Your probably know that you can earn hotel points from staying at hotels. But, you might not know that you can also earn points when other travelers stay at hotels. That’s the case, at least, through the Marriott Bonvoy referral program.
Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 50,000 bonus points each year by referring friends and family to the Bonvoy program. However, it’s not as simple as just getting friends and family to sign up for the program. Your friends and family need to complete stays at Marriott before you earn any points.
That means there’s some strategy to maximizing the Marriott Bonvoy referral program.
How the Marriott Bonvoy referral program works
Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 50,000 bonus Bonvoy points each year by referring friends and family. This is rewarded as 2,000 bonus points for each stay that your referral makes in the first 365 days after enrolling, up to five stays. Each Bonvoy member can “sponsor” up to five new members per calendar year.
If you think you’ll want to refer more than five travelers in a calendar year, you should focus on the five that you think will actually complete the most stays. If you sponsor five new members and each only stays once in the first year, you’ll only earn 10,000 bonus points from those members. You’d come out further ahead by referring just two new members that each stay three times (12,000 bonus points).
If you can find five new members who complete the five eligible stays each, you’ll hit the maximum 50,000 bonus points.
Know the restrictions
In order to qualify for the promotion, your friends and family members will need to keep Marriott Bonvoy points as their currency earning preference. If they'd like to earn airline miles instead of Bonvoy points, they should wait to make that change until after their first five stays (or the 365-day new member period ends).
Nerdy tip: In order to get bonus points through the Marriott Bonvoy referral program, a new member needs to sign up using your link. Unfortunately, new members can’t retroactively designate you as their sponsor for the referral bonus.
Note that the definition of a stay is “consecutive nights spent in the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.” That means your referral can’t book five consecutive one-night stays at the same hotel to try to maximize the promotion. Those five bookings would be considered just one stay for the purposes of this and other promotions.
What new members get for joining
Bonus points for first five stays
By joining the program through your unique referral link, new Marriott Bonvoy members will also earn 2,000 bonus points per stay for their first five stays. That’s a potential maximum of 10,000 bonus points in a year on top of the points they otherwise earn for each stay.
That’s a decent bonus, especially when it’s combined with some of Marriott’s quarterly bonuses. Recent promotions have offered 2,500 bonus points per stay with a 5,000 bonus after your third stay.
By completing five stays during this type of promotion, one of your referrals could earn a total of 27,500 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after five stays. That won't help you directly, but be a good friend and make sure they know about promotions that might be available to them. That’s enough for a free night at a Category 4 hotel (at off-peak or standard pricing) or five nights at a Category 1 property during off-peak dates.
Other ways to refer and earn bonus Bonvoy points
Refer a friend to Marriott credit cards
Once you have a Marriott Bonvoy credit card, you can also earn bonus Bonvoy points by referring friends and family to sign up for a Bonvoy credit card.
Chase’s Marriott refer-a-friend bonus currently offers 20,000 bonus points per successful referral, up to a maximum of 100,000 bonus points per calendar year. The American Express refer-a-friend bonus varies based on the card.
The bottom line
Through the Marriott Bonvoy referral program, you can earn up to 50,000 bonus Bonvoy points each year. To make the most of it, find five friends and family members to sign up for a new Bonvoy account that you're confident will complete close to five eligible stays in a year. You can earn even more bonus points by adding a Marriott credit card to your wallet and referring friends to Marriott credit cards, too.
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:
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