Guide to Marriott Bonvoy
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The Marriott hotel brand was originally founded in 1927, and it has since expanded to become one of the largest hotel chains in the world. At the moment, you can stay at more than 7,000 Marriott properties and 30 different hotel brands worldwide. Due to the breadth of this program, your experience with Marriott could include some time in a luxury St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton property or a few simple stays in a Springhill Suites or a Residence Inn hotel.
Fortunately, Marriott gives frequent hotel guests the chance to earn points for free hotel stays while enjoying elite status benefits. If you’re interested in getting the most out of your Marriott leisure or business travel, keep reading to learn more.
What is Marriott Bonvoy?
The Marriott Bonvoy program is the loyalty program of all Marriott properties combined. Joining this hotel loyalty program is free, and becoming a member lets you save on regular hotel rates, earn points for each dollar you spend with Marriott hotels and potentially enjoy elite status benefits like room upgrades or free breakfast.
While you’ll get more benefits when you climb the elite status ranks with the Marriott Bonvoy program, you should also know that you’ll get some perks just for joining. For example, all members get complimentary in-room Wi-Fi access, exclusive member rates and mobile check-in services.
How to sign up for Marriott Bonvoy
Joining the Marriott Bonvoy program is free and easy. All you have to do is head to the Marriott Bonvoy website and follow the prompts that ask you to join the program. You’ll need to provide basic information like your name, email address, location and password to create your account. At that point, you’ll be given a Marriott Bonvoy loyalty number and the chance to build out your profile with more personal information (if you want).
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points
There are quite a few ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, and not all of them require stays in Marriott hotels. For example, you can also earn points through:
- Spending with a Marriott credit card
- Flying with Marriott airline partners
- Marriott Bonvoy’s Eat Around Town dining program
- Cruise bookings via Cruise with Points
- Car rentals booked through Hertz
- Qualifying Marriott Bonvoy events
How to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points
There are many different ways you can use your Marriott Bonvoy points beyond free hotel nights. Those who want their points to go the distance can look into making a PointSavers redemption. While not always available, these discounted bookings can help you stretch your points even further if you’re flexible on where you stay and when. In addition, the Marriott Bonvoy program lets you book with Cash + Points, which can be a good option if you are short on points for a redemption you want to make. You can also buy Marriott Bonvoy points if needed.
You can also redeem your points for gift cards, travel (including flights, cruises, car rentals and more) and exclusive Marriott Bonvoy experiences. Alternatively, you can share your points with other Marriott Bonvoy members or donate your points to charity.
How much are Marriott Bonvoy points worth?
According to our valuations, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth approximately 0.7 cents each. This makes them more valuable than points in several other hotel loyalty programs, although some hotel loyalty points are worth a lot more.
The following chart shows how much Marriott Bonvoy points are worth in comparison to points earned in other hotel loyalty programs:
|Hotel program||Bankrate point value|
|Marriott Bonvoy||0.7 cents|
|Best Western Rewards||0.6 cents|
|Hilton Honors||0.6 cents|
|IHG One Rewards||0.7 cents|
|Radisson Rewards Americas||0.4 cents|
|World of Hyatt||2.1 cents|
|Wyndham Rewards||0.9 cents|
Marriott Bonvoy elite status
The Marriott Bonvoy program has six membership levels and five levels of elite status you can pursue, each with an increasing number of perks you can enjoy when you get there. When it comes to hotel stays, basic members earn 10X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar they spend. However, elite members earn more bonus points based on the tier of status they have achieved. Generally speaking, you’ll climb the elite status ladder with Marriott Bonvoy the more nights you accrue with the hotel brand.
The following table explains the most important benefits you’ll get with each level of elite status with Marriott, as well as the activity you’ll need to get there:
|Status level||Member||Silver Elite||Gold Elite||Platinum Elite||Titanium Elite||Ambassador Elite|
|Required stays||0-9 nights per year||10-24 nights per year||25-49 nights per year||50-74 nights per year||75-99 nights per year||100 nights per year + $20,000 in spending|
|Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Exclusive member rates||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Mobile check-in and services||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Ultimate Reservation Guarantee||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Late checkout (based on availability)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Dedicated Elite Support||✓||✓|
|Points, breakfast offering or amenity (varies by brand)||Points only||✓||✓||✓|
|Enhanced room upgrade (based on availability)||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Annual Choice Benefit (terms apply)||✓||✓||✓|
Top credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points
If your goal is earning rewards in the Marriott Bonvoy program, there are many different credit cards you can use to do so. Plus, in September 2022, Marriott launched two new co-branded credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ credit card from Chase, both of which come with similar benefits. However, one card is better suited for those who prefer American Express, while the other is better for those who prefer Chase.
