Thanks to the recent merger with Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott now boasts the world's largest hotel loyalty program with over 6,700 properties around the world covering the full spectrum of budget-friendly and extended stay to luxury properties in the world's top destinations.
The Marriott Bonvoy program offers several ways to use your Marriott points but the best way to use Marriott points is for Marriot stays. Here's everything you need to know about maximizing the value of your Marriott Bonvoy points and all of your redemption options.
In most cases, you'll get the best value for your Marriott points when you redeem them for free Marriott nights. To get maximum value for your points:
Marriott Bonvoy is one of the world's largest loyalty programs with versatile options for earning and redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points. While the backbone of the program is, of course, earning and redeeming points for Marriott stays, the points you earn can also be transferred to partner programs, used for shopping, and more. This in-depth guide will go over everything you need to know about redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for the best value.
You'll get the best value for Marriott points when using Marriott points for a free night. As a general rule, Marriott Bonvoy points are valued at 0.8 cents each but you can get a value that's much lower or much higher depending on how your points are used. When using Marriott Bonvoy points for free night stays, the value of your points will depend on the length of your stay, the property category, the season, the cash price for the room, and more.
This is what you need to know to get the best value for your Marriott points when booking reward stays.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be redeemed for free nights at most Marriott Bonvoy brand. Thanks to the SPG and Ritz Carlton merger, Marriott Bonvoy now boasts an absolutely huge portfolio of 31 global brands ranging from budget-friendly motels to luxurious properties in high-demand destinations.
Most Marriott brands participate in reward stays with a few exceptions like Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Execustay, and Marriott Executive Apartments.
Some of the most well-known or interesting upper-upscale and luxury Marriott brands include Autograph Collection, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, St. Regis, and the Luxury Collection.
Marriott Bonvoy also has many mid-level, budget-friendly, and extended-stay properties like Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, and TownPlace Suites.
You can learn more about Marriott Bonvoy brands here.
Marriott Bonvoy makes it easy to see how many points you need for a free night stay with a straightforward award chart. Marriott divides all properties in its portfolio into 8 hotel categories. For now, your award night will cost a standard number of points based on the hotel category but sometime in 2019 Marriott Bonvoy is expected to roll out off-peak and peak pricing.
As a general rule, premium properties in desirable or expensive areas have a higher hotel category and require more points. Award category adjustments are made every year to reflect market conditions: properties can go up or down in category from one year to the next.
Marriott Bonvoy points needed for a hotel stay range from 7,500 to 85,000 (but will range from 5000 to 100,000 with the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing).
As you can imagine, it's not always easy to find category 1 to 2 hotels -- but they're definitely out there. For example, there are many category 1 and 2 TownPlace Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites properties in the United States.
As you build up Marriott Bonvoy points, you will likely want to use them for free reward nights at Marriott properties. There are actually several ways to book Marriott stays with Marriott Bonvoy points. Understanding these options can help you get the best value for your points.
The most basic way to use your points is simply booking an award night with the standard rate based on the hotel category. When you log into your Marriott Bonvoy account, you can search for properties at your destination and choose the "Use Points" option to see the number of points you need per night.
Marriott Bonvoy currently uses an award chart with 8 hotel categories and a standard number of points needed per night. In the near future, Marriott will introduce peak and off-peak pricing that will allow you to get better deals during the off-season -- but the price during peak season will climb significantly.
Sometimes you can book a reward stay with a lower number of points using PointSavers. Periodically, Marriott essentially puts certain hotels "on sale" for a specific period of time. You can view current PointSavers promotions at Marriott but don't expect huge savings.
For a category 1 hotel, the PointSavers rate is a 20% discount, or 6,000 points instead of 7,500 for a one-night stay. The discount on a category 8 hotel is just 6%, though, saving just 5,000 points off the standard rate of 85,000 points.
What if you don't have enough points for the full reward stay -- or you don't want to use all of your points on a single booking? The Cash + Points option allows you to combine cash and Marriott points to book your stay.
