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What is the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program? A 2021 guide

Climb the Marriott Elite ranks to make the most of your rewards.

Marriott Bonvoy is a unified hotel rewards program comprised of the former Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. It’s a lucrative-enough rewards program, though it does have a rather complex redemption structure and elite status system.

Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of Marriott Bonvoy properties, you’ll find some decent earning and redemption options here. Here’s a look at the program’s features.

Marriott Bonvoy program breakdown

Here’s a quick look at the need-to-know information about Marriott Bonvoy:

Points are worth0.6 to 0.7 cents
Number of brands in portfolio31 hotel brands
Earn points byBooking stays at Marriott Bonvoy brands
Spending with eligible Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
Full earning guide
Redeem points onAward nights
Point transfers to airlines
Full redemption guide

Do Marriott Bonvoy points expire?

Points can expire if your Marriott Bonvoy account has no qualifying activity for 24 consecutive months. The exception is if you’ve gained Lifetime Elite status, in which case your points will never expire. After five years without qualifying activity, Marriott may deactivate your account.

How to stay active in Marriott Bonvoy

  • Have completed stays — paid and award — on your account
  • Earn points in the program by using your Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit card, earning rewards through a travel or program partner, holding an eligible event or meeting or a similar action
  • Redeem points
  • Convert points to airline miles or vice versa
  • Buy points

These activities won’t keep you active in Marriott Bonvoy

  • Gifting or transferring points
  • Receiving points from a gift or transfer
  • Earning points through social media initiatives such as #MarriottBonvoyPoints

How do you earn Marriott Bonvoy points?

There are two primary methods to earn Marriott Bonvoy points: book stays at Marriott branded hotels and spend with eligible credit cards.

1. Book stays at Marriott hotels

This is the easiest way to earn Marriott points. All you have to do is become a Marriott member. You can signup for free and, once you do, you earn 10 points per dollar on your Marriott purchases. Boost the number of points you earn by becoming an elite member.

Depending on your elite tier status, you can earn:

  • 11 points per dollar with Silver status
  • 12.5 points per dollar with Gold status
  • 15 points per dollar with Platinum status
  • 17.5 points per dollar with Titanium status
  • 17.5 points per dollar with Ambassador status
Note: To earn Marriott points on your stays, you have to book directly with Marriott. Bookings made through third-party services like Expedia or Booking.com won’t earn Marriott points.

2. Use a Marriott credit card

Making purchases with a cobranded Marriott card is one of the fastest ways to rack up reward points. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card earns 17x additional points per dollar spent on Marriott Bonvoy hotels and automatically grants you Silver Elite membership upon account opening.

This means using the card for Marriott purchases earns you 17 points per dollar — which equals around 11% back, an excellent deal. On top of this, you can earn 3 Free Nights after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months, plus 10x points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores in the first 6 months.

Compare cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott’s line of cobranded cards offer the most direct method of earning Bonvoy points and typically offer a signup bonus to help you get a headstart on your earnings. Use the comparison table below to find a card that best suits your travel needs.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on all other purchases
$250

Rose Gold is Back

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95

Up to $1,250 signup bonus

Earn a massive signup bonus of 100,000 points with this popular travel card. That's worth up to $1,250!
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
$695

New Platinum Exclusive Offer

One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $7,000 based on Finder's valuation, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points

There are two primary redemption options for your Marriott Bonvoy points: award nights at Marriott Bonvoy brands and point transfers to partnered airlines. Award nights will generally be your best bet for using your points, but you can read about all of your options using our Marriott Bonvoy award chart.

Marriott Bonvoy offers a loyalty program with six levels, each requiring an increasing number of hotel stays for eligibility. As you progress through the tiers, you gain additional benefits and perks on your Bonvoy account. Among these perks is a bonus to your Marriott Bonvoy reward points earned when you stay at an eligible hotel.

Here are some of the other rewards you’ll earn by moving through the elite ranks:

Elite levelNights required per yearBenefits
Members0 to 9
  • Complimentary in-room Internet access.
  • Member rates. As a member, you’ll find nights for a slight discount.
  • Mobile check-in and services. Download the Marriott Bonvoy app and get access to mobile features: check-in, room key, room service, support and more. You can also use the app to check your rewards account.
Elite levelNights required per yearBenefits
Gold Elite25 to 49All benefits of lower tiers
  • 25% points bonus.
  • 2 p.m. late checkout based on availability.
  • Complimentary enhanced in-room Internet access. According to Marriott, this upgraded Wi-Fi gives you a high-speed connection. You can video chat, stream video and download large files.
  • Additional in-hotel welcome gift options. You’ll receive bonus points of varying amounts based on the property.
  • Enhanced room upgrade. Based on availability.
Elite levelNights required per yearBenefits
Platinum Elite50 to 74All benefits of lower tiers
  • 50% points bonus.
  • 4 p.m. late checkout.
  • Enhanced room upgrade that includes select suites. Limited to your personal guest room.
  • Lounge access. Get complimentary access to the Concierge, Executive, Club, Signature Club or M Club lounges at select properties.
  • Room type priority. You’ll get priority for the room type you request at select properties.
  • Annual choice benefit. Choose from five Suite Night Awards — upgrades to standard suites or premium rooms — 40% off a Marriott retail bed item, a $100 charitable donation, a gift of Silver Elite status for a friend or family member or five Elite Night Credits.

You’ll receive your choice benefit when you accumulate 50 qualifying nights.

