Best ways to earn points with the Marriott Bonvoy program
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information and benefits.
Marriott’s loyalty program has undergone a lot of change over the past few years. In 2018, we saw Marriott complete its Starwood acquisition and integrate Starwood Preferred Guest into its existing loyalty program. In 2019 Marriott completely rebranded its loyalty program to Marriott Bonvoy, launched its long-awaited Category 8 pricing in March, in addition to implementing peak/off-peak pricing to award nights.
The rebrand has brought more than just a new name though: the hotel chain also revamped its cobranded credit card lineup and elite status tiers, giving Marriott loyalists new ways to boost their account balances. Unfortunately, a massive shift in award categories means that your points may not go as far as they used to go.
So how does this affect your ability to earn Marriott points? That’s a good question — and it’s just what we’ll answer in this article. We’ll run through all of the different ways you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points, from hotel stays to cobranded credit cards and beyond.
Earning through Marriott hotel stays
As you’d expect, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points when staying at any of Marriott’s 7,000+ properties worldwide, spanning 30 unique brands and over 100 countries. Like most hotel programs, you earn points based on how much you spend, your status tier and the type of Marriott hotel at which you’re staying.
The majority of Marriott hotels earn 10 points per $1 spent on stays, while Element, Townplace Suites and Residence Inn properties award 5 points per $1 spent.
Here’s an overview of the current status tiers and how many bonus points you’d earn on hotel stays:
- General member: 10 points per dollar
- Silve elite: 11 points per dollar
- Gold elite: 12.5 points per dollar
- Platinum elite: 15 points per dollar
- Titanium elite: 17.5 points per dollar
- Ambassador elite: 17.5 points per dollar
If you spend two nights at a JW Marriott property for $250 per night as a Gold Elite member, you’ll earn 6,250 Marriott Bonvoy points on your stay. The math looks like this: (250 * 2 nights) * 10 points/$ = 5,000 * 1.25 (25% Gold Elite bonus) = 6,250.
Additionally, members with Gold Elite status or higher receive a welcome amenity of 500 – 1,000 points at check-in at most brands. The number of points varies by property, but Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, and SpringHill Suites properties earn just 250 points as a welcome gift.
TPG values Marriott points at 0.8 cents each, meaning you’re looking at anywhere from an 8 to 14% return depending on your elite status. You’ll usually earn points on your entire hotel folio, meaning that if you order room service or get a drink at the bar or a spa treatment and charge it to your room, it will help you rack up those bonus points even faster.
Keep an eye out for promotions
Marriott frequently runs promotions that let you earn bonus points on paid stays. While there are no program-wide promotions running right now, we recommend keeping an eye on Marriott’s promotion page and logging into your Bonvoy account regularly to see if you’re targeted for any special offers.
Earning with credit cards
Marriott currently has four credit cards available for signup: two with American Express and two with Chase. Each with of these cards has different benefits and welcome bonuses.
Here are the details:
Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees)
This card earns 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. You’ll earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels; 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines; and 2 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
You’ll also receive 1 free night award every year after your account anniversary valid for an award of up to 50,000 points and enjoy an up to $300 annual credit each card membership year towards eligible Marriott stays.
The card also comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit (up to $100), Priority Pass lounge privileges and automatic Gold Elite status (with an upgrade to Platinum after spending $75,000).
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card review.
Annual fee: $125 (see rates & fees)
The Marriott Bonvoy Business card earns 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. You’ll earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels; 4 points per dollar spent 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; and 2 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. It too comes with a free award night every year (valid up to 35,000 points).
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Business card review
Annual fee: $95 annual fee
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless earns 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott hotels; 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. You’ll enjoy the same free night award (up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card review
Annual fee: $0
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold earns 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott hotels; 2 points per dollar spent travel purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Bold review
Who is eligible for these bonuses?
While these offers sound lucrative, you may not be eligible for these welcome bonuses if you’ve had a Marriott, SPG, or Ritz-Carlton card from Chase or American Express in the past. Check out this article before you apply to see if you’re eligible.
Earn Through Promotions
Keeping track of the latest hotel bonuses is difficult — especially if you’re juggling elite status at Marriott and other hotel brands like Hyatt or Hilton. However, promotions can be the best way to quickly boost your account balances and unlock some terrific awards.
Right now, Marriott is running a promotion where you’ll earn 2,000 bonus points on each stay, starting with your second stay with no bonus point limit. This promotion has been going on for a while now, but ends June 14. Make sure you check your email and Bonvoy account regularly to see if you’re targeted for any special offers.