If you’re after a top Marriott credit card specifically, here are the cards you should take a closer look at:
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Best for no annual fee
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card comes with a welcome bonus of 30,000 points when you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening. For rewards, you’ll earn up to 14X points on eligible Marriott stays, 2X points on other travel expenses and 1X points on all other purchases. You’ll also get 15 Elite Night Credits, which is enough for Silver Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy.
While this card doesn’t charge an annual fee or any foreign transaction fees, keep in mind that you won’t get many elite perks when you stay at Marriott hotels.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Best for low annual fee
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase gives you the chance to earn a generous sign-up bonus of three Free Night Awards (each night up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months from account opening. You’ll earn 6X points for spending at participating Marriott Bonvoy locations (up to 17X points with Silver Elite status); 3X points on grocery store, gas station and dining purchases (on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year, then 2X points); and 2X points on all other purchases.
Other benefits include automatic Silver Elite status each year, path to Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year, 15 Elite Night Credits annually, no foreign transaction fees, one Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary (worth up to 35,000 points) and one Elite Night Credit toward elite status for every $5,000 you spend. A $95 annual fee applies.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Best for luxury hotel perks
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card comes with a $650 annual fee — a steep increase from its previously already-steep fee of $450. However, the card comes with plenty of benefits that can make the card worth it. To start with, you can earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. Not only can you earn a generous bonus, but you’ll also earn 6X points on purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties (up to 21X points with Platinum Elite status), 3X points at restaurants worldwide, 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points on all other purchases.
Major benefits include up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 back per month) for dining purchases at restaurants worldwide; complimentary Platinum Elite status; one Free Night Award (worth 85,000 points or less) at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels each year after you renew your card; 25 Elite Night Credits each year; up to a $100 credit on directly-booked, eligible purchases (using a special rate for a stay of two nights or more) at The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve or St. Regis brands; an Annual Earned Choice Award benefit each year after making $60,000 in purchases; Priority Pass Select membership; and an up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card: Best for Amex loyalists
With the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card, new cardholders can earn 125,000 points after spending $4,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months. You’ll also earn 6X points on purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per year, then 2X points) and 2X points on all other purchases.
Other benefits include 1,000 bonus points with each qualifying stay, complimentary Gold Elite status, one Free Night Award (worth 50,000 points or less) after making $15,000 in purchases per year and 15 Elite Night Credits each year to help you achieve a higher elite status. A $250 annual fee applies.
Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful credit card: Best for Chase loyalists
The Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful credit card from Chase includes many of the same benefits as the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card, along with the same $250 annual fee. You can earn a welcome offer of 125,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 6X points on purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels (up to 18.5X points with Gold Elite status), 4X points on dining and grocery store purchases (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per year, then 2X points) and 2X points on all other purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful from Chase also comes with the same major card benefits, which include 1,000 bonus points with each qualifying stay, complimentary Gold Elite status, one Free Night Award (worth 50,000 points or less) after making $15,000 in purchases per year and 15 Elite Night Credits each year to help you achieve a higher elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Best for business owners
If you’re a business owner who wants to earn Marriott Bonvoy points on leisure or business travel, the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card should be on your list. This card lets you earn a generous welcome bonus of 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 within three months of card membership, but you can also earn more bonus points in popular business categories as well as on everyday spending. For instance, you’ll earn 6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. gas stations; 4X points on U.S. purchases for shipping and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers; and 2X points on all other purchases.
Some other cardmember perks include complimentary Gold Elite status; one Free Night Award every year after your card renewal month; one Free Night Award (worth up to 35,000 points) after you make $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year; a 7 percent discount on directly-booked, eligible standard room reservations at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties; and 15 Elite Night Credits each year. Considering all you get in return, the $125 annual fee is reasonable.
The bottom line
Marriott Bonvoy membership is a no-brainer since it’s free and you’ll get some basic benefits right off the bat. You should also know that earning points in this program is not that difficult. Not only will you earn 10X points spent at Marriott hotels as a basic loyalty program member, but you can earn more bonus points as an elite member or through spending with a Marriott credit card. With so many ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, you could end up with a free hotel stay (or vacation) in less time than you think.