Everything About The Marriott Rewards Program

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The information related to Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by AwardWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Update: Post Updated January 2017 to reflect Marriott/Starwood Merger Closing – See Merger Update sections for details, or read our guide to maximizing Marriott and Starwood in 2018

From humble beginnings in 1983 as Marriott Honored Guest Awards, Marriott Rewards is the oldest continuously operating hotel loyalty program in operation today. With roughly 54 million members, Marriott Rewards (when combined with sister rewards program The Ritz-Carlton Rewards) is the second largest hotel loyalty program in the world, second only to IHG Rewards Club (92 million). That said, Marriott Rewards members have access to more hotel rooms across the world.

Marriott Rewards Logo

Some of Marriott Rewards highlights include receiving the fifth night free on award redemptions, lounge access and complimentary breakfast for two when you reach Gold Elite status, guaranteed room upgrades, and the value you can achieve through Marriott Hotel & Air Packages is phenomenal.

While hitting Marriott Gold Elite, the first tier with decent benefits, takes a hefty 50 nights. An easy way of reducing the number of nights needed is to acquire one of the Marriott co-branded credit cards.

Both the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card (from 2019) and the Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card earn 15 credits toward elite status every year after account anniversary, although you can no longer combine the elite night credits from multiple cards.

You can also earn automatic Gold Elite status by acquiring The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, which receives complimentary Gold status for the first year, and keep it by putting $10K spending on the card every year thereafter. If you're aiming for the top-tier, you'll get Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Platinum (and SPG with a status match) by putting $75K on the card in a calendar year.

Recent Changes To Marriott Rewards

The program has undergone changes recently with the addition of some fantastic new benefits for Marriott Rewards elite members, including a guaranteed late checkout, members-only pricing, an elite concierge service, and the recent unveiling of the Experiences Marketplace for Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Members.

The changes signaled the start of merger moves between Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest after Marriott won the race to purchase Starwood Hotels & Resorts earlier this year. While Marriott has been quick to reassure loyalty members that both programs will run independently until sometime in 2018, Marriott has indicated they will be actively building bridges between the two programs in the meantime.

Merger Update: With Marriott and Starwood now falling under the same commercial umbrella, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are now running in tandem, with the ability to link accounts, instant status matches, points transfers, and also reciprocal earning agreements in place for co-branded credit card holders. See our latest post on how to maximize Marriott and Starwood in 2017 for the details!

Marriott Brands

Marriott Brands

Marriott Rewards is the loyalty program for Marriott International, Inc., comprised of 4,400+ properties in 80+ countries across 19 different brands.

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • BVLGARI® Hotel & Resorts
  • EDITION®
  • JW Marriott®
  • Autograph Collection® Hotels
  • Renaissance® Hotels
  • Marriott Hotels®
  • The Delta Hotel by Marriott
  • Marriott Executive Apartments®
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Gaylord Hotels®
  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Courtyard by Marriott®
  • Residence Inn by Marriott®
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott®
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites® by Marriott
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott®
  • Protea Hotels®
  • Moxy Hotels®

Note: BVLGARI® Hotel & Resorts does not participate in Marriott Rewards®.

Merger Update: With the addition of Starwood's brands, Marriott now numbers 30+ brands in its portfolio, however, until 2018, the Starwood and Marriott brands and loyalty programs will run closely linked, but independent of each other.

Marriott Rewards Membership Tiers and Elite Status

Marriott Rewards membership is broken up into the four tiers below, we've highlighted a few key benefits within each tier.

Member – Receive when signing up to Marriott Rewards, member status will earn you free WiFi and access to Marriott Rewards Member Rates.

Silver Elite – Requiring 10 nights or more, Silver Elite will earn you a 20% bonus on points for cash/credit card stays, fifth night free on award redemptions, priority late check-out (not guaranteed but still nice) and more.

Gold Elite – Requiring 50 nights or more, the effort needed to reach Gold Elite is more substantial but also comes with some good perks. My favorite Gold Elite perk is the lounge access and complimentary breakfast for two, followed closely by guaranteed late checkout, you also receive a 25% bonus on points for cash/credit card stays, enhanced Internet service, and Hertz #1 Gold membership.

Platinum Elite – Requiring a mammoth 75 nights or more, Platinum Elite members receive all the perks of Silver and Gold plus a 50% bonus on points, 48-hour guaranteed availability, a Platinum gift on arrival, and RewardsPlus: Complimentary MileagePlus® Premier Silver status with reciprocal benefits on United.

