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The Marriott Bonvoy Program: What You Need to Know

The Marriott Bonvoy Program: What You Need to Know

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This article was last updated Aug 27, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

The Marriott Rewards program and Starwood Preferred Guest program merged to create one of the largest loyalty programs in the world in 2018. The combined program was dubbed the Marriott Bonvoy program in January 2019.

The Marriott Bonvoy rewards program now includes nearly 7,900 hotel locations across 131 countries. Bonvoy boasts 30 hotel brands to fit a wide range of occasions — from luxurious brands like Ritz-Carlton to extended-stay brands like TownePlace Suites.

This diversity makes the Bonvoy rewards program especially valuable. Whether you’re looking to splurge on a luxury getaway or just need a place to stay on a road trip, Marriott Bonvoy points can help you save on your next trip. So, let’s review what you need to know about the program, how to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and where those points can take you.

Which credit cards offer Marriott Bonvoy points?

There are currently four Marriott co-branded credit cards issued across two banks. With a suite of benefits and annual fees ranging from $0 to $450, there’s a card for every type of traveler.

Before we get into the differences, there are some similarities between all four cards. Cardholders get at least Silver Elite status — even on the $0-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. Plus, each card offers a 15 Elite Night Credit boost toward even higher elite status, and you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees on any of these cards.

Which Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card is Best For You?

Marriott credit cards issued by Chase

Despite charging a $0 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase offers some decent benefits, including Silver Elite status. Earn 3X points for every $1 spent at 7,000+ hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains). The $0 is currently offering a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

For many travelers, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase will make more sense. For a $95 annual fee, you’ll get an annual Free Night Award certificate good for a reward night costing 35,000 points or less. Earn 3X points for every $1 spent at 7,000+ hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains). Even better, for eligible new cardholders: For the first time, earn 5 Free Nights after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card!

Marriott credit cards issued by American Express

If you’re a frequent Marriott guest, you may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. The card offers plenty of valuable benefits to justify the $450 annual fee, such as up to $300 in statement credits for Marriott stays and an annual Free Night Award for reward nights redeemable for up to 50,000 points. Plus you can earn a Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months..

Small business owners also have a Marriott co-branded credit card option: The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. This $125 annual fee card offers an annual Free Night Award for a reward night costing 35,000 points or less. Cardmembers earn 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy 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. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.. Eligible new cardmembers can earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months..

 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Who the card is best forFrequent Marriott travelersOccasional Marriott travelersAnnual fee-adverse travelersMarriott-loyal small businesses
Annual fee$450$95$0$125
Welcome offerEarn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.For the first time, earn 5 Free Nights after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card!Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Marriott benefitsGold Elite status, annual free night award, annual $300 Marriott travel creditSilver Elite status, annual free night awardSilver Elite statusSilver Elite status, annual free night awar
Rewards earning programEarn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3X Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2X on all other eligible purchases.Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on all other purchases.Earn 3X points for every $1 spent at 7,000+ hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy 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. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.

What are some of the best ways to use Marriott points?

One of the best ways to use Marriott points is to redeem them for stays at Marriott hotels. However, members also have the option of transferring Marriott points to one of more than 40 partner airlines, although the transfers are most often 3:1.

Marriott’s free night redemption chart is wide-ranging. There are eight categories and each category has off-peak, standard and peak pricing. That means an award night could be priced at one of 24 different levels. The cheapest awards start at just 5,000 points for a night at a Category 1 property during off-peak dates. Rates climb steadily up to 100,000 points for a night at one of Marriott’s incredible Category 8 properties during peak dates.

CategoryOff peakStandardPeak
15,0007,50010,000
210,00012,50015,000
315,00017,50020,000
420,00025,00030,000
530,00035,00040,000
640,00050,00060,000
750,00060,00070,000
870,00085,000100,000

There are sweet spots available to be found throughout this chart. The trick is to find a property that has a low award rate compared to its cash price.

For example, I’ve gotten more than 2 cents per point in value from staying at the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate in South Africa. This stunning property is right next to an entrance gate to Kruger National Park, and the cash rates reflect this. Yet, Marriott Bonvoy lists this property as a Category 2 hotel, with award rates ranging between 10,000 points and 15,000 points per night.

12 Ways to Redeem Your Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Points

What are Marriott points worth?

Generally, Marriott Bonvoy points can worth as much as 0.98 cents per point. With a little planning, you can easily get over 1 cent per point in value from a hotel stay or by transferring points to airline programs.

At the very least, members should be able to get at least 0.5 cents per point from redemptions. So, you’ll want to avoid options that provide less than this. For example, there are three programs that offer just 0.4 cents per point: using points to offset your hotel bill through Instant Redemption, Marriott’s Air and Car program and Marriott’s Cruise With Points program.

Even worse, Marriott offers the option to redeem Bonvoy points for TSA PreCheck membership. It will cost you 25,000 Bonvoy points to cover the $85 application fee, netting a redemption rate of 0.34 cents per point. It’s a much better idea to charge the fee to one of the dozens of credit cards that reimburse the TSA PreCheck application fee for cardholders.

