest hotel loyalty programs.

The Marriott Bonvoy program launched in 2019 and has caused confusion among consumers, especially those who belonged to the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

The Marriott Bonvoy program allows you to earn Marriott points that can be redeemed at most Marriott brands which cover over 6,700 properties in more than 110 countries and territories.

In addition to using Marriott points for free Marriott stays, you can also transfer points to partner programs like United, use them for flights and car rentals, or redeem them for gift cards.

You'll get the best value when points are redeemed for Marriott stays, though.

Depending on your Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you can enjoy convenient perks that make your stay more enjoyable like free breakfast, Marriott executive lounge access, and late checkout.

You'll also earn free Annual Choice Benefits starting at Gold level and you'll always get a 5th reward night free when you redeem points for at least 4 nights.

How to Join Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy is free to join. You can join Marriott Bonvoy online by signing up with Facebook or creating a separate Marriott account with your name, address, and email.

Once you sign up, you will have your own Marriott Bonvoy member number and the ability to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.

Marriott Bonvoy Brand Overview

Marriott has over 32 hotel brands across the world with a total of over 6,700 properties worldwide

Not all brands carry the Marriott name, which can make it confusing at times knowing which brands fall under Marriott. On top of that, not all hotels participate in Marriott Bonvoy and award nights.

Here is an overview of all the Marriott hotel brands:

Hotel BrandNumber of Properties
Luxury Brands
Bvlgari6
Edition10
JW Marriott89
St. Regis45
The Luxury Collection118
The Ritz-Carlton / Ritz-Carlton Reserve106
W Hotels58
Upper Upscale Brands
Autograph Collection Hotels192
Delta Hotels79
Design Hotels300
Gaylord Hotels6
Le MERIDIEN110
Marriott Executive Apartments32
Marriott Hotels575
Renaissance Hotels175
Sheraton447
Tribute Portfolio40
Westin Hotels & Resorts225
Upscale Brands
AC Hotels159
Aloft Hotels176
Courtyard by Marriott1,241
element by Westin51
Four Points by Sheraton289
Residence Inn by Marriott850
Springhill Suites by Marriott456
Upper Midscale Brands
Fairfield by Marriott1,057
moxy Hotels62
Protea Hotels80
Townplace Suites by Marriott418
Timeshare Brands
Marriott Vacation Club
Homestays & Vacation Rentals
Homes & Villas by Marriott

To learn more about each of these brands you can explore our in-depth gudies to Marriott brands.

Also, as a note regarding points earning rates, you will earn 10x points at most hotels but there are some exceptions.

You'll only earn 5x points at Element, Townplace Suites by Marriott, and Residence Inn by Marriott. There are also two partner hotels that only earn Marriott points -- they don't participate in award nights.

Maximizing Marriott Bonvoy Benefits

To get the most value from the Marriott Bonvoy program, you'll want to reach Marriott elite status. This Marriott Bonvoy elite status guide will go over the elite status levels in the program and the benefits that come with them.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Levels

The Marriott Bonvoy program has five elite status levels:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Titanium
  • Ambassador

At the base level with your free Marriott Bonvoy membership, you'll get free standard Wi-Fi at Marriott properties.

Progressing to higher elite status levels with a Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit card and/or Marriott stays comes with additional benefits like bonus points, late checkout, room upgrades, lounge access, and more. We'll go into greater detail about Marriott Bonvoy perks you can earn.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Benefits

Marriott Bonvoy elite status benefits are one of the best parts about the loyalty program. You can earn convenient perks like late checkout and room upgrades in addition to lounge access and even additional free night certificates each year.

Here's a look at the best elite status benefits you can earn and how to use them.

5th Night Free on Award Stays
A huge perk of Marriott Bonvoy is all award stays of 4+ nights will receive a fifth night free. This benefit applies whether you book at a standard rate or PointSavers rate. It also applies to all participating Marriott brands.

