If you’re new to award travel, you may be wondering how to use points and miles to stay at hotels for free. It’s a valid thought, and the reason you may have looked into the best travel credit cards in the first place.
But when it comes to each credit card and hotel loyalty program, the points you can earn will typically hold different values. Here, we’ll go over the basics of the Marriott Bonvoy program, what Marriott Bonvoy points are worth, and how you can earn the most Marriott rewards.
What is Marriott Bonvoy?
Marriott Bonvoy is the name of the hotel loyalty program for Marriott. It was established in 2019 when three different loyalty programs — Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards — merged together under one name.
Through this program, you can earn rewards from your stays and purchases at Marriott hotels around the world. You can then redeem those points toward future stays at not only Marriott hotels, but also hotel brands like Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Four Points, Sheraton, JW Marriott, Residence Inn, and Westin.
With our comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to the Marriott Bonvoy Program, you can learn more about the different elite status levels and member benefits associated with the program.
How to value points and miles
Before we talk about how much Marriott points are worth, let’s look at how you value points and miles in general. It just takes a bit of information and some simple math.
To calculate your redemption value on a hotel stay, you’ll need to:
- Start with the cash price of the hotel room
- Multiply the cash price by 100 to get the price in cents
- Divide that number by the points value of the same hotel room
For example, we can take a look at one night at the Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection (a Marriott property).
The cash price for a one-night stay is $969, so we multiply that by 100 to get the cash price in cents. We end up with 96,900 cents.
Now, we find the number of points needed for the same one-night stay, which is 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. We take the 96,900 number and divide it by 35,000. We end up with a value of about 2.77 cents per point on this stay.
You can use this same formula to calculate the value of award nights for stays at any hotel chain worldwide. Or you can also use it to calculate the value of award flights on any number of airlines. By doing this calculation, you can start to learn when booking award travel is more lucrative than other redemption options.
How much are Marriott points worth?
As a general rule of thumb, hotel points can vary in redemption values. How many points equal a hotel stay for one loyalty program won’t necessarily be the same for another. With Marriott points, the value will vary depending on the hotel stay you’re looking to book.
Each Marriott property is assigned to a specific hotel category. These categories are titled by number and range between Categories 1 to 8. A Category 1 hotel is considered the lowest category and a Category 8 hotel is considered the highest. As you move up the categories, the number of points you need to book an award night increases. The same goes for the cash price of the rooms.
Let’s take a look at Marriott’s points redemption chart. Here you can find how many points you need to book an award night at each type of hotel category, from 1 to 8. It also shows a range of pricing within each category, from less busy times (off peak) to the busiest times (peak).
As you can see, the number of points you need for award nights will change by a fair amount as you progress up the category levels. It’s also important to take the timing of your award nights into consideration. If you want to stay somewhere during a busier time of the year (holidays, summer, etc.), you’ll likely pay peak pricing levels. Otherwise, you should be able to get standard or off-peak prices.
So how much are Marriot points worth? Well, if we take the previous example of the Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, we can see from the fact that it costs 35,000 points for a standard award night that it’s a Category 5 hotel. And we already determined that our Marriott points were worth 2.77 cents if we booked that particular hotel stay.
So let’s take a look at another Category 5 hotel in Chicago and see how two different Marriott hotel bookings compare. We’ll compare the AC Hotel Chicago Downtown.
For the same date, you get the standard Category 5 award night rate of 35,000 points. However, the standard cash rate for the room is $283, which is much lower than the cash price at the Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection. If we do our calculations ($283 x 100 = 28,300 cents and then 28,300 cents / 35,000 Marriott points = 0.808571428), we end up with a redemption value of about .81 cents per point.
The difference between the two redemption values is huge — 2.77 cents per point vs. 0.81 cents per point — and yet the award night pricing is exactly the same at 35,000 Marriott points. In many cases, it could pay huge dividends to look around at different options before booking an award night at a Marriott property. As this example shows, you might end up getting a lot more value from the booking without using any extra points.
If you start looking at the redemption value for most Marriott hotels, you’ll notice that around .8 to 1.0 cents per point is a common valuation. This is a higher value than many other hotel points, including IHG, Hilton Honors, Choice Privileges, and Best Western Rewards.
How transfer partners can change the value of your Marriott points
In addition to redeeming Marriott points for award nights, you can also transfer them to other rewards programs.
