17 ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card information and benefits.
Marriott’s loyalty program has gone through a lot of changes over the years. In 2018, we saw Marriott complete its Starwood acquisition and integrate Starwood Preferred Guest into its existing loyalty program. Then in 2019, the hotel group rebranded its loyalty program Marriott Bonvoy. Like clockwork, it launched its long-awaited Category 8 pricing in March and implemented peak/off-peak pricing to award nights.
The rebrand 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 the way you earn Marriott points? That’s a good question, and we’ll answer it 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. Let’s get started!
Earn Marriott Bonvoy points by staying at Marriott hotels
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points when staying at any of Marriott’s 7,000+ properties worldwide. These properties span 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 you’re staying at.
The majority of Marriott hotels earn 10 points per $1 spent on stays. Unfortunately, long-term stay hotels — including Element, Townplace Suites and Residence Inn — only award 5 points per $1 spent. So if you spend two nights at a JW Marriott property that costs $250 per night, you’ll earn 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on your stay. The math looks like this: (250 * 2 nights) * 10 points/$ = 5,000.
Elite status bonuses
You can boost your point earning on paid stays when you have Marriott Bonvoy elite status. The higher the status, the higher the bonus earning. Here’s an overview of the current status tiers and the bonus each tier is entitled to:
- General member: 10 points per dollar
- Silver 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
This means that a Gold elite member would earn 6,250 Marriott Bonvoy points on the same JW Marriott stay discussed earlier. Members with Gold Elite status or higher receive a welcome amenity of 250 – 1,000 points at check-in at most brands. The number of points varies by property, with 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. Plus, you usually earn points on your entire hotel folio. This means that if you order room service or get a drink at the bar and charge it to your room, the purchase will earn points too. Make sure to charge on-site expenses to your room so you can earn even more points.
Earn bonus points with promotions
Keeping track of the latest hotel promotions 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 outstanding awards.
Right now, Marriott is running a targeted promotion where you’re awarded a set number of points after a set number of stays. The promotion varies by account, but the author received an offer that awards 22,500 points after three stays. This promotion has been going on for a little over a week now but ends Mar. 31, 2021. Make sure you check your email and Bonvoy account regularly to see if you’re targeted for any special offers too.
You can see your eligible promotions by heading to Marriott’s promotion page and signing into your account. You should see all public and targeted offers on this page. Enroll in promotions by clicking the Register button located to the right of the promotion’s name.
Host an event at a Marriott hotel
Marriott’s Rewarding Events program lets you earn extra points on meetings, weddings, and other special events 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.
Unfortunately, you no longer earn 10 elite night credits for hosting your first meeting. However, you’ll earn one credit for every 20 room nights you book when you host an event. Depending on how many people attend, you can quickly fast-track your way to Marriott elite status.
Earn with credit cards
Marriott offers four credit cards: two with American Express and two with Chase. Each of these cards has different benefits and welcome bonuses. Here’s a quick breakdown of each Marriott cobranded credit card. Use the info here to find which is best for your wallet.
Annual fee: $95 annual fee
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless earns 3 Free Night Awards (each free night award has a redemption value up to 50,000 bonus points, that’s a value of up to 150,000 total points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 10X total points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations within the first 6 months from account opening. You’ll earn up to 17x Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 2 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. You’ll also enjoy a night award (up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary. For most of us, this more than covers the card’s annual fee.
In addition, the card offers complimentary Silver elite status so long as your card is open and in good standing. You can upgrade to Gold status when you spend $35,000 or more on the card each account year. You’ll also enjoy 15 Elite Night Credits every year your card is open, inching you closer to the next elite status tier.
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 on travel purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Likewise, you’ll earn 15 Elite Night Credits each year the card is open, automatically qualifying you for Silver elite status.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Bold review
Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees)
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
You’ll earn 6 points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program; 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 one free night award every year after your account anniversary, valid for an award of up to 50,000 points and a $300 annual statement credit towards eligible stays at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
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). You’re also eligible for 15 Elite Night Credits every year your card is open. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card review
Annual fee: $125 (see rates & fees)
The Marriott Bonvoy Business card earns 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership.
You’ll earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program; 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 also comes with a free award night every year (valid up to 35,000 points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program).
In addition, the card offers complimentary Silver elite status so long as your card is open and in good standing. You’ll also enjoy 15 Elite Night Credits every year your card is open. These are in addition to the 15 nights earned with a personal card.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Business card 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.
You can transfer three different types of points to your Marriott Bonvoy account. Here’s a look at all your options (and a discussion at if it’s a good deal).
Transfer points 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 equals 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 particular redemption in mind or need to top off your account for an award.
