Marriott Bonvoy program review: The most versatile hotel points

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A major advantage of Marriott Bonvoy is the broad spectrum of hotels available. Marriott has over 7,000 hotels in 127 countries and territories, ranging from luxury brands like Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and JW Marriott to more budget-friendly brands like Fairfield Inn and Suites, Residence Inn and Four Points by Sheraton.

That’s why earning Marriott points is such a valuable tool for any traveler. No matter where you’re traveling or your travel style, you’re likely to find a Marriott location that suits your needs.

Here’s our full Marriott Bonvoy review to help you navigate all the ins and outs of the program.

With Marriott points, you can get free stays just about anywhere in the world at over 6,900 locations, including Thailand. (Photo by salvatio/Shutterstock)

Marriott Bonvoy review

Because of their versatility, Marriott points are a smart choice for anyone who wants to save big bucks on hotel stays and airfare.

Check out this post for how to set up a Marriott accountMarriott points won’t expire so long as you have activity in your account (with a few exceptions) at least once every 24 months.

Just about all of us on the MMS team earn and use Marriott points for our travels because:

There have been issues with the launch of the new Marriott Bonvoy program, but you’ve still got great flexibility with Marriott points. Here’s what to know:

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

There are a number of ways to earn Marriott points. You can stay at Marriott hotels, earn points with co-branded Marriott credit cards, transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Amex Membership Rewards to Marriott, share your points and more.

Earn Marriott points from Marriott credit cards with these welcome bonuses

If you plan a stay at a Marriott hotel, the number of points you earn will be based on the amount of money you spend, your elite status and the type of hotel you stay in.

You’ll find an in-depth look at all the ways to earn Marriott points here.

How much are Marriott points worth?

Marriott points don’t have a fixed value per point. It varies depending on how you redeem them.

In general, you can expect to get anywhere from ~0.6 to ~1.5 cents per point on average. In some cases, your points could be worth ~2 cents each or more, especially if you book award nights with the fifth night free (more on that later).

Here’s a post with a breakdown of Marriott points value.

How to use Marriott points at hotels

There are a number of ways in which you can use your Marriott points for stays at a variety of different Marriott brands. Marriott has an award chart with peak and off-peak pricing that will give you an idea of how many points you’ll need for a stay at any specific hotel.

Don’t forget that when you use your Marriott points to book a stay of five consecutive nights or more, you’ll automatically get one night free for every five nights you book. (For this to work, you have to pay for the other four nights with Marriott points –  Cash + Points and free night awards won’t trigger the discount.)

Here’s our in-depth look at how to use Marriott points.

Other ways to use Marriot points

In addition to using your Marriott points at hotels, one of the most valuable ways to redeem Marriott points is by converting them to airline miles. Marriott has an incredible 40+ airline partners, and your points will transfer 3:1 to most airline programs – so if you transfer 3,000 Marriott points, you’ll get 1,000 miles with the airline of your choice. For every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred, you’ll get 5,000 bonus airline miles (for airlines with a 3:1 transfer ratio) on the other end.

You can read more about converting Marriott points to airline miles here.

There’s also the option of using your Marriott points for Hotel + Air Packages and Marriott Bonvoy Moments. Be sure to check out our full review of how to use Marriott points.

You can transfer Marriott points to partners like American Airlines for bucket-list experiences like lie-flat business-class flights.

Marriott Bonvoy elite status

Marriott Bonvoy is divided into six different status levels. You start off at the Member level when you sign-up, which gets you access to member-only rates, mobile check-in and free Wi-Fi.

To earn higher elite status you’ll need to meet the following requirements in a calendar year:

  • Bonvoy Silver Elite – Stay 10 nights
  • Bonvoy Gold Elite – Stay 25 nights
  • Bonvoy Platinum Elite – Stay 50 nights
  • Bonvoy Titanium Elite – Stay 75 nights
  • Bonvoy mbassador Elite – Stay 100 nights and make $20,000+ in qualifying purchases

Once you earn an elite status level it will be valid for the rest of the calendar year you’ve earned it, and an additional 14 months after that. So if you earn Gold status in 2020, it will be valid until February 2022.

Remember, you can also get automatic Silver elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with automatic Gold elite status.

For an in-depth look at Marriott elite status, check out our Marriott Bonvoy elite status review.

Bottom line

Earning and redeeming Marriott points is a good strategy if you want to travel for pennies on the dollar.

Marriott points are easy to collect from cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Or you can transfer flexible points from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.

Subscribe to our newsletter for more helpful guides like this.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card, click here.

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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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7 months ago

I need to know how to communicate to someone higher up at Marriott Rewards. With my points, I had purchased a travel package with airline points and 7 night hotel stay. We got the airline miles, but were not able to use the 7 night hotel stay due to a significant motorcycle accident that I was in. Hospital, nursing home, doctor and rehab visits prevented me from using it. We asked for and got a one year extension to use it. I am still doing rehab and asked for another one year extension. The Marriott rep refused and submitted my case for review. The next level refused. I talked to a supervisor and found out that they changed the rules in recent years and would not extend beyond one year. The supervisor would not budge and would not give me the email or phone number of anyone higher up. I understand policy and that Marriott has been getting more restrictive on how members are treated, but this was a real accident and it is taking a long time to return to traveling capacity. Does anyone know how I can get someone higher up to restore my 7 night hotel portion of the package? It is not like I sat around and let it expire. I expected a lot more from Marriott especially given that I am lifetime Platinum. Please help. Bob

1 year ago

One of the worst apps that I have used. Look good on paper but hardly work. Tracking system is a failure as it never gets to the designated hotels. The response from the app team is always diplomatic but nothing is effective. I am so tired of corresponding with them. Not efficient except good with the TaiJi art of pushing around though.

1 year ago

Could you tell me which of these Bonvoy cards by American Express would I be eligible for a sign on bonus — if any?

Icurrently have a SPG business card and have had the SPG personal card in the past. Thank you!

1 year ago

I debated for a long time whether to get the brilliant or the hilton aspire card. After extensive research , i thought the aspire card gave more value – 100% bonus on points, 14x points when pay with aspire card, free weekend night ( no cap on points ) starting your first year, $250 airline credit, $250 off hilton resorts, $100 off waldorf/ conrad, diamond status. Granted marriot points are more versatile and worth more than hilton’s, but with hiltons promos they are easier to earn .

GR Downtown
1 year ago

Really excellent overview of this program. Despite the changes, the positives outweigh the negatives (for me for now). I just converted some Marriott points to United and with the bonus was able to book YUL to VIE for next Easter in business class on Austrian. It really is the charming way to fly.

Andrew P
1 year ago

Joke! I am Titanium Elite status and they won’t update their golf club offering in the UK. All clubs are old compared to US and zero choice. Where am I supposed to spend my points, on a holiday!? Disappointed and thinking of switching to Hyatt.

1 year ago

I refuse to stay at any Marriott Hotels that charge their guess for parking. My last 2 trips I stayed at Hyatt hotels. Neither Hyatt charged me to park my rental car in their lot. A Marriott employee told me that this is the way Marriott is paying for money lost after the recent strikes.

Andrew W
Reply to  Ed
1 year ago

I think I see your point. Paying for parking on top of the rooms for the hotel seems like they’re kicking you while you’re down.

But I think if I got a good enough deal on the hotel room, I might be convinced to pay separately for parking.

Reply to  Andrew W
1 year ago

The only problem is that I got a better deal at Hyatt with free WiFi, free breakfast and FREE parking

Janine Rush
Reply to  Ed
12 days ago

Hyatt is the best. They put Marriott to shame.