Marriott International (through various acquisitions over the years, including Starwood and Ritz-Carlton) has become one of the World’s leading hotel chains, offering an almost unsurpassed quantity of hotels – over 6,700 worldwide.
It’s no surprise that this wide reach comes with a great loyalty program – Marriott Bonvoy.
While you can use Marriott Bonvoy points towards free nights at their locations, that’s only the beginning of what this program has to offer.
Marriott Bonvoy at a glance
|Value of a Marriott Bonvoy point:||High: $0.01 for airline transfer
Low: $0.0013 for car rentals
|Ways to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points:||* Hotels – 0.97 cents per point (CPP)
* Transfer to Airline Partners – 1.04 CPP
* Travel packages – 1.14 CPP
* Flights – 0.47 CPP
* Car rentals – 0.13 CPP
* Brand-name merchandise ‒ 0.37 CPP
* Gift cards ‒ 0.34 CPP
* Marriott Moments
|How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points:||* Purchases at Marriott properties
* 5 credit cards
|Who these rewards are good for:||* World Travellers|
|Frequently Asked Questions:||* Level of flexibility? Medium
* Blackout dates? No
* Do rewards expire? No
* Rewards cover taxes and fees? Yes
* Can these rewards be transferred? Yes
* Is there a way to earn rewards faster? Yes
* Will I lose my miles if I cancel an award stay? No
Calculating the value of a Marriott Bonvoy point
Overall, Marriott Bonvoy points offer a great deal of value for travellers.
The value you’ll get when you redeem your points depends entirely on what you redeem those points for.
Below we’ll break down all the different ways you can redeem your rewards, with an approximate value of the return you’ll be looking at for each redemption option.
Redeeming for hotel stays: 0.97 CPP
Using your points for a hotel stay is the easiest way to use your points.
Why? 3 main reasons:
- No blackout dates (provided the hotel has availability),
- points cover the taxes & fees, and
- you can use combinations of points and cash.
As an added bonus, if you book a 5-night rewards stay, the 5th night is free ‒ giving you a 20% boost in your point value.
Plus, you can cancel an award night and get your points back as long as it follows the cancellation rules.
How many points do you need to book a hotel?
Well, it depends. Each hotel is assigned a category:
|Hotel Category||Points Required|
Changes will be coming to this table in 2019, including peak and off-peak season pricing. When the details are released, we’ll be sure to update you.
So what’s a point worth when redeeming for hotels? We surveyed a total of 89 hotels around the world:
- 36 in Canada,
- 18 in the U.S.,
- 17 in Europe, and
- 18 in the rest of the world.
We came to an average value of 0.97 cents per point, though the value varied by the region. We removed both the highest and lowest number of each region to remove outliers.
The best value came from hotels in the U.S. We found an average value of 1.11 cents for your points.
Canadian hotels provided the worst value for your points at 0.83 cents per point.
With that said, there’s still some good value in the Canadian hotels. While removed as outliers, both the Whistler and Mont Tremblant hotels we surveyed had value of 2.8 to 3.3 cents per point.
It’s definitely worth it to look around if you want to get the best value for your points.
Transfer to airline partners: 1.04 CPP
This may come as a surprise, but transferring to airline partners will give you some of the best value.
There are more than 40 airline partners available to transfer, and most of them are at a 3:1 ratio.
As an added bonus, for every 60,000 points you transfer, Marriott Bonvoy Rewards will give you an extra 5,000 airline miles. For programs that transfer at a 3:1 ratio, your 60,000 points will turn into 25,000 airline miles.
If you maximize this bonus, here’s what a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth at varying Aeroplan & Avios point values (which both transfer at a 3:1 ratio):
|Aeroplan/Avios Point Value||Value of 25,000 Aeroplan miles||Marriott Bonvoy Point Value|
|1.5 cents||$375||0.63 cents|
|2 cents||$500||0.83 cents|
|2.5 cents||$625||1.04 cents|
If you can get a solid 2 cents or more for your Aeroplan points, this is the best way to use your Marriott Bonvoy points.
Just make sure to take advantage of the transfer bonus, otherwise you may be better off using your points for hotel stays instead.
Travel packages – 1.14 CPP
Your Marriott Bonvoy points can also be used to book travel packages at a pretty good average value. These packages can’t be booked online – you’ll need to call Marriott to reserve.