You can even combine this benefit with the Cash + Points option to save even more. Let's say you want to stay 8 nights at a Marriott property. You can use your points for 4 nights and get the 5th night free, but what about the other 3 nights?

Instead of wasting your points, you can use cash. The nights you use points for don't have to be consecutive so you can pick the nights with the lowest rates to pay cash and get the best value.

Benefits Are Guaranteed!
One of the most unique features of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program is many of the elite status benefits are guaranteed. This means participating hotels must pay you compensation if they fail to deliver guaranteed benefits.

As with all things, this guarantee can be confusing with plenty of loopholes. Still, it's not something you should overlook.

When you check into a Marriott property, make sure you know which elite benefits you are entitled to receive and the compensation you should get if the hotel can't deliver.

Marriott has a chart of the guaranteed elite benefits and compensation when the benefit isn't received. Depending on the property, the compensation may be points or cash up to $200 USD.

Elite Bonus Points
You'll earn elite status bonus points on Marriott stays once you reach Silver status. The bonus breaks down as:

  • Silver: 10% bonus
  • Gold: 25% bonus
  • Platinum: 50% bonus
  • Titanium: 75% bonus
  • Ambassador: 75% bonus

You earn 10x points at most Marriott brands except Element, TownePlace Suites, and Resident Inn brands. With a $200 night stay, Silver status will earn you an extra 200 points. Once you reach Titanium level, you'll earn an extra 1,500 points instead.

Late Checkout
Note that the late checkout perk doesn't kick in until you reach Gold level, at which point it's a 2pm late checkout but only based on availability. Once you reach Platinum level, you can always check out at 4pm.

Welcome Gift
Marriott Bonvoy elite members at Gold status and above can enjoy an in-hotel welcome gift. The gift will vary by brand, however. At Gold level, you'll always get welcome points of 250 or 500 points depending on the brand. From Platinum level on, you get either welcome points, breakfast, or an amenity. You get to choose your welcome bonus but it will vary by brand.

Want to know how to get free breakfast at Marriott? There are two options: choose the breakfast welcome gift or use lounge access. If you choose the extra points as your welcome gift, you can still get free Marriott breakfast as a Platinum member or higher if you're staying at a property with a lounge.

Keep in mind there's a big disparity in how each brand handles the breakfast benefit in particular. At some properties, this may give you a large buffet spread, a very generous daily credit for room service, or a $10 basic food and beverage credit that won't go far.

Enhanced Room Upgrades
All room upgrades with Marriott Bonvoy are based on availability and they become available starting at Gold level. Once you reach Platinum level and above, your room can be upgraded to Select Suites.

Lounge Access
Once you reach Platinum elite status, you can enjoy access to Marriott lounges for yourself and one guest. Note that lounge access is only guaranteed to Platinum members at select brands. Which Marriott hotels have executive lounges with guaranteed Platinum access? You'll get this benefit at these brands:

  • JW Marriott
  • Sheraton
  • Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Delta
  • Westin
  • Autograph Collection
  • Renaissance

Lounge access isn't guaranteed at other brands like Ritz-Carlton but, as a general rule, Marriott hotels with a lounge usually offer complimentary access to Platinum members.

Guaranteed Room Type
When you make a reservation as a Platinum member or higher, you can enjoy a guaranteed room type. Make a note of your room and bed preferences as you can receive compensation if your room type is not provided. There are exceptions, however. In Canada and the U.S., your bed type request must be honored. Outside North America, your smoking or non-smoking preference must be honored based on availability.

Annual Choice Benefit
Platinum and Titanium elite members can choose an annual Choice Benefit after reaching a certain number of night stays.

As a Platinum member, you can choose from one of the following after staying 50 qualifying nights:

  • 5 Suite Night Awards
  • 5 Elite Night Credits
  • Gifted Silver Marriott status to someone else
  • 40% off a mattress
  • $100 charity donation in your name

As a Titanium member, you can choose a second annual Choice Benefit once you stay 75 qualifying nights. For your second Choice Benefit, you have the added choice of a free night certificate that's worth up to 40,000 Marriott points.

