Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Marriott’s rewards program, named “Marriott Bonvoy,” in my opinion offers better than average rewards for paid stays, a fair elite program, a huge selection of hotels that run from very low end to ultra-luxury, and credit cards that offer good value for their annual free nights but relatively poor value for credit card spend.  This post is designed to include everything you need to know.

This post has been modified since last publication with updated shortcuts to elite status, new points to airline transfer ratios for select airlines (United, AA, Delta, Avianca, Korean), a slight devaluation in using points towards Homes & Villas, and we’ve indicated the March 28th end of the Points Advance option.

Marriott Bonvoy overview

Bonvoy shares traits that are common to most hotel rewards programs:

  • Earn points from paid stays (but not when stays are booked through online travel agencies such as Expedia).
  • Use points to book free night awards.
  • Those who spend many nights at Marriott hotels booked either as free nights or paid stays (but not those booked through online travel agencies) earn elite status.
  • Elite status levels range from Silver to top-tier Ambassador.  The higher your status, the more perks you get.
  • Branded credit cards can be used to earn points and to help earn elite status.

Bonvoy also has a few traits that are unique:

  • Ability to transfer points to airline miles at a reasonable rate (not a great rate, but reasonable).
  • Marriott’s partnership with United Airlines means that high tier Marriott elites can get free United elite status, and vice-versa
  • Marriott allows many of their hotels to be exempt from offering certain elite benefits. This can be extremely frustrating for those expecting free breakfast or other perks.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit cards

Credit Card Eligibility

Below is a chart to help determine if you are eligible for particular Bonvoy credit cards.  For more precise information, please see this post: Are you eligible for a new Marriott card?

Credit Card Details

Below you’ll find information about each currently available Marriott card:

Card Offer and Details
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

125K Points
125K points after $5K of eligible purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 5/3/2023)

$125 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 100K points after $4K spend in the first 3 months [Expired 11/2/22]

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: 6x at Marriott Bonvoy properties ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. suppliers and on U.S. purchases for shipping ⚬ 2x on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)

Big spend bonus: Earn an additional free night (good for one night at a redemption level at or under 35K points, subject to resort fees) after you spend $60K on purchases in a calendar year

Noteworthy perks: Complimentary Marriott Gold elite status ⚬ 7% discount off the standard rate for a standard room at participating hotels when you book direct (Terms and Conditions apply) ⚬ 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month for a one-night redemption level at or under 35K points (subject to resort fees) ⚬ Complimentary premium Internet access at Marriott properties ⚬ Terms Apply (Rates & Fees)

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Card Type: Visa Signature

Earning rate: ⚬ 6X Marriott Bonvoy ⚬ 3X gas stations, grocery stores, and dining on up to $6K in combined purchases each year ⚬ 2X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: Earn Gold status when you spend $35K each year ⚬ 1 Elite Night Credit towards elite status for every $5K spent

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Annual free night certificate for 1 night at a hotel redemption level up to 35K ⚬ Automatic Silver status ⚬ 15 nights of elite credit each year ⚬ 1 Elite Night Credit for every $5K spent

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card

125K Points
125K points after $4K spend in 3 months

$250 Annual Fee

Card Type: Visa Signature

Earning rate: 6X Marriott.⚬ 4X restaurants & grocery on up to $15K spend per year ⚬ 2X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: One 50K Free Night Award after $15K calendar year spend.

Noteworthy perks: 15 night credit towards elite status every year upon account anniversary ⚬ 1,000 bonus points with each qualifying stay ⚬ Gold elite status

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

60K points
60K points after $2K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: The best use for this card is probably to downgrade from the Ritz or Boundless card to avoid the annual fee. That way, you can always upgrade again when you need the annual free night or other perks

Card Type: Visa Signature

Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Marriott Bonvoy ⚬ 2X travel ⚬ 1X everywhere else

Noteworthy perks: Automatic Silver status ⚬ 15 nights of elite credit each year

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card

85K Points
85K points after $4K spend in 3 months

$250 Annual Fee

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: 6X Marriott.⚬ 4X restaurants & U.S. Supermarkets on up to $15K spend per year ⚬ 2X on all other eligible purchases

Big spend bonus: One 50K Free Night Award after $15K calendar year spend.