The Cash + Points option comes with its own reward chart. Compare the Cash + Points option with the number of points you would need for a standard booking and check the room's cash price to make sure you get the best deal.
The Cash + Points option really pays off when you're booking a longer stay at a Marriott property and taking advantage of the 5th night free benefit. With Cash + Points, you can use points for 4 nights, get your 5th night free, then pay cash for any remaining nights on your booking. You can even choose the nights you want to pay with points. That allows you to pay cash for the nights with the lowest rate.
Want to book a reward stay but don't have enough points? You can use Points Advance to book your reward Marriott stay before you have the points necessary. This feature can be used to snag rooms before they sell out during the busy season or lock in the award rate if the property will be going up to a new category. Just remember that you need the number of points for your stay within 14 days of check-in. If you aren't able to earn them, you'll need to buy them -- at a steep premium.
As you earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you can qualify for complimentary, space-available room upgrades at check-in at most Marriott properties. If you want to be sure you'll get an upgrade -- or you haven't reached Gold or Platinum status -- you can use points for a room upgrade on a reward night or regular cash booking.
This is one of the most overlooked perks of Marriott Bonvoy award stays as you can spend just 5,000 points per night to upgrade your room. The drawback? The benefit isn't well advertised or utilized by Marriott members. You may have trouble using this perk, especially outside of the United States, as check-in agents at the hotel may have never heard of the benefit or know how to apply it to your account.
Also, keep in mind that room upgrades are only charged in blocks of 5,000 points. While this may be enough for an upgrade at some brands, others require multiple blocks of 5,000 points (such as 15,000 extra points or more) for an upgraded room. Room upgrades, even with points, are also subject to availability.
Booking a free night at Marriott is easy and can be done through your Marriott Bonvoy account or over the phone.
When you log into your Marriott Bonvoy account through the Marriott app or online. Search for a hotel and make sure you check the option that says "Use Points." You will see search results of available properties with the price per night in points.
You can also book a stay at Marriott and use Marriott Bonvoy points by calling Marriott Bonvoy Reservations at 1-888-236-2427. To use your Marriott points, you will need to provide your Marriott Bonvoy membership number.
All award stays of at least 4 nights will get a 5th night free at all participating Marriott properties. A big perk of this already great benefit is it applies to standard reward rates and PointSavers rates plus it can be combined with the Cash + Points option to really maximize the value of your points.
To take advantage of the 5th night free, you can book your stay over the phone or online but you can't make your reservation through a partner or promotional offer. The benefit will only apply to standard rooms and it only covers a free night of equal or lesser value.
Using the 5th night free benefit is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get the best value for your Marriott points.
Looking for the perfect use for your Marriott Bonvoy credit card welcome bonus? Have you been saving up Marriott points and now you're ready to splurge? Here are 10 of the most amazing Marriott Bonvoy properties including a range of category 8 resorts, luxury properties in downtown areas, and affordable resort destinations.
While luxury properties at the top of the award chart may be what you're looking for when you're ready to use your Marriott points, properties on the low end of the award chart can offer an even better value by allowing you to stretch your points even further while still enjoying a comfortable and luxurious stay.
Planning a trip to South Africa? Enjoy a relaxing getaway to South Africa's vineyards in the Cape Winelands district. This Protea Hotel borders the Simonsberg and Jonkershoek nature reserves and offers stunning views of local wineries and the mountains while the town of Stellenbosch offers historic Dutch architecture, art galleries, and more as South Africa's second-oldest town. Enjoy the Protea Hotel Stellenbosch for just 12,500 points per night -- or 50,000 points for a 5-night stay.
Want the ultimate in luxury at an island resort -- but don't want to top out on the Marriott award chart? The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi in Malaysia is a one-of-a-kind resort surrounding by pristine rainforests and the blue Andaman Sea. This is the island's only overwater spa and it features private villa pools, a Grand Ballroom, VIP salon, and an unforgettable setting.