For a full list of Marriott Rewards elite benefits and how you can achieve Lifetime Elite Status, see our complete guide to Marriott Rewards elite status.

Marriott Gold and Platinum status both require a substantial number of nights to reach when compared to other programs (50 nights will earn you Platinum Preferred Guest in Starwood Preferred Guest), you can reduce the physical number of nights required by obtaining the two Marriott co-branded cards. Both the Marriott Rewards Plus and the Marriott Rewards Business Card receive 15 elite credits, so getting one of the co-brand cards is good for 15 nights towards your elite status chase.

Merger Update: A faster way to make Platinum with Marriott if you're using stays is now through SPG. While Marriott Platinum takes a mammoth 75 nights, you can achieve Platinum with SPG for as little as 50, an instant saving of 25 nights. There are also several new ways of achieving elite status through credit cards and benefits which we'll detail below. Post-merger, you can now gain complimentary mid-tier elite status with Marriott as a credit card benefit using the following cards:

You can find all the details on in our guide to maximizing Marriott & Starwood in 2017.

Will Marriott Status Match Other Loyalty Programs?

Traditionally, Marriott doesn't status match your elite status in another program. However, they do offer a status challenge typically requiring one-fifth of the stays needed to achieve the status outside of the challenge. The decision to award the status challenge is entirely at the discretion of Marriott Rewards. To apply, either call the Marriott Rewards member services team on 801-468-8000 or head to the contact page and request one using the form.

Merger Update: Post merger, members can now get an instant status match between Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood by linking accounts, find out how in our post on linking Marriott and SPG accounts.

Earning Marriott Rewards Points

The easiest way to accumulate Marriott Rewards Points is by acquiring the Marriott Rewards Plus and the Marriott Rewards Business Card. While you will earn points on hotel stays, through shopping portals, promotions, and referrals, the majority of your points will most likely come through credit card spend.

The offer on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through this site. You can see a full list of available cards in our marketplace.

Merger Update: Marriott has now introduced reciprocal earning across the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG credit cards. Due to the 1:3 transfer ratio from Starpoints to Rewards points, you will now earn 6 Marriott points per dollar spent using the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and its business counterpart, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, as opposed to a maximum of 5 points per dollar spent using the Marriott or Ritz co-branded cards.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year.
  • Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • Coming in 2019, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get Free Night Stays faster.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

The Marriott Premier Business Card has a current signup offer of 80,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, but does not have the additional points for adding an authorized user. The card has no foreign transaction fees, and you also receive 1 free night stay at a Category 1–5 hotel every year after your account anniversary. The $99 annual fee is slightly higher than the Marriott Rewards Card, but you do get some added features like Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, and a fast track to Gold Elite status when you spend $50,000 on purchases each account year.

The Marriott Premier Business Card earns:

  • 5 points for every $1 spent at over 4,000 participating Marriott® locations, including our exclusive luxury hotel partner, The Ritz-Carlton®*. This card also earns 5 points/dollar at Starwood Hotels as well.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, car rental agencies and on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, PLUS at office supply stores and for Internet, cable and phone service purchases
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases anywhere else
  • Earn 1 Elite credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases

It's worth noting that you can also earn Marriott Rewards Points using The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card if you use your Marriott Rewards number when applying. The card will grant you automatic Gold Elite status with the opportunity to achieve Platinum status after spending $75,000 on the card in a year. You can find all the details at The Ritz-Carlton Rewards website.

Earning Marriott Rewards Through Hotel Stays

When staying at a Marriott property, you need to decide whether you are to receive Marriott Rewards Points or allocate miles to one of the 40+ airline partners. While we recommend earning Marriott points over awarding miles, this is entirely subjective to your situation.

When staying at Marriott properties you'll earn:

  • Earn 10 Marriott Rewards Points or up to 2 air miles per US Dollar spent on all qualifying charges at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club, and Delta Hotels and Resorts.
  • Earn 10 Marriott Rewards Points or up to 2 air miles per US Dollar spent on your room rate at EDITION, Gaylord Hotels, AC Hotels, Courtyard, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Protea Hotels, Moxy Hotels, and The Ritz-Carlton.
  • Earn 5 Marriott Rewards Points or up to 1 air miles per US Dollar spent on your room rate at Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites

What stays qualify to earn Marriott Rewards Points? – To be eligible for rewards points, at least one room must be reserved and registered in the member's name, and the member must pay for all rooms and stay in one of the rooms.

