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Your Complete Guide to Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points

Nov. 26, 2019
Loyalty Programs, Travel
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Marriott Bonvoy points can redeemed at over 7,000 hotels worldwide, making them some of the most versatile hotel loyalty points out there. But before you start using Bonvoy points, you have to earn them. Here we explain six ways to earn Bonvoy points, highlighting opportunities and pitfalls with each:

We currently value Bonvoy points at 0.8 cent each, making 1,000 Bonvoy points worth about $8. Keep this in mind when considering whether these points-earning methods are worth your time (and dollars).

» Learn more: Marriott Rewards program: The complete guide

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Stay at Marriott hotels

They are “loyalty” points, after all, and most travelers earn Bonvoy points by staying at Marriott hotels.

Important: Not all bookings earn points. Generally, only bookings made directly through Marriott are eligible to earn points. Bookings made through a third party (like Hotels.com, Orbitz or a tour company) do not earn Marriott points or qualify toward elite status.

Base earning rate

At most Marriott properties, you’ll earn 10 points per $1 spent. This includes the cost of the room as well as any additional charges, such as food and in-room purchases.

However, you only earn 5 points per $1 spent at the following brands:

  • Residence Inn.
  • Towneplace Suites.
  • Element.

And only 2.5 points per dollar spent at these brands:

  • Marriott Executive Apartments.
  • Execustay.

Elite point bonus

On top of the base rate, Bonvoy elite members earn extra points based on their tier status.

 SilverGoldPlatinumTitaniumAmbassador
Points-earning bonus10%25%50%75%75%

For example, if a Platinum member spends $100 at a Westin hotel, they’ll earn 1,000 base points ($100 x 10) and 500 bonus points (1,000 x 50%) for a total of 1,500 points.

Since we value Bonvoy points at 0.8 cent each, those 1,500 points are worth $12. Platinum members therefore receive roughly 12% of their spending back in the form of points — not too shabby.

Use Bonvoy credit cards

Marriott offers three branded consumer credit cards, all of which can be used to earn Bonvoy points:

» Learn more: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless review: Free night award, elite status

Category spending

Each Marriott credit card offers different category bonuses, with spending at Marriott hotels offering the largest bonus. Here’s how those bonuses break down:

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

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

  • 2 points per $1 spent on other travel.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
Terms apply.

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

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

  • 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.

The bonus points earned for spending at participating Marriott properties are stacked on top of base points and elite status bonuses. For example, a Bonvoy Platinum member using their Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card on a $100 Westin booking will earn 1,000 base points (100 x 10), 500 elite bonus points (1,000 x 50%) and 600 credit card bonus points (100 x 6) for a total of 2,100 Bonvoy points.

Welcome bonus

These cards also offer one-time welcome bonuses that are earned after hitting a minimum spending requirement.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card: Limited Time Offer! Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: 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.

» Learn more: Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

Transfer points from other programs

Marriott is a transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Both programs let you transfer points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio.

However, since Bonvoy points are only worth 0.8 cent each, transferring these points probably doesn’t make sense unless you have a high-value redemption in mind.

Note: While Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to dozens of other programs, including many airline programs, these partnerships are not reciprocal. That is, you can transfer your Bonvoy points to United (for example), but you can’t transfer your United points to Bonvoy.

Fly with Emirates (elites only)

Marriott has created a special partnership with Emirates Airlines that shares elite status benefits between the two programs. That is, Bonvoy elite members receive some elite benefits on Emirates and vice versa.

Among these benefits are points earning bonuses for Bonvoy elite members when flying on Emirates. Specifically, Bonvoy Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador members earn 3 Bonvoy points per $1 spent on Emirates flights.

These points are earned on top of the normal miles earned with Emirates. So if you’re a Bonvoy Gold or higher member taking an Emirates flight, there’s no reason not to take advantage of these extra points.

Offers, promotions and other partnerships

We’re not done yet. Marriott offers several promotions and offers that let you earn extra Bonvoy points.

Eat Around Town dining program

By enrolling in Marriott’s dining rewards program and linking a credit card, you’ll earn extra Bonvoy points whenever you dine at one of 11,000+ participating restaurants and use the card. Limited-time offers pop up at certain restaurants from time to time, but the easiest thing to do is to simply connect the card you use for dining and forget about it.

Hertz partnership

Marriott and Hertz’s partnership offers up to 2,000 Bonvoy points per car rental. However, you have to book the rental through Marriott’s site, which makes it harder to compare rates. Unless you’re really desperate for some extra Bonvoy points, it may be worth skipping this one.

Events

Planning a wedding? You probably have more important things on your mind than earning points, but Marriott offers an interesting program that lets you earn up to 60,000 Bonvoy points for events held at their properties.

Buy points

If you’re short a few Bonvoy points for a specific redemption, you might consider purchasing them directly. However, doing so is almost never a good deal, even when Marriott offers exciting-sounding bonuses on purchased points.

When in doubt, do the math. If the cost of purchasing points exceeds 0.8 cent each, you’re probably getting hosed.

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

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best hotel credit card for you
The 5 best ways to rack up Marriott bonvoy points
Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart

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