Noteworthy perks: 15 night credit towards elite status every year upon account anniversary ⚬ 1,000 bonus points with each qualifying stay ⚬ Gold elite status

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Recent better offer: 150K after $5K spend in 3 months [Expired 1/12/23]

FM Mini Review: Decent ultra-premium option for Marriott fans, especially those aiming for lifetime status tiers

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: 3X airfare charged by airline; 3X US restaurants, 6X Marriott; 2X on all other eligible purchases

Big spend bonus: Annual Choice Award with $60K calendar year spend

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ 85K Free Night Award each year upon renewal ⚬ $300 dining credit per membership year ($25/mo) ⚬ Platinum Elite status ⚬ 25 elite nights credit ⚬ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests ⚬ Global Entry fee credit ⚬ Free premium internet at Marriott properties Note: Enrollment required for some benefits.

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Dynamic Award Pricing

Marriott used to have an award chart that determined the point price of each hotel, but in March 2022 they jettisoned their charts and now price awards dynamically.  Award prices now are influenced by cash rates.  Higher priced stays are likely to cost more in points.

Award pricing things to know:

  • The primary award price is for standard rooms (each hotel defines “standard” differently).  Higher level rooms may show up in award searches, but either at a higher award price (the details will state that it is a points upgrade) or with a required cash co-pay for the upgrade.
  • You can customize a mix of paid nights with award nights and free night certificates in a single reservation. See this post or this video for more information.
  • For every 5 nights booked with points (but not free night certificates), you’ll get the cheapest night free.  People often refer to this as “Fifth Night Free,” (because it used to work that way) but it is officially known as “Stay for 5, Pay for 4.”
  • Homes & Villas by Marriott: Vacation rental properties can be booked with points at a fixed rate of 0.6 cents per point.  Stay for 5, Pay for 4 awards do not apply to Homes & Villas.

5th Night Free Awards (“Stay for 5, Pay for 4”)

Awards booked with points for 5 nights or longer are automatically priced with the cheapest night free.  For example, suppose you are looking to use points to book a five night stay that costs 40K for the first night, 32K for the second night and 45K for each of the remaining nights.  In that case, you wouldn’t pay for the 32K night (since that’s the cheapest) and would only pay 40K + 45K x 3 =   175,000 points for the stay.

This works with longer bookings too.  For example, with a 10 night stay, you wouldn’t have to pay for the two cheapest nights.  In some cases with 10+ night stays, you can save points by booking multiple reservations.  See this post for details.

It is possible to mix cash nights or free night certificate nights with a Stay for 5, Pay for 4 award, but only if you have at least 5 points nights in your stay.  For example, you can book a 7 night stay where you pay with cash for one night (ideally the cheapest night of the stay) and pay with a free night certificate for another night. That would leave 5 points-nights (which do not have to be contiguous) and so the cheapest point-night would be removed from the price.

Points Advance (ending March 28th)

As of March 28, 2023, the Points Advance feature will no longer be available. All existing Points Advance bookings will be honored under the current terms.

If you don’t have enough points in your account to book an award, you can still book the award via Marriott’s Points Advance feature. Points Advance includes the following limitations:

  • You can have a maximum of 3 Points Advance reservations at once.
  • Points Advance award pricing is based on the award rate at the time you apply your points rather than the rate at the time you booked the award.  Marriott describes this as locking in the room not the rate.
  • You must book 30 days or more before your arrival date in order to use Points Advance.
  • Points Advance reservations are held for 60 days from the time of booking, or no later than 14 days prior to your arrival date, whichever is sooner.

When you find an award stay online, here’s how to invoke Points Advance:

Automatic Points Advance

When you select a room to book and you don’t have enough points in your account (and/or you don’t have enough free night certificates), Marriott will default to Points Advance as long as the stay is 30 days away, or longer.  They’ll also offer you the option to buy the required points (usually at a rate of 1.25 cents per point) so that you can lock in the award price right away.  Buying points usually only makes sense if the award price is particularly low compared to the cash rate.

