How to Use Marriott Points – They’re for WAY More Than Just Free Hotel Stays

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How to Use Marriott Points – They’re for WAY More Than Just Free Hotel Stays

Andrew WanHow to Use Marriott Points – They’re for WAY More Than Just Free Hotel StaysMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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?

The new program now is called “Marriott Bonvoy.”  And with it comes a new award chart, as well as different options for redeeming your points.  And several revamped cards for earning them, such as:

If you’re wondering how to use Marriott points under the new program, this post is for you!

If you know how to redeem Marriott points, you know they’re WAY more valuable than just for hotel stays – they can get you in the air, as well!

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 redeem your Marriott points.

Hotel Stays

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.

You can pay cash for one night and points for the other

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 AeroflotAeroMexicoAir Canada
Air ChinaAir New Zealand (200:1)Alaska AirlinesAlitalia
ANAAmerican AirlinesAsiana AirlinesAvianca
British AirwaysCathay PacificChina Eastern AirlinesChina Southern Airlines
Copa AirlinesDeltaEmiratesEtihad
Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)Frontier AirlinesHainan AirlinesHawaiian Airlines
IberiaJapan AirlinesJet AirwaysJetBlue (6:1)
Korean AirLATAMLufthansaQantas
QatarSaudia AirlinesSingapore AirlinesSouth African Airways
SouthwestTAPThai AirwaysTurkish Airlines
United Airlines (3:1.1)Virgin AtlanticVirgin 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!

Airfare

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.

From the Marriott website, you can quickly and easily make reservations for car rentals and flights – but don’t do it

Travel Packages

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.

United Airlines earns 10% more miles than other airlines

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!

While you might not get the best value out of your points this way, you do have a ton of options!

Bottom Line

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!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 37,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) …because then you’ll never miss another update!

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
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  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Too much competition in the business world for travelers such as myself, but I endorse Marriott with their expertise programs in simplicity. Wish they got along better with the Insiders at the Ritz-Carlton, suing each other is bad for business I’m involved with both ends so I’m stuck-shocked right down the middle, hopefully near future you’ll see some fantastic Superior proven results for me on the oceanfront in Malibu, I’m also recruiting anyone in the industry with three + years of experience in management.

It’s strange that every time I am booking a room, I never see an option to use Point and cash. I just went to the website and don’t see customize payment option.

A little airline transfer math, for anyone interested:

If you value your Bonvoy points at…
0.7 | 0.8 | 0.9 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.2
…cents each,

it makes sense to transfer to airline partners if you get this much value in cents/mile…
2.1 | 2.4 | 2.7 | 3.0 | 3.3 | 3.6

but if you transfer in increments of 60k, that becomes:

1.7 | 1.9 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 2.6 | 2.9

To United (not 60k increments), it’s:

1.9 | 2.2 | 2.5 | 2.7 | 3.0 | 3.3

…or in 60k increments:

1.5 | 1.7 | 2.0 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 2.6

Joseph Hostetler

This is great, George. And surprisingly visually appealing for a website comment. Thanks for adding to the post!

Ditto!