Marriott Hotel with tourists
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Marriott Rewards® has partnered with Ritz-Carlton for quite some time, but 2018 brought a new and more ambitious merger with the Starwood Preferred Guest program. As a result, you can now rack up Marriott points for stays at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and SPG properties with more than 6,700 options across 29 brands in 127 different countries and territories worldwide.

If you’re considering pledging your loyalty to a hotel brand, keep in mind that joining Marriott Rewards is 100% free. You can open a Marriott Rewards account online or at a branded hotel and begin earning points for hotels and flights right away.

Marriott membership basics

Marriott Rewards has six membership levels based primarily on how many nights you stay at qualifying properties per year. The higher the level, the greater the benefits.

Basic loyalty members earn 10 points for each dollar they spent at a Marriott or SPG hotel in the new program, although members with elite status earn an additional points boost based on their level of status. For example, Silver Elite members earn 10% additional points on paid stays, while top tier Platinum Premier Elite members earn 75% more points.

While this program tends to award the most points for paid stays, you can earn considerably more Marriott Rewards points with a co-branded hotel credit card or a flexible travel credit card that lets you transfer points to this program. We’ll share more about your travel card options in a minute.

On the redemption side of the equation, you can redeem your points for free nights and even airline miles depending on your needs. Marriott Rewards points are usually worth around 1 cent each, although there are exceptions. At the end of the day, the value of each point you earn will depend on how and where you redeem them, the time of year you travel, whether you transfer points to an airline, and other factors.

How to use your points for hotel stays

There are numerous creative ways to redeem points with this program, but it all starts with award stays at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood Preferred Guest properties. The following chart shows how many points you’ll need for a free stay in various hotel “categories:

Hotel Category Off-Peak Standard Peak
1 5,000 7,500 10,000
2 10,000 12,500 15,000
3 15,000 17,500 20,000
4 20,000 25,000 30,000
5 30,000 35,000 40,000
6 40,000 50,000 60,000
7 50,000 60,000 70,000
8 (Available beginning in 2019) 70,000 85,000 100,000

As you can see, Marriott Rewards offers lower rates if you travel outside of the busiest peak season for their hotels. In addition, Marriott Rewards offers a PointSavers program that lets you book participating properties for even fewer points at different points during the year.

In addition to paying for your entire stay with points, Marriott Rewards also lets you book with cash and points. While cash/point combinations vary, you can book a Category 1 property during the standard season for 3,500 points plus $55 or a Category 7 property for 30,000 points plus $250. Being able to book with points and cash may not sound like a stellar deal, but this option can help you stretch your points further if you are short on points for a specific redemption.

Transferring points to airlines

While cashing in your points for free hotel stays is a great way to travel cheaply, Marriott Rewards also lets you transfer points to more than 40 airlines. You’ll need to transfer 3 Marriott Rewards points for each airline mile in most cases, but Marriott offers up an additional 5,000 bonus points for every 60,000 points you transfer.

Participating airlines and their transfer ratios include:

Frequent Flyer Program Points:Miles
Aegean Airlines 3:1
Aeroflot Bonus 3:1
Aeromexico 3:1
Aeroplan 3:1
Air China Phoenix Miles 3:1
Air France/KLM/Flying Blue 3:1
Air New Zealand 200:1
Alaska Airlines 3:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia 3:1
ANA Mileage Club 3:1
American Airlines 3:1
Asia Miles 3:1
Asiana Airlines 3:1
Avianca LifeMiles 3:1
British Airways 3:1
China Eastern Airlines 3:1
China Southern Airlines 3:1
Copa Airlines 3:1
Delta SkyMiles 3:1
Emirates 3:1
Etihad Guest 3:1
Frontier Airlines 3:1
Hainan Airlines 3:1
Hawaiian Airlines 3:1
Iberia Plus 3:1
Japan Airlines 3:1
Jet Airways 3:1
JetBlue 6:1
Korean Air SKYPASS 3:1
LATAM Airlines 3:1
Lufthansa 3:1
Multiplus 3:1
Qantas 3:1
Qatar Privilege Club 3:1
Saudia Airlines 3:1
Singapore Airlines 3:1
South African Airways 3:1
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards 3:1
TAP Air Portugal 3:1
THAI Airways 3:1
Turkish Airlines 3:1
United MileagePlus 3:1
Virgin Atlantic 3:1
Virgin Australia 3:1

Transferring points to airlines can be a smart way to redeem your Marriott Rewards points. However, this program also offers travel packages that include both lodging and miles. Marriott Rewards Hotel + Air Packages vary in price depending on the hotel category you want to book and the airline of your choosing, but they typically start at 255,000 points for a package of 55,000 airline miles and seven nights in a Category 1-4 property.

You can also redeem Marriott Rewards points for Marriott Moments — specially curated events and experiences all over the globe. Finally, you can cash in points for merchandise or gift cards from popular retailers such as Nordstrom and Amazon.

Best credit cards to rack up points

If you want to earn points without staying in Marriott properties or wish to earn more points for all your paid stays, these co-branded hotel credit cards can help:

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

How many points you’ll earn:

  • 6 points per $1 on participating Marriott and SPG hotel stays
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardholder perks

Free Night Award up to 35,000 points every year after cardmember anniversary

Welcome bonus

Receive 2 Free Night Awards after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Each Free Night Award is valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points.

Annual fee

$95

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card

How many points you’ll earn:

  • 6 points per $1 on Marriott and SPG hotel stays
  • 4 points per $1 on gas station, restaurant, shipping, internet, and cable and phone spending
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardholder perks

Free Night Award up to 35,000 points every year after cardmember anniversary

Welcome bonus

75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months

Annual fee
s
$99

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

How many points you’ll earn:

  • 6 points per $1 on participating Marriott and SPG hotel stays
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardholder perks

Free Night Award up to 35,000 points every year after cardmember anniversary

Welcome bonus

75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months

Annual fee

$95; waived the first year

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

How many points you’ll earn:

  • 6 points per $1 on eligible purchases at participating Marriott and SPG hotel stays
  • 4 points per $1 on U.S. gas station, U.S. restaurant, U.S. shipping, and U.S. wireless phone spending
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardholder perks

Free Night Award up to 35,000 points every year after cardmember anniversary

Welcome bonus

75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months

Annual fee

$95; waived the first year

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

How many points you’ll earn:

  • 6 points per $1 on eligible purchases at participating Marriott and SPG hotel stays
  • 3 points per $1 at U.S. restaurant and flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2 points per $1 on all other purchases

Cardholder perks

  • Up to $300 in annual statement credits
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit
  • Free Night Award up to 50,000 points every year after cardmember anniversary

Welcome bonus

75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months

Annual fee

$450

In addition to hotel-branded credit cards, a handful of flexible travel credit cards also make it easy to earn points you can transfer to this program. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, you could rack up points and transfer them to Marriott Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

The bottom line

Thanks to the recent merger between the Marriott and Starwood programs, the Marriott Rewards program is more diverse than ever. You can redeem your points for award nights in budget hotels or five-star luxury properties, transfer them to airlines, or use them to book a vacation package that includes both lodging and airline miles good for free flights. The choice of how to redeem your points is up to you, so start maximizing your rewards today.


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