You can book the Ritz-Carlton Langkawi for just 50,000 points per night any time of the year-- although this will likely change once Marriott rolls out peak pricing and the cost goes up. During the peak season, it's not uncommon for rooms to go for more than $948 per night! That gives your points a value of about 1.8 cents each -- far above the standard Marriott point value of 0.8 cents each. Stay for 5 nights and your cost is just 200,000 points with a value as high as 2.3 cents per point.
Who says a luxurious trip to Bali needs to cost a fortune? Sthala, part of the Tribute Portfolio Hotel brand from Marriott, is a luxury boutique property surrounded by Bali's dense forests and the Wos River. This riverside resort includes a spa, open-air restaurant, and balconies with views of the jungle, river, or pool.
As a category 3 hotel, you'll need just 25,000 points per night -- or 100,000 for a 5-night stay.
Planning a visit to Rome? Do it in style at the St. Regis Rome, an historic property that combines charm, history, and an ideal location. The St. Regis Rome has been fully renovated with updated style that retains the property's old-world splendor with a five-meter hand-blown glass chandelier over the indoor piazza and the famous Ritz Ballroom, Rome's first public ballroom with frescoes by Mario Spinetti.
The St. Regis Rome can range from €500 to €1,500 per night (that's $1,700 USD!) but there are some nights of the year when it costs up to $10,000 per night for a room. You can snag rooms at 85,000 points a night or 340,000 for a five-night stay. That's a bargain if you're staying during the peak season!
Want a Rome vacation without the extreme luxury and pomp of a St. Regis property? Stay with Sheraton for just 17,500 points per night instead.
The Sheraton Parco de' Medici Rome Hotel was very unique when it opened with vast parklands surrounding the property. This hotel still impresses with an idyllic setting and a wide variety of room types next to the Golf Club Parco de' Medici with the 27-course golf course.
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind stay at the St. Pierre, located among 400 acres of beautiful parklands in a 14th century manor home. St. Pierre offers two championship golf courses and a full-service spa -- the perfect retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
As a category 4 hotel, you'll need just 25,000 points per night at St. Pierre.
Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, one of the newest additions to the St. Regis brand and located in the Dhaalu Atoll, accessible only by seaplane for the ultimate seclusion. The St. Regis Maldives boasts seven restaurants, a luxury spa, and upscale amenities in addition to private terraces and white sand beaches.
Prices at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort frequently top $1,200 per night but can reach as high as $2,600. Book your stay for 85,000 points and get a great value -- and an unbelievable experience far from the real world.
Enjoy a taste of history in the heart of London at St. Ermin's Hotel. This property re-opened in 2011 after a £30 million renovation that shows off the property's personality and rich history. Nestled on a tree-lined courtyard in Westminster, this Victorian property is a former WWII spy base and it's just a short walk from Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace.
St. Ermin's Hotel offers a one-of-a-kind experience in one of London's most expensive districts for just 50,000 points per night.
Marriott has several Hawaiian properties ranging from category 4 to category 7. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is a category 5 property where night stays are just 35,000 points but cash prices can range from $300 to $1,000 per night.
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is located on the Kohala Coast on the white-sand Hapuna Beach, a region known for its lava fields. Hapuna Beach is frequently ranked as one of the world's best beaches with great snorkeling and hiking.
Al Maha is one of the most prized Marriott properties thanks to its all-inclusive meals and activities. While Al Maha temporarily stopped including these perks on award stays, this is no longer the case and this SPG legacy property now includes activities and meals no matter how you book your stay.
While Al Maha is in the highest category at 85,000 points per night, it still offers a great deal with a luxury suite along with activities and dining. Enjoy activities like falconry, wildlife safaris, camel trekking, and Archery along with sumptuous Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine at the Al Diwaan dining room where you can look over the dunes or enjoy your meal in your suite.
As a general rule, you get the best value for Marriott Bonvoy points when they are redeemed for award stays. Still, there are other options for using your Marriott points, including statement credits on Marriott on-property purchases and transfers to travel partners. Here's how to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points without booking a Marriott stay.
Did you know you can use Marriott points at Marriott aside for paying for free nights? A commonly overlooked redemption option is Instant Redemptions which can be used during Marriott stays at most properties for spa visits, golfing, room service, on-property restaurant meals, and more.