Transfer points from United MileagePlus
Finally, you can transfer United MileagePlus miles to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio. United and Marriott have long had a partnership dubbed RewardsPlus. This partnership provides reciprocal elite status benefits for United and Marriott elites. Unfortunately, you can only transfer up to 50,000 United miles to Marriott Bonvoy each year.
There’s no fee to make this transfer, but we don’t recommend it as you’ll lose 0.5 cents per point in value. This is because TPG values United MileagePlus miles at 1.3 cents apiece. Like transferring credit card points, only transfer United miles to Marriott if you’re topping up for a specific redemption.
Transfer miles between accounts
One perk of the Marriott Bonvoy program is being able to transfer points between accounts for free. You can transfer up to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy from a single account each year. Likewise, you can receive up to 500,000 points per year on a single account. Each account must be open for at least 30 days with activity or 90 days without activity.
You can initiate a transfer by calling Marriott Bonvoy. This is helpful for families who want to combine multiple account balances for a single redemption. Likewise, a friend with expiring points may opt to transfer your points if they don’t have an immediate use for them.
Earn miles by shopping and dining
Marriott doesn’t have a shopping portal, but it does offer a couple of other ways to earn points on everyday purchases. Here’s a look at your (limited) options.
Marriott dining rewards
Marriott recently introduced its new Eat Around Town dining rewards program. This offers Marriott elites 6x Marriott points per dollar spent and non-elites 4x points per dollar spent at participating restaurants. These are earned in addition to the points you’d otherwise earn from your credit card. Just remember to link your credit card to the program and dining at participating restaurants.
Want to earn even more points? Link a card that earns bonus points on dining. One of the best starter cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which earns 2x points per dollar spent on dining and travel. If you use this card to purchase a $100 meal at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn 600 Marriott Bonvoy points as an elite member and 200 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Buy a mattress
If you need a new mattress, consider buying one from your favorite Marriott hotel. Bonvoy members earn 10,000 Marriott points (worth $80, according to our valuations) when 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.
Earn miles with travel partners
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points when booking other types of travel too. Here’s a look at how to earn points when booking rental cars, vacation activities and cruises.
Earn points on Hertz rental cars
You can earn up to 2,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on your Hertz car rentals. Simply book rentals through Marriott’s Hertz portal. You’ll earn 500 points on one-day rentals and 2,000 points on rentals of two-days or more. You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points on rentals in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand.
When you do this, however, you won’t earn Hertz Gold Rewards points on your rental. I often get over 2 cents per point in value from my Hertz points, so I usually skip the Marriott portal and book rental cars directly. Do the math and see which works best for your travel needs.
Book cruises through the Marriott portal
Due to the pandemic, a growing number of cruise lines are canceling sailings through 2021. So while this option isn’t relevant right now, it will be once cruising makes a comeback.
Booking a cruise through Marriott’s CruisesOnly can net you a huge number of bonus Marriott Bonvoy points depending on the cost. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on cruises booked through CruisesOnly, up to 30,000 points per cruise.
Book vacation activities
Finally, you can earn points when you purchase qualifying vacation activities through Marriott Memories. These include a wide variety of tours, transfers and events in the U.S. and around the world.
The number of points you’ll earn depends on how much you spend and the experience you book. For instance, you can book a Chicago food tour for $62.99 per person and earn 314 Marriott Bonvoy in the process. Likewise, an Icelandic glacier tour runs a whopping $1,919.98 per head and earns 9,599 points per person.
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 to ensure the tour or activity isn’t available for a lower price elsewhere.
Related: Beginner’s guide to Marriott Bonvoy
Need Marriott Bonvoy points quickly? You can buy them in a pinch. Marriott sells points at 1.25 cents per piece, which is higher than TPG’s 0.8 cent valuation. You can purchase up to 50,000 points per calendar year, although the hotel group frequently raises this limit during points sales.
We don’t recommend buying points speculatively, but it can make sense if you’re topping up your account for a specific high-end award night. Likewise, it makes sense to buy points if you can buy the points required for a particular stay for cheaper than the cost of a paid night.
Marriott runs point sales regularly. In late 2020, you could purchase points with a 50% discount. This dropped the price to 0.83 cents per point — just 0.03 cents per point higher than TPG’s valuation. This can be a great deal, but again, only buy if you have a plan. We’ll keep you updated the next time Marriott runs a sale.
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 and spend enough to earn the welcome bonus. This will easily pad your Marriott Bonvoy account with tens of thousands of points — more than enough for a night or two away.
Likewise, enroll in all your applicable promotions and sign up for the Marriott dining program. Combined with a cobrand credit card, you’ll be well on your way to a free night at any one of Marriott’s properties in no time.
Feature photo of The AC Hotel Maui Wailea courtesy of Marriott.
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