Here’s what you’ll see on the check-out screen when you don’t have enough points in your account:

Optional Points Advance

Marriott used to allow you to choose Points Advance even if you have enough points in your account.  Unfortunately, that’s no longer allowed.  One work-around is to make another award booking first in order to drain your points and then cancel that separate booking once you’ve secured the Points Advance booking.  Just make sure that the separate booking allows for free cancellations!

Securing your Points Advance reservation

Once you have enough points for your stay, you can log into your account and “View/Modify” your stay details and “Deduct your points now”.

If you don’t apply your points within 60 days from booking or 14 days of your stay, you may lose the reservation.

Free Night Award Certificates

Marriott issues Free Night Award Certificates (hereafter referred to as “free night certs”) as credit card perks, as a 75 night Choice Benefit selection, and as promotional awards (e.g. they’ll sometimes have a targeted promotion that offers a free night cert after 1 or 2 paid nights).

Free Night Award Certificate Point Value

Each free night cert has a maximum point value.  For example, a 35K free night cert can be used to pay for a hotel night that costs 35,000 points or less.  If you use the certificate for a cheaper stay, there is no residual value to the certificate.

To date, I’m aware of free night certs with max values of 25K, 35K, 40K, 50K, and 85K:

Point Top-Offs (Up to 15K)

If a hotel costs more points than the max value of your free night certificate, it is possible to add up to 15,000 points to book your stay.  For example, suppose you want to book a hotel that costs 57,000 points but your certificate is worth only up to 50,000 points.  In that case, when you click on a room to book, the Marriott website will automatically see that you have a certificate that is within 15,000 points and give you the choice to book the room with the cert/point combo or with points alone.

No Prepaid Upgrades

Free night certs (with or without Top-Ups) do not work on rooms that include a cash or points upgrade.  In the image above, I show an overwater villa at Le Meridien Maldives which is available as a Redemption with Cash Upgrade ($50 + 50,000 points) or as a Redemption with Points Upgrade (10,000 + 50,000 points).  In either case, you cannot use a certificate to pay any part of the points component of the stay.

Elite status

Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel Junior Suite.  Thanks to my Platinum status at the time, I was upgraded at check-in to this suite from a base level room booked with a free night certificate.

Marriott Bonvoy Member Status Benefits

  • Requires 0-9 nights per year
  • Complimentary in-room internet access
  • Member rates
  • Mobile check-in/services

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status Benefits

  • Requires 10-24 nights per year
  • Same benefits as Member status, plus:
  • Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
  • 10% points bonus
  • Late checkout

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status Benefits

  • Requires 25-49 nights per year
  • Same benefits as Silver elite status, plus:
  • Complimentary enhanced internet
  • 25% points bonus
  • 2pm late checkout
  • In hotel welcome gift
  • Enhanced room upgrade based on availability

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status Benefits

Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite Status Benefits

  • Requires 75-99 nights per year
  • Same benefits as Platinum elite status, plus:
  • 75% points bonus
  • Second Annual Choice Benefit (different selection of benefits to those offered with Platinum status – see Choice Benefits here)
  • 48 hour guarantee

Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite Status Benefits

  • Requires 100+ nights per year plus $20,000 in annual qualifying spend
  • Same benefits as Titanium elite status, plus:
  • Ambassador service
  • Your24 (permits an eligible Member to request a specific check-in time for any upcoming stay at any Participating Property. If the requested check-in time is confirmed, the check-out time will be set for the same time on the day of departure)

Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Elite Status

Lifetime Silver Elite

  • Requires 250 lifetime nights + 5 years of elite status

Lifetime Gold Elite

  • Requires 400 lifetime nights + 7 years of Gold elite status or higher

Lifetime Platinum Elite

  • Requires 600 lifetime nights + 10 years of Platinum elite status or higher

Elite status things to know:

