If you haven’t been to a Marriott hotel, chances are you will.
With more than 30 brands and 7,000 properties in 31 countries, Marriott is the world’s largest hotel brand. And with its free loyalty program, called Marriott Bonvoy, you can earn and redeem points at all of those hotels. This includes high-end ones such as the Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis, as well as more budget-friendly properties like Sheraton, Courtyard, and Fairfield Inns & Suites.
Marriott Bonvoy points are a worthwhile currency that you can use to save money on traveling, if you feel comfortable with travel at a time when the Delta variant of COVID-19 remains a concern around the world.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable traveling right now, there are ways to earn Bonvoy points while at home, such as through spending on a co-branded credit card, buying points, and even referring friends to the program. As long as your account has some qualifying activity within a 24-month timeframe, your Bonvoy points will not expire.
This raises the question: What are Marriott Bonvoy points worth, exactly? And how do you earn them? Understanding this can help you determine if redeeming points on a stay provides good value relative to paying for it outright. Sometimes you might get better value paying for a stay, if the dollar value of what the hotel is charging in points is really high.
According to our calculations, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.5 cents each. Here’s how we arrived at that number.
How Much Are Marriott Bonvoy Points Worth?
Like many hotel points and airline miles, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth less than those issued by a credit card company, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, which can be transferred to many travel partners.
That said, you can transfer your Marriott points to some airlines, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and JetBlue Airways. You can transfer your points at a 3:1 ratio — this means that for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer, you’ll get one airline mile in the program of your choosing.
In this scenario, your points become worth less once you transfer them to partners. You’ll get the most value out of your Bonvoy points by using them on stays within the Marriott portfolio.
Sign up for a free Marriott Bonvoy account to start earning points every time you stay in a hotel under the Marriott umbrella.
Marriott hotels are also grouped into categories depending on their level of service, amenities, and price. Award rates, or nights that you can use your points to book, fluctuate within set ranges depending on the category. Categories go 1 through 8, with 1 the most affordable and 8 the most luxurious.
Understanding the chain’s award chart can help you better gauge how many points you can expect to pay for your desired hotel.
New York City for a Long Weekend in October
Here’s what you can expect to pay in cash at the Westin Grand Central in New York City on a four-day weekend trip in October.
At the lowest rate of $213, you would end up paying $852 for the entire four-day trip.
And here’s what you can expect to pay using your Marriott Bonvoy points during the same timeframe. The Westin Grand Central is a Category 6 hotel, meaning rates range between 40,000, 50,000 or 60,000 points per night.
Each night would cost 50,000 points, to bring the total to 200,000 points for the entire stay.
We then calculated the value of a point at these prices, by dividing the total cash price ($852) by the total price in miles (200,000). This yielded a value of 0.4 cents per point.
Los Angeles for One Night in September
Here’s how much you can expect to pay at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California when paying in cash:
And here’s what you can expect to pay using Marriott Bonvoy points for the same room on the same days. Keep in mind that it is a Category 5 hotel, meaning award rates start at 30,000 points for off-peak awards, 35,000 points for standard awards, and 40,000 points per night for peak awards. This fluctuates depending on the date, season, and other factors.
In this case, a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.7 cents.
London for a Week in November
We then checked rates for a week in London, a popular travel destination from the United States — and currently open to U.S. travelers. Assuming current safety guidelines continue and travel between the two countries remains open to U.S. citizens, here’s what you can expect to pay in cash per night at the W Hotel in London in November:
The total price of a 7-night stay would start at $1,925.
The W is a Category 7 hotel — rates here range from 50,000, 60,000 or 70,000 points per night. Here’s what you can expect to pay for the same room when using points.
Keep in mind that you get one night free for every four nights you book, so this rate includes one free night on a seven-night stay.
Based on these prices, we found the value of a Marriott Bonvoy point to be 0.5 cents per point.
Across all three of these examples, we found the average value of a Bonvoy point to also be 0.5 cents.
How to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points
You can build your Marriott Bonvoy points balance in many ways:
Staying in Marriott Hotels
Once you sign up for a free Marriott Bonvoy account, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar on qualifying charges at hotels within the Marriott portfolio.
Notable exceptions to that rule include Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites properties, which earn five points per dollar. Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay properties earn 2.5 points per dollar on qualifying room rates.
Spending on a Co-Branded Credit Card
Marriott has partnerships with two major issuers, American Express and Chase. Spending money on a co-branded Marriott credit card that you’d spend otherwise is a quick and easy way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
These cards include the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
Keep in mind that earning rates, perks and even annual fees vary depending on the card, so it’s important to find one that matches your spending habits and budget. You can also earn bonus Marriott points when you book a qualifying Marriott stay with a co-branded credit card.
You can also purchase Marriott Bonvoy points for $12.50 per 1,000 points. This would value a point at 1.25 cents, which is far higher than the values we found, so we recommend waiting for promotions when Marriott will decrease the price of points. Doing so can help you boost your balance without paying more than the points are worth.
Referring Friends to the Program
Every calendar year, you can refer up to five new members to the Marriott Bonvoy program. For each of their first five stays, you’ll each earn 2,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per stay.
Thanks to Marriott’s “Eat Around Town” program, if you hold elite status with Marriott, you can earn 6 points per dollar, at qualifying restaurants. If you do not have elite status, you can earn 4 points per dollar.
We also recommend using a card that earns bonus points on dining, such as the American Express® Gold Card, which earns 4 points per dollar on dining. That way, you can double dip on your earnings: you’ll earn Bonvoy points, plus the credit card’s own points.
Renting a Hertz Vehicle
You can earn up to 2,000 Marriott points per Hertz rental through Marriott’s Tours & Activities program. Better yet, you may get a discount on the base rental rate.
Buying a Bed
Yes, you can really earn points by buying a bed — specifically, the same bed you will find at Marriott hotels. You can earn up to 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points by buying a bed from any of the 13 online retail stores for Marriott’s various brands.
How to Redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points
Once you’ve decided you’d like to redeem your Bonvoy points, and you’ve determined that using points will give you at least as good a value as paying for your stay, log into your account. Enter your desired property as well as dates in the search bar. You can also browse properties by city and elect to see flexible dates if you’re not set on a specific timeline.
Using the flexible date function may help you shave some points off of your total stay, so it’s certainly worth taking a look if your travel plans allow.
Keep in mind that Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months if there has been no activity in your account. Accounts that have been inactive for five years may be deactivated, as well.
Marriott Bonvoy points certainly aren’t the most valuable points currency out there, but they can help you save money on future travels. With our valuation of 0.5 cents per point, you’ll have a better understanding of when to use them for any stays on your radar, as opposed to paying for your hotel nights.