48-Hour Guarantee
As a Titanium elite member, you qualify for the 48-hour guaranteed availability. With this benefit, you are guaranteed to have a room for any paid stay as long as you book your reservation at least 48 hours in advance. This benefit can't be used with an award or discounted rate.

Ambassador Service
Ambassador Service is essentially concierge service to get personal assistance for your Marriott stays. This benefit can be fairly hit and miss. Some people find their assigned Ambassador is very helpful with requesting upgrades on their behalf and even proactively fixing issues with their upcoming reservations; some only receive generic information and little help.

Your24
This perk gives you a flexible 24-hour stay at the hotel. You can check in whenever you like and keep your room for 24 hours. This can be a valuable benefit when you get into your room late or you arrive early after international travel. If you get in at 1 am, you can keep your room until the next night at 1 am.

The drawback is hotels have the discretion of whether they will confirm the Your24 benefit and they will only do this about 48 hours before you arrive. Even if the hotel has a room available, they don't need to grant the Your24 benefit.

United MileagePlus Elite Status
Once you reach Titanium or Ambassador status with Marriott Bonvoy, you will receive complimentary United MileagePlus Silver status through the RewardsPlus partnership. This is one of the only partnerships that remained after Marriott merged with Starwood Preferred Guest.

If you have a Titanium Marriott elite status, you can request United status here by logging in with your Marriott Bonvoy credentials.

How to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

So, how do you earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status? There are actually a few ways to do this. You can earn elite status by staying at participating Marriott properties, having Gold status as a United Premier member, or signing up for Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, a cobranded Marriott Bonvoy American Express card (Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card), or The Platinum Card from American Express.

Unfortunately, you'll notice Marriott doesn't offer as many ways to achieve elite status as other hotel loyalty programs like Hilton Honors. Getting free Marriott Bonvoy elite status is also challenging and only possible at the lowest two tiers.

Note that once you earn a new elite status, it will be valid for 14 months. If you earn Platinum status in 2019, it will stay in effect until February 2021.

Here's the Marriott Bonvoy status requirements at each tier.

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status:
Silver status is the first elite tier in the Marriott Bonvoy program and it's easy to earn. There are three ways to achieve Silver Elite status:

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status:
Gold status is actually the easiest elite status you can earn in Marriott Bonvoy as there are several avenues available. Here are the Marriott Gold Elite status requirements:

Note that the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card only gives you complimentary Silver Elite status but you do receive 15 elite night credits every year that make it easier to earn Gold Elite status. With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card you will only need to stay at Marriott 10x per year or hit the spending threshold to reach Gold Elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status:
To earn Platinum Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy, you must meet this requirement:

Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite Status:
To reach Titanium Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy, you must stay a minimum number of nights:

  • Stay 75 to 99 nights per year *including reward nights

Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite Status:
Ambassador status is the highest elite status level in the Marriott Bonvoy program and it requires meeting two requirements:

  • Stay 100+ nights per year AND
  • Spend $20k in qualifying Marriott purchases

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Value

Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy has a lot to offer. Unlike many loyalty programs, you don't need to reach the highest level -- Ambassador -- to get the best value, either.

Silver status, despite being easy to reach, doesn't offer much more over the basic membership aside from a reservation guarantee and a fairly low elite status bonus of just 10% on points earned for Marriott stays.

You'll start to see a good value once you reach Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status. Marriott Bonvoy Gold status is within reach of most travelers and offers a few of the perks you're probably looking for including a welcome gift of bonus points, room upgrades when available (but not to suite level), late checkout, and a 25% bonus on the points you earn.