  • Lifetime Platinum status does not include Choice Benefits.  You must earn 50 elite nights within a calendar year to receive Choice Benefits.
  • Elite nights are earned with either cash or award stays.  When booking a four night award, it makes sense to book 5 nights instead (thanks to 5th Night Free pricing) just so that you can get an extra elite night. Make sure not to check out after the fourth night.
  • Elite nights are not earned with online travel agency bookings.  For example, if you book through Expedia, you will not earn elite night credit (or points) for your stay.  You also might not receive elite benefits during your stay, but some hotels have been known to offer them anyway as long as you add your Bonvoy membership number to the reservation.
  • Via Marriott’s partnership with United Airlines, RewardsPlus, high level Marriott elites can get United elite status, and high level United elite members can get free Marriott elite status.
  • In addition to actual stays, elite nights can also be earned from credit cards, timeshares, and more (jump to shortcuts to elite status for more info)
  • Inconsistent benefits.  Marriott does a spectacularly poor job of enforcing consistent benefits across their hotels.
  • Guaranteed benefits. Elite members may collect points or cash compensation when certain elite benefits are not met.  See this post for details.
  • Missing stay: If a stay was not properly credited to your account, you can fill out a missing stay request online:
  • If you book multiple rooms for the same dates, you’ll earn elite night credits for only one room.  That said, you will earn points from up to three rooms.

Elite perks: What and where?

There is a great deal of inconsistency in the delivery of perks across Marriott hotels:

Free Breakfast / Lounge Access

The following chart shows my current understanding of the specific breakfast benefit to expect at each brand:

* In the U.S. and Canada, when the lounge is closed, you are entitled to continental breakfast for you plus one guest.  In Europe, there is no “continental” restriction.  It’s unclear what happens outside of the U.S., Canada, and Europe when the lounge is closed.  

Choice benefits (including Suite Night Awards)

If you have completed 50 nights at Marriott hotels through the calendar year, then you are eligible to pick a “Choice Benefit”.  A second Choice Benefit is available for those who complete 75 nights.  Here’s the website for selecting your benefit:

Note that if you acquired Platinum status or higher through a status challenge, credit card spend, lifetime status, etc., you won’t get to pick a Choice Benefit unless you also complete 50 nights within a calendar year.

Selection Deadline: Mid January

If you don’t make a choice by mid-January, you’ll get the “5 Suite Night Awards” choice automatically.

50 Night Choices

  • 5 Elite Night Credits: These add to your prior year total if you wait until January to make your selection. In other words, the only good reason to select this choice is to get to the next level of status (75 night or 100 night, but 100 night status also requires $20K Marriott spend). For example, if you earn 70 elite nights in 2022, this selection would bring you to 75 nights and you’d get Titanium status plus another Choice Benefit. Unless you are trying to earn lifetime status, there’s no other reason that I can think of to make this choice.
  • 5 Suite Night Awards: Each Suite Night Award is a one-night confirmable upgrade to a standard suite or select premium room, depending on the hotel’s availability of those rooms. The number of Suite Night Awards used must match the entire length of stay; it cannot be used for part of a stay (e.g., the first two nights of a five-night stay). Once Suite Night Awards are requested to be applied to a stay, Marriott will begin checking upgrade availability 5 days in advance of your stay, up until 2pm on the day of your arrival. If your Suite Night Award request doesn’t clear, you’ll get the awards back to be used later.  Note that many Marriott hotels do not accept Suite Night Awards so these can be frustratingly difficult to use.
  • Gift Silver Elite Status
  • $100 Charity Donation: Make a $100 (USD) donation to UNICEF.
  • 40% off a Marriott bed: Get 40% off retail prices for Westin Heavenly Beds, St. Regis beds, etc.

75 Night Choices

  • 1 Free Night Award (Up to 40K Points): Certificate is valid through December 31st of the year after the elite nights were earned. For example, by picking this Choice Benefit based on having earned 75 elite nights in 2022, the certificate will be valid through the end of 2023.
  • Gift Gold Elite Status
  • The rest of the 75 night choices are the same as the 50 night choices:
    • 5 Elite Night Credits
    • 5 Suite Night Awards
    • $100 Charity Donation
    • 40% off a Marriott bed

See also: Marriott Choice Benefit Valuations. Which to pick?

