How to spend a million Marriott points for an epic post-pandemic trip
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We came across a social media post recently from someone who had a million Marriott points saved up and wondered how far they would take him. Marriott Bonvoy has over 8,000 hotels worldwide and is a popular loyalty program for business and leisure travelers alike. This isn’t the first time we’ve come across someone with a balance this large and it probably won’t be the last.
TPG’s Points and Miles team got to discussing this conundrum and decided to offer their own take on how to unload a Marriott Bonvoy balance of this size. From desert adventures to extravagant private island retreats, here’s how TPG’s Points and Miles team would redeem a million Marriott points:
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Benji Stawski: North Island resort Seychelles
There are several private-island resorts you can book with Marriott Bonvoy points. Among them: the North Island Resort in Seychelles. Stays here come at a cost, however. Awards cost 388,000 Marriott points per night so your million points will get you just two nights here. You’ll also need to fork over 814 Euros each way for mandatory helicopter transfers.
In exchange for those points, you’ll enjoy a nearly 5,000-square-foot two-bedroom villa with a private pool. Your stay will also include complimentary breakfast, use of an island buggy, morning yoga and kids activities. Cash rates are often around $7,000 per night so you could be getting some serious value from your points. Just beware of potentially steep extra guest fees.
Katie Genter: Al Maha and A luxury jaunt around Japan
I’ve seriously considered booking the aspirational Category 8 Al Maha using points. But, if I was gifted one million Marriott points and told to spend them, a five-night stay on points at Al Maha would be at the top of my list. After all, the unique experience that includes all your food and two activities each day is appealing.
A five-night stay at Al Maha will cost between 280,000 and 400,000 points after Marriott’s Stay for 5, Pay for 4 perk. So, I’d have between 600,000 and 720,000 points to spend on a second trip. I loved using two expiring Marriott Bonvoy free night certificates to stay at the St. Regis Osaka and the Ritz-Carlton Osaka back-to-back in early 2020. So, I might use the remaining points to try several of Marriott’s other luxury hotels in Japan, including:
- The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel: 70,000 to 100,000 points per night as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 8 property
- W Osaka: 40,000 to 60,000 points per night as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 property
- JW Marriott Nara: 40,000 to 60,000 points per night as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 property
- Iraph Sui, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Miyako Okinawa: 70,000 to 100,000 points per night as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 8 property
- Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa: 50,000 to 70,000 points per night as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 7 property
Of course, if you have Platinum Elite status or higher with Marriott Bonvoy, it’s worth considering which brands will provide you breakfast as a Marriott Bonvoy elite. When planning your trip, check out our posts on using points and miles in Dubai and how to fly to Japan using points and miles.
Andrew Kunesh: A tour of Central Europe
I’m a huge fan of European travel, and Marriott has a huge presence in the region. I would use 1 million Marriott points to revisit my favorite cities in Central Europe. I’d start with five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, which costs 230,000 points total after factoring in the fifth-night free benefit. This hotel is Ritz’s flagship in Berlin and is right in the center of the action in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz district.
Then, I’d take the train to Prague and stay five nights at the Augustine, a Luxury Collection property. This stay costs 280,000 points for five nights with the fifth-night free benefit or is over $350 per night this summer. This hotel is near Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge and is surrounded by incredible architecture. The property feels like a fairytale with lush gardens, classic Czech design and marble bathrooms.
After this, I’d hop on the train again and head to Vienna, where I’d spend five nights at the Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel. This iconic hotel has ultra-luxurious rooms decorated in Victorian style. It’s located in Vienna’s historic city center and puts you close to the city’s best parks, museums and restaurants. Five nights cost 280,000 points after factoring in the fifth-night free benefit.
My final stop would be a quick flight away in Budapest, where I’d spent five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest. This property is located in the center of downtown Budapest and — like the Ritz in Berlin — is the premier Ritz property in Hungary. This stay costs 240,000 points including the fifth-night free benefit.
How to earn Marriott points
While earning a million Marriott points takes a lot of time and effort, you can get close faster with credit card welcome bonuses. We don’t recommend earning points without a plan or immediate use. Marriott could devalue points at any time without notice and the last thing you want is to sit on hundreds of thousands of unredeemed points that are now worth less.
That being said, if you want to give your Marriott account a boost for one of these awards, here are some currently welcome offers to be aware of.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card – Earn 125,000 bonus points + 1 free night (valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 in the first three months from account opening (total of up to 175,000 bonus points).
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus free night award (redemption level worth up to 85,000 Marriott points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Resort fees may apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Earn 125,000 Marriott bonus points & two bonus free night awards (each worth up to 50,000 points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/21.
Whether you have a million Marriott points or none, hopefully this gives you some inspiration and an idea for what’s possible. With Marriott’s vast portfolio of 8,000+ hotels spanning the globe, there are lots of incredible places to get value for your Marriott points. And with international travel set to make a comeback this summer, we should all be dreaming big and excited about getting back out there.
Featured image of by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy
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