Platinum level may be a bit harder to reach but Platinum arguably offers the best value for most travelers. At Platinum level, you'll enjoy these valuable perks:

  • A welcome bonus of breakfast, points, or amenity. The value of the welcome bonus is hard to calculate. At some properties, it can involve an excellent breakfast at the property's restaurant or a breakfast buffet, for example. Even valued at just $10 per night, which is likely low, that works out to $500 per year with 50 night stays.
  • 50% bonus on paid stays. If you stay 60 nights in a year at an average of $150 per night, that's an extra 45,000 points worth $360, assuming a value of 0.8 cents per point.
  • Better room upgrades up to Select Suites, when available. This perk is available at most properties except Ritz-Carlton so you can enjoy more space and better views during your stay.
  • Lounge access. A large share of Marriott properties offer executive or club lounges. Platinum members get guaranteed access to lounges that typically offer complimentary drinks and meals, including breakfast.
  • Annual Choice Benefit. This benefit allows you to pick a Choice Benefit such as five elite night credits to reach a new elite status, five Suite Night Awards, gifted elite status to someone else, or 40% off a Marriott brand mattress. If you choose the Suite Night Awards, you can get a value of around $250.
  • 4 pm late checkout
  • Guaranteed room type

Titanium status certainly offers more value than Platinum but it's much harder to reach. The room upgrade benefit is practically the same as the one available to Platinum members although you can get a second Annual Choice Benefit once you stay 75 nights. You'll also get United Premier Silver status but the value of this will depend on how often you fly United -- and whether you already have United elite status.

Unless you're really after personal concierge service, you don't need to strive for Ambassador level which is really otherwise the same as Titanium level.

Marriott Bonvoy Logo. Image courtesy of Marriott.

How to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points

Ready to start earning Marriott points? Here's how you can start earning free Marriott stays with options that include Marriott purchases, credit card spending with a Marriott cobranded credit card, Marriott Moments, and more.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

There are four Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit cards that make it easy to earn extra Marriott points on Marriott stays, restaurants, flights, and other purchases. Three of the Marriott Bonvoy cards earn 6x Marriott points on Marriott stays plus extra points for other categories of spending.

Marriott is unique because it doesn't have just one credit card partner: the two standard Marriott cobranded credit cards are offered through Chase, and two premium credit cards are offered through American Express.

Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit cards usually come with sizeable welcome bonuses that can reach up to 100,000 points with a value of up to $800 when Marriott Bonvoy points are valued at 0.8 cents each.

When you use a Marriott Bonvoy credit card, the points you earn will be stacked with your Marriott Bonvoy base points, elite status bonus, and any bonus promotions.

 

Earning points with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

  • Current Bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card offers 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Benefits: This card earns 6x points at Marriott hotels and 2x points on all other purchases. The most valuable perk of the card is the annual free night (worth up to 35,000 points) at a Marriott hotel. You'll also get automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver status by just having the card. And if you spend $35,000 on your card each account year you will get Gold status. This card also gives you 15 nights of elite credit each year.
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Learn More →

 

Earning points with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

  • Current Bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card offers 30,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Benefits: This card earns 3x points at Marriott hotels, 2x points on travel purchases, and 1x points on all other purchases. The card gives you automatic Silver status with Marriott Bonvoy and 15 nights of elite credit each year you keep the card.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Learn More →

 

  • Current Bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card offers 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months (terms apply).
  • Benefits: With this card, you'll get a free night certificate each cardmember anniversary, $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit each year, automatic Gold Elite status, and 15 elite night credits. Other great benefits the card comes with are airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select, $100 property credit when you stay 2+ nights at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis, and $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit. This card earns 6x points at Marriott hotels, 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on airfare booked directly with airlines and 2x points on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Learn More →

 

  • Current Bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card offers 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months (terms apply).
  • Benefits: Each cardmember anniversary, you will get a free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points. Other perks are automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, Marriott Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in a year, and 15 elite night credits each year. This card earns 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy properties, 4x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. mobile service providers, and on U.S. shipping purchases, and 2x points on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $125
  • Learn More →

 

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

If you have an American Express credit card that earns Membership Rewards points, you can use it to earn Marriott Bonvoy points in an indirect manner. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio.

