Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program: Your Complete Guide

Marriott's Thimphu Le Meridien property.
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Marriott

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel brands in the world, and its Marriott Bonvoy rewards program is among the most valuable. Learn everything you need to know about the rewards program, including how to earn and redeem points, transfer points to partner loyalty programs, and earn elite status.

What Is the Marriott Bonvoy Program?

Marriott Bonvoy is the hotel loyalty program for Marriott International. The hotel chain first introduced the program in 1983. In 2019, Marriott consolidated three of its loyalty programs—Marriott Rewards, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest—into one new program: Marriott Bonvoy. Bonvoy members can earn points in a variety of ways and use them to score hotel stays, book other forms of travel, and more.   

How Can You Enroll in the Marriott Bonvoy Program?

It’s free to join the rewards program, and you can do it online through Marriott’s website or via its mobile app. Alternatively, Marriott will sign you up for an account when you apply and are approved for a Marriott Bonvoy credit card. Once you join, you’ll receive a membership number, which you can add to your reservations to earn points on your stays.

What Hotels Are Part of the Marriott Bonvoy Network?

Marriott International has a network of 31 brands, which means you should have an easy time finding a property in most cities around the world. Marriott brands include:

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

Marriott International was founded in 1927 by J. Willard Marriott in Washington, D.C. As of 2021, the chain has more than 8,100 hotels in 131 countries and territories. 

Pros
  • The largest hotel network in the world.

  • No blackout dates or room restrictions for award stays at most properties.

  • Automatic elite status for Marriott-branded credit card holders.

  • Points are worth more on average than most hotel loyalty programs.

Cons
  • Premium hotels can cost as much as 100,000 points per night.

  • Higher elite-status tiers are difficult to attain, even with a Marriott-branded credit card.

  • Points expire after 24 months of inactivity.

How To Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott offers members several different ways to earn rewards points. 

Stay at Marriott Hotels

As a standard program member, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases with most Marriott brands. The only exceptions are Element, Residence Inn, and TownPlace Suites, where you’ll earn 5 points per night.

“Eligible purchases” is a broad category and includes:

  • Room charges
  • Dining
  • Beverages
  • Golf rounds
  • Spa services
  • In-room movies and games

You won’t, however, earn points on the points you use for an award stay, taxes, service charges, gratuities, or other mandatory or automatic charges.

You can earn points at Marriott properties even when you don’t have a  reservation. For example, you get points on purchases at Marriott restaurants when the bill is $10 or more before taxes and gratuities.

Use Marriott Credit Cards

Signing up for a Marriott Bonvoy credit card makes it easy to earn points on your everyday purchases. American Express and Chase issue Marriott-branded credit cards. 

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold: Earn up to 14x total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at more than 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless: Earn up to 17x total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at more than 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program, 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program; 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping; and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.

In addition to their rewards programs, these credit cards offer some solid perks for Marriott loyalists, including a complimentary night every year and automatic elite status. You’ll also get a path toward a higher elite status, with some cards making it easier to level up than others. Depending on which tier you qualify for, you may earn reservation guarantees, points bonuses, late checkout, and possibly other perks.

Marriott credit cards offer points bonuses or free nights for new cardholders who spend $1,000 (Bold), $3,000 (Boundless), or $5,000 (Brilliant and Business) in the first three months.

Other Ways to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points

  • Join Marriott’s dining program: The Eat Around Town by Marriott Bonvoy program gives you the chance to earn points when you eat out. Simply join and link any debit or credit card to your Bonvoy account and use the card to pay for your bill at one of more than 11,000 restaurants in the network. Standard Bonvoy members earn 4 points per dollar spent, while elite members earn 6 points per dollar.
  • Book a cruise: Members who book a cruise with Cruise With Points will receive 3 points per dollar spent, up to 30,000 bonus points in total. You can also enjoy special offers with select cruise lines.
  • Fly with partners: If you fly with one of Marriott’s more than 40 airline partners, you can opt to earn Marriott Bonvoy points on your reservations instead of points or miles with that airline’s frequent flyer program.
  • Book activities: Depending on your destination, you may be able to book various activities to enjoy. If you go through Marriott, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent.
  • Book events: You can earn 2 points per dollar, up to 60,000 points total, when you book an event—a conference, meeting, or wedding—at a participating hotel. Eligible purchases include room, food, beverages, and audio and visual charges. If you’re a Titanium Elite member, you can earn a maximum of 105,000 points per event.

Do Marriott Bonvoy Points Expire?