Elite levelNights required per yearBenefits
Titanium Elite75 to 99All benefits of lower tiers
  • 75% points bonus.
  • 48-hour guarantee. Marriott guarantees a room for a paid stay at eligible properties. Just book at least 48 hours in advance.
  • Additional annual choice benefit perk and more options. Choose from two of the following: one Free Night Award or any of the Platinum Elite options. For Titanium Elite members, you can choose to gift Gold Elite status for a friend or family member instead of Silver.

You’ll receive your choice benefits when you accumulate 75 qualifying nights.

Elite levelNights required per yearBenefits
Ambassador Elite100 or moreAll benefits of lower tiers, except for Annual Choice Benefit
  • Ambassador Service. Your ambassador offers personal assistance when you stay at a Marriott Bonvoy property. They can help with arrival requests, tickets for exclusive events, making dinner reservations and more.
  • Your24. You can choose a 24-hour period for a stay at a Marriott Bonvoy property. This can be helpful if you arrive at odd hours — for example, if your flight lands early in the morning or late at night.
Elite levelNights required per yearBenefits
Lifetime Elite
  • Lifetime Silver Elite: 250 lifetime nights and 5 years of Elite status
  • Lifetime Gold Elite: 400 lifetime nights and 7 years of Gold Elite status or higher
  • Lifetime Platinum Elite: 600 lifetime nights and 10 years of Platinum Elite status or higher
Perks associated with that level

Complimentary elite status

If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy cardholder, Marriott may grant you a complimentary elite status depending on your card.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, for example, offers Gold Elite status upon account opening while the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase offers Silver Elite status for opening your account.

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What is Marriott Bonvoy Cobalt?

Marriott Bonvoy Cobalt is the rather secretive “hidden” tier of the Marriott Elite program. You won’t find information on Cobalt on the Marriott Bonvoy site — the program is allegedly invite-only.

As you might expect, there isn’t much information available on how you can join. Similarly, the exact benefits of the program remain masked in mystery. A few leaked documents on social media show that the Cobalt program largely offers perks and benefits for members staying on Marriott properties, such as upgrades, amenities and more.

Marriott Bonvoy hotels

Here is a full listing of Marriott Bonvoy brands as of this writing:

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Sheraton
  • Westin
  • Four Points
  • AC Hotels
  • Residence Inn
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • St. Regis
  • W Hotels
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • SpringHill Suites
  • Aloft Hotels
  • TownePlace Suites
  • Design Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Edition
  • Delta Hotels
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Moxy Hotels
  • element
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Le MERIDEN
  • Courtyard Hotels
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Homes & Villas

Transfer Marriott points to airline miles

Another option to redeem your Marriott points is to transfer them to more than 40 airline partners. You can do so with most airlines in a 3:1 ratio — meaning 9,000 Marriott points for 3,000 airline miles — plus you get 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred.

Is transferring Marriot points into airline miles a good deal?

It depends. With a 3:1 ratio, you need to get at least 2 cents per mile value to break even. If you get slightly less than that, no big deal. But if your flight gives you value of around 1 cent per mile, you may be better off redeeming your Marriott points for hotel stays.

Note: Marriott also lets you pay your flights directly with points. However, this is a poor deal with an average point value of 0.4 cents or less.

Transfer points on the fly with more airlines

FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMSPOINTS : MILES
AEGEAN Miles+Bonus3:1
Aer Lingus AerClub3:1
Aeroflot Bonus3:1
Aeromexico ClubPremier3:1
Air Canada Aeroplan3:1
Air France-KLM Flying Blue3:1
Air New Zealand Airpoints200:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™3:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia3:1
American Airlines AAdvantage®3:1
ANA Mileage Club3:1
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3:1
Avianca LifeMiles3:1
British Airways Executive Club3:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3:1
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles3:1
Delta SkyMiles®3:1
Emirates Skywards®3:1
Etihad Guest3:1
FRONTIER Miles3:1
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club3:1
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles® 3:1
Iberia Plus 3:1
InterMiles3:1
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank 3:1
JetBlue TrueBlue 6:1
Korean Air SKYPASS 3:1
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass 3:1
Multiplus Fidelidade 3:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer 3:1
Qatar Airways Privilege Club 3:1
SAA Voyager 3:1
Saudia Alfursan 3:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer® 3:1
Southwest Rapid Rewards® 3:1
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go 3:1
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus 3:1
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 3:1
United MileagePlus® 3:1.1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 3:1
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer 3:1
Vueling Club 3:1

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy is a solid program, albeit one that requires a fairly heavy commitment for the best redemption value. If you’re a Marriott loyalist, or you find yourself staying at their brand of hotels more often than not, then Marriott Bonvoy is worth a look.

Compare your Marriott credit card options along with other travel credit cards to find a card that best suits your purchasing and travel needs.

Frequently asked questions

  • What changed besides the new name and look of the Marriott program?
    Marriott standardized point earnings between all branches of the old rewards programs. Additionally, the tier known as Platinum Premier Elite tier is now Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite and Platinum Premier Elite is now Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite.
  • How much does it cost to join Marriott Bonvoy?
    Joining Marriott Bonvoy is free and can be done online.
  • If I’m an existing Marriott Rewards member, do I need to sign up again?
    No. Your existing account should automatically transfer into the new Bonvoy program. If you had, such as a Marriott Rewards and SPG membership, you might have to request to combine your points and nights into a single account.
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