Let’s get to the point, my Marriott Bonvoy review is positive. Ever since Marriott Rewards merged with Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards in August 2018, the combined program has easily become the best hotel loyalty program in the world. On Feb. 13, 2019, the program changed their name to Marriott Bonvoy.

Full disclosure, my dad worked for Starwood Hotels for 30+ years, so I have a bias towards the brand and their current owners. That being said, as someone who loves hotels and loyalty points, I absolutely love Marriott Bonvoy since there are multiple ways to redeem your points and you can transfer them to various airline partners. Oh, and did you know when you book your stays directly at Marriott.com, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate.

Read my Marriott Rewards review now to find out my full thoughts on the program.

Marriott Rewards Review

Marriott Bonvoy properties

The Marriott brand consists of 6,500+ properties in more than 110 countries. You can redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points at any of these properties which is why the program is so appealing. There is simply no other hotel loyalty program that gives you access to more rooms. Here’s a list of the 29 Marriott brands:

  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft Hotels
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Delta Hotels
  • Design Hotels
  • Edition Hotels
  • Element Hotels
  • Fairfield by Marriott
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Residence Inn by Marriott
  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • Sheraton Hotels and Resorts
  • Springhill Suites by Marriott
  • St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels Worldwide
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Before you can start earning Marriott Bonvoy, you need to sign up for the program. Joining Marriott Bonvoy is free, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. As for earning Marriott Rewards, there are a few ways to do so:

Staying at Marriott Properties – Whenever you stay at a Marriott property, you’ll earn 10 points per US$1 spent on eligible hotel charges, except at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites hotels, where you’ll earn five points per eligible US$1. Eligible hotel charges usually refer to your room rate, food and beverage, and some other things such as spa treatments at select properties. You normally don’t earn points on taxes, resort fees or parking.

Co-branded credit card – The quickest way to earn points is by using a credit card that allows you to earn collect Marriott Bonvoy on your everyday purchases. The number of points you earn will depend on your credit card which can vary by country so it’s best to see what’s available to you locally.

Promotions – Quite often Marriott runs promotions and contests where you can earn additional points. Usually, you play a little game and you’re then awarded a random amount of points.

Travel partners – Marriott has a few travel partners where you can earn Marriott Rewards points. You can get up to 3,000 points with Hertz car rental. You’ll earn 3 points for every $1 you spend when you book your next cruise vacation through Cruises only and if you use Travelling Connect, you can earn up to 10 points per minute of call time abroad with participating networks

Redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points

To redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points, simply go to Marriott.com and enter your destination/dates. You’ll see a checkbox that says “use points” which you need to select. Your search results will show you how many points it takes to make a redemption. The amount of points depends on the category and season. See the chart below for the points break down.

What you’ll also notice is that you may have the option to use cash and points which is handy if you don’t have enough points to make a redemption. Alternatively, you can purchase additional Marriott Rewards points in increments of 1,000 if you need a top up.

If you plan on paying cash, always book through Marriott.com since you’re guaranteed the lowest rate. As a Marriott Bonvoy member, you’ll even save a few extra dollars.

CATEGORYSTANDARDOFF PEAKPEAK
17,5005,00010,000
212,50010,00015,000
317,50015,00020,000
425,00020,00030,000
535,00030,00040,000
650,00040,00060,000
760,00050,00070,000
885,00070,000100,000

Airline transfer partners

Besides using your points for hotel stays, you can also transfer your points to more than 40 airline partners. Most of the programs have a 3:1 Marriott to airline transfer ratio and you get an additional 5,000 miles per 60,000 points transferred. With so many airline partners available, you can see why my Marriott Bonvoy review is positive. Here are some of the current airline transfer partners:

  • Air Canada
  • Air France/KLM
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • ANA
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Marriott Bonvoy Elite levels

With Marriott Bonvoy, you earn different elite levels depending on how many nights you’ve stayed and how much you’ve spent. Each tier gives you additional benefits so it pays to be loyal.

