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Your Complete Guide to Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points

July 6, 2020
Loyalty Programs, Travel
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Marriott Bonvoy points can be 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 eight ways to earn Bonvoy points, highlighting opportunities and pitfalls with each:

NerdWallet values Marriott points at 1 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1 cent or more in value from your Marriott points. 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.

» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews

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 1 cent each, those 1,500 points are worth $15. Platinum members therefore receive roughly 15% 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: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 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 American Express Membership Rewards

Marriott is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, which means you can transfer AmEx points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio. Note that Bonvoy points cannot be transferred back to Membership Rewards, so make sure you have everything lined up before hitting “confirm.”

Given that NerdWallet values Bonvoy points at 1 cent and Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when used to book travel through AmEx Travel, this transfer partnership might not be worth it unless you have a specific Marriott redemption in mind.

Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Like the AmEx partnership described above, Chase Ultimate Rewards® can be transferred into Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio. So 1,000 Chase points turn into 1,000 Bonvoy points (but can’t be transferred back).

Since NerdWallet values Bonvoy points at 1 cent and Chase points are worth at least 1 cent apiece when booking travel directly, this partnership likely only makes sense if you’re shooting for a specific Marriott redemption or are looking to clear out your Chase account.

Book experiences

Marriott offers activities such as dining, tours and sporting events near its hotels. Booking these experiences with cash and applying your Bonvoy membership number can earn points, though the amount varies by each experience. For example, a bus tour of Washington, D.C., costs $49 and earns 245 Bonvoy points:

Confusingly, Marriott also offers “Bonvoy Moments,” which are experiences that can be purchased with Bonvoy points through a bidding system. Only the experiences that cost cash earn points.

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.

Refer a friend

This might be the easiest way to earn a few Bonvoy points. Just refer friends who do not have a Bonvoy account, and you’ll receive points when they book their first stays.

  • You can refer up to five friends each year.
  • You get 2,000 points per stay made by a referral (at a maximum of five stays for each of your referrals).
  • That’s a maximum of 50,000 points.

There’s also something in it for your friends: They’ll get an extra 2,000 points for each of their first five stays.

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 1 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:
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The 5 best ways to rack up Marriott bonvoy points
Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart

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