If you reserve a 7-night stay, you’re also given a set number of airline miles as part of the package. This is to cover the airfare to get to your destination.
Please note: Unlike regular hotel reservations, cancellations are not permitted.
These travel packages require quite a few points, so it might take quite a bit of saving for the average person to be able to redeem.
Here’s what you’ll need to redeem for a travel package. There are 2 levels of airline miles you can receive:
|Hotel Category||7 nights & 50,000 airline miles||7 nights & 100,000 airline miles|
|1 – 4||255,000 Marriott Bonvoy points||330,000 Marriott Bonvoy points|
Is this worth it?
Although not for everyone, it’s actually the best way to use your points.
For the category 5 hotel and 50,000 airline miles deal, you’d normally need 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to get 50,000 airline miles (at a 3:1 ratio, including the transfer bonus) and 210,000 points to redeem for a category 5 hotel.
This is a savings of 15,000 points.
With our average hotel value of 0.83 cents and our Aeroplan value of 2.5 cents, we get an average value of 1.02 cents. Here’s an example for the category 5 booking from above:
(50,000 x 0.025 + 245,000 x 0.0083)/315,000 = $0.0115
If you can get the flights using the airline miles, this can be a great way to save some Marriott Bonvoy points and get good value for your miles.
Bonus: If United is your transfer partner, you’ll get 10% extra miles.
Book flights: 0.47 CPP
Marriott Bonvoy members also have the option to book flights with any airline. Your points can cover taxes and fees, and you’ll be able to use a combination of points and cash for payment.
We surveyed several flights from Canada to the United States and international destinations. This gave us an average point value of 0.47 cents.
What’s nice is the point values didn’t fluctuate too much. The flights we surveyed had a range of 0.4 to 0.54 cents each.
While there isn’t as much value here compared to hotel stays and airline transfers, this can be a good way to use your points, since you can book any flight on any airline with no blackout dates. And your points cover taxes and fees as well, which is a major bonus.
Use for car rentals: 0.13 CPP
Similar to booking flights, Marriott Bonvoy points can cover all taxes and fees when you’re booking a car rental.
We test booked compact cars for a 1-day rental at Canada’s major airports.
Car rentals provided the poorest value for your points – an average of only 0.13 cents, with a small point range of 0.09-0.16 cents.
Redeem for brand-name merchandise: 0.37 CPP
Marriott Bonvoy also provides a large catalogue of merchandise to browse.
Like many programs that offer merchandise, there isn’t much value in using your points here. In fact, we came to an average value of 0.37 cents.
|Item Name||Points Required||Price (13% tax included)||Point Value (cents)|
|JBL Link 500 Multi Room Wireless Smart Speaker||135,000||$678.00||0.50|
|Cuisinart Smart Stick Two-Speed Hand Blender||17,500||$79.10||0.45|
|Breville Crystal Clear Electric Glass Kettle||37,500||$169.50||0.45|
|T-fal Ultraglide Durilium Steam Iron||17,500||$71.19||0.41|
|Cuisinart PerfecTemp Programmable Tea Steeper & Kettle||40,000||$158.20||0.40|
|Weber Original Kettle Premium 22″ Charcoal Grill||82,500||$315.27||0.38|
|TaylorMade M4 3HL Reg||95,000||$361.60||0.38|
|Apple MacBook Air 13″ 128 GB||365,000||$1,354.87||0.37|
|Apple Apple TV 32 GB 4th Generation||67,500||$224.87||0.33|
|Garmin Vivofit 3 Personal Tracker||45,000||$137.86||0.31|
|Sony Playstation 4 Slim Console||152,500||$372.90||0.24|
|Cuisinart 11 Piece Advantage Cookware Set||47,500||$113.00||0.24|
*Prices as found on google, with 13% sales tax added.
Redeem for gift cards: 0.34 CPP
Marriott Bonvoy offers a wide assortment of gift cards available for redemption with amounts ranging from $10 to $1,000.
For the most part, gift cards have a set amount of points required for different dollar amounts:
|Gift Card Amount||Points Required||Point Value|
The average point value is 0.34 cents, but it’s possible to get up to 0.43 cents.
Ideally, if you want to maximize the value for your points, you should redeem for gift cards in the $50 to $300 range
The last thing you can use your points for are exclusive Marriott Moments experiences. Here’s the link to see what’s available.
There’s a wide variety of experiences you can redeem for, including tickets to sporting events, exclusive dining experiences, and concerts.
