Skip to content

Marriott has second massive data breach in 2 years; over 5 million guests compromised

March 31, 2020
4 min read
Marriott has second massive data breach in 2 years; over 5 million guests compromised
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On Tuesday, March 31, Marriott International disclosed that it suffered a data breach that likely affected more than 5 million guests.

According to a press release from Marriott, the breach began in mid-January 2020 and was discovered at the end of February 2020. Per the results of the company's investigation, compromised data includes contact details (name, phone number, email address, mailing address); loyalty account information (passwords were not affected); additional personal details (birth date, gender, company); partnerships and affiliations (linked airline accounts and frequent flyer numbers) and preferences (language and room preferences).

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Marriott says that Bonvoy passwords, credit cards, driver's license/national identification numbers, credit cards and passport information were not affected in this latest breach.

The chain sent emails to all involved parties, though if you want to check for yourself, you can do so through a portal that Marriott has set up. It will let you know if your data was involved in the breach and, if so, what specifically was affected.

If you were affected by this latest breach, you'll notice that you'll be required to change your Bonvoy account password upon logging in, and you'll be asked to set up two-factor authentication to add a layer of security to your account. Marriott says that it's working with the appropriate authorities regarding this situation.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

How to protect yourself from a data breach

With incidences of cybercrime continuing to rise, it's hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to your online information. However, there are some steps you can take to better safeguard your data.

Use identity-protection programs

For those who are affected by this incident, Marriott is offering one year of a complimentary information-monitoring service through IdentityWorks via Experian. U.S. residents can enroll here and those who live outside the U.S. and in participating countries enroll here.

There are other services on the market, like CompleteID (also offered through Experian) and LifeLock, that are available to all consumers and start at $9.99 per month, a small price to pay for data security.

Change your passwords

This always seems like a no-brainer, but this is one of the best ways to keep your information safe. In today's world, there are an endless number of passwords to keep track of, so we recommend using a password manager like 1Password to keep it all straight for you. 1Password charges roughly $5 per month, and you can store and protect all the passwords for your entire family. It also works with biometric features on the Apple platform like TouchID and FaceID, adding another level of security for your passwords. Hackers are less likely to be able to figure out a unique, 25-character password with letters, numbers and symbols.

For another layer of security, enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that offer it.

Regularly check your accounts

It's important to check your balances once a month (at the very least) to make sure you don’t see any fraudulent activity. A service like Award Wallet can also help track your balances for free.

Bottom line

This Marriott data breach marks the second in as many years for the world's largest hotel chain. While this recent breach isn't nearly as widespread or devastating as the last one that affected Marriott in 2018, it's concerning that breaches that affect millions of guests continue to happen with some degree of frequency.

Perhaps we'll crack the code on data security in the future but for now, it's important to remain vigilant with your online data while cybercriminals still have the upper hand.

Featured image by Getty Images

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more