Here are Marriott’s airline transfer partners:
- Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Aeroflot Bonus
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- Air New Zealand Airpoints
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
- Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
- Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards Miles
- Etihad Airways Guest Miles
- FRONTIER Miles
- Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus
- Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass
- Multiplus Fidelidade
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Saudia Alfursan
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Vueling Club
You can transfer your Marriott points to airline miles with most of these programs at a 3:1 ratio. So if you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account, you would receive 20,000 Rapid Rewards points.
In most cases, transferring your Marriott points to an airline partner won’t give you a very good value for your points. You’re transferring at a 3:1 ratio and many of the airline partners don’t offer good value in the first place.
You also have to consider that many of these airline partners aren’t unique partners to Marriott. For instance, you could transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Amex Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines instead of using Marriott points. Both Chase and Amex points transfer to Singapore at a 1:1 ratio, so you aren’t losing value from the transfer itself.
However, if you can find a good deal, it could be well worth it to transfer your hotel points. Certain airline partners could provide a lot of value if you look around. With Cathay Pacific, you could book a one-way economy flight to Asia from the U.S. for just 30,000 Asia Miles. You could do the same with Alaska Airlines (routing via Cathay Pacific) for 30,000 Mileage Plan miles. At a 3:1 ratio, you would need 90,000 Marriott points for that transfer.
Overall, it’s up to you on how to determine the best value for your points. If you aren’t using your Marriott points anyway, it’s a much better value to transfer them to an airline instead of letting them sit. If you regularly stay at Marriott hotels, it might make more sense to hold onto them and redeem them toward hotel award nights.
How to get the most value from your Marriott points
There’s no set path on how you should redeem your Marriott points, but there are a few popular strategies for getting the most value out of them.
You can use these quick tips to achieve high-value Marriott points redemptions:
- Use the fifth-night-free benefit. If you redeem points for five consecutive award nights at the same hotel, you’ll receive the fifth night for free. This perk is automatic and works at all Marriott properties. If you were planning a long stay anyway, that’s the equivalent of 20% off for those five nights.
- Book with PointSavers. You can save up to 20% points off your award stay when you book with PointSavers. Simply search for hotels through the PointSavers page and see which ones are discounted for the nights you’re interested in.
- Stretch your points with Category 1 hotels. If you book Category 1 hotels, you can book a lot more nights compared to the higher categories. To compare, 100,000 Marriott points could get you 10 nights at a Category 1 hotel in peak season. Or you could get one night at a Category 8 hotel.
- Book off-peak. Marriott hotels feature dynamic pricing, which means award night prices will fluctuate depending on demand. From highest to lowest pricing, the award chart categories are peak, standard, and off-peak. If you want your points to go further, try booking award nights on days that are designated as off-peak times. This can easily save you thousands of points for each booking.
Transfer to airline partners. Marriott Bonvoy members can transfer their points to dozens of airline partners at a 3:1 ratio, but this would make sense only in certain situations. An example might be flying business class one-way from Los Angeles, California, to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.
For a flight that could easily cost upward of four thousand dollars, you could transfer 210,000 Marriott points to Cathay Pacific so you have the 70,000 Asia Miles required to book the flight. That gives you a redemption value of about 1.9 cents per Marriott point for this particular flight ($3,952.10 x 100 = 395,210 cents and then 395,210 cents / 210,000 Marriott points = 1.881952380). This 1.9 cent per point value is much more than the base .8 cents Marriott points are usually worth.
How to earn Marriott rewards
You can earn Marriott rewards, which you’ll be able to redeem for free meals or free nights, by using a Marriott co-branded credit card or travel rewards card for your everyday shopping. Co-branded Marriott cards earn you Marriott rewards directly, whereas general travel rewards cards from other credit card issuers earn you points and miles that you can transfer to Marriott. Choose the card you’re likely to use the most to maximize your earnings and match your travel style.
Co-branded Marriott credit cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
The best rewards cards with transferable points:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- American Express® Gold Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
To help you understand better how these work, we picked out three of our favorite credit card offers from this list to talk about in more detail.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card has a $0 annual fee and offers generous rewards for travel purchases. You get up to 14X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 2X points on other travel purchases; and 1X points on all other purchases. This card also automatically qualifies you for automatic Silver Elite Status, which means you’ll earn 10% more points on your stays and get priority late checkout and free Wi-Fi. You may also qualify for exclusive member rates.
You can get a head start on racking up points with the welcome offer for this hotel credit card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Because you’ll get the most value out of your purchases at Marriott hotels, this card is best for someone who stays with Marriott frequently.
Check out our Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card Review and get more details.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a premium travel rewards card with a $95 annual fee. It can earn you 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and eligible online grocery purchases; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.
You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Rewards at