Best ways to earn points with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Feb 16, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information and benefits. It was originally published on Feb. 16, 2019.

Marriott’s loyalty program has undergone a lot of change over the past couple of years. In 2018, we saw Marriott complete its Starwood acquisition and integrate Starwood Preferred Guest into its existing loyalty program. And 2019 got off to a busy start, as Marriott has completely rebranded its loyalty program to Marriott Bonvoy launch 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, the most recent announcement — a massive shift in award categories — means that your points may not go as far as they used to go.

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So how does this rebrand 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

The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

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:

  • Silver Elite: 10% bonus (1 extra point per dollar spent)
  • Gold Elite: 25% bonus (2.5 extra points per dollar spent)
  • Platinum Elite: 50% bonus (5 extra points per dollar spent)
  • Titanium Elite: 75% bonus (7.5 extra points per dollar spent)
  • Ambassador Elite: 75% bonus (7.5 extra points per dollar spent)

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.

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

Like we mentioned earlier, in 2019 Marriott rebranded its entire suite of cobranded credit cards with the move to the Bonvoy name. The hotel chain 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:

American Express

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ($450 annual fee, see rates & fees): Earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. 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.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card ($125 annual fee, see rates & fees): Earn 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

Chase

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card  ($95 annual fee): Earn 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

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card ($0 annual fee): Earn 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 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 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 just a few thousand Bonvoy points to top off your account for an award stay.

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: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth?

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.

Share points with friends or family members

Puerto Vallarta
You can combine your family’s points to book your next award stay with Marriott. (Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images)

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.

Bottom line

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, now is a great time to apply for a cobranded credit card, as two are currently offering enhanced welcome bonuses. 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.

Featured photo courtesy of Marriott.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card, please click here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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