Silver Elite

  • Reached after 10 nights
  • 10% bonus points on stays
  • Priority late checkout
  • Dedicated reservation line

Gold Elite

  • Reached after 25 nights
  • 25% bonus points on stays
  • Room upgrade when available
  • 2PM priority late checkout
  • Welcome gift
  • Dedicated reservation line

Platinum Elite

  • Reached after 50 nights
  • 50% bonus points on stays
  • Room upgrade when available
  • 4PM priority late checkout
  • Welcome gift
  • Breakfast at participating hotels
  • Lounge access
  • Dedicated reservation line

Titanium Elite

  • Reached after 75 nights
  • 75% bonus points on stays
  • Room upgrade when available
  • 4PM priority late checkout
  • Welcome gift
  • Breakfast at participating hotels
  • Lounge access
  • 48-Hour guarantee
  • Dedicated reservation line

Ambassador Elite

  • Reached after 100 nights + $20,000 spend
  • 75% bonus points on stays
  • Room upgrade when available
  • 24 hour check-in and checkout
  • Welcome gift
  • Breakfast at participating hotels
  • Lounge access
  • 48-Hour guarantee
  • Ambassador service
  • Dedicated reservation line

The best credit cards to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

As mentioned above, the quickest way to earn Marriott Rewards us by using a credit card that earns you points. All of the cards featured below make my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada so they’re all great picks.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 50,000 sign up points
  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Free Night Award (redemption value of up to 35,000 points)
  • Complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status
  • 15 Elite nights credit
  • No annual fee on supplementary cards

The American Express Marriott Bonvoy card is the official co-branded credit card of Marriott and it comes packed with benefits. The 50,000 point sign up bonus is enough for 5 free nights at a category 2 hotel since there’s an ongoing promotion where you get the 5th-night free when you book 4 nights on points. What’s nice about the

American Express Platinum Card

  • $699 annual fee
  • 25,000 Membership Rewards points sign up bonus
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $200 Annual travel credit
  • Unlimited airport lounge access
  • Special benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Hotel status upgrades
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits
  • Exclusive dining experiences with the Global Dining Collection
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package
  • Buyer’s assurance
  • Purchase protection

Although the American Express Platinum Card doesn’t earn you as many points as the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express, you can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 ratio. That means you could quickly earn even more Marriott Bonvoy points if you transfer your Membership Rewards over.

Final thoughts

My Marriotts Bonvoy review is positive, there is no other rewards program like it. With so many different properties available, you really have a lot of choices when it comes to earning and redeeming your points. If you travel a lot for business, it makes sense to be loyal to the Marriott brand since you’ll earn many additional perks as you increase your status.

Marriott Bonvoy Review

17 Comments

  1. Tawcan on December 12, 2018 at 7:30 PM

    I really like the Marriott rewards program. Before the merger, we managed to fly to Maui and stay there for 12 days and saved over $10,000. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

    https://www.tawcan.com/travel-hacking-saved-money/

    After the merger the points devalued a bit but there are still quite a number of hotels that offer great values.

    • Barry Choi on December 12, 2018 at 8:37 PM

      Tawcan,

      There are definitely some good value hotels. New York has plenty of hotels where you can get a good return for your points.

  2. Tom on February 17, 2019 at 12:12 PM

    Hi Barry…my wife and I just love reading your travel/credit card blogs. We have the HSBC premier world elite card but we’re tempted to sign up for other cards to take advantage of the signup offers(Alaska Air Mileage or SPG Amex). My question is do you think it’s better to concentrate accumulating points on one card or have our spending scattered at different card programs?

    • Barry Choi on February 17, 2019 at 4:24 PM

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for the kind feedback. I personally favour maximizing sign up bonus since it’s the quickest way to earn points. That being said, you’d have to be comfortable applying for multiple credit cards and you’d have to meet the minimum spend.

      Here’s an article I wrote to show how a couple can really maximize signing up for cards together.

      https://www.moneywehave.com/amex-train-how-to-redeem-a-business-class-around-the-world-trip-with-american-express-credit-cards/

      If you prefer to keep things simple, just apply for a few cards with big bonuses right now such as Marriott BONVOY, TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and the WestJet MasterCard.

      As a couple, it can be easy to earn points fast.

  3. Tom on February 17, 2019 at 9:15 PM

    It’s so confusing with all these multitudes of credit cards. So you prefer the Marriott Bonvoy over the Amex Cobalt and the WestJet card over the Alaska card? I love the companion fare idea. We live in YVR and fly Alaska as much as WestJet. I guess also it’s best to find loyalty programs that will allow transfering the points into other programs to speed up the points accumulation?