Elite benefits guarantee

Some elite benefits are backed up with guarantees.  If these benefits are not fulfilled, you may be entitled to compensation in the form of points, cash back, or both:

Silver Elite (and higher):

  • Ultimate Reservation Guarantee: “If for some reason we’re unable to honor your reservation, we’ll pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience. To be eligible, you must provide your member number when making a reservation. Compensation varies by hotel brand.”

Platinum Elite (and higher):

  • Guaranteed Platinum Elite/Titanium Elite Welcome Gift: “Check out this when you check in: As a Platinum or Titanium Elite member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at participating hotels, with a choice of an amenity gift or points. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”
  • Guaranteed Room Type: “When making a reservation, be sure to note your Member number and room/bed preferences. We’ll always honor your bed type request at our locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Everywhere else, smoking/non-smoking preferences are honored based on availability; exact bed sizes may vary, and only Titanium Elite members will have guaranteed priority for their requested type of bed and room. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”
  • Guaranteed Lounge Access: “Access to lounge for member plus one guest. This benefit only applies to the guest room that the Platinum Elite/Titanium Elite member is staying in.”

Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite:

  • 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability:  “Traveling on short notice? We guarantee you’ll always have a room for any paid stay. Just make your reservation 48 hours before arrival at any of our participating hotels, excluding Resorts, Marriott Vacation Club, participating Vistana properties, and Design Hotels.  48-Hour Guaranteed Availability: Limited to Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Member’s personal guest room. Guaranteed room availability for reservations booked at least 48 hours prior to arrival. 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability may not be available on certain limited dates (e.g., special events). Benefit cannot be used in conjunction with award usage or any type of promotional or discounted rates. For Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites, 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability applies to studio rooms only.”Greg’s explanation: If you want to stay at a particular Marriott hotel, but it is sold out for your desired stay, they’ll let you book the stay anyway, but at standard rack rates.  This benefit doesn’t include compensation if it is not met.

More details about Marriott’s elite benefit guarantees can be found here.

Shortcuts to elite status

There are two types of shortcuts to elite status.  One type of shortcut offers a way to get elite nights more quickly or easily.  Elite night shortcuts are stackable.  That is, you can mix and match these shortcuts in order to earn whatever level of status you want.  Plus, the elite night shortcuts will qualify you for Choice Benefits when you reach 50 nights and again at 75 nights.  They’ll also get you closer to lifetime elite status. The all-at-once shortcuts are not stackable and do not help you earn Choice Benefits.

Elite Night Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are stackable.  You can earn elite nights from one or more of these options in order to add them up to reach the level of status you are shooting for (e.g. 50 nights for Platinum status, 75 nights for Titanium).

  1. Credit Card elite nights.  This is by far the simplest option. Most Marriott credit cards (as well as the Ritz card) offer 15 elite nights per year simply by being a card member.  The Bonvoy Brilliant card, though, offers 25 elite nights.  You can find a complete list of cards here.
  2. Stack consumer + business card nights. Having more than 1 consumer Marriott card or more than one business card won’t give you more elite nights.  That said, you can stack elite nights by holding both a personal Marriott card and a business Marriott card.  Since most Marriott cards offer 15 elite nights, having a combination of one consumer and one business card will give you an automatic 30 elite nights each year.  Better yet, if you have the Bonvoy Brilliant card, which offers 25 elite nights per year, you’ll net 40 elite nights each year automatically.
  3. 1 Elite Night Per $3K Spend.  Three legacy Marriott cards offer 1 elite night per $3K spend.  Of the three legacy cards that have this feature, readers are most likely to have the Chase Bonvoy Premier Credit Card, but only if they turned down upgrade offers to the Plus version of this card.  Unfortunately each of the cards that offer this feature only give cardholders 1 point per dollar spent (except in certain categories of spend), whereas all other Marriott cards offer a minimum of 2 points per dollar.  This means that this spend is costly in that you lose the ability to earn more points for your spend.
  4. Book award nights.  Award stays count towards elite status.
  5. Book Stay for 5, Pay for 4 Awards (even if staying 4 nights).  For example, if you can find a Marriott that is priced at 5,000 points per night, you can book 5 nights for a total of 20,000 points.  After your stay, you’ll receive 5 elite nights.  Note that you do have to check into the hotel to get credit.  If you don’t plan to stay all 5 nights, I recommend that you discuss your plan with the hotel manager since they may check you out early if they see that you’re not there.
  6. Book Marriott Homes & Villas paid stays.  Homes & Villas are rental properties that are bookable through Marriott.  While they sometimes charge much more through Marriott than through other channels, that’s not always the case.  For details, see: Marriott Homes & Villas. A great path to elite status?
  7. Choice Benefit: 5 Elite Night Credits.  This is a weird one.  You won’t have access to this Choice Benefit until you’ve earned 50 elite nights, and the 5 elite nights can only be applied to the same calendar year in which you earned the Choice Benefit selection.  Therefore, the only good uses for this option are to help you get to Titanium Elite or Ambassador Elite status, or to increase your lifetime elite night count.  Learn more about Choice Benefits here.