Earn with partners
Not in the market for a new credit card? No worries — you can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points on travel purchases like car rental and events. Here are some of our favorite ways to earn points with the program’s travel partners:
Transfer from Chase or American Express
Marriott Bonvoy is a partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Both of these programs allow you to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that 1,000 Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards points equal 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
However, we don’t necessarily recommend making this transfer. TPG values both Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point, while Marriott points are worth just 0.8 cents per point. This means you’ll lose over half of the currencies’ values by transferring, so we don’t recommend doing so unless you have a very specific redemption in mind or need to top off your account for an award.
Refer a friend or family member to Marriott Bonvoy
Have a friend without a Marriott Bonvoy account? Refer them to the loyalty program and you’ll receive 2,000 points for every stay they complete, up to 5 stays per referral. Additionally, your friend will earn 2,000 points after each of their first five Marriott stays (up to 10,000 points total).
Host an event
Marriott’s Rewarding Events program lets you earn extra points on meetings, weddings, and other special events that you host on Marriott properties. You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on room, food, drink, and other charges up to 60,000 points (105,000 for Titanium Elite members) per event. While you can no longer earn 10 elite night credits for hosting your first meeting, you can still earn one credit for every 20 rooms nights you book.
Related reading: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth?
The Marriott Bonvoy program allows you to earn rewards points when you purchase qualifying experiences.
These activities include a wide variety of tours, transfers and events all over the U.S. and around the world. For instance, I’m seeing a Washington, D.C. monument tour for just $45, but you’ll also earn 225 Bonvoy points. Or if you’ve interested in visiting Iceland later this year or early next year, a six-day tour of the Northern Lights (at $2,200 a head) will net you 11,000 Bonvoy points.
Furthermore, you don’t even have to be a Marriott Bonvoy member to purchase these experiences, but those who are will earn 10 points per dollar spent on these purchases. This equates to a solid return of 8% according to TPG’s most recent valuations, and these earnings are in addition to any rewards you’ll receive from your credit card. It’s unclear if these purchases will earn bonus points with your Marriott Bonvoy credit card, nor do we know if they’d qualify as a Marriott or travel purchase with other cards. You’ll also want to comparison shop a bit to make sure that the same tour or activity isn’t available for a lower price elsewhere.
Rent a car With Hertz
You can earn up to 2,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on your Hertz car rentals. Just book through the Marriott portal and you’ll earn 500 points on one-day rentals and 2,000 points on rentals of two-days or more.
Book a cruise with CruisesOnly.com
Booking a cruise through CruisesOnly can net you a huge number of bonus Marriott Bonvoy points depending on the cost. If you book through the Marriott portal, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on cruises booked through CruisesOnly, and even more if you book a premium balcony or suite.
Last fall, Marriott launched a new way of earning points: eating. The new “Eat Around Town” program offers Marriott Elites 6X Marriott points per dollar spent (non-elites earn 4X), in addition to the points you’d otherwise earn from the dining purchase. Just remember to link your credit card to the program and dining at participating restaurants.
This bonus came in handy late last year after putting a large tab from a colleagues’ going away party on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Not only did I earn 2X points on dining from Chase, but I also earned 6,394 Bonvoy points (worth $51).
Buying a mattress
Bonvoy members will earn 10,000 Marriott points (worth $80, according to our valuations) by buying a mattress on any of Marriott International’s online retail websites: Shop EDITION, The Ritz-Carlton Shops, The Luxury Collection Store, St. Regis Boutique, W Hotels The Store, Curated by JW, Shop Marriott, Sheraton Store, Westin Store, Collect Renaissance, Gaylord Hotels The Store, Shop Courtyard, and Fairfield Store.
Share points with friends or family members
A final way to earn Marriott points is to utilize the program’s point transfer option. While airlines tend to be stingy about sharing points or miles with friends or family members (JetBlue is a notable exception), many hotel programs allow you to pool your points together, though these policies don’t tend to be unlimited. Marriott’s is flexible but has some guidelines.
Here’s what the program’s terms and conditions have to say about transferring:
“A member can transfer up to a maximum of 100,000 Points per calendar year to another membership account as long as both accounts are in good standing and have each been open for at least sixty (60) days. A member can receive up to a maximum of 500,000 Points per calendar year from other membership accounts as long as the accounts are in good standing and have each been open for at least sixty (60 days).”
As a result, if you have friends or family members with Marriott points, you can receive points directly from their account. This is a terrific way to turn small, relatively insignificant balances into enough points for a meaningful redemption.
As you can see, there are a ton of different ways you can beef up your Marriott Bonvoy points balance. If you’re looking for a quick boost, consider applying for a cobranded credit card. However, the best way to maximize your earnings is to use these methods in tandem. You’ll be well on your way to a free night (or more) at any one of Marriott’s properties in no time.
Additional reporting by Victoria M. Walker
Featured photo courtesy of Marriott.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.