Guide to Marriott Bonvoy

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Marriott Bonvoy is a rewards program that extends far beyond just the namesake brand. The year 2018 saw the merging of the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs into the single Marriott Bonvoy program. This has made it one of the largest hotel rewards programs out there with more than 30 hotel brands around the world.

What is Marriott Bonvoy?

Marriott Bonvoy is a hotel loyalty rewards program that anyone can join. Bonvoy gives members the chance to save on regular hotel rates, earn points with hotel stays and other spending and earn free rewards nights and other guest perks.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Hotel stays

To start earning points, all you have to do is stay at one of the more than 30 brands associated with Marriott Bonvoy. Most of the hotels earn 10 points for every dollar spent, although a select few only earn 5 points per dollar. You won’t just earn points on your hotel booking; other purchases at the property like dining, beverages, spa services and golf all earn the same points per dollar as your stay.

Dining

Eat Around Town by Marriott Bonvoy gives Elite members a chance to earn more points just by dining out. To earn points with dining, you’ll need to link a credit or debit card to your Marriott Bonvoy account and use that card to pay for meals at qualifying restaurants. You’ll earn 6 points for every dollar spent on qualified dining. It’s not just national chains that qualify, either—you can find local digs to earn points by searching on the website.

Credit cards

Using a Marriott Bonvoy credit card for day-to-day purchases can help you earn points even faster.

Hotel credit cards help you earn points in two ways; first, there’s usually a sign-up offer. If you spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening your credit card, you’ll get an award of bonus points.

Depending on the card you choose, you can also earn additional points per dollar in different categories. All of these points stack on top of what you would normally earn just by being a Marriott Bonvoy member. So, if you spend $100 at a hotel, you might earn 3 points per dollar on a hotel purchase through your credit card (300 points), plus the 10 points per dollar spent you would earn anyway as a Bonvoy member—instead of 1,000 points, you now have 1,300 points.

Airlines

Marriott’s preferred airline partners are United and Emirates. If you’re a member of either of these programs, you can increase your Marriott Bonvoy points earning potential with every trip.

  • RewardsPlus: RewardsPlus is Marriott Bonvoy’s partnership program with United’s MileagePlus rewards program. Members can convert miles to hotel points and vice versa. This is the only airline whose miles can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy points, and miles convert on a 1:1 basis.
  • Your World Rewards: The Your World Rewards program is a reciprocal agreement between Emirates and Marriott Bonvoy. Basically, members of the Your World Rewards program earn double on flights and hotel stays. A flight with Emirates and hotel stays with Marriott Bonvoy brands both earn rewards miles and points. Marriott Bonvoy members earn 3 points for every dollar spent on flights in addition to miles earned, and Emirates Skywards members can earn 1 mile for each dollar spent on Marriott hotel stays.

Even though United is the only airline whose miles can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy points, there is still earning potential with other airlines. Marriott Bonvoy partners with more than 40 different airlines, so members can choose whether to earn points or miles across the two programs. You won’t be able to convert miles you already earned to hotel points, but you could maximize your future flight to earn points toward hotel stays.

How to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points

If you’re wondering how to use Marriott Bonvoy points, it’s pretty simple. Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays requires searching for your destination and paying with points. Marriott Bonvoy categorizes hotels into levels and assigns point values based on the hotel level and peak season.

Redeeming points for four consecutive nights earns you a fifth night free, which pushes the value of your points even further.

Those who want their points to go the distance should opt for PointSavers. This is Bonvoy’s discount points option. While not always available, it’s worth checking to see if this discount points price is posted when booking your stay.

If you don’t have quite enough points to redeem, you have two options. You can either combine points with cash for your stay or buy points to use. Members can purchase up to 50,000 points annually.

Do Marriott Bonvoy points expire?

If you don’t complete a qualifying activity for 24 months, unfortunately, they will expire. Luckily, qualifying activities are pretty easy to achieve and include things like earning points through your hotel stays, credit card purchases, partner program purchases and non-stay hotel spending.

How much are Marriott Bonvoy points worth?

The actual value of Marriott Bonvoy points depends on how and when you use them. Marriott assigns point values to rooms based on two factors: the hotel level it has assigned and booking dates.

According to The Points Guy, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth about 0.8 cents each. However, because of how Marriott Bonvoy prices its properties in points based on level and dates, the actual value may vary.

Using 0.8 cents as your baseline, you can compare whether or not something is a good deal (especially with the PointSavers program). If the dollar value in points is more than what it would cost for you to pay for the room in cash, it may be better to spend your points on another trip.

Marriott Bonvoy elite status

Marriott Bonvoy members automatically get perks like complimentary Internet access, special member rates and mobile check-in services. But after just nine nights, members can start climbing the elite status ladder. The benefits stack with each tier you reach.

Silver Elite

After 10 qualifying nights in a year, Marriott Bonvoy members reach Silver Elite status. This designation comes with the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, which pays for nearby accommodations if a reservation can’t be honored. It also comes with a 10 percent bonus on points earning and potential for late checkout.

Gold Elite

Members reach Gold Elite status after 25 nights of qualifying hotel stays in a year. In addition to the reservation guarantee, Gold Elite members get a 25 percent bonus on point-earning, late checkout and additional points as a welcome gift. Depending on availability, Marriott might also provide members with a room upgrade at no additional cost.

Platinum Elite

Platinum Elite status is earned after 50 annual nights at qualifying Marriott Bonvoy hotels. This reward status comes with the same benefits as Gold Elite, but late checkout can be pushed an additional two hours, and the welcome gift might include complimentary breakfast or another amenity instead of just points. Platinum Elite members get more bang for their buck with a bonus 50 percent points on qualifying purchases and an annual Choice Benefit of five suite nights (or another gift). Platinum Elite status also comes with a room type guarantee and lounge access at the hotel.

Titanium Elite

Staying at Marriott Bonvoy partner hotels for 75 nights in a year earns you Titanium Elite status. In addition to all of the benefits offered at the Platinum Elite level, Titanium Elite offers members a 48-hour guarantee. This means you are guaranteed a reservation at a participating hotel as long as you book your room within 48 hours of your visit. Titanium Elite members also earn a 75 percent bonus on qualifying stays.

Ambassador Elite

Ambassador Elite is the highest annual award tier. To reach this highly acclaimed status, you need to stay at Marriott Bonvoy hotels for 100 nights and spend more than $20,000 in a year. The benefits are the same as the Titanium Elite, with a few personalized bonuses. First, Ambassador Elite members get a personal point of contact for planning and arrangements called Ambassador Service. Additionally, Your24 gives members the ability to choose the check-in and checkout times of their visit—or the 24 hours you’ll spend at the hotel.

How to earn benefits

Status level How to earn Benefits
Silver Elite 10 nights/year Reservation guarantee and 10% points bonus
Gold Elite 25 nights/year Same as Silver Elite, plus 25% bonus points, 2 p.m. late checkout and bonus points welcome gift
Platinum Elite 50 nights/year Same as Gold Elite, plus 50% bonus points, annual Choice Benefit, 4 p.m. late checkout, lounge access and room type guarantee
Titanium Elite 75 nights/year Same as Platinum Elite, plus 75% bonus points and a 48-hour guarantee
Ambassador Elite 100 nights/year and $20,000 qualified hotel spending/year Same as Titanium Elite, plus Ambassador Services and Your24

Lifetime Elite Status

For Marriott Bonvoy members who keep up their elite status year after year, there’s the chance to earn Lifetime Elite Status. Achieving Lifetime Elite Status means your benefits will never expire, no matter what tier you’re at.

There are three levels of Lifetime Elite Status. The benefits are the same as the named tier, just without an expiration date on points.

  • Lifetime Silver Elite is earned after 250 lifetime nights and five years of any elite status.
  • Lifetime Gold Elite is earned after 400 lifetime nights and seven years of Gold Elite status or higher.
  • Lifetime Platinum Elite is earned after 600 lifetime nights and at least 10 years at Platinum Elite status or higher.

Best Marriott Bonvoy credit cards for 2020

Travel credit cards can help you earn extra points, no matter what your travel style is. Features like bonus points, sign-up offers, no foreign transaction fees and other cardholder benefits all play into what makes the best hotel rewards credit card.

If you’re not traveling much during the coronavirus pandemic, don’t count travel rewards credit cards out just yet; companies are offering special programs to adapt to how we spend money these days.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card offers unlimited points earnings. Cardholders earn 6 points for every dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2 points for every other dollar spent and automatic Silver Elite status (with a chance to earn even more bonus points toward Gold Elite Status).

There is an annual fee of $95, but with a free night stay each year and no foreign transaction fees, the fee could pay for itself if you can take advantage of all of the card benefits. Plus, you’ll enjoy a 75,000-point bonus when you spent $3,000 in the first three months.

The information about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase

This fee-free card comes with a generous sign-up bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first three months.

This card automatically qualifies you for Silver Elite status and offers modest opportunities to earn additional points: 3 points for every dollar spent on Marriott Bonvoy hotel stays, 2 points for every dollar spent on travel expenses and 1 point for every dollar spent on anything else. Of course, these points stack with your regular point earnings as a Marriott Bonvoy member. For no annual fee, this card packs a lot of earning potential.

The information about the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.  

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

The luxe-level Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card comes with perks galore for Marriott Bonvoy members. Even with a steep annual fee of $450, the benefits nearly pay for themselves.

Point earnings are a little better than the Boundless card from Chase: 6 points for stays at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3 points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other purchases.

Plus, cardholders can get up to $300 in statement credits for Marriott Bonvoy hotel purchases in a calendar year, complimentary Gold Elite status and a free night stay every year. The welcome bonus is nothing to balk at either, with an offer of 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021.

The bottom line

Is Marriott Bonvoy free to join? Yes. Is it one of the largest hotel loyalty rewards programs on the market? Also yes. Anyone who travels with Marriott Bonvoy hotels should take advantage of the membership option.

Even without elite status, the basic level member benefits can help you save money and stress less in your travels. Plus, with so many different ways to earn points, you might end up with a free rewards night sooner than you’d think.