Advertiser Disclosure

Marriott Bonvoy Program: The Complete Guide

March 30, 2020
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

After merging with Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards in August 2018, the Marriott Bonvoy program is one of the largest hotel rewards programs in the world.

Become a points-earning pro

Make more back on your spending by knowing your highest-earning cards per category.

Become a points-earning pro

Make more back on your spending by knowing your highest-earning cards per category.

Become a points-earning pro

Make more back on your spending by knowing your highest-earning cards per category.

The new Marriott Rewards program encompasses 30 brands across price points, from budget-friendly properties to luxurious getaways around the world. The brands participating in the Marriott Rewards program are:

  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft Hotels
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • Bulgari Resorts and Hotels
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Delta Hotels
  • Design Hotels
  • Edition Hotels
  • Element Hotels
  • Fairfield by Marriott
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Residence Inn by Marriott
  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • Sheraton Hotels and Resorts
  • Springhill Suites by Marriott
  • St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels Worldwide
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts

» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews

NerdWallet Guide to COVID-19

Get answers about stimulus checks, debt relief, changing travel policies and managing your finances.

How much Marriot Bonvoy points are worth

Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Marriott Bonvoy points at 1 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 flight, then averaged this value across several searches. Read more about how we arrived at these figures.

This is therefore a baseline value for Bonvoy points, based on real-world data collected from hundreds of hotel stays, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award bookings that offer 1 cent or more in value from your Bonvoy points.

To determine the value of your points for specific bookings, divide the cash value (minus any fees associated with the reward booking) by the number of points required. So if a hotel room would cost either $100, or 15,000 points + $10 in resort fees, the math would be as follows:

($100 – $10) / 15,000 = 0.006, or 0.6 cent per point.

Marriott Bonvoy elite status

There are five elite levels guests can reach with the Marriott Rewards program: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador.

  • Silver Elite status: Silver Elite status is reached after 10 qualifying nights. Benefits include a 10% points bonus from stays, priority late checkout and a dedicated elite reservations line.
  • Gold Elite status: Gold Elite status is earned after staying 25 nights in a year. Benefits include a 25% points bonus from stays, 2 p.m. priority late checkout based on availability, in-hotel welcome gift of extra points, and enhanced room upgrade based on availability.
  • Platinum Elite status: Platinum Elite status is earned after staying 50 nights in one year. Platinum Elite members receive a 50% points bonus from stays, 4 p.m. priority late checkout, and an in-hotel welcome gift of extra points, a breakfast offering at participating hotels or a welcome amenity. Platinum Elite members also get an annual one-time Choice Benefit upon qualification. At the hotel, elites at this level get lounge access, as well as a guaranteed room type, along with enhanced room upgrades — including select suites — at check-in if available.
  • Titanium Elite status: Platinum Elite members can reach Titanium Elite after staying 75 nights in a single year. In addition to all of the Platinum Elite benefits, Platinum Premier Elite members also receive a second Choice Benefit selection upon qualification and a 48-hour room guarantee.
  • Ambassador Elite status: For the most loyal customers, who spend at least 100 nights at Marriott properties a year and over $20,000 in qualifying spend at hotels, Marriott offers Ambassador Elite status. In addition to all the benefits of Titanium Elite, members also receive Ambassador Service and Your24 concierge services before and during stays with Marriott Rewards.

» Learn more: Marriott Bonvoy elite status: Everything you need to know

Marriott Bonvoy lifetime status

In addition to yearly acknowledgment, guests who earn loyalty year after year can earn lifetime status with Marriott Bonvoy. Three lifetime tiers are available, based on how many years of status one earns and lifetime nights stayed.

Lifetime Silver Elite status: 250 lifetime nights and five years of any elite status

  • Points never expire.
  • All Silver Elite benefits for life.

Lifetime Gold Elite status: 400 lifetime nights and seven years of Gold Elite status or higher

  • Points never expire.
  • All Gold Elite benefits for life.

Lifetime Platinum Elite status: 600 lifetime nights and 10 years of Platinum Elite status 

  • Points never expire.
  • All Platinum Elite benefits for life.

Earning Marriott Bonvoy points

Personal credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

There are several credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points, including our picks below. Please note that some are not available to new applicants.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Annual fee
$0$95$450
Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

  • Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).

  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.


  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.
Issuer and other benefits
Chase

  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.

Chase

  • An additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.

  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.

American Express

  • Complimentary anniversary night (valued up to 50,000 points).

  • Gold elite status.

  • $300 statement credit for Marriott purchases.

  • Terms apply.
New cardholder bonus
Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.See website

» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose?

Business credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott offers a single small-business card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

This card currently offers this sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. 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.

How to get more Marriott Bonvoy points

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.

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.

» Learn more: Your complete guide to earning Marriott Bonvoy points

When staying at hotels, guests earn 10 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent at most hotels. This includes room rates and incidentals that can be charged to a room, including food, drinks and spa services. The exceptions are:

  • 5 Marriott Rewards points per $1 spent at Element, Residence Inn by Marriott and TownePlace Suites. 
  • 2.5 Marriott Rewards points per $1 spent at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay.

» Learn more: The 5 best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points

Using Marriott Rewards 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. Marriott has eight hotel categories, ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 points per night.

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 Rewards points for 1 airline frequent flyer mile. In addition, for every 60,000 points transferred to a frequent flyer program, Marriott Rewards will add a 5,000-point bonus, providing members with a total of 25,000 miles in the airline program of their choice

Marriott Rewards 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 Rewards points for free hotel stays, we estimate the average value at 1 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 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 cent each.
  • CruisesOnly: Redemption may vary, but we estimate the value of your points around 0.4 cent each.
  • Gift cards: Redemption varies, but we estimate the value of your points between 0.2 and 0.4 cent each.
  • Merchandise: Redemption varies, but we estimate the value of your points at less than 0.3 cent each, compared with Amazon prices.

» Learn more: How to get the most value from Marriott Bonvoy points

Information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

About the authors