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When it comes to Marriott Bonvoy points, earning them isn’t the complicated part. You can either stay at Marriott hotels or use a Marriott-branded credit card.
Deciding how to spend all those points, on the other hand, isn’t so simple. With over 7,000 individual hotels across 30 brands and eight award categories, the Bonvoy program can seem downright overwhelming.
To help navigate this maze, three NerdWallet staffers weighed in with how they’d use 50,000 points for their personal travel. As their redemptions illustrate, there’s no such thing as a “best” use of any travel rewards. But there are some sweet spots.
Brad Walters, editor: 5 Nights at Residence Inn Columbia Northwest/Harbison (South Carolina)
Bonvoy Category: 2 (12,500 points per night)
“Booking a one-bedroom suite will mean plenty of space for friends and family to celebrate and catch up — and it'll give our new graduate a free sofa bed to crash on if we all celebrate a little too much.
"Obviously this specific hotel won't work for most people, but it's proof that there's good value to be had in the kinds of everyday redemptions that fit in with your plans anyway."
Cash rates for one-bedroom suites for Brad's dates priced out at an average of $171 per night, so the redemption nets a respectable 1.7 cents per point ($171 x 5 nights / 50,000 points).
» Learn more: 10 great ways to use 50,000 Bonvoy points
Robin Frankel, writer: 1 night at the Le Méridien New York, Central Park
Bonvoy Category: 5 (35,000 points per night)
Nightly rates at Le Méridien started at $370 when we checked, so her New York splurge would be worth at least 1.1 cents per point ($370 x 1 night / 35,000 points).
Julia Baily, product manager: 2 nights at the Courtyard Budapest City Center
Bonvoy Category: 3 (17,500 points per night)
“I chose the redemption due to great location, great redemption value and, frankly, wanting to offload some points and simplify my points and miles inventory. The staff was super friendly — after I checked in, we looked over a map and they gave me great recommendations on what to see and where to go. And I got upgraded to a huge corner room with my Marriott Gold status.”
Two nights at the Courtyard Budapest City Center cost a total of $438 on dates we checked. So Julia scored a value of 1.3 cents per offloaded point ($438 / 35,000 points).
» Learn more: Find the best hotel credit card for you
The bottom line
As you can see, there’s no “best” way to use your Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s like searching for the “best” use of your money.
Even we Nerds are willing to trade points maximization for convenience sometimes. So don’t get discouraged if you’re not getting the absolute most value from your points. The best redemption is the one you actually make.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card