Yes, you will forfeit your Marriott Bonvoy points if your account is inactive for 24 consecutive months. You can avoid points forfeiture by earning or redeeming points at least once every 24 months. If you have a Marriott credit card, using it to earn points at least once every two years should be enough to keep your points from expiring.

Gifting or transferring points (or receiving points as a gift or transfer) don’t count as account activity. 

How to Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

As with most hotel rewards programs, the most valuable way to use your points is for award nights. However, the program offers a handful of other redemption options if you want more flexibility.

Book Marriott Stays

The Balance has found that Marriott Bonvoy points are worth an average of 1.05 cents each when you use them to book hotel stays. The cost of a hotel night can vary based on its category and when you’re traveling. Marriott’s award chart includes these numbers for reference:

Hotel Category Off-Peak Standard Peak
1 5,000 7,500 10,000
2 10,000 12,500 15,000
3 15,000 17,500 20,000
4 20,000 25,000 30,000
5 30,000 35,000 40,000
6 40,000 50,000 60,000
7 50,000 60,000 70,000
8 70,000 85,000 100,000

Marriott regularly adds select properties to its PointSavers program, which allows you to get up to a 20% points discount when you book. You can find participating hotels and dates on Marriott’s website. If you don’t have enough points to book a stay, you can combine rewards and cash. 

Points are worth about the same whether you use them for a standard or luxury hotel, based on The Balance’s analysis. However, you’ll be able to book more nights at lower-category properties.

You can book a hotel stay with points online, through the Marriott mobile app, or by calling the hotel’s reservation line.

Transfer Points to Partner Airline Loyalty Programs

Marriott has more than 40 airline partners, which is relatively unique among hotel rewards programs. However, the transfer ratios are poor: 3:1 for most frequent flyer programs, whereas 1:1 is ideal. The exceptions are Air New Zealand (200:1), JetBlue (6:1) and United Airlines (3:1.1). 

Depending on the partner, you can transfer between 3,000 and 240,000 points per day. Plus, for every 60,000 points you move, you’ll get 5,000 bonus miles with the partner airline.

Because of the poor transfer ratio, however, it may not make sense to transfer your points for an award ticket. 

Other Ways to Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

The hotel program offers a few other ways you can use your points. Try to avoid these options unless you can get as much or more value per point as what you’d receive through booking award nights:

  • Book rental cars and flights.
  • Reserve a travel package for seven or more nights.
  • Pay for culinary, entertainment, sports, or lifestyle experiences.
  • Purchase gift cards.
  • Pool points with another Marriott Bonvoy member—you can share 1,000 points or more at a time, up to 100,000 per year.
  • Convert your points to cash donations to select charitable organizations.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

The Marriott Bonvoy program has one basic member level and five tiers of elite status, each with its own set of benefits. The elite tiers are Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite.

How to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Status

As with most hotel rewards programs, the basic way to attain elite status is by staying a certain number of nights in a year:

Status Level Requirement
Silver Elite Stay 10 nights per year.
Gold Elite Stay 25 nights per year.
Platinum Elite Stay 50 nights per year.
Titanium Elite Stay 75 nights per year.
Ambassador Elite Stay 100 nights and spend $20,000 in qualifying Marriott purchases per year.

For people who don’t travel that much, it’s possible to get on the fast track to elite status with one of Marriott’s credit cards: 

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold: Automatic Silver Elite status.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless: Automatic Silver Elite status, plus Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 or more each account year.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Automatic Platinum Elite status for one year, then Silver Elite status.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Automatic Platinum Elite status for one year, then Silver Elite with the option for complimentary Gold Elite status. 

Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

Benefits can vary based on the tier you qualify for. But some of the more significant perks available to most people, including Marriott-branded credit card holders, include:

  • Points bonuses, which increase with each tier
  • Late checkout
  • Reservation guarantee
  • Welcome gifts
  • Room upgrades, when available

Some of the higher elite-status tiers add more premium perks, such as lounge access, a guaranteed type of room, dedicated support, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • The Marriott Bonvoy rewards program is best for people who prefer Marriott over other brands or who want a wide selection of properties wherever they go.
  • Some of the program’s best features include its high point value relative to other hotel rewards programs, its flexible earning options, and its elite-status benefits. 
  • The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is through one of the hotel’s co-branded credit cards: they allow you to rack up points on non-Marriott purchases every day.
  • Other excellent ways to earn include the hotel’s dining program and its travel partners.
  • While the program offers several redemption options, most offer limited value, so it’s best to focus your efforts on booking award nights.