With Instant Redemption, anything you can charge to your room can be covered with points and you can make the request any time between check-in and check-out. Your Instant Redemption will be requested for a certain dollar amount which will be applied against folio charges.
Don't expect to get a good value on Instant Redemptions. You need to spend 2,500 points to offset $5 in spending, for example, or 59,000 points for a $200 statement credit.
One of the biggest benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy is its flexibility as you can transfer Marriott points to and from more than 44 airline partners. Half of these partners are unique to Marriott Bonvoy. For example, if you want to transfer points to American Airlines, Alaska, or Asiana, Marriott Bonvoy is the only option.
With most partners, the transfer ratio is 3 Marriott points to 1 mile with a 15,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 transferred Marriott points. That means transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points would get you 25,000 miles.
There are a handful of exceptions to the standard transfer rate:
JetBlue TrueBlue has a transfer ratio of 6 Marriot points to 1 mile.
Air New Zealant Airpoints has a transfer ratio of 6 Marriott points to 1 mile.
United MileagePlus offers a 10% bonus on transferred miles. 60,000 Marriott points would become 27,500, not 25,000.
View the full list of Marriott Bonvoy transfer partners here.
Before transferring Marriott points to a loyalty program, make sure you're getting a good value. Transferring points usually won't offer a value as high as redeeming for free Marriott stays -- but this isn't always true!
With 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you can transfer points for five short, one-way flights on United or a single economy one-way flight to Europe or even Asia.
You should also watch for Marriott offers on transfers. Sometimes Marriott offers transfer bonuses for select partners ranging from 25% to 50%. While Marriott isn't as competitive as Hilton with their transfer bonuses, this may change in the near future.
Want to get a good value for Marriott points when you don't want to use them for a Marriott stay or flight? Marriott Moments can be a good choice to enjoy unique experiences, adventures, fine dining, and more at your next destination.
Marriott Moments is similar to Hilton Honors Experiences as you can redeem your Marriott points for a huge variety of experiences or events including cultural experiences like city tours, museum tickets, or workshops; spa treatments; fine dining; sporting events; theme parks; and more.
To use Marriott Moments, choose a category then filter your search results by a location, data range, point range, and whether you want to buy the experience immediately or bid on it. To give you an idea of what you can get through Marriott Moments, here are some example redemption options:
If you choose an experience that involves bidding, you'll need to bid in 2,500-point increments but points won't be deducted unless you win.
Depending on the events or experiences you choose -- and how you value them as some can't be assigned an exact dollar value -- Marriott Moments can be a fun way to use your points for one-of-a-kind experiences and enjoy a good value.
What if you're not a frequent traveler and want some other way to use your Marriott points than travel rewards? With the Marriott shopping portal, you can use your points for tech, fashion, home decor, and more. The Marriott shopping portal includes popular items from top brands like HP Chromebooks, 23andMe ancestry tests, YETI tumblers, and iRobot Roomba vacuums. You can also use your points for gift cards.
As a general rule, redeeming your Marriott points for merchandise gives you a low value for your points.
For example, the iRobot Braava Jet 240 Mopping Robot costs 57,500 points in the Marriott shopping portal. You could buy the same model for $170. That gives your Marriott points a value of just 0.3 cents each compared to the standard value of 0.8 cents each.
Gift cards have a similar, poor value of 0.2 to 0.3 cents per point.
Do you find yourself with 300,000+ Marriott points? Want to book a long Marriott stay and get airline miles to pay for your airfare? Then this is the redemption option for you.
Marriott's Hotel & Air packages allows you to redeem points for a certificate for a 7-night stay at the hotel category of your choose with either 50,000 or 100,000 miles. Most of Marriott's transfer partners participate in the program although travel packages are not eligible for partner conversion bonuses. The only exception is United: packages with United MileagePlus miles offer a 10% bonus with 55,000 or 110,000 miles.
No matter which category you choose, you're looking at a lot of points. Before you think about redeeming points for a Hotel & Air package, make sure you know how many points you'd need for a standard 7-night redemption at the hotel category, but don't forget the 5th free night benefit.