    • Barry Choi on February 17, 2019 at 9:42 PM

      Tom,

      It sort of depends, I personally look at maximum value and I do prefer programs that give you transfer partners. I prefer Amex Rewards over Marriott Bonvoy so basically either the Amex Gold Rewards card or the Amex Platinum card because you can transfer to Marriott at 1:1.2 ratio. If you really dive deep you’ll realize that it’s sometimes cheaper to pay regular price for a room at Marriott and then claim the points via Amex Membership Rewards as opposed to Marriot e.g. A category 5 hotel is 35,000 Bonvoy points or 29,167 Amex MR points. Since MR points have a 1% value, that room has to cost you more than $291.67 per night for it tobe worth claiming 35K Bonvoy points. Basically with Amex MR, you can transfer points as you need it.

      Both the Alaska Airlines and WestJet cards are both good since they both give you a companion voucher. The nice thing about Alaska Airlines miles is that you can use them on Cathay Pacific flights so you’re miles go a lot further. Having both cards isn’t a bad thing just for the companion vouchers and free baggage. I live in Toronto and have both cards, but I got them mainly for the sign up bonus.

      When collecting points, try to think what your goal is for your points is. If you want to use them to get you to Asia, then start collecting points that will get you there.

  4. Tom on February 17, 2019 at 9:53 PM

    Thank you so much for your expert advice. One final question… I am recently retired and my current income this year will not meet the income requirements for the world Elite cards. Do they take into consideration that I currently have two other world elite cards and my investment accounts would allow me to meet the annual income requirements if I chose to withdraw them?

    • Barry Choi on February 17, 2019 at 10:11 PM

      Tom,

      Would you qualify for the World Elites under household income? If not, your home bank would likely take into consideration your investments and other accounts. Alternatively, and not that I’m encouraging it, I sometimes wonder how many credit card providers actually verify the income reported on applications if you know what I mean.

      • Dave on April 29, 2019 at 2:48 PM

        Barry, the CC companies must stipulate the income requirement (due to the World, World Elite, Infinite levels) in order to justify the higher interchange commissions. However, they can’t verify the sheer volume of applications that they receive – so they trust the applicants.

  5. Audrey on April 30, 2019 at 5:31 PM

    Has anyone had any issues with free nights transferring over to the new program? I’m currently trying to get a free night credited back to my account since switch over. I obtained 1 free night after staying 9 consecutive nights last July. The one year redemption has not expired but I’m being told nothing on record. Any thoughts on how to pursue?
    Not a good feel to start a new program.

    • Barry Choi on April 30, 2019 at 6:47 PM

      Audrey,

      There was a lot of bugs when the switchover happened. Was the free night on your account before the switchover?

      Do you have status? I personally have found that some of the basic phone support have no idea how to do certain things but when I called the Platinum line, the same issue I had was resolved in 5 minutes.

      • Audrey on April 30, 2019 at 8:56 PM

        Yes….the free night was listed prior to the switch. I had just signed up last July prior to my 9 night stay at a Delta in Calgary and again 1 night in Toronto last Sept. I’m only at the Silver elite status. When I called to ask about the situation, customer care said there was no record of 1 free night. Not happy with that response she offered to put in a request to investigate further. I received an email response back from a Guest Experience Assistant stating there was no mention of a free night voucher promotion on my account and can I provide more information. I don’t know what else I can provide since the free night notation was on my previous Marriott account that I no longer have access to. Does this seem odd that they do not have access to this information and putting the onus on me to provide it? I will try the Platinum status contact and see if they can resolve the issue. Thanks for the suggestion.

        • Barry Choi on April 30, 2019 at 10:10 PM

          Was there a promotion of some sort where you earned that free night? Maybe if you can find the promotion details somewhere and your nights stayed history would show that you indeed earned the free night, it would help your case?

          Again, the knowledge each individual agent has since the switchover is a bit mind-boggling.

  6. Andy on August 6, 2019 at 9:20 AM

    Hi,

    My company pays for my stays ( airline ) so I don’t get the points or stay credits. However how many points are needed for lounge access?

    Will be in Dubai on 72 hour layover at JW Marriott

    Regards

    • Barry Choi on August 6, 2019 at 9:27 AM

      Hi Andy,

      Lounge access with Marriott is based on status where you need Titanium. You can’t use points to access the lounge.

    • Andy on August 6, 2019 at 9:34 AM

      Oops,

      Left wrong email contact that’s why repost…

      • Barry Choi on August 6, 2019 at 9:53 AM

        Hi Andy,

        You would need Titanium status to get access to the lounge. You can’t use points to get in.

Leave a Comment