Earning Marriott Rewards points through Event Planning – Planning events at a Marriott Hotel can be very lucrative. You can earn up to 50,000 points (3 per US$1 spent) or 15,000 miles (1 per US$1 spent),  receive points for every room whether you or your guest pays and earn 10 Elite credits for 10+ guest rooms booked.

Marriot Rewards Shopping Portal – You can shop Marriott partners like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Apple, and even change your power provider in Marriott's shopping portal at Shopmyway.com. That is not to say it's the best value place to spend your money, but it is worth looking at the points earning rates on items you want to buy and calculate whether you get a better deal in or out of the portal. Marriott occasionally runs points promotions on purchases through the Shopmyway portal.

Earn Marriott Rewards Points with these partners – You can earn 500 Marriott points through Hertz rental cars, thousands of points through Cruises Only, up to 10,000 points + 2 points per dollar spent on utility bills with NRG Home and up to 30,000 points by switching to solar energy with NRG Home Solar. You can find all the partners on the Marriott Rewards website.

Earn Marriott points when you refer a friend – You can earn 2,000 bonus points every time your referral stays, up to 5 stays per referral, up to 50,000 points. Your referrals will also earn an additional 2,000 points per stay up to 10,000 points.

Promotions – Marriott Rewards runs regular promotions such as Marriott Rewards 2016 Summer Global Promotion And Sweepstake and Earn 5000 Airline Miles In Marriott’s Second Summer Promo. These promotions run year round, and we regularly cover them here on the blog.

Purchasing Marriott Rewards Points – You can purchase or receive as a gift a maximum 50,000 Marriott Rewards Points per calendar year. The purchases are through Points.com so you won't receive any travel related bonus for credit card spend. Purchase points in increments of 1,000 points at US$12.50/1,000 points.

Redeeming Marriott Rewards Points

With a massive global footprint and thousands of hotels, you can find top value redemptions across all levels of the Marriott award chart. Protea hotels offer fantastic high-value redemptions for budget travelers, while luxury brands like The Ritz-Carlton and EDITION® offer some of the most luxurious award stays in the world.

The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya in Israel
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya in Israel

You can arguably find the best value for Marriott Rewards Points in the Marriott Hotel & Air Packages, 7-night packages that also receive air miles in a variety of programs at up to a 1:1 ratio!

How many points does a Marriott Free Night Award cost?

With Marriott points being interchangeable with Ritz-Carlton Rewards we'll include both charts below. The Marriott award chart is broken up into 9 categories and the Ritz-Carlton chart into 5 tiers. The PointSaver redemptions refer to a rotating set of Marriott properties that are available at a discount.

Marriott Rewards® Award Chart

Hotel CategoryStandard AwardPointSavers Award
17,5006,000
210,0007,500
315,00010,000
420,00015,000
525,00020,000
630,00025,000
735,00030,000
840,00035,000
945,00040,000

Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Award Chart

Hotel TierStandard AwardPointSavers Award
130,00020,000
240,00030,000
350,00040,000
460,00050,000
570,00060,000

Remember when you are calculating the cost of an award stay with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton that you will receive the fifth night free. If you want to see how significantly this can affect the cost of your stay, see this post on luxurious Marriott redemptions, we have included comparisons on every example.

Maximizing the value of Marriott Rewards with Marriott Hotel + Air Packages – Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages enable you to redeem a set amount of rewards points for a seven-night stay at any Marriott or Ritz-Carlton property, plus receive as much as 132,000 air miles across 41 different airline currencies to book flights. The number of miles differs between packages and carriers. We have an extensive post that covers all the details on Marriott's Hotel + Air packages.

Can I save with Marriott Points + Cash Awards? – Don't have all the points required for a targeted award? Marriott recently rolled out Points + Cash redemption options for rewards members which give you the option of paying a portion of your award in cash.

Marriott Rewards® Cash + Points Guide

Marriott Rewards Cash + Points Award Chart

CategoryPoints Per NightCash+Points Per NightCost Per Point (Cents)
17,500$45 + 3,0001.000
210,000$50 + 5,0001.000
315,000$55 + 8,0000.785
420,000$60 + 11,0000.666
525,000$65 + 14,0000.591
630,000$75 + 17,5000.600
735,000$90 + 21,0000.642
840,000$145 + 24,5000.935
945,000$220 + 28,0001.294

One of the big advantages of using Cash + Points is that all nights count as Elite credits. If it is status you are going for, Cash + Points may be the cheapest path to take.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Cash + Points Award Guide

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Cash + Points Award Chart

TierPoints Per NightCash+Points Per NightCost Per Point (Cents)
130,000$115 + 15,0000.767
240,000$145 + 20,5000.744
350,000$170 + 26,0000.708
460,000$260 + 32,0000.929
570,000$335 + 38,0001.047

The disadvantage to Cash + Points is that you will not receive the fifth night free for award redemptions.

