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What Marriott Choice Benefits should you choose in 2022?

Sept. 27, 2022
12 min read
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Marriott Bonvoy elite status offers some impressive benefits to frequent travelers. But the perks get particularly compelling once you accrue 50 elite nights in a calendar year to reach Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status.

One of those perks is the ability to choose an annual Choice Benefit. If you reach 75 elite nights in a calendar year, you’ll be able to select a second annual Choice Benefit.

But which Choice Benefit should you choose? Let’s take a look at each option and which one may offer the best value.

Overview of Marriott Bonvoy annual Choice Benefits

You could use various annual Choice Benefits at the Westin Langkawi. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

To select your annual Choice Benefit(s), visit this page on Marriott’s website. You’ll need to sign in to your Marriott Bonvoy account before choosing your benefit. However, note that you can’t change your selection once you make it, so pick wisely.

Related: Battle of the hotels: Why Marriott is the best

How to accrue Marriott Bonvoy elite nights

Award nights and elite night credits from credit cards can allow you to earn higher status and annual Choice Benefits with relatively few paid nights. SCOTT MAYEROWITZ/THE POINTS GUY

Earning 50 or 75 elite nights in a calendar year may sound daunting. However, Marriott provides multiple avenues to reach these thresholds outside of completing actual nights at participating Marriott properties. For starters, award nights count as elite nights. You can also earn up to 40 elite night credits by holding select Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.

Specifically, you can earn 15 elite night credits each year by having a personal Marriott card and another 15 elite night credits by holding a Marriott business card. Recently, however, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card started offering 25 nights.

So, suppose you have a personal Marriott card like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and a business Marriott card like the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. In that case, you’ll get 30 elite night credits each year through these cards alone. Meanwhile, you'd have 40 nights if you paired the Bonvoy Business card with the Bonvoy Brilliant.

Related: Does it make sense to hold multiple Marriott Bonvoy credit cards?

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Platinum Elite (50 nights)

As noted above, you’ll unlock your first annual Choice Benefit when you qualify for Platinum Elite status. Your options for the 50-night annual Choice Benefit are:

  • Five elite night credits.
  • Five Suite Night Awards.
  • 40% off a mattress.
  • $100 charity donation.
  • Gift of Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status for a family member, friend or colleague.

Most of these benefits are pretty tough to value. So, let’s take a closer look at each option. I’ll start with the options that are unlikely to make sense for most elite members.

Gift Marriott Silver Elite status

Giving status to someone else might initially sound like a good option, but Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status isn’t worth much. In fact, TPG only values Silver Elite status at $45 — and it’s worth $0 if the person you gift it to doesn’t end up using it. After all, the primary perks of Silver Elite status are a 10% points bonus on paid stays and priority late checkout.

So, if you know someone who wants elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, you may instead want to encourage them to apply for a card. This is because cardholders of the following cards get automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status:

Related: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

$100 charity donation

You can select a $100 charity donation to a choice of three charities as your annual Choice Benefit:

  • UNICEF.
  • World Wildlife Fund.
  • Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund.

The $100 charity donation is a nice touch and could be the right decision if you can’t use any other annual Choice Benefit options. However, I’d prefer to earn points and miles on a charitable donation to a charity of my choice and maintain my ability to select one of the other benefits.

Related: How you can donate your points and miles to charity

40% off a mattress

Westin Heavenly Bed. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

If you love the bed at a particular Marriott brand, you can buy a new one for your home. And, if you’re going to buy a Marriott mattress for your house, you should select the annual Choice Benefit that provides 40% off a Marriott-brand mattress.

Although this annual Choice Benefit can be a great value, relatively few people are in the market for a specific hotel bed. As such, this option doesn’t apply to many travelers.

Related: How to make your home feel like a 5-star hotel

5 elite night credits

One option that can make sense for some travelers is five elite night credits. In particular, the elite night credits can come in handy if you find yourself just a few nights short of leveling up to Titanium Elite status this year.

However, it might be worth waiting until the end of the year to select your Choice Benefit. If a work trip or last-minute personal trip comes up, you might close the gap toward Titanium Elite. Just note that you must select your Choice Benefit by Jan. 8, 2023.

Related: The case for burning 80,000 points to earn Marriott Titanium status

5 Suite Night Awards

Your Suite Night Award might get you a massive suite, such as this 1,400-square-foot ocean suite at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. ETHAN STEINBERG/THE POINTS GUY

Each Suite Night Award is valid for a one-night, confirmable upgrade to select suites and premium rooms designated by each property. So, you’d need six Suite Night Award certificates to request an upgrade for a six-night reservation.

Many members save these upgrades for stays at luxury Marriott Bonvoy properties. But it also may be worth trying to identify properties that make higher-category suites available for upgrades. However, not all Marriott hotels offer Suite Night Award upgrades and some may restrict availability. So, if you have a particular property in mind when selecting this annual Choice Benefit, check whether the property participates before making your selection.