Compared to other hotel loyalty programs, Marriott’s points aren’t as valuable as World of Hyatt or Accor Le Club. However, Marriott Bonvoy points are generally worth more than those of Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards and Best Western Rewards.

Marriott Bonvoy Cheat Sheet: Get the Most Out of Your Points

How to redeem Marriott points

Marriott Bonvoy members can redeem points for reward nights right on Marriott’s website. To get started, just select the “Use Points / Certificates” option on the homepage search tool before searching for a stay.

Marriott’s “No Blackout Dates” policy means that Marriott properties will open standard rooms’ award availability every calendar day. However, properties can “limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days.” So, that means you may see some hotels offering rooms for sale that aren’t available with points.

To transfer points to airline partners, start on Marriott’s Transfer Points to Miles page. Click the “Transfer Points” button, select the airline to which you’d like to transfer points, enter your frequent flyer number and the number of points you want to transfer.

Members can also redeem points for unique Marriott Bonvoy Moments, from culinary experiences with top chefs and all-access passes to live concerts and sporting events. To search for — and redeem Bonvoy points for — an experience, head to the Marriott Bonvoy Moments homepage.

And while it’s generally not a good value, you can also Shop With Your Points to buy electronics, gift cards, home goods, sporting gear and more with your Marriott Bonvoy points.

Can you transfer Marriott points?

Marriott rewards program members can transfer Bonvoy points to over 40 airlines. For most airlines, the transfer ratio is 3 Bonvoy points to 1 airline mile. Plus, you’ll get a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring at least 60,000 Bonvoy points. Members can transfer a minimum of 3,000 Bonvoy points, up to 240,000, per day.

Airline transfer partners include several well-known U.S. programs: Alaska Mileage Plan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles and Southwest Rapid Rewards. Noteworthy international transfer partners include Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Executive Club, Korean SkyPass and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

There are three airline transfer partners that have a different transfer rate than the standard 3:1 ratio:

  • Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue (6:1)
  • United MileagePlus (3:1.1) — that’s a 10% bonus over the standard ratio

You can also redeem points for flights, car rentals and cruise bookings. However, the redemption rate on these options is subpar, so we generally recommend against it.

Transferring points to other Marriott Bonvoy members

In addition to transferring points to airlines, Bonvoy members can share points with other members. Members can transfer as few as 1,000 points at a time and up to 100,000 points per calendar year. Even better, there’s no fee for sharing points with other members. Note, however, that there’s no way to transfer points online, so you’ll need to call Marriott Bonvoy to initiate the process.

What are the Marriott Bonvoy status levels?

Marriott Bonvoy offers five levels of elite status:

  • Silver Elite — 10 elite nights
  • Gold Elite — 25 elite nights
  • Platinum Elite — 50 elite nights
  • Titanium Elite — 75 elite nights
  • Ambassador Elite — 100 elite nights plus $20,000 in annual qualifying spending

Silver Elite status is earned after just 10 Elite Night Credits or by holding a Marriott co-branded credit card. Perks include priority late checkout, free Wi-Fi and a reservation guarantee.

Upon reaching 25 Elite Night Credits — or by being a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card cardmember — members will earn Gold Elite status. Benefits of Gold Elite status include room upgrades, 2 p.m. guaranteed checkout, a welcome gift of points and enhanced Wi-Fi.

The real perks start at Platinum Elite status, which is earned at 50 Elite Night Credits. Platinum Elites get enhanced room upgrades (including suites), welcome gift choice of points or breakfast, lounge access, 4 p.m. guaranteed checkout and an annual gift choice.

Titanium Elite status is reached at 75 Elite Night Credits and grants all the perks of Platinum Elite status. In addition, Titanium Elite members get a 48-hour room guarantee, an additional annual choice benefit plus United® MileagePlus® Premier® Silver elite status.

Marriott’s top-tier status is Ambassador Elite, which is achieved by earning 100 Elite Night Credits and spending $20,000 in a year. This elite status unlocks Ambassador Service, as well as access to the Your24 program. This latter perk allows you to request any check-in and checkout time of your choosing for an upcoming stay.

In addition to the perks above, all elite members get bonus points on paid hotel stays. Silver Elite members get a 10% bonus, Gold Elites receive a 25% bonus and Platinum Elites get a 50% bonus. Both Titanium Elites and Ambassador Elites receive a 75% bonus.

Do Marriott Bonvoy points expire?

Marriott Bonvoy points expire if a member doesn’t have qualifying activity for 24 consecutive months. Once expired, there’s no way to reinstate your points, so it’s critical that you generate qualifying activity.

Qualifying activity includes:

  • Completing a paid or redemption stay
  • Earning points at a hotel not associated with a stay — such as dining at a Marriott hotel restaurant and providing your membership number
  • Earning points through a Marriott Bonvoy Event
  • Earning points through credit card spending
  • Earning points through a partner program
  • Earning points as a Marriott Vacation Worldwide owner for an exchange
  • Purchasing points
  • Earning points through Vacations by Marriott
  • Converting points to miles — or miles to points
  • Redeeming points for anything other than Hotel Awards and Travel Packages

However, gifting or transferring points to another member, receiving points as a gift or transfer and earning points through social media promotions don’t count as a qualifying activity.

The information related to Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card  has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information. 


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