As a general rule, you're not going to get a good value when you make this transfer. Membership Rewards points have a typical value of 1.8 cents each while Marriott Bonvoy points are worth about 0.8 cents each. The transfer will cut your Membership Rewards value in half.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the Marriott Bonvoy but you'll encounter the same problem as when you transfer Membership Rewards points: you usually won't get a good value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable in the industry and valued at about 2 cents each. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio which means your points will lose more than half their value.

Earning Points from Marriott Bonvoy Stays

As with any hotel loyalty program, you'll earn most of your Marriott points on Marriott stays. You'll typically earn double-digit points on Marriott stays but the amount of points you earn depends on your elite status in Marriott Bonvoy.

There are two basic types of points you'll earn in the program: base points and elite status bonus points. These points can be stacked with Marriott points you earn with a Marriott Bonvoy credit card and any promotions that are available.

Base Points

At the vast majority of Marriott brands, you earn 10x base points on Marriott stays. Base points are the same no matter your Marriott Bonvoy elite status. There are a few exceptions:

  • You only earn 5x base points at Residence Inn, Element, TownPlace Suites, and Home & Villas by Marriott.
  • You earn 2.5x points at extended-stay properties like ExecuStay and Marriott Executive Apartments

Elite Status Bonuses

Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy earns you elite status bonus points on all Marriott stays:

  • Silver: 10% bonus (11x points total on Marriott stays)
  • Gold: 25% bonus (12.5x points)
  • Platinum: 50% bonus (15x points)
  • Titanium: 75% bonus (17.5x points)
  • Ambassador: 75% bonus (17.5x points)

If you spend $200 on a Marriott stay, you'll earn 2,200 points at Silver elite status (2,000 base points and 200-point bonus) or 3,500 points at Titanium status (2,000 base points plus 1,500 bonus points).

Marriott Promotion Central

Before booking a Marriott stay, it's a good idea to check Promotion Central to see if there are any new promotions to earn extra points on your stay. You should also receive emails about Marriott Bonvoy promotions. To get the bonus points, you'll need to log in and register for the promotional offer.

Not all Marriott promotions involve bonus points, though. One recent promotion earned you double elite night credit to help you earn elite status faster.

Amex Offers

The Amex Offers program is offered to all American Express cardholders and it consists of targeted offers for cash back or bonus points for spending at certain merchants. Because American Express and Marriott are partners, you'll often see Marriott offers in Amex Offers.

These offers usually offer a certain amount of cash back for spending at Marriott properties with the offer typically available at select Marriott brands. One recent offer was for $40 back after spending at least $200 at a U.S. Marriott property.

If you see an Amex Offer you like, make sure you sign up to add it to your card. You will also need to use that card to book the Marriott stay directly through Marriott. You'll also need to book the stay by the deadline.

Other Ways to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points

In addition to Marriott stays, credit card rewards, and transfer options, there are still plenty of options for earning Marriott points. Here's a quick look at some other earning options.

  • Select Green Choice when you check in to waive daily housekeeping and earn an extra 250 to 500 points per night at most properties.
  • Rent a car through Hertz to get a Marriott Bonvoy discount with code 154080 and earn up to 3,000 Marriott points when you rent for 2+ days.
  • Book a cruise through CruisesOnly.com and get 2x Marriott points or more.
  • Book a special event at Marriott through the Rewarding Events program to get 2x points and Elite qualifying nights.
  • Use TravellingConnect for cell phone roaming service and get 2x Marriott points on spending.
  • Marriott vacation packages often come with promotions for extra points such as 10,000 bonus Marriott points for booking at a certain property.
  • You can buy Marriott points if you're just a bit short for a reward option or to keep your account active. You can buy up to 50,000 points per year in 1,000-point increments. The cost is $12.50 for 1,000 points -- quite the markup.

