The Guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Here's what you need to know about elite status, earning points and redeeming points within the Bonvoy program.
Sally French
Sam Kemmis
Joe Cortez
Erin El Issa
By Erin El Issa,  Joe Cortez,  Sam Kemmis and  Sally French 
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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The Marriott Bonvoy program is one of the largest hotel rewards programs in the world, encompassing 30 brands across price points, from budget-friendly properties to luxurious getaways around the world.

Navigating this program can seem daunting. Yet despite its size, the Bonvoy program is relatively simple. From earning points to achieving elite status, Marriott has streamlined most elements of the program. Here we detail them one by one.

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How much Marriott Bonvoy points are worth

Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent apiece. To determine the value of reward points, we compared cash prices and reward redemptions for hotel stays across several destinations and dates. We divided the cost in cash by the cost in points to determine a “cent per point” value for each stay, then averaged this value across several searches.

Bonvoy points have dropped in value since we started tracking them in 2019. And while there's no way to tell whether they will go up or down in the future, you should not necessarily count on them maintaining their value over time.

Marriott Bonvoy vs. competitors: How it stacks in 2023

Marriott is the largest hotel program in the world by most metrics, so if you travel regularly, it’s likely you’ll find yourself staying in a Marriott at some point in your life. And the good news is that Marriott is consistently a solid pick. Relative to other hotel loyalty programs, Marriott Bonvoy ranks just about exactly in the middle.

In NerdWallet’s annual rankings of best hotel loyalty programs, Marriott placed fourth place among six total hotel brands analyzed. It’s not the best program, and it’s not the worst program either. 

And while it is never the best in any single category, it also never ranks the worst. It’s big, it’s reliable, and sometimes, when you’re planning a trip, that consistency is key.

Out of six hotel brands analyzed, here's a closer look at how Marriott competed across categories:

Earning Marriott Bonvoy points

There are many ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, ranging from hotel stays to one-off promotions.

Stay at Marriott hotels

For the most part, you’ll earn 10 base Bonvoy rewards points per dollar spent at Marriott properties. So if you spend $100, you’ll earn 1,000 points. However, some budget brands (such as Residence Inn and Towneplace Suites) offer lower base earning rates.

Bonvoy elite status holders earn additional points on top of this base rate:

  • Silver members earn 10% more.

  • Gold members earn 25% more.

  • Platinum members earn 50% more.

  • Titanium and Ambassador members earn 75% more.

Use a Marriott credit card

Personal credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

There are several credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points:

  • The Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card earns up to 14 points per dollar spent at participating Bonvoy properties and carries a $0 annual fee. It also offers this welcome bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card earns up to 17 points per dollar spent at participating Bonvoy properties and carries a $95 annual fee. It comes with this welcome bonus: 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!

  • The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card earns 6 points per dollar on eligible spending at participating Bonvoy properties and carries a $650 annual fee. This is the current welcome offer: 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.

Business credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott offers a single small-business card, the 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.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card also offers:

  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.

  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary.

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.

It carries an annual fee of $125. Terms apply.

Buy Marriott points

Marriott Bonvoy points can also be purchased in increments of 1,000 for $12.50. This means that points cost 1.25 cents each, which may or may not be worth it, depending on your trip. However, purchasing points is almost never a good idea unless you have a specific redemption in mind.

Transfer credit card points

Marriott is a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards, which means these points can be turned into Marriott points. Generally, this is not the best use of these otherwise valuable credit card points, but if you have a specific high-value Bonvoy redemption planned, it could be worth it. Terms apply.

Other promotions

In addition to earning Marriott Bonvoy points from staying at participating Marriott properties, individuals can also earn points by spending through select partners, like Hertz, or using the Eat Around Town dining portal.

Using Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott Bonvoy points can be used in a number of ways. As stated above, the primary use of Marriott Bonvoy points is for hotel stays. As of April 2022, Marriott uses dynamic awards pricing based on fluctuating demand.

It’s also important to note that Marriott Bonvoy points will expire if you don’t have qualifying activity from the past 24 months. Qualifying activity includes making a purchase on a Marriott credit card, earning points by staying at a hotel, earning points through a Marriott Bonvoy partner, redeeming points or purchasing points.

Airline transfer partners

Marriott Bonvoy points may also be transferred to more than 40 airline partners, at the rate of 3 Marriott Bonvoy program points for 1 airline frequent flyer mile. In addition, for every 60,000 points transferred to a frequent flyer program, Marriott Bonvoy will add a 5,000-mile bonus, providing members with a total of 25,000 miles in the airline program of their choice.

Marriott Bonvoy may also be used for airfare or car rentals, Priority Pass membership, TSA PreCheck membership or shopping, or donated to charity. However, all of these may represent a poor use of points, as they often end up undervalued compared with using points for hotel stays or upgrades, or transferring to frequent flyer miles.

Good Marriott Bonvoy redemption options

When redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for free hotel stays, we estimate the average value at 0.7 cent each.

To get a better value from your points, check out the PointSavers program. PointSaver awards cost around 30% fewer points than standard awards.

You can also get more value out of your points if you redeem them for a stay of five consecutive nights. You’ll get the fifth night free, so if you’re redeeming for a hotel stay that costs 10,000 points per night, five nights will cost 40,000 points instead of 50,000 points.

Bad Marriott Bonvoy redemption options

Some redemption options do not give you good value for your points. While each individual redemption may vary, we suggest you skip these rewards:

  • Air + Car: Estimated value at less than 0.4 cent each.

  • CruisesOnly: Estimated value around 0.4 cent each.

  • Gift cards: Estimated value between 0.2 and 0.4 cent each.

  • Merchandise: Estimated value at less than 0.3 cent each, compared with Amazon prices.

Marriott Bonvoy elite status

The Marriott Bonvoy program includes a whopping five elite status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador.

table detailing Marriott Bonvoy elite status levels and perks

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 2023, including those best for:

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