Once you earn elite status this year, your status will be good for the rest of this year, all of the next, and through February of the year after that.

Advantages to elite night shortcuts (as opposed to “other shortcuts” below):

All-At-Once Shortcuts

The following shortcuts will get you to a specific elite level, but you can’t stack them with elite nights to get higher status and you will not earn Choice Benefits:

  1. Credit card Platinum Elite status.  The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers automatic Marriott Platinum Elite status.
  2. Credit card Gold status.  The Bonvoy Business American Express Card, Bonvoy Bountiful, Bonvoy Bevy, and the Ritz-Carlton Card (no longer available to new applicants) offer automatic Marriott Gold status.  Similarly Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards offer free Gold status (you must enroll).
  3. Spend $75K for Platinum. The Ritz-Carlton Card (no longer available to new applicants) offers Platinum Elite status with $75K spend within a calendar year.
  4. Marriott Platinum Elite Challenge.  Earn Platinum status by completing 16 paid nights at Marriott properties within 90 days of enrolling in the challenge.  Award nights do not count.  Call Marriott Bonvoy to ask if this or a similar challenge is available.  If so, enroll via phone.  You cannot enroll in the Platinum challenge if you already have Platinum status or higher.
  5. Timeshare Ownership: Marriott Vacation Club and Vistana are timeshare ownership programs affiliated with Marriott, and each offers elite status under certain conditions.
  6. United MileagePlus Premier Gold or higher status: Via RewardsPlus, United elite’s with Gold status or higher get Marriott Gold.

Disadvantages to all-at-once shortcuts:

  • Earning one level of status doesn’t help you get to the next. For example, if your Amex Platinum credit card gives you Gold status, you’re just as far from earning Platinum status as someone with no status at all.
  • You won’t earn Choice Benefits.
  • You won’t make progress towards lifetime status elite nights (but you will add lifetime elite years).

Point earnings from stays

The chart above shows point earnings for stays.  The middle column shows the number of points earned per dollar at most brands.  The next column shows the points earned per dollar at long-stay brands that don’t follow the same formula: Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Homes & Villas by Marriott, and Element.

Points are not earned with online travel agency bookings.  For example, if you book through Expedia, you will not earn points for your room charge.  You also might not receive elite benefits during your stay, but some hotels have been known to offer them anyway as long as you add your Bonvoy membership number to the reservation.

You can earn points on up to three rooms at once.  If you book two or three rooms under the same Marriott account number, you’ll earn points on all of the rooms but you’ll earn elite night credits for only one room.

Homes & Villas by Marriott

Marriott has partnered with select vacation home property management companies to provide access to premium & luxury vacation homes around the world.  You can search and book homes on their Homes & Villas website:

Basic Info:

  • Vacation rentals can be booked with points.  Point prices are pegged at 0.57 cents per point value.  For example, a $1000 stay would cost 17,544 Marriott Bonvoy points.  That’s not a good value for your points, in my opinion.  Also note that Stay for 5 Pay for 4 Awards do not apply.  Also note: When Homes & Villas first debuted, points were worth 0.7 cents each towards stays. Later, the value dropped to 0.6 and now to 0.57.
  • You can earn points on paid rentals.  The base earning rate is 5 points per dollar plus bonuses for elite status.
  • It is important to compare prices.  Often the same rental property can be found on other sites like Vacasa, VRBO, Airbnb, etc.  Sometimes Marriott Homes & Villas charges significantly more for the same property and dates, but that’s not always the case.  See this post for details.