And because many of these options are once-in-a-lifetime events, it’s not really possible to put a price tag on them.
For example, with 50,000 points, you can get 2 tickets to a fully stocked luxury suite at Staples Centre for an NHL game featuring the LA Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins. These are tickets that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise – unless you knew the right people.
It’s really up to you what you’d value these experiences at, but there could definitely be some value here.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points
The easiest way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is by staying at one of their properties.
You’ll earn points on hotel stays, on-site dining, and even movie and game rentals.
How many points you earn depends on where you stay:
- 5 points per $1 USD spent at Residence Inn, TownPlace Suites and Element properties, and
- 10 points per $1 USD spent at all other locations.
Added bonus: You can earn up to 3,000 points per qualifying rental at Hertz Rentals.
The fastest way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points?
You guessed it, by using a credit card.
American Express is the sole issuer of Canadian credit cards for this program, with both a personal and small business version.
You can also transfer points to Marriott Bonvoy from American Express Membership Rewards credit cards.
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express card
- up to 60,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in 3 months,
- 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, and
- 2 points per dollar spent on everything else.
While this card offers great earn rates and an impressive welcome bonus, it also comes with some perks that seriously up the ante.
For starters, every year, on your card anniversary, you’ll get a certificate valid for a free night (up to a Category 5 hotel). With a point value of 0.83 cents, this alone could be worth $290.
Then, just for owning the card, you’ll get automatic Silver Elite status, which has pretty sweet benefits, including:
- 10% bonus points on hotel stays,
- priority late checkout, and
- complimentary Wi-Fi.
Spend $30,000 per year and you’ll get upgraded to Gold Elite status for even more bonus points and benefits when staying at a Marriott property. And you’ll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year that can be used towards attaining the next level of Elite status.
You’ll also be covered by 8 types of insurance, including flight delay, baggage delay, and lost or stolen baggage.
All this for an annual fee of $120. For what you’re getting in return, this is a pretty sweet deal.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card
The business version, the
Firstly, on top of the earn rates for the personal card, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, dining, and travel.
Secondly, it comes with a higher annual fee of $150, but if you’re ready to start earning better rewards for your business, this is a card to consider.
American Express Membership Rewards cards
If you have a credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards, one great option to use your points is to transfer them to Marriott Bonvoy. Transfer your points at a 5:6 ratio, effectively increasing the value of a Marriott point 20%.
American Express Cobalt Card
The best card option for this type of reward is the
And as a welcome bonus, earn 2,500 points for every month in the first year you spend $500, for a maximum of 30,000 points.
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Next is the
For a welcome bonus, you’ll earn 25,000 points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months.
American Express Platinum Card
While it earns the fewest points of the group – up to 3 points per dollar spent – the
You’ll get access to the most perks of any credit card in Canada, which just happens to include automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
And, it comes with the largest welcome bonus – earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Marriott Bonvoy questions and answers
Here are some common questions and answers about the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards program:
How flexible are these rewards?
These awards are somewhat flexible because you can use them for multiple travel options, merchandise, and gift cards. But no cash redemption options exist.
Are there blackout dates?
No, Marriott Bonvoy has no blackout dates. As long as there’s availability, you’ll be able to book with your Marriott Bonvoy points.
Do these rewards expire?
No, provided you make a transaction on your account at least once every two years.
Can you use points to cover taxes & fees?
Yes, points can be used to cover taxes and fees.
Can these rewards be transferred?
Yes, your points can be transferred to more than 40 airline partners.
Is there a way to earn rewards faster?
Yes, by earning points at Marriott properties, Hertz rentals, and using Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
Do you lose your points if you cancel a booking?
If you book an award night stay, you won’t lose your points, provided you cancel in the time frame given (usually around 48 hours prior to check in).
Car rentals can be cancelled, but are subject to a $35 cancellation fee.
Airline flights booked through Marriott Bonvoy are non refundable. Changes can be made for a $50 fee, plus any applicable airline charges and extra Marriott points or cash.
The bottom line
The Marriott Bonvoy Rewards program is for so much more than just earning and redeeming free hotel stays.
With transfer options to more than 40 airline partners, the ability to book flights and cars using only points, and other options for redemptions…this program is definitely worth your while.
And with two great credit cards to earn with, plus some great perks that go with them, Marriott makes it easy for you to get involved.