Best Ways to Earn Points With the Marriott Bonvoy Program

Feb 16, 2019

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The SPG Luxury Amex is now the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card— sign up for it here and earn a 100,000-point welcome bonus.

Marriott’s loyalty program has undergone a lot of change over the past couple of years. In 2018, we saw Marriott complete its Starwood acquisition and integrate Starwood Preferred Guest into its existing loyalty program. And 2019  got off to a busy start, as Marriott has completely rebranded its loyalty program to Marriott Bonvoy and will launch its long-awaited Category 8 pricing on March 5. The rebrand has brought more than just a new name though: the hotel chain also revamped its cobranded credit card lineup and elite status tiers, giving Marriott loyalists new ways to boost their account balances.

So how does this rebrand affect your ability to earn Marriott points? That’s a good question — and it’s just what we’ll answer in this article. We’ll run through all of the different ways you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points, from hotel stays to cobranded credit cards and beyond.

Earning Through Marriott Hotel Stays

The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

As you’d expect, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points when staying at any of Marriott’s properties worldwide. After the integration with SPG and Ritz-Carlton, this now includes over 6,800 properties spanning 29 unique brands. Like most hotel programs, you earn points based on how much you spent on your stay, your status tier and the type of Marriott hotel at which you’re staying. The majority of Marriott hotels earn 10 points per $1 spent on stays, while Element, Townplace Suites and Residence Inn properties award 5 points per $1 spent.

Do note that Marriott changed some of the names of its elite status tiers when it moved to the Bonvoy branding this week. Here’s an overview of the current status tiers and how many bonus points you’d  earn on hotel stays:

  • Silver Elite: 10% bonus (1 extra point per dollar spent)
  • Gold Elite: 25% bonus (2.5 extra points per dollar spent)
  • Platinum Elite: 50% bonus (5 extra points per dollar spent)
  • Titanium Elite: 75% bonus (7.5 extra points per dollar spent)
  • Ambassador Elite: 75% bonus (7.5 extra points per dollar spent)

If you spend two nights at a JW Marriott property for $250 per night as a Gold Elite member, you’ll earn 6,250 Marriott Bonvoy points on your stay. The math looks like this: (250 * 2 nights) * 10 points/$ = 5,000 * 1.25 (25% Gold Elite bonus) = 6,250.

Additionally, members with Gold Elite status or higher receive a welcome amenity of 500 – 1,000 points at check-in at most brands. The number of points varies by property, but Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, and SpringHill Suites properties earn just 250 points as a welcome gift.

Keep an Eye Out for Promotions

Marriott frequently runs promotions that let you earn bonus points on paid stays. The most recent round appeared to be targeted, including extra elite night credits or bonus points on stays. While there are no program-wide promotions running right now, we recommend keeping an eye on Marriott’s promotion page and logging into your Bonvoy account regularly to see if you’re targeted for any special offers.

Earning With Credit Cards

Like we mentioned earlier, Marriott recently rebranded its entire suite of cobranded credit cards with the move to the Bonvoy name. The hotel chain currently has three credit cards available for signup: two with American Express and one with Chase. Each with of these cards has different benefits and welcome bonuses — here are the details:

American Express

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card ($450 annual fee) (See Rates & Fees): Earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months until April 24. You’ll earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels; 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines; and 2 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. You’ll also receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary valid for an award of up to 50,000 points and enjoy a $300 annual credit every calendar year towards Marriott stays. The card also comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, Priority Pass lounge privileges and automatic Gold Elite status (with an upgrade to Platinum after spending $75,000).

For complete details, check out our full card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card ($125 annual fee) (See Rates & Fees): Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months until April 24. You’ll earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels; 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping; and 2 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. It too comes with a free award night every year (valid up to 35,000 points) as well as complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi.


Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card ($95 annual fee): Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening. You’ll earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott hotels; 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. You’ll enjoy the same free night award (up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary.

Who is eligible for these bonuses?

While these offers sound lucrative, you may not be eligible for these welcome bonuses if you’ve had a Marriott, SPG, or Ritz-Carlton card from Chase or American Express in the past. TPG editor Sarah Silbert covered who is and isn’t eligible for a Marriott Bonovy cobranded credit card welcome bonus in an earlier article, so make sure to check it out before you apply.

Earn With Partners

Not in the market for a new credit card? No worries — you can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points on travel purchases like car rental and events. Here are some of our favorite ways to earn points with the program’s travel partners:

Transfer From Chase or American Express

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Marriott Bonvoy is a partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Each of these programs allow you to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that 1,000 Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards points equal 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

However, we don’t necessarily recommend making this transfer. TPG values both Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point, while he pegs Marriott points at just 0.8 cents per point. This means you’ll lose over half of the currencies’ values by transferring, so we don’t recommend doing  so unless you have a very specific redemption in mind.

Refer a Friend to Marriott Bonvoy

Have a friend without a Marriott Bonvoy account? Refer them to the loyalty program and you’ll receive 2,000 points for every stay they complete, up to 5 stays per referral. Additionally, your friend will earn 2,000 points after their first five Marriott stays.

Host an Event

Marriott’s Rewarding Events program lets you earn extra points on meetings, weddings, and other special events that you host on Marriott properties. You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on room, food, drink, and other charges up to 60,000 points (105,000 for Titanium Elite members) per event. You’ll also be able to earn 10 elite-qualifying nights with your first event each calendar year and then an additional night for every additional 20 rooms you book as part of your event.

Rent a Car With Hertz

You can earn up to 2,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on your Hertz car rentals. Just book through the Marriott portal and you’ll earn 500 points on one-day rentals and 2,000 points on rentals of two-days or more.

Book A Cruise With

Booking a cruise through CruisesOnly can net you a huge number of bonus Marriott Bonvoy points depending on the cost. If you book through the Marriott portal, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on cruises booked through CruisesOnly, and even more if you book a premium balcony or suite.

Pool Points With Friends or Family Members

Puerto Vallarta
You can combine your family’s points to book your next award stay with Marriott. (Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images)

A final way to earn Marriott points is to utilize the program’s point transfer option. While airlines tend to be stingy about sharing points or miles with friends or family members (JetBlue is a notable exception), many hotel programs allow you to pool your points together, though these policies don’t tend to be unlimited. Marriott’s is flexible but has some guidelines.

Here’s what the program’s terms and conditions have to say about transferring:

“A Member can transfer up to a maximum of 100,000 Points per calendar year to another Membership Account as long as both Accounts are in good standing and have each been open for at least sixty (60) days. A Member can receive up to a maximum of 500,000 Points per calendar year from other Membership Accounts as long as the Accounts are in good standing and have each been open for at least sixty (60 days).”

As a result, if you have friends or family members with Marriott points, you can receive points directly from their account. This is a terrific way to turn small, relatively insignificant balances into enough points for a meaningful redemption.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are a ton of different ways you can beef up your Marriott Bonvoy points balance. If you’re looking for a quick boost, now is a great time to apply for a cobranded credit card, as two are currently offering enhanced welcome bonuses through Apr. 24. However, the best way to maximize your earnings is to use these methods in tandem. You’ll be well on your way to a free night (or more) at any one of Marriott’s properties in no time.

Featured photo courtesy of Marriott.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card, please click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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