Point transfers to Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards on a 1,000:1,000 basis. Amex sometimes offers a bonus when transferring points to Marriott; usually from 30%-40%, but a targeted offer has gone as high as 50%.

Point transfers to airline miles

Marriott Bonvoy points are transferable to a huge selection of airline partners.  In most cases the transfer ratio is 3 Marriott rewards points to 1 airline mile.  However, with most programs, if you transfer 60,000 points, you’ll get 25,000 miles instead of 20,000.  That makes the transfer ratio 3 to 1.25.  Additionally, when you transfer 60,000 points to United Airlines miles, you get a 10K bonus.  60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points convert into 30,000 United miles (a 2 to 1 transfer ratio).

–> Link to Marriott’s point transfer page <–

Below you’ll find a complete list of Marriott transfer partners as well as quick tips for best uses.

Tips for transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to airline miles

Transfer in 60K increments, up to 240K per day: When transferring points to airline programs, you’ll usually get the most value by transferring multiples of 60,000 points.  When you transfer 60,000 points, Marriott automatically kicks in an additional 5,000 miles with most airline programs.  For example, 60,000 points transferred to Alaska Airlines becomes 20,000 +  5,000 = 25,000 Alaska miles.  By transferring in this way, you get a 3 to 1.25 transfer ratio to airline programs.  With United, the bonus is better: 60,000 points transfer to 30,000 United miles.  You are limited to 240K points in transfers per day (which typically equals 100K miles), so if you want to transfer more you should spread out your transfers over multiple days.

Exceptions to the 60K rule: Marriott no longer offers bonus points for transferring 60,000 points to the following airlines: American Airlines AAdvantage, Avianca LifeMiles, Delta SkyMiles and Korean Air SKYPASS.  For each of these, the transfer ratio is fixed simply at 3 to 1 (3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to 1,000 airline miles).

Don’t transfer yet: Don’t transfer points until high value awards are available and you are ready to book them.  Transfers are one-way only.  Marriott Bonvoy points are valuable for their flexibility and for hotel stays. Once you transfer, you are locked into a single program that may or may not have awards available.

Don’t forget that rewards points can be valuable when used directly: Marriott offers many ways to use rewards points: Free night awards, Cash & Points awards, 5th night free awards, experiences, etc.

Use rewards points to exactly top off an account: Most other transferable points programs require transfers in 1,000 point chunks.  This can make it difficult to exactly top off an account when you need an odd number of miles. Marriott lets you transfer exact mile amounts over 1,000.  For example, if you need 1,001 airline miles, you can get exactly that by transferring 3,003 points.

Watch for hotel to airline transfer bonuses:  Airlines occasionally offer bonuses when you transfer points from hotel programs.  Since Marriott is a hotel program it often qualifies.  Be careful, though: some promotions specifically call out Marriott transfers as being ineligible.

Current transfer bonuses

If there are any current transfer bonuses from Marriott, details will appear here:

Best Marriott airline transfer partners

The following airline transfer partners represent the best potential value in my opinion:

Useful Marriott airline transfer partners

The following airline transfer partners can offer great value under certain circumstances:

Additional Marriott airline transfer partners

Indirect transfer partners

In some cases it is possible to transfer to an airline or hotel program in order to then transfer from that program to another program. In most cases this is a bad deal, but it’s cool to think about the possibilities.

Manage points

Share points with others

Marriott allows program members to move their points to another person’s account.  Here are the basic details:

  • You must call to share your points
  • Limit: you can share at most 100,000 points per calendar year (but you can receive up to 500,000 points per year if multiple people share points with you)
  • Cost: Free

How to keep points alive

Points expire after 24 months of inactivity.  Fortunately, almost all points activity will reset the clock.  Points remain alive and available as long as you earn or use points at least once every 24 months.