How to Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

In no time at all, you'll find your Marriott Bonvoy account swelling with thousands of Marriott points -- especially if you earn a Marriott credit card welcome bonus. Ready to learn about the ways you can use Marriott Bonvoy points? Here's a look at your options, including how to get the best value when earning free Marriott nights.

Redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points for Reward Stays

As a general rule, you get the best value for Marriott points when they are redeemed for free Marriott stays. You can book standard awards with points (with peak and off-peak rates coming soon) or use PointSavers or Cash + Points.

Don't forget: when you book 4+ award nights, you'll get the 5th night free.

Standard Award Stays

When booking Marriott award stays, the amount of points you need will depend on the hotel category ranging from 7,500 to 85,000 points per night. Currently, all award bookings are at a standard rate based on the hotel's category.

Soon, Marriott Bonvoy will introduce peak and off-peak awards. This means that award stays will cost more during the peak season but you can get even better deals by booking award nights during the off-peak season. Off-peak awards will range from 5,000 to 70,000 points per night; peak awards will start at 10,000 points and go up to 100,000 points.

PointSavers

Marriott PointSaver awards give you a discount on the standard redemption rate at certain hotels. While this sounds like a good perk, the discounts usually aren't amazing. The best savings will be at the lower category properties.

At a category 1 hotel, for example, the PointSavers rate is 6,000 points compared to the standard award rate of 7,500 points. That's a 20% discount. With a category 8 hotel, you'll save just 6%, paying 80,000 points for a PointSaver award compared to the standard 85,000 points.

Cash + Points

This redemption option adds flexibility to your bookings and it can be used to get the best possible deal when booking an award stay. Cash + Points lets you combine points and cash for award nights starting at 3,500 points + $55 per night.

The best way to use Cash + Points? Customizing a longer award stay to redeem points for one night and pay cash for another when the paid rates vary a great deal.

Points Advance

A unique benefit of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program is you can book award stays before you actually have all of the points you need with the Points Advance feature. This feature is great for grabbing rooms at high-demand hotels when you don't know if there will be rooms available once you save up the points or for locking in the current award rate if the property is going to go up in price.

If you use Points Advance, you will need to have enough points in your account within 14 days before your arrival date.

How Many Points Do You Need for a Free Night?

Every Marriott property has a category number based on the type, location, and brand of the property. The Marriott Bonvoy hotel category determines how many points Marriott Bonvoy points for a free night.

Until peak and non-peak awards are rolled out, likely in 2019, you will need between 7,500 and 85,000 points per night. You'll always get the 5th night free when you book at least 4 award nights as a Marriott Bonvoy member, though; this will reduce the number of points per night for longer stays.

How to Book a Free Night Reward

Booking Marriott Bonvoy free night rewards is very easy and may be done online, through the Marriott Bonvoy app, or over the phone.

Online or Marriott Bonvoy App

You can book a free Marriott stay in a few minutes by logging into your Marriott Bonvoy app and searching for available properties. Make sure you select the "Use Points" option.

You will see available properties and the number of points per night. After choosing a property, you can choose the room type and redemption option that fits you best. You can choose to pay for your stay with only points or a Cash + Points combination, for example.

You can also buy points at this point if you're a little short or use the Points Advance option to book your stay.

By Phone

You can book award reservations over the phone by contacting Marriott Bonvoy Member Support. The number for North American members is 1-800-627-7468. International members can call +800 6277 4680.

You will need to provide your Marriott Bonvoy member number to book your stay. After your reservation is made, it will show up in your Marriott Bonvoy account.

Transfer Marriott Bonvoy Points to Partners

The Marriott Bonvoy program has an impressive list of 44 airline transfer partners, about half of which are unique to Marriott's loyalty program. Some airline loyalty programs can give you a great value for your Marriott points but other transfer partners aren't worth using unless you need to top off a few points.

