Guide to Marriott Bonvoy

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Courtesy of Marriott

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The Marriott hotel brand was originally founded in 1927, yet it has since grown and expanded to become one of the largest hotel chains in the world. At the moment, you can stay at more than 6,900 Marriott properties among 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 good 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 absolutely free, and becoming a member lets you save on regular hotel rates, earn points for each dollar you spend with Marriott hotels and potentially even enjoy elite status benefits like room upgrades or free breakfast.

While you’ll get more benefits as you climb the ranks of elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy program, you should also know that some perks come standard just for joining. For example, all members get complimentary in-room internet access, member rates and mobile check-in and services.

Marriott Bonvoy elite levels

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. 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:

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 and $14,000+ in qualifying spending
Bonus points n/a 10% 25% 50% 75% 75%
Complimentary in-room internet access
Member rates
Mobile check-in and services
Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
Late checkout
Dedicated Elite Support
Points, breakfast offering or amenity
Enhanced room upgrade
Lounge access
Guaranteed room type
Annual Choice Benefit
48-hour guarantee
Ambassador service
Your24™

 

Changes to Marriott Bonvoy in 2021

The biggest change you’ll notice to the Marriott Bonvoy program in 2021 is in the fact that members who had elite status with the hotel loyalty brand in 2020 had their status level automatically extended through February of 2022. Not only that, but members who earned elite status in 2020 should have also received a deposit of 50 percent of their tier’s annual elite night credit requirement as a one-time perk. As an example, this means that someone who earned Platinum Elite status in 2020 would receive 25 elite night credits in their account as of February 2021.

This will help Marriott Bonvoy members reach elite status in 2021 much faster. It’s also worth noting that the “bonus” elite night credits also count toward earning the 2021 Annual Choice Benefit and Lifetime Elite Status.

The following chart shows how those who earned elite status in 2020 and received this bonus could earn elite status faster in 2021:

Member Silver Elite Gold Elite Platinum Elite Titanium Elite Ambassador Elite
Traditional elite night requirement 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 and $14,000+ in qualifying spending
50% bonus elite night credits received N/A 5

nights

13 nights 25 nights 38 nights 50 nights
Elite night credits needed to earn the next tier of elite status in 2021 10 nights 20 nights 37 nights 50 nights 62 nights and $14,000 in qualifying spending 50 nights and $14,000 in qualifying spending

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 prompts that ask you to join the program. You’ll need to provide your name, email address, home address and preferred language. 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).

Which credit cards earn Marriott Bonvoy points?

If your goal is earning rewards in the Marriott Bonvoy program, you should know that there are quite a few ways to do so. You can earn Marriott points with a co-branded Marriott credit card, but you can also transfer points earned in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program on a 1:1 basis.

If you’re after a Marriott credit card specifically, here are the main hotel credit cards you should take a closer look at:

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase: Best basic hotel credit card option

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Earn 6x points per dollar spent on Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x points on all other purchases
  • Get automatic Silver Elite status, 15 elite night credits per calendar year and a free night on your account anniversary
  • $95 annual fee
  • Variable APR of 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent
  • Terms apply

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card gives you the chance to earn a generous bonus as well as 6 points for every dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2 points for every other dollar spent. You’ll also get automatic Silver Elite status, and a path to Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

A $95 annual fee applies, but you’ll get a free night worth up to 35,000 points on your cardmember anniversary and no foreign transaction fees. Carrying this card also gives you 15 elite night credits you can use to climb the ladder to the next tier of elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card: Best with no annual fee

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Earn 3x points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, 2x points on other travel purchases and 1x points on everything else
  • Receive 15 elite night credits per calendar year and no foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Variable APR of 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent for purchases
  • Terms apply

This no annual fee card comes with a generous sign-up bonus of 30,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first three months. You’ll also get 15 elite night credits that are enough for Silver Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, and you get the chance to earn points on Marriott spending and all your other expenses and bills.

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 in Marriott hotels.

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

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within three months of card membership. Plus up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of card membership (offer expires 5/12/2021)
  • Earn 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x points on all other purchases
  • Receive up to $300 in Marriott Bonvoy statement credits each year, complimentary Gold Elite status for 2021, a free night award up to 50,000 points on your cardmember anniversary, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, 15 elite night credits, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership and more
  • $450 annual fee
  • Variable APR of 15.74 percent to 24.74 percent
  • Terms apply

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.

Not only can you earn a generous bonus, but you’ll earn 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x points on all other purchases. Major cardholder benefits include a $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit, complimentary Gold Elite status, a free night award up to 50,000 points on your cardmember anniversary, and 15 elite night credits toward the next tier of elite status. You’ll also get Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card: Best for businesses

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within three months of card membership. Plus up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership (offer expires 5/12/2021)
  • Earn 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, 4X points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping and 2x points on other purchases
  • Receive 15 elite night credits, a free night award for up to 35,000 points on your cardmember anniversary, complimentary Silver Elite status, complimentary premium internet and no foreign transaction fees
  • $125 annual fee
  • Variable APR of 15.74 percent to 24.74 percent for purchases
  • Terms apply

If you’re a business owner who wants to earn Marriott points on leisure or business travel you book with your card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card should be on your list. This card lets you earn a generous welcome bonus of 100,000 points when you spend $5,000 within three months of card membership, but you can also earn more bonus points in popular business categories as well as on everyday spending.

Rounding out this offer is the Silver Elite status you get for being a cardmember, as well as 15 elite night credits, the free night award on your cardmember anniversary and no foreign transaction fees. Considering all you get in return, the $125 annual fee is reasonable.

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 earn points through:

  • Credit card spending with a Marriott credit card
  • Eat Around Town Marriott Bonvoy dining program
  • Car rentals booked through Hertz
  • Cruise bookings made through Cruise with Points
  • Flying with United Airlines and earning points through Rewardsplus
  • The Your World Rewards Program, which lets you earn Marriott points when you fly with Emirates

When it comes to hotel stays, basic members earn 10 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar they spend. However, elite members earn more bonus points based on the tier of status they have achieved.

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 whether you’re traveling during off-peak or peak travel season.

Keep in mind that redeeming points for four consecutive nights earns you a fifth night free, which essentially gives you more value for each point you use.

Here’s how redemptions look for regular hotel bookings based on the hotel category and travel dates:

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 70,000 85,000 100,000

Those who want their points to go the distance can also look into making a PointSavers redemption. While not always available, these discount 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 may also be able to buy Marriott Bonvoy points.

You can also share your points with any other member or redeem your points for gift cards or an array of travel packages that include a hotel stay and some airline miles.

What are Marriott Bonvoy points worth?

According to recent valuations from The Points Guy, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth approximately 0.8 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.

How do Marriott Bonvoy points compare to other points?

The following chart shows much Marriott Bonvoy points are worth (on average) when you compare them to points earned in other hotel loyalty programs:

Hotel program Accor Le Club Choice Privileges Hilton Honors IHG Rewards Club Marriott Bonvoy Radisson Rewards World of Hyatt Wyndham Rewards
Average point value 2 cents 0.6 cents 0.6 cents 0.5 cents 0.8 cents 0.4 cents 1.7 cents 1.1 cents

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. However, you should also know that earning points in this program is not that difficult. Not only will you earn 10 points per dollar 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 vacation in less time than you think.

The information about the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."