Note the following activities which do not reset the 24 month clock:

  • Gifting or transferring Points; however, converting Points to Miles or Miles to Points does count toward maintaining an active status;
  • Receiving Points as a gift or transfer; or
  • Earning Points through social media programs

United partnership (RewardsPlus)

Marriott’s partnership with United Airlines is named RewardsPlus.  RewardsPlus offers benefits to United and Marriott Bonvoy members who sign up here:  RewardsPlus offers the following benefits:

  • 10K more miles (convert points to miles): When you convert 60,000 Marriott points to United miles, you get extra miles.  With most programs, converting 60,000 points gets you 2,000 miles plus a 5,000 mile bonus, but with United you get a 10,000 mile bonus.  This results in a 2 to 1 conversion ratio: 60,000 Marriott points become 30,000 United miles.
  • One to one miles to points: RewardsPlus members may convert United MileagePlus miles to Marriott points at a 1 to 1 ratio.  This is rarely a good idea in my opinion.
  • United MileagePlus Premier Silver status (Marriott Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members only): United Silver status offers free economy plus seats at check-in, free domestic first class upgrade on day of departure when available, one free checked bag, etc.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (for those with MileagePlus Premier Gold or higher status): Marriott Gold status offers 2pm late checkout, 25% point bonus, welcome gift (points only), room upgrade when available, enhanced internet.

Marriott Bonvoy Moments

In addition to redeeming points for award nights or for airline miles, it is also possible to redeem points for experiences. These include things like backstage concert tickets, impossible to get sports event tickets, dining with famous chefs, etc.  Some experiences have fixed award prices, but most are setup as auctions.  In either case, you may or may not get good value depending upon circumstances.

Marriott Bonvoy Moments (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range
  • Fixed Price & Auction
  • When to start looking: Events start to appear ~3 months in advance. 2 months seems to be the sweet spot.

Bonvoy pros & cons

Pros (where Marriott Bonvoy is better than average):

Cons (where Marriott Bonvoy is worse than average):

  • Marriott charges resort fees on award stays (Hilton, Hyatt, and Wyndham do not)
  • Elite benefits are extremely inconsistent from brand to brand and even from hotel to hotel within a brand.
  • Marriott phone representatives are poorly trained in the complexities of the rewards program. As a result, they often give incorrect information over the phone.
  • Marriott credit cards don’t offer great value for spend, but can be worth keeping for their annual free nights.

Q & A (Questions and Answers)

Q: I originally booked a stay with points but now I want to apply a free night certificate and the point price has increased. Is there a way to apply the certificate based on the original point price?

No. When you edit your stay to use a free night certificate, the stay will re-price based on current award prices.

Q: Can I get the Stay for 5, Pay for 4 benefit if I pay for some of the 5 nights with cash or free night certificates?

A: No.  To get this benefit, you must book at least 5 nights with points.  If you have a longer stay, though, you can include cash or certificate nights (or both) as long as you still have at least 5 nights paid with points.

Q: Can I book an award stay if I don’t yet have enough points?

A: Unfortunately Marriott has discontinued their Points Advance benefit as of March 28 2023.  Marriott will offer to sell you the required points at check-out, but that’s rarely a good deal.

Q: I completed a stay but it hasn’t credited to my account. What can I do?

A: First, wait a bit.  Marriott properties vary tremendously with how quickly stays are credited to accounts.  It’s not unusual for a stay to appear on your account about a week after checkout.  Next, if the stay still hasn’t appeared, you can fill out a missing stay request online:

Q: If I book multiple rooms for the same stay will I earn rewards on all of them?

A: You will earn points for up to three rooms, but you’ll earn elite night credit for only one room.

Want to learn more about miles and points?
Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

Source link

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Accor ALL South America Up To 25% Off Flash Sale For Stays April 1 – July 31, 2023 (Book By March 17)

Review: Hilton Buenos Aires Hotel in Puerto Madero