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Table of Contents
- 1. Stay at Marriott hotels
- 2. Spend on Bonvoy credit cards
- 3. Transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards
- 4. Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 5. Book Marriott experiences
- 6. Transfer United miles to Marriott (MileagePlus elites only)
- 7. Fly with Emirates (elites only)
- 8. Spend with Marriott shopping partners
- 9. Refer a friend
- 10. Buy Marriott Bonvoy points
Marriott Bonvoy points can be redeemed at over 7,000 hotels worldwide, making them some of the most versatile hotel loyalty points out there. But before you start using Bonvoy points, you have to earn them. Here, we explain 10 ways to earn Marriott points, highlighting opportunities and pitfalls with each.
NerdWallet values Marriott points at 0.7 cent apiece. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.7 cent or more in value from your Marriott points.
Keep this in mind when considering whether these points-earning methods are worth your time (and dollars).
» Learn more: The complete guide to the Marriott Bonvoy program
1. Stay at Marriott hotels
Bonvoy points are “loyalty” points, after all, and a logical way to earn these rewards is by staying at Marriott hotels.
Important: Not all bookings earn points. Generally, only bookings made directly through Marriott are eligible, whereas bookings made through a third party (like Hotels.com, Orbitz or a tour company) do not earn Marriott points or qualify toward elite status.
Advanced tip: Before booking your stay with Marriott, click through a shopping portal. This way, you may earn additional rewards on your booking.
» Learn more: Do Marriott points expire?
Base earning rate
At most Marriott properties, you’ll earn 10 points for every $1 spent, whether on the cost of the room or any additional charges, such as food and in-room purchases.
However, you only earn 5 points per $1 spent at Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites and Element brands, and only 2.5 points per dollar spent at Marriott Executive Apartments and Execustay.
Elite point bonus
On top of the base rate, Bonvoy elite members earn extra points based on their tier status.
Silver: 10% bonus.
Gold: 25% bonus.
Titanium: 50% bonus.
Platinum: 50% bonus.
Ambassador: 75% bonus.
For example, if a Platinum member spends $100 at a Westin hotel, the member will earn 1,000 base points ($100 x 10) and 500 bonus points (1,000 x 50%) for a total of 1,500 points.
Since we value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent each, those 1,500 points are worth $10.50. In other words, Platinum members therefore receive roughly 10% of their spending back in the form of points — not too shabby.
» Learn more: Things to know before joining Marriott Bonvoy
2. Spend on Bonvoy credit cards
Marriott offers three branded consumer credit cards, all of which can be used to earn Bonvoy points:
Each Marriott credit card offers different category bonuses, with spending at Marriott hotels offering the largest bonus. Here’s how those bonuses break down:
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
The bonus points earned for spending at participating Marriott properties are stacked on top of base points and elite status bonuses.
For example, if that same Bonvoy Platinum member used their Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card to purchase their $100 Westin booking, they will earn a total of 2,100 Bonvoy points instead of 1,500: 1,000 base points (100 x 10), 500 elite bonus points (1,000 x 50%) and 600 credit card bonus points (100 x 6).
These cards also offer one-time welcome bonuses that are earned after hitting a minimum spending requirement.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card!
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Marriott offers different bonuses periodically, and there are lifetime language restrictions on the number of times you can have a specific credit card. So, if the welcome offer isn’t as high as it could be and you’re not in a rush, waiting around till a higher offer comes around is advisable.
» Learn more: Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
3. Transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards
Marriott is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, which means you can transfer AmEx points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio. Note that Bonvoy points cannot be transferred back to Membership Rewards, so make sure you have everything lined up before hitting “confirm.”
Given that NerdWallet values Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent and Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each, this transfer partnership might not be worth it unless there is a solid AmEx transfer bonus and you have a specific Marriott redemption in mind.
4. Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Like the AmEx partnership described above, Chase Ultimate Rewards® can be transferred into Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio. So 1,000 Chase points turn into 1,000 Bonvoy points (but can’t be transferred back).
Since NerdWallet values Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent and Chase points are worth 2.6 cents apiece, this transfer seldom makes sense. Coupled with the fact that unlike AmEx, Chase is not as generous with transfer bonuses, your odds of getting an equivalent value from your points is unlikely.
5. Book Marriott experiences
Marriott offers activities such as dining, tours and sporting events near its hotels. In addition, you can also book virtual experiences. Paying for these experiences and adding your Bonvoy membership number can earn points, though the amount varies by each experience.
For example, a virtual tour of Kyoto costs $14 and earns 68 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Confusingly, Marriott also offers a product called “Bonvoy Moments,” which are experiences that can be purchased with Bonvoy points through a bidding system. Only the Marriott experiences that cost money earn points.
6. Transfer United miles to Marriott (MileagePlus elites only)
Marriott and United have a special relationship that is particularly advantageous for elites. United Premier Elites can transfer points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers are capped at 100,000 miles per year.
NerdWallet values United miles at 1.2 cents each, which is higher that Marriott’s 0.7 cent point value.
If you’re a Premier elite and have United miles that you have no use for, this is an option to consider. However, as the above examples with Chase and AmEx, this transfer is generally not a good use of your United miles.
7. Fly with Emirates (elites only)
Marriott has a special partnership with Emirates Airlines that shares elite status benefits between the two programs. That is, Bonvoy elite members receive some elite benefits on Emirates and vice versa.
Among these benefits are points earning bonuses for Bonvoy elite members when flying on Emirates. Specifically, Bonvoy Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador members earn 3 Bonvoy points per $1 spent on Emirates flights.
These points are earned on top of the normal miles earned with Emirates. So if you’re a Bonvoy Gold or higher member taking an Emirates flight, there’s no reason not to take advantage of these extra points.
8. Spend with Marriott shopping partners
We’re not done yet. Marriott offers several promotions and offers that let you earn extra Bonvoy points.
Eat Around Town dining program. By enrolling in Marriott’s dining rewards program and linking a credit card, you’ll earn extra Bonvoy points whenever you dine at one of 11,000+ participating restaurants and use the card. Limited-time offers pop up at certain restaurants from time to time, but the easiest thing to do is to simply connect the card you use for dining and forget about it.
Hertz partnership. Marriott and Hertz’s partnership offers up to 2,000 Bonvoy points per car rental. However, you have to book the rental through Marriott’s site, which makes it harder to compare rates. Unless you’re really desperate for some extra Bonvoy points, it may be worth skipping this one.
Events. Planning a wedding? You probably have more important things on your mind than earning points, but Marriott offers an interesting program that lets you earn up to 60,000 Bonvoy points for events held at their properties.
Cruise with points. Earn 3 Bonvoy points per $1 (up to 30,000 points) when you book a cruise through Marriott’s cruise booking platform.
» Learn more: The best credit cards for cruises
9. Refer a friend
This might be the easiest way to earn a few Bonvoy points. Just refer friends who do not have a Bonvoy account, and you’ll receive points when they book their first stays.
You can refer up to five friends each year, and you get 2,000 points per stay made by a referral (at a maximum of five stays for each of your referrals). In total, this could add 50,000 points annually.
There’s also something in it for your friends: They’ll get an extra 2,000 points for each of their first five stays.
10. Buy Marriott Bonvoy points
The option of purchasing points rounds out our list of ways to earn Marriott points. If you’re short a few Bonvoy points for a specific redemption, you might consider buying them directly. However, doing so is almost never a good deal, even when Marriott offers exciting-sounding bonuses on purchased points.
When in doubt, do the math. If the cost of purchasing points exceeds 0.7 cent each, you’re probably getting hosed.
» Learn more: Times it makes sense to buy miles
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 2023, 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