With most airline partners, you will get a transfer ratio of 3 Marriott points to 1 mile and a 15,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that are transferred. For 60,000 Marriott points, you'll get 25,000 airline miles.

Only a few airline partners have different transfer rates:

  • JetBlue TrueBlue is a 6:1 transfer ratio. 60,000 Marriott points becomes 12,500 TrueBlue miles.
  • United MileagePlus comes with a 10% bonus. 60,000 Marriott points becomes 27,500 miles.
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints has a 200:1 ratio. 60,000 Marriott points becomes 325 miles.

Here are just some of Marriott's transfer partners:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to partners here.

Sometimes Marriott offers transfer bonuses for certain partners. This can be a good time to transfer points for a better value. For example, Marriott has offered a 30% transfer bonus with United in the past, a 25% bonus for American Airlines, and a 50% bonus for Asia Miles.

Other Ways to Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

Looking for more unique redemption options aside from Marriott stays and airline transfers? Here are some other ways to use Marriott points.

  • Marriott Moments. This experience platform allows you to use points for destination activities like culinary experiences, city tours, and sporting events. You'll find many unique experiences you can't get with cash. Some options require a flat amount of Marriott points but some experiences are auctions.
  • Hotel + Air Packages. Marriott's hotel and air packages allow you to redeem points for a 7-night stay along with a huge amount of airline miles that can be used to book a flight. Almost all airline partners have a package available.
  • Marriott Shopping. Use Marriott points to shop for gift cards and merchandise. You usually won't get a good value with this option.

How Does Marriott Bonvoy Compare to Other Hotel Loyalty Programs?

You probably don't want to spread your spending over more than one hotel loyalty program. Before choosing the loyalty program that will work best for you, you need to know the benefits you'll receive during your stays, how easy it will be to earn and redeem your points, how many properties the program offers, and what kind of value you can get.

Here's how Marriott Bonvoy stacks up against the three other large hotel loyalty programs.

Marriott Bonvoy vs Hilton Honors

Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy are probably the most similar. Both offer a large global footprint although you'll notice that Hilton has a greater range of properties from budget-friendly to luxury while Marriott's portfolio mostly focuses on upscale and luxury properties.

Marriott Bonvoy offers more elite benefits to members but Marriott elite status is much harder to earn and there are more levels. Hilton Honors has just three levels of elite status that are easy to earn: even their highest elite status can be earned for free with a Hilton Honors cobranded credit card. Hilton also has a better lineup of credit cards.

Hilton points are generally easier to earn and you'll probably get a better value for most redemptions -- but this isn't a guarantee. Marriott offers a straightforward award chart that makes it easy to see how many points you will need for free stays. In the near future, they will also offer off-peak, standard, and peak rates to potentially save you more points for off-season bookings.

If you tend to stay at high-end or luxury properties and you travel frequently, Marriott Bonvoy is probably the better choice. Hilton Honors is best for infrequent to frequent travelers who like a mix of select service, midscale, and luxury properties.

Check out the full Hilton Honors review here.

Marriott Bonvoy vs World of Hyatt

The World of Hyatt loyalty program has gone through many changes recently, like the Marriott program. When comparing Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, you'll notice right away that World of Hyatt has just a fraction of the properties as Marriott. There are less than 800 Hyatt properties in about 57 countries although they do have great luxury properties. This may be a deal-breaker for you, depending on where you travel.

One of the best things about World of Hyatt is its award chart. Award nights range from 5,000 to 40,000 points per night spread over 8 hotel categories like Marriott Bonvoy. While Marriott Bonvoy's category 8 hotels top out at 80,000 points (and soon to be 100,000 during peak season), you can stay at the best Hyatt luxury properties for just 40,000 where rooms may cost up to $1,000 per night during the peak season.

Hyatt points are about as easy to earn as Marriott Bonvoy points and the program comes with some nice perks that you don't get with Marriott. For example, resort fees are waived on free night awards for all elite members while the top tier comes with waived resort fees on all qualifying rates.