Remember that these awards expire Dec. 31 in the year following the one in which you earned them. So, if you reached 50 nights in 2022 and chose five Suite Night Awards as your Choice Benefit, they’ll expire Dec. 31, 2023.

Related: How and when to use Marriott upgrade certificates

Titanium Elite (75 nights)

After you reach 75 elite nights, you’ll earn Marriott Titanium Elite status and get a second annual Choice Benefit. The choices for the 75-night annual Choice Benefit are as follows:

  • Five elite night credits.
  • Five Suite Night Awards.
  • Free night award worth up to 40,000 points.
  • 40% off a mattress.
  • $100 charity donation.
  • Gift of Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for a family member, friend or colleague.

As you can see, the choices here are relatively similar to the choices available after hitting the 50-night threshold. I’ll skip over the charitable donation, Suite Night Awards and 40% mattress discount since I’ve already discussed these options in the previous section. Likewise, I won’t further discuss gifting elite status, since it’s relatively easy to obtain Gold Elite status via credit cards as previously discussed.

However, let’s take a closer look at the other two options.

5 elite night credits

Earlier in this article, I considered how some travelers might select the five elite night credits as the 50-night annual Choice Benefit to reach Titanium elite status. However, it could also make sense for Titanium Elite members to choose it in order to earn Ambassador Elite status. After all, Ambassador Elite status typically requires 100 elite nights and $20,000 in annual Marriott spending to qualify.

However, this option will only make sense if you'll end 2022 with 95-99 elite nights and at least $20,000 in annual qualifying spending with Marriott. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around the spending requirement, making this worthwhile only for high-spenders who are short on elite nights.

Again, you may want to wait until the end of the year to select your Choice Benefit if you fall into this camp.

Related: Why I’m earning more Marriott Bonvoy points during the pandemic

Free night award worth up to 40,000 points

The final option, unique to the 75-night annual Choice Benefit, is one free night award worth up to 40,000 points.

This free night award is slightly more valuable than the 35,000-point free night award certificates associated with many of the Marriott Bonvoy cards.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are worth $336. So, this is undoubtedly a valuable option. However, if you already have lots of Marriott Bonvoy points and outstanding free night awards to cover your future travels, you may want to choose another benefit.

Finally, this award will expire Dec. 31, 2023.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Which annual Choice Benefit should you choose?

You could use the free award night at the beautiful Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. JT GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

If you expect to travel a lot in 2023, it will likely make sense to choose the free night award or Suite Night Awards.

Both options can provide significant value. But, if you can use the Suite Night Awards before they expire and get considerable value from these upgrades, this is likely the more valuable option.

However, if you are only five or fewer elite nights shy of qualifying for Ambassador Elite or Titanium Elite status, the five elite night credits may be a great choice. Likewise, if you plan to buy a Marriott-brand mattress, the 40% off discount is likely your best bet.

You may wonder what my husband and I selected for our annual Choice Benefits. After all, in 2021 we both earned Titanium Elite status. We both picked five Suite Night Awards for our 50-night threshold benefits and each selected free night awards for our 75-night threshold benefits.

We haven’t mastered how to maximize Suite Night Awards yet — and there’s a lot of variability across Marriott’s properties — so we decided the free night certificates would provide more value.

Related: How to avoid my big Marriott Choice Benefit mistake

Bottom line

Marriott’s annual Choice Benefits are a great way to reward elite members. There are ample options to choose from at both the 50-night and 75-night thresholds. But the options aren’t created equally, so it’s worth considering which benefit will be most valuable for you.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh, Ethan Steinberg and Nick Ewen.

For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy, click here.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex, click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, click here.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.

Featured image by NICKY KELVIN/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for Marriott loyalists
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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Rewards

2 - 6X points
6XEarn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
3X3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
2X2 points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

150,000 points
Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

Annual Fee

$650

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card is a good choice for those who spend time at Marriott properties. While it’s not a great choice for everyday spending, this card does earn 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You can also redeem Marriott rewards points at more than 7,100 Marriott locations globally.

Pros

  • Earn up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • 1 free night award (up to 85,000 points) every year after your card renewal month.
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Automatic Platinum status

Cons

  • $650 annual fee isn't insignificant
  • May not make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6XEarn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
3X3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
2X2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

    150,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $650
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card is a good choice for those who spend time at Marriott properties. While it’s not a great choice for everyday spending, this card does earn 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You can also redeem Marriott rewards points at more than 7,100 Marriott locations globally.

Pros

  • Earn up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • 1 free night award (up to 85,000 points) every year after your card renewal month.
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Automatic Platinum status

Cons

  • $650 annual fee isn't insignificant
  • May not make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees