If someone were to say “travel rewards,” your first thought might be airline miles or credit card points. Just as importantly, though, major hotel companies field their own loyalty programs with points you can earn and redeem for stays at great properties around the world.
Not only that, but you can often boost your earnings with co-branded credit cards, convert hotel points into airline miles, and even redeem points toward unique experiences like sold-out concerts or private dinners with celebrity chefs.
Related: Turns Out We’ve All Been Pronouncing ‘Marriott’ Wrong This Whole Time
Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty program of the world’s biggest hotel company, with over 6,900 properties across the globe. Here’s how to make the most of it.
What is Marriott Bonvoy?
After acquiring Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September 2016, Marriott combined its own Marriott Rewards loyalty program with Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. The new Marriott Bonvoy program launched in February 2019.
Marriott now comprises 30 brands including distinct flagships like The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis on the luxury side, JW Marriott and Westin in the middle of the range, and MOXY and Element toward the budget end of the spectrum. There are also brands you might not have heard of, such as Protea Hotels and the Tribute Portfolio. While this might seem confusing at first glance, it just means more opportunities to earn and redeem Marriott points.
How to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points
Of course, the most obvious way to earn hotel points is to stay at hotels. Marriott Bonvoy members earn 10 points per dollar spent on eligible hotel charges (usually what’s on your final bill minus taxes), except at Element, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites hotels, where they earn five points per dollar. Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay guests earn 2.5 points per dollar.
Bonvoy members can earn even more points by signing up for one of Marriott’s new co-branded credit cards. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase currently offers a 75,000-point sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 within three months, and earns six points per dollar on Marriott purchases, and two points per dollar on everything else. Cardholders receive a free night after the first year, at a redemption value up to 35,000 points. There is a $95 fee per year.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express also currently has a sign-up bonus of 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months and earns six points per dollar at Marriott hotels, three points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on airfare booked directly with airlines, and two points per dollar on all other purchases. It does have a $450 annual fee, but comes with benefits like a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement worth up to $100, an annual free night at hotels where awards cost 50,000 points or less, up to $300 in statement credits per year on Marriott purchases, and access to Priority Pass airport lounges.
Marriott and Chase also just launched the new Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit cardwith no annual fee. Its sign-up bonus is usually around 50,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. The card earns three points per dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, two points per dollar spent on other travel purchases, and one on everything else. Cardholders also enjoy automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver elite status.
If you stay at Marriott properties, those earning bonuses can really add up, as can the points-earning opportunities on everyday purchases. As a last resort, you might also consider buying points, which normally costs $12.50 per 1,000.
How to Redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points
Members can redeem their points a number of different ways. The most obvious is by booking award nights at hotels. Marriott Bonvoy has an award chart with properties grouped into eight categories. The redemption rates are in flux at the moment as the program prepares to introduce off-peak and peak award pricing. Once it does, though, free nights will range from 4,000 to 100,000 points each depending on the category into which a hotel falls.
For instance, an award night at the Category 1 Four Points by Sheraton Little Rock Midtown is currently 7,500 points (instead of $126), while a night at the stunning Category 8 St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is 85,000 points (instead of $2,089). When you redeem for stays of five consecutive nights, the fifth night is free, which is a handy 20-percent discount. Members can also use points to upgrade to better rooms or suites, or to pay for on-property expenses like a restaurant charge or a round of golf.
Marriott Bonvoy offers Cash + Points awards as well, where you can save some points by booking a night with a higher cash co-pay. These rates are also going to change with peak and off-peak pricing, but will range from 2,500 points plus $50 at Category 1 hotels through 50,000 points plus $635 at Category 8 properties.
Finally, Marriott fields so-called Hotel + Air packages which let members redeem a pile of points for seven-night stays and tens of thousands of airline miles in one fell swoop. To end up with seven award nights and 55,000 airline miles, you’ll need to redeem 255,000-675,000 points, depending on the hotel category.
Aside from hotel stays, members can redeem their points for Marriott Bonvoy Moments, which are one-off experiences like hanging out with Billie Eilish at the Marriott Bonvoy Lounge at Coachella (177,500 points), or attending Day One of the 2019 NFL Draft (300,000 points).
You could also redeem points for gift cards at a variety of merchants like Best Buy or Bloomingdale’s, but the value you get for your points is much less.
Read more: https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-marriott-bonvoy-points