Ask the Nerds: What Would You Do With 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points?

Jun 24, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

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)

Brad Walters
“Sometimes, the best award redemptions forgo flash in favor of practicality. My brother graduates this fall from the University of South Carolina, and I'm planning to use my Bonvoy points to redeem five nights at this nearby Residence Inn. That's four nights at 12,500 points per night, plus a free night using Marriott's ‘fifth night free’ benefit on award reservations.

“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).

Robin Frankel, writer: 1 night at the Le Méridien New York, Central Park

Bonvoy Category: 5 (35,000 points per night)

Robin Saks Frankel
“I’d use part of that bonus to treat my husband and kids to a fancy free night at Le Méridien. We all used to live in Manhattan, so any chance we have to get back, we take!”

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)

Julia Baily
This redemption isn’t hypothetical for Julia — she booked it in April.

“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).

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 2022, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.