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If you’re planning a trip, whether it’s to a major city, a small town or an international destination, odds are good you’ll have the option to stay at a Marriott property. There are over 7,000 Marriotts in over 130 countries around the world, which makes it a smart move to get and keep elite status in Marriott's rewards program, called Bonvoy. In addition to some fairly standard benefits, Bonvoy also offers unique and under-the-radar opportunities that can really help you maximize your points. Here are some highlights of the Marriott Bonvoy program:
1. Elite status levels are rewarding from the moment you sign-up
One of the best ways to make your overall travel experience more enjoyable is to earn elite hotel status. The benefits of Marriott Bonvoy elite status start immediately upon sign-up and get more valuable and luxurious as you move up through the five levels.
Free to join.
Earned by simply signing up.
Highlights include free Wi-Fi and access to discounted member rates.
Earned after staying 10 qualifying nights in a year.
Highlights include free Wi-Fi, a 10% points bonus on stays and priority late checkout.
Earned after staying 25 qualifying nights in a year.
Automatically earned with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express. Terms apply.
Highlights include complimentary enhanced Wi-Fi, a 25% points bonus on stays, 2 p.m. priority late checkout (based on availability), an elite reservation line, space-available upgrades (excluding suites) and a welcome gift of extra points.
Earned after staying 50 qualifying nights in a year.
In addition to Gold Elite benefits, highlights include an increase to a 50% points bonus on stays, 4 p.m. priority late checkout, space-available upgrades (including suites), lounge access, a reservation guarantee, an annual Choice Benefit, and a welcome gift of points, a breakfast offering or an amenity.
Earned after staying 75 qualifying nights in a year.
In addition to Platinum Elite benefits, highlights include an increase to a 75% bonus on stays, a second annual Choice Benefit and United Airlines Premier Silver Status.
Earned after spending 100+ nights in a year and $20,000 at qualifying Marriott properties.
In addition to Titanium Elite benefits, highlights include Ambassador Service (a benefit that allows you to get personal service with your stays) and Your24 concierge services, the ability to check in any time you want and check out 24 hours later.
» Learn More: Why I love Marriott Bonvoy
2. Points are easy to earn
As a Bonvoy member, you’ll earn a generous amount of points on paid stays, from a 10% bonus as a Silver Elite to a 75% bonus as a Titanium or Ambassador Elite. In addition, there are several Marriott branded credit cards that can boost your points-earning power: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card all offer welcome bonuses in addition to points-earning each time you spend on the card. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The 5 best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points
3. Points are easy to use
Marriott has a wide range of properties worldwide, from luxury to budget-friendly, so it’s likely you’ll find something that’s just right for you. Also, since award nights start at just 5,000 points per night, you can snap up an award stay fairly easily.
» Learn more: 5 ways to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points
4. You can exchange points for airline miles
You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to over 40 airline partners across every major alliance. Points transfer at a 3:1 ratio for most programs, so if you transfer 3,000 Marriott points, you’ll get 1,000 airline miles.
Nerd tip: For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred to an airline, you get an extra bonus of 5,000 miles included with your transfer. So, your 60,000-point transfer (at the usual 3:1 ratio) will get you 20,000 miles plus 5,000 bonus miles (25,000 total).
5. If you have high-tier Marriott status, you get free United Airlines Premier Silver Status
This is a valuable benefit that can save you some cash (waived baggage fees and reduced change/cancel fees) as well as get you upgraded seats, a mileage bonus and more. If you fly United even occasionally, be sure to take advantage of this perk once you’ve reached Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status.
6. You can save even more with PointSavers
PointSavers is a Marriott promotion where you can save up to 20% off the regular award rate on destinations around the world. Locations change weekly, so it’s worth checking the list before you make a booking; you never know what cities will be featured.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart
7. You can give yourself a ‘points advance’
If you don’t have enough points in your account to book the award stay you want, you can still book it and pay the points back when you earn them, as long as you have enough points within 14 days of your arrival. This gives you even more flexibility in planning your travel.
8. Stay for five, pay for four
When you use your Marriott points to book a stay of five nights or more, one of those nights will be free. This also works with longer stays. For example, you can stay for 10 nights and get two of those nights for free. In addition, you can stack this perk with the PointSavers promotion. Important notes:
The nights of your stay must be consecutive.
You must use points to pay for the entire stay (you cannot use Cash + Points).
The free night is applied to the cheapest night on your booking.
Reservations are for standard rooms only.
The bottom line
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy program, but rather a collection of many of the most valuable and useful ones. Whether you are currently a hotel loyalist “free agent” or holding status with another chain, Marriott Bonvoy makes a lot of compelling reasons to consider joining.
All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express are no longer available through NerdWallet.
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 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card