How much does an upgrade cost with Marriott Rewards? – Upgrades can be paid for with cash or points, and availability varies by hotel. When paying with points, upgrades cost 5,000 points, as per the Marriott Rewards website.

Upgrade rewards are available for 5,000 points each. Most rooms require only one upgrade reward per night. However, some hotels require two or more upgrade rewards per night, depending on the view or room type. Availability varies by hotel.

Some upgrades require payment in local currency and cannot be purchased with Marriott Rewards Points. So be sure to check the room description when you book online.

Example redemptions – We recently wrote two posts showing the value you can leverage from Marriott Rewards Points. Whether you are looking for High-Value Marriott Reward Redemptions For The Budget Traveler or Luxurious Redemptions with Marriott Rewards, you will find examples showing exceptional value.

Marriott also lets you book award stays without having all the points in your account, “As long as you earn or purchase the needed points at least 14 days prior to check-in, you're good to go.”

Marriott Experiences Marketplace – Marriott recently unveiled its new Experiences Marketplace for Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton members. The marketplace lets loyalty members redeem rewards points for specially curated events and experiences. While it is still relatively new, the first reports we have heard so far have been positive and with new experiences being added all the time, it's worth heading over to the site on a regular basis to check for new events.

Marriott Experiences Marketplace

What is the cancellation policy for Marriott Award Stays? – Unfortunately, there is no universal answer. While most award stays can be canceled up to 24 hours before the reservation and rewards points credited back to your account, you will need to check the individual cancellation policy for each room rate by selecting “About this rate” on the rate list online.

How To Book Marriott Awards

Booking award stays with Marriott is easy. Simply head to the Marriott website and search for your desired dates and destination, click the ‘Use Points‘ button, and click through using the ‘Find‘ button.

Booking Marriott Free Night Awards
Marriott Rewards Free Night Awards can be booked through the Marriott website

You can search specific dates or for the lowest rate in a calendar month.

Booking Marriott Free Night Awards Flex

Transferring Marriott Rewards Points To Another Account

You can transfer up to 50,000 Marriott points per year to any Marriott account in good standing. Transfers cost $10 and can be sent in 1,000 point increments; the transfer fees are waived for Gold and Platinum Elite members.

Marriott also allows you to transfer more than 50,000 points once a year on the condition that the points are for immediate redemption.

Marriott Rewards Price Guarantees

Marriott has the Look No Further® Best Rate Guarantee to guarantee you get the lowest price for your room although you only receive it when you book directly with Marriott.

Book a Marriott room using any Marriott reservation channel (Marriott.com, Marriott Hotel Telephone Reservations, or directly at a hotel)

If within 24 hours of making your reservation, you find a lower hotel rate for the same hotel, room type and reservation dates, and submit a qualified guarantee form, we’ll match the rate + give you an extra 25% discount on the room.

Review the fine print on Marriott Best Rate Guarantees.

Do Marriott Rewards Points Expire?

Unfortunately, they do. As  2016, Marriott introduced a new policy that will remove accumulated points if you have no qualifying activity in the prior 2 years. Gifting, transferring, receiving points as a gift/transfer, or earning points through social media programs do not count towards maintaining an active account status.

Program Sweetspots and Final Thoughts

Marriott has some fantastic redemption options but the biggest sweet spot, in our opinion, has to be the Marriott Hotel + Air Packages. The ability to transfer Marriott Rewards Points into your chosen airline currency at a 1:1 ratio is an exceptional value, effectively doubling the value of your Marriott points.

Like we stressed earlier, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card is the fastest way to establish a significant balance of Marriott Rewards points in a short space of time. The card currently has a signup bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, taking you almost halfway to a Hotel + Air package at a category 5 Marriott property.

With the Marriott/Starwood merger having recently cleared its last regulatory hurdles, the Marriott program is set to undergo significant changes in the coming years. We will aim to update this post with details of any changes as they come to light.

Everything About The Marriott Rewards Program
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