How to get the most out of Marriott Bonvoy™ rewards points

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The Marriott Bonvoy™ loyalty program offers plenty of perks for travelers who enjoy staying at Marriott hotels.

The hotel rewards program could help you score free nights and enjoy a more comfortable experience. We’ll show you how to make the most of your Marriott points.



How to earn Marriott points

How many points do you get for a Marriott stay?

Staying at Marriott hotels is the simplest way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.

As a Marriott Bonvoy member, you’ll earn between 10 points and 17.5 points for every $1 of eligible spending at participating Marriott hotels. The higher your status, the more points you’ll get.

On top of this, you could earn even more points by pairing your hotel stay with one of these Marriott credit cards:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Best for budget travelers

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card could help you earn free nights with no annual fee.

You’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases during the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll earn …

  • 3 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent on other travel purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

With the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card, you’ll automatically qualify for Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, which could help you earn another 11 points per $1 on Marriott stays.

While the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card doesn’t come with a Free Night Award like some of the other cards on this list, you can use the points you earn to book free nights.

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Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Best for occasional travelers

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card could help you pay for your next vacation.

You’ll earn three free nights (valued at up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases during the first three months from account opening. You’ll also earn 10 points per $1 spent on qualifying purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants within your first six months after your account opens, or until you reach $2,500 in combined purchases in those categories.

Plus, you’ll earn …

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2 points per $1spent on all other eligible purchases

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card also comes with automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, which means you’ll get another 11 points per $1 on Marriott stays.

The card also offers a Free Night Award each year after your account anniversary to help offset the $95 annual fee.

From our partner

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

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From cardholders in the last year

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Best for luxury travelers

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card could make your hotel experience more rewarding.

You’ll earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases during the first three months from account opening. On top of that, you’ll get up to $200 in statement credits for U.S. restaurant purchases made during the first six months of card membership.

Plus, you’ll earn …

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants
  • 3 points per $1 spent on flights booked directly through airlines
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card also comes with automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which means you’ll get another 12.5 points per $1 spent on Marriott stays.

Don’t let the $450 annual fee scare you away. While the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card carries the most expensive annual fee on this list, the perks make up for it. You’ll receive a $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit each year to use toward participating hotel stays and a Free Night Award Certificate after your account anniversary. So as long as you take at least one vacation a year, the card should pay for itself.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Best for business travelers

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card could help you turn your business expenses into a much-needed vacation.

You’ll earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases (and get a $150 statement credit on eligible purchases) during the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll earn …

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants
  • 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations
  • 4 points per $1 spent on services spent directly from U.S. wireless telephone service providers
  • 4 points per $1 spent on U.S. shipping purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card also comes with complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, which entitles you to another 11 points per $1 spent on Marriott stays.

The card comes with a Free Night Award each year that helps offset the $125 annual fee.

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Transfer points to Marriott

You could also transfer points from another rewards program into your Marriott Bonvoy program account.

  • American Express: For every 2 Membership Rewards points you transfer, you’ll get 3 Marriott points in return.
  • Chase: For every 1 Ultimate Rewards point you transfer, you’ll get 1 Marriott point in return.
  • United Airlines: If you’re a MileagePlus Premier member, for every 1 mile you transfer, you’ll get 1 Marriott point in return.

But just because you can do this, doesn’t mean you should. All three of these other rewards programs feature more-valuable transfer partners than Marriott. So you’d be selling low if you transfer to Marriott.

Are Marriott points worth buying?

It depends. Most of the time, you’ll pay a premium to buy Marriott points. Occasionally, Marriott offers promotions where points are sold for slightly less than they’re worth. But most of the time you’ll pay more than they’re worth to buy points.

The only time this might be worth considering is if you’re planning a vacation and are just short of the points you need to book four nights. If buying points to top off your account could help you earn the fifth night free, it might be worth it.

How to redeem Marriott points

You might be excited about all the Marriott points you could earn.

But it’s important to keep in mind that hotel points are typically less valuable than those from other rewards programs. In this case, Marriott points are worth slightly less than 1 cent (0.94 cents) each, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations.

For comparison, Marriott points fall in the middle of the pack of hotel points: They’re significantly better than Hilton Honors points, but not quite as valuable as World of Hyatt points.

That said, the actual value you’ll get depends on how you use your points. So let’s take a look at the best redemptions you could get for your Marriott points.

Use your Marriot points for free nights

This might seem obvious, but the best way to redeem Marriott points is for free nights at participating Marriott hotels. Free nights at Marriott can start as low as 4,000 points.

Of course, the number of points you need for a free night at Marriott depends on the type of hotel you’re staying at and when you visit. If you have expensive taste, you might be hard pressed to find such a low rate with some hotels costing as many as 100,000 points per night.

Some Marriot cardholders will also receive one Free Night Award Certificate each year. This perk allows you to stay at hotels ranging from 35,000 points to 50,000 points per night without using any of your points. So that might be a better way to gauge how much a standard room costs as a typical hotel.

Get your fifth night free

Marriott gives you the fifth night free on reward stays. When you book five consecutive nights, if you redeem your Marriott points for the first four nights, the fifth night won’t cost you anything. But because nonconsecutive nights don’t add up and you can’t transfer the fifth night free to your next visit, it might be worth booking hotel stays in increments of five nights.

If you’re traveling with friends or family, you might want to consider pooling your points together. Marriott allows you to share up to 100,000 points each year with other members. So if you’re a few points shy of scoring the fifth night free, it might be worth joining forces with your traveling companions.

Next steps: Elevate your Marriott elite status

If you’re interested in opening a free Marriott Bonvoy account, start by learning about the various elite status levels Marriott offers, so you can take advantage of perks like enhanced room upgrades, lounge access, late checkout and Your24.


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.