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Change can be scary. And a big one happened in 2018 when the Marriott and Starwood programs merged!
Many people were worried about how the new rewards program would look like. Would it be more difficult to redeem points? What about different ways to spend them?
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
If you’re wondering how to use Marriott points under the new program, this post is for you!
How to Use Marriott Points: More Flexible Than You Might Think!
Marriott Points are incredibly flexible. If you think you can only redeem them for hotel stays, think again! You can also redeem them for car rentals, flights, travel packages, and even gift cards and merchandise.
Here are some of the best ways to use your Marriott points.
One of the more straightforward ways of redeeming your points is for a hotel! Marriott’s award chart is pretty transparent, showing you how many points you’ll need to book each hotel.
Once you’ve found the Marriott hotel you want, you’ll find a drop-down menu on the payment page. This will reveal all your payment options. For example, if you’re staying more than one night, you can choose to pay cash for certain nights if you like.
Even if you’re NOT staying more than one night, you can still split your payment between cash + points with many hotels. You’ll have to do the math to see if taking this option is a good idea.
For example, the AC Hotel in Cincinnati charges 25,000 points for a free night in November. But you can also pay 12,000 points and $123 (after taxes).
The cash price for the room is $263 after taxes. Using 25,000 points for a free night, you’ll receive a value of 1.05 cents per point ($263 / 25,000 points). Using the cash + points option, you’ll receive a value of 1.16 cents per point ($263 – $123 = $140 / 12,000 points).
Outside of a standard award, Marriott will also soon offer Peak and Off Peak rates, meaning the award price will fluctuate (for better or worse) based on the date you’re staying.
If that’s not enough and you’d prefer to hang onto your cash, you can use Marriott’s Points Advance feature, which allows you to book an award stay even if you don’t have enough points! Keep in mind though that you will need to earn the points at least 14 days before your arrival date.
Finally, all award stays of 4 nights or more get a 5th night free!
Transfer to Airline Partners
Marriott has the most airline transfer partners of any program – by a long shot. You can transfer Marriott points to 40+ airline partners, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, and Southwest!
Here’s the full list:
|Aegean Airlines||Aeroflot||AeroMexico||Air Canada|
|Air China||Air New Zealand (200:1)||Alaska Airlines||Alitalia|
|ANA||American Airlines||Asiana Airlines||Avianca|
|British Airways||Cathay Pacific||China Eastern Airlines||China Southern Airlines|
|Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)||Frontier Airlines||Hainan Airlines||Hawaiian Airlines|
|Iberia||Japan Airlines||Jet Airways||JetBlue (6:1)|
|Qatar||Saudia Airlines||Singapore Airlines||South African Airways|
|Southwest||TAP||Thai Airways||Turkish Airlines|
|United Airlines (3:1.1)||Virgin Atlantic||Virgin Australia|
You’ll get 1 airline mile for every 3 Marriott points you transfer (though there are a few exceptions where you’ll get less). So if you transfer 3,000 Marriott points, you’ll receive 1,000 miles.
You must transfer at least 3,000 Marriott points at a time. And you can transfer no more than 240,000 Marriott points at a time.
Plus, when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points, you’ll get a bonus 5,000 miles. So instead of just receiving 20,000 miles for airlines with a 3:1 transfer ratio, you’ll receive 25,000 miles.
For this reason, you’ll get the best value by transferring points in increments of 60,000.
Check out our post on how to transfer Marriott points to airlines for more details!
If you jump on the Marriott portal, you can redeem your points for flights or rental cars. PLEASE don’t use your points this way. From tinkering around with the site, it looks like Marriott allows you to cash your points in at a rate between 0.3 and 0.4 cents each. You can do MUCH better than that if you use your points for hotel stays.
You also have the option of booking a Hotel + Air package with Marriott. With these travel packages, you can redeem your points for a 7-night stay at a hotel, as well as a whole bunch of miles.
For example, you can trade 330,000 Marriott points for 7 nights at a Category 1 to 4 Marriott hotel and 100,000 miles. You can choose American Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, and TONS more.
And if you choose to earn United Airlines miles, you’ll earn 10% more miles!
You’ll need to call Marriott to book a Travel Package, as it can’t be done online.
Merchandise and Gift Cards
One of the last ways to redeem your Marriott points is on gift cards and merchandise through their shopping portal.
You can redeem your points for gift cards at popular retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Nordstrom, or purchase merchandise in various categories like entertainment, apparel, dining, and more.
This may not be the best way to get the most value out of your points, though. Redeeming points for a $25 Amazon gift card, for instance, requires 10,000 points. That’s a horrendous 0.25 cents per point!
You can redeem Marriott points for WAY more than just hotel stays. You can redeem them for car rentals, gift cards, merchandise, travel packages, and even transfer them to a number of airline partners!
If you’re looking to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy program, here are a few links to help get you started!