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:

  • They’re incredibly easy to earn from Marriott brand credit cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Amex Membership Rewards to Marriott.
  • You’ve got plenty of options for redeeming points at a wide range of properties worldwide. Award nights start at 7,500 Marriott points per night.
  • You’re not locked into only staying at Marriott hotels. Many folks, like team member Jason, choose to transfer Marriott points to airline partners for award flights.  Marriott points are the best hotel points for flights because you can transfer them to every major alliance, including some airlines that don’t partner with any other flexible points program.

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

  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card:Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first 6 months of Card Membership for all eligible purchases on your Card on U.S. Advertising in select Media. Plus receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022). Offer ends 1/13/21. Terms apply.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card:  Earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Enjoy complimentary Platinum Elite status with your Card for the 2021 status year. Offer Expires 1/13/2021. Terms apply.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card:  Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

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 and Platinum elite status. (complimentary Platinum Elite status offer expires 1/13/2021).

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.

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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, she 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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