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Marriott Bonvoy can be a program with rich rewards if you take advantage of its points earning and redemption ability at more than 8,000 hotels across 30 global brands. As one of the largest hotel companies in the world, Marriott is likely to have a hotel where you want to go. If you’re new to the Marriott Bonvoy (or loyalty programs in general), it can help to know some beginner tips to make your experience more rewarding.
Joining Marriott Bonvoy is free and can even be a smart financial move if you plan to accrue points that you redeem at expensive hotels in the future. Why spend your hard-earned cash on a future vacation when you can earn free points through travel, daily spending on credit cards or by dining out at more than 11,000 restaurants through the Eat Around Town program? When you’re dipping your toes in the turquoise waters of your favorite Marriott family property in the Caribbean or sipping champagne at one of the many Marriott resorts in the Maldives, joining this free program and saving money in the process will definitely seem worth it.
Why join Marriott Bonvoy?
The answer is simple: It’s free and can deliver immediate benefits such as complimentary wireless internet and the opportunity to earn points to redeem for a future stay when staying at a Marriott property.
With a variety of brands from budget-focused to luxury, there are Marriott family properties all around the world. Whether you are staying for business or pleasure, signing up for the program and assuring that your number is associated with your reservation is a great way to work on filling up your points balance. An overview of member benefits includes the opportunity to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status, which can sweeten the pot considerably.
The more you stay, the closer you inch toward earning elite status. Marriott Bonvoy has several elite status levels ranging from Silver Elite (after staying 10 qualifying nights) all the way up to Ambassador Elite (requires 100 qualifying nights and spending at least $14,000 during qualifying stays). Silver Elite comes with bonus points for every night you stay and the possibility for late checkout. Ambassador Elite comes with bonus points, late checkout, welcome amenities and room upgrades among other perks.
» Learn more: What makes Marriott unique
Earn points to redeem later with 30 brands
What elevates Marriott Bonvoy above other programs is its incredible breadth and scope. Being a member of a loyalty program with more than 8,000 hotels and 30 brands is a worthy proposition. This really helps the program to stand out, and when it comes to finding the best value for redeeming your points (and saving the most cash in the process), Marriott Bonvoy is your best bet.
When staying with Marriott and paying a qualifying rate, members earn 10 base points per dollar spent with most brands (except at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites hotels, where the earning rate is 5 points per dollar spent).
Depending on which level you achieve, you can earn bonus points on top of the base earning. For example, when paying a qualifying base rate of $100:
A Marriott Bonvoy Member will earn 1,000 points.
Silver Elite status will earn a 10% bonus (1,100 points in total).
Gold Elite status will earn a 25% bonus (1,250 points in total).
Platinum Elite status will earn a 50% bonus (1,500 points in total).
Titanium or Ambassador Elite status will earn a 75% bonus (1,750 points in total).
The number of points you earn will vary based on the qualifying rate you pay (remember to book directly with Marriott online or phone as rates booked via other websites do not qualify for points).
Imagine the number of points you can rack up the more nights you stay. These points can later be redeemed for hotel nights with no additional cost. Marriott Bonvoy publishes an award chart that indicates how many points a hotel redemption night might cost depending on the category. Marriott places its hotels in categories ranging from 1 to 8 with off-peak, standard and peak pricing. An off-peak redemption night at a Category 1 property costs 5,000 points.
Credit card perks and bonus points
Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit cards can top off your points balance and add some other perks quite nicely. Enrolling for one of the cards comes with instant points for meeting certain qualified spending thresholds. A huge bonus of joining Marriott Bonvoy and earning points via credit card spending is that you do not have to be traveling to earn points.
Does not have an annual fee.
Earns 1 point for every dollar you spend. That includes everywhere from gas stations to online purchases.
Earns up to 14 points per dollar spent at participating Bonvoy properties.
Earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel-related purchases like airfare and taxis.
Earns 2 points for every dollar you spend.
Earns up 17 points per dollar spent at participating Bonvoy properties.
New signups for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card can earn 10x per dollar spent (up to $2,500) in their first six months on gas station, restaurant and grocery store purchases.
Earns 6 points per dollar at participating Bonvoy properties.
Earns 3 points per dollar on dining and airfare purchases.
Earns 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Even if you have never stayed at a Marriott property, some cards come with instant elite status. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card comes with immediate Silver Elite status while the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with instant Gold Elite status. Term apply.
» Learn more: The best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points
How to join Marriott Bonvoy
This is perhaps the easiest part of all. Follow these simple steps on how to create a Marriott Bonvoy account. Signing up does not require providing many personal details other than your name, address, phone number and email. It takes just a few minutes.
Head to the Marriott Bonvoy sign-up page.
Provide your name, address and a valid email.
Create your password.
Click “Join” and you’re all set.
There are some extra steps you can take to ensure your account starts earning points such as adding your new membership number to any upcoming Marriott stays and linking your Marriott Bonvoy number to your Uber account to earn bonus points on select rides and Uber Eats orders.
If you’re considering Marriott Bonvoy
As a loyalty program, it represents one of the largest hotel portfolios out there, and it’s not hard to find a Marriott family hotel in many destinations around the world. Even if you don’t have plans to travel soon or stay with Marriott, signing up is easy, and earning points without hotel stays (such as via Uber or on an affiliated credit card) is possible.
Forgetting to sign up and activate a Marriott Bonvoy account by applying your number to a Marriott reservation before you stay might result in leaving free points behind. Don’t worry though, you can claim missing points on stays as far as one year back.
Those free points can lead to memorable vacations or even the opportunity to redeem them for special Marriott Bonvoy Moments experiences that are hard to replicate elsewhere. These include the opportunity to design your own wedding dress with a famous designer or scoring VIP tickets to an NFL game.
Bottom line: Marriott Bonvoy could be a smart move that can save you money, upgrade your travel experience and give you added incentive to explore exciting Marriott family properties around the globe.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, see this page.
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