Marriott Rewards: The basics
Marriott Rewards Points can be redeemed for several items, including free flights, merchandise, gift cards and other travel expenses. The value of your points will vary based on redemption method, but as a general rule, you should aim to redeem for 1 cent each or more.
There are three Elite levels you can reach with the Marriott Rewards program — Silver, Gold and Platinum. Silver status is reached after 10 qualifying nights, Gold status is reached after 50 qualifying nights, and Platinum status is reached after 75 qualifying nights.
With the Silver Elite status, you’ll enjoy access to the elite reservation line and the exclusive guest services line. You’ll also get priority late checkout, weekend discounts, a 20% bonus on points for stays and more.
With the Gold Elite status, in addition to the Silver benefits, you’ll get guaranteed lounge access and breakfast, complimentary upgrades and enhanced internet service, a 25% bonus on points for stays and more.
With the Platinum Elite status, in addition to the Silver and Gold benefits, you’ll get elite offers, complimentary United MileagePlus Silver status, arrival gifts, 50% bonus on points for stays and more.
Cards that earn Marriott Rewards Points
Marriott Rewards® Credit Card
- 3X points at Marriott locations worldwide and The Ritz-Carlton locations
- 1 points per dollar spent on everything else
Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
- 5X points at Marriott locations worldwide, and The Ritz-Carlton locations
- 2X points at restaurants, car rental agencies and on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines
- 2X points at office supply stores and on cable/telecom services
- 1 points per dollar spent on everything else
How to get more Marriott Rewards Points
You can earn extra Marriott Rewards Points (as well as air miles) by staying at Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton locations. But that’s not the only way to earn points. Marriott has exclusive deals that change regularly. Make sure to check the expiration dates because many of these deals end within a short period of time.
You can also earn points when you spend through Marriott’s partners, such as:
For more ways to earn rewards with Marriott’s partners, check out the Marriott site.
Marriott Rewards Points can 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. Overall, we estimate the value of Marriott Rewards Points at 1 cent each, so keep that in mind before you buy points for your next stay.
How to redeem Marriott Rewards Points
Good redemption options
When redeeming Marriott Rewards Points for free hotel stays, we estimate the average value at 1 cent each. Domestic stays have a higher average redemption value than international stays. Here are our calculated values:
- Domestic weekday stays: 1.1 cents per point
- Domestic weekend stays: 1 cent per point
- International weekday stays: 1 cent per point
- International weekend stays: 0.9 cents per point
To get a better value from your points, check out Seasonal Awards and the PointSavers program. Seasonal Awards will cost you at least 25% fewer points than booking normally, and PointSavers will give you up to a 33% discount.
In general, we encourage you to redeem for a rate of 1 cent per point and above. Of course, if you aren’t aiming to optimize your points, feel free to book any stay you want.
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 redemption options
Some redemption options do not give you good value for your points. We suggest you skip these rewards:
- Air + Car: Redemption may vary, but we estimate the value of your points at less than 0.4 cents each.
- CruisesOnly: Redemption may vary, but we estimate the value of your points around 0.4 cents each.
- Gift cards: Redemption varies, but we estimate the value of your points between 0.2 to 0.4 cents each.
- Merchandise: Redemption varies, but we estimate the value of your points at less than 0.3 cents each, compared to Amazon prices.
Other redemption options
Marriott Rewards also has an interesting redemption option that isn’t easily quantifiable: travel packages. When you redeem for travel packages, you’re getting seven nights at a hotel and a certain number of airline miles. The value of your points will vary depending on the category of your hotel, the airline you fly and the dates of your trip, among other factors.
Nerd tip: If you want to redeem for travel packages, check to see how far your Marriott Rewards Points will go. As a general rule, you should aim for a points value of 1 cent or more. See the methodology section below for information on how to value redemption options.
Marriott Rewards Points can be transferred to a multitude of frequent flier programs. The current partner programs are listed below. Transfer rates depend on the airline.
- Aeroplan (Air Canada)
- Air China
- Air France/KLM
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Asia Miles
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways
- China Eastern
- China Southern
- Delta Air Lines
- Etihad Airways
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Jet Airways
- JetBlue Airways
- Lufthansa Miles & More
- Qatar Airways
- Saudia Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic
Points can also be used at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and certain rail trips on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Effective Feb. 1, 2016, Marriott Rewards Points will expire if you don’t have qualifying activity from the past 24 months. This means that you need some sort of qualifying activity on or after Jan. 31, 2014, to keep your points once this policy goes into effect.
The calculated value of these points is based on an estimated redemption rate, not a credit card rewards earn rate. Therefore, you may notice that these numbers don’t match the rewards rates on our credit card finder tool. Read on for how we estimated these points values.
We tested 10 popular cities — five domestic and five international — to determine the value of a Marriott Rewards Point when redeemed for free nights. These are the cities we used for our estimations:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Las Vegas
- Mexico City
For domestic stays, points value ranged from 0.8 to 1.6 cents each for weekday stays, 0.8 to 1.3 cents each for weekend stays. For international stays, points value ranged from 0.6 to 1.7 cents each for weekday stays, 0.5 to 1.7 cents each for weekend stays.
To determine the value of your points for specific hotel stays, divide the cash value of the hotel stay by the number of Marriott Rewards Points required. So if a night at your hotel of choice would cost either $200 or 15,000 points, the math would be as follows:
$200 / 15,000 = 0.013, or 1.3 cents per point
Use this same calculation to value any rewards option. For example, if you want a $100 Best Buy gift card, it will cost you 30,000 points and the valuation is as follows:
$100 / 30,000 = 0.0033, or 0.33 cents per point
Last updated on October 8, 2015
Image via iStock.