With a Hotel & Air package, you're essentially redeeming the extra Marriott points for airline miles. This almost never makes sense.
There are a few other options for using your Marriott Bonvoy points, although these travel reward options generally don't offer the best value:
Now that you see the potential when you redeem Marriott points for free stays at the best Marriott hotels in the world, it's time to start earning the points you need for your first free award stay. Here's a brief overview of ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points but you can see the more in-depth guide to earning Marriott points here.
The primary way for earning Marriott Bonvoy points is through paid Marriott stays. When you stay at a participating Marriott Bonvoy property, you can earn:
These points can all be stacked on every Marriott stay.
There are four co-branded Marriott Bonvoy credit cards that earn bonus points on Marriott stays and other purchases.
Marriott Bonvoy credit cards earn up to 6x Marriott points on Marriott stays plus up to 3x points on other spending like restaurants and flights.
In addition to regular bonus points for spending, you can also qualify for sizeable welcome bonuses worth up to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or even more.
You can learn more about earning points with Marriott Bonvoy credit cards here.
Don't have a Marriott co-branded American Express credit card? You can still earn Marriott Bonvoy points with American Express Membership Rewards credit cards.
American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio --but you won't get a great value, even if there is a transfer bonus offer. Membership Rewards points are worth about 1.8 cents each and Marriott Bonvoy points are valued at 0.8 cents each. This may be worthwhile if you're redeeming Marriott points for a stay that will deliver a similar or better value, which is possible.
If you do transfer Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy, you can expect the transfer to take around 5 days.
If you have other American Express cards aside from Marriott Bonvoy cards, watch for Marriott offers through the Amex Offers program. Sometimes American Express offers targeted offers for spending at Marriott that can earn you bonus points or, more likely, cash back.
Don't have a Marriott co-branded Chase credit card? You can earn Marriott points with a Chase credit card that participates in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program as long as your card has an annual fee. Otherwise, you won't be able to transfer your points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio but, again, Ultimate Rewards points are valued at around 2 cents each compared to 0.8 cents each for Marriott points.
You can also watch for Marriott offers through Chase Offers, a program accessible through the Chase app that may have a targeted offer for cash back on Marriott spending.
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points outside of Marriott stays. Here are other options for earning Marriott points:
You'll typically get the best value when you use Marriott points to book Marriott free nights. To get the best value for your points, compare the room's cash price with the number of points needed and Cash + Points options. Whenever possible, use the 5th night free benefit to instantly get 20% more value for your points. You may also get a great value for your points -- but definitely not always -- when Marriotts points are transferred to a partner or redeemed through Marriott Moments.
As a general rule, Marriott points are worth 0.8 cents each. You can get a better value with some Marriott redemptions, Marriott Moments, and sometimes by transferring your points. Some redemption options come with a worse value.
As a general rule, yes, but there are some brands excluded from the program except as earning partners. You can't redeem points for stays at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Execustay, and Marriott Executive Apartments.
A standard reward redemption at Marriott costs 7,500 to 85,000 points, depending on the hotel category. With PointSavers, standard rates can be as low as 6,000 points. When off-peak and peak pricing is introduced, a free night will be as low as 4,000 to 5,000 points.
Yes! Marriott points can be used to upgrade an award stay or paid stay in 5,000-point increments.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to more than 40 loyalty programs or to other Marriott Bonvoy members. You can also pool Marriott Bonvoy points.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to airline miles at more than 40 airline partners, usually at a 3:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Keep your points from expiring by staying at Marriott, earning, or redeeming points.
There are four Marriott Bonvoy credit cards:
You can learn more about Marriott Bonvoy credit cards here.
Despite the confusion of the Marriott-SPG merger and some drawbacks to the Marriott Bonvoy program, it's still one of the best hotel rewards programs in the game with a massive global footprint that focuses on luxury properties in the most in-demand locations.
If you value earning free stays at luxurious hotels and resorts with the perks that come with elite status, Marriott Bonvoy may be the right hotel loyalty program for you.