Marriott Bonvoy is definitely a more robust loyalty program with a huge global footprint, great elite rewards, and good cobranded credit cards. Hyatt can be a good choice if you don't mind the limited footprint, however, thanks to its generous award chart.

Marriott Bonvoy vs IHG Rewards Club

The IHG Rewards Club is a bit confusing as it has two parallel rewards programs: the IHG Rewards Club and the Intercontinental Ambassador program that requires paid membership. IHG and Marriott have a similar global footprint although you'll notice IHG has a stronger presence in small towns in the United States with more budget-friendly properties while Marriott Bonvoy offers a robust selection of upscale and luxury properties in top destinations.

It's easier to earn points in the Marriott Bonvoy program compared to IHG Rewards Club although IHG does offer a good value on award stays. As a general rule, IHG Rewards Club is a better bet if you want a stronger selection of budget properties. When you want to use your hard-earned points for stays at properties you otherwise wouldn't pay for, Marriott Bonvoy pays off.

Wrap Up

Marriott Bonvoy is one of the largest and more rewarding hotel loyalty programs in the world. It has a lot to offer, including a massive portfolio focusing on upscale and luxury properties with coveted elite status perks and bonuses. While there's still some confusion over the recent merger and changes to the program, Marriott Bonvoy does make it easy to earn Marriott points quickly with lots of great properties in top destinations around the world.

FAQ

Do Marriott Bonvoy points expire?

Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months of inactivity. You can stay active by earning miles or points in the program or redeeming points. Your points will not expire if you have Lifetime Elite Status.

What is Marriott lifetime elite status?

With the Marriott Bonvoy program, you can earn lifetime elite status benefits. There are three Lifetime Elite tiers:

  • Lifetime Silver: 250 lifetime nights + 5 years of elite status
  • Lifetime Gold: 400 lifetime nights + 7+ years of Gold or higher elite status
  • Lifetime Platinum: 600 lifetime nights + 10+ years of Platinum elite status

How do I find my Marriott Bonvoy number?

You can log into your Marriott Bonvoy account to see your member number or call Marriott Bonvoy Member Support. You can also look up your member number with your name and email address.

Can I book a free night for someone else?

Yes, you can book an award stay for someone else but you need to do it over the phone. You can call Member Support at 1-800-627-7468 in the United States and Canada.

Can I earn points on stays I book for someone else?

According to Marriott, you cannot earn points or elite night credit for stays you pay for if you are not staying in the hotel. There is a way around this. You can usually just add the other person as a guest on the reservation so they can check in.

How much are Marriott Bonvoy points worth?

As a general rule, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth around 0.8 cents each. You can maximize the value of your points by redeeming for free Marriott stays.

Which credit cards earn Marriott Bonvoy points?

There are four cobranded Marriott Bonvoy credit cards: the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, and the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. Learn more about Marriott Bonvoy credit cards here.

What are Marriott Bonvoy elite status tiers?

Marriott Bonvoy has five elite status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador. Each level comes with elite status bonuses and unique perks. Learn more about Marriott elite status tiers here.

How do I get Marriott Bonvoy elite status?

You can get Marriott elite status by staying at participating Marriott properties a minimum number of times per year or signing up for a Marriott Bonvoy credit card that offers automatic elite status. This section goes over Marriott's elite status benefits in more detail.

How many properties are in the Marriott Bonvoy program?

Thanks to the merger of Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton in 2018, the Marriott footprint has expanded significantly. There are more than 6,700 properties in the program in more than 110 countries.

Does Marriott Bonvoy have an award chart?

Yes, you can view the Marriott Bonvoy award chart in this section.

Extra tips on how to maximize your rewards

Getting the most out of your credit cards is a must. Compare the current best offers with our Card Maximizer tool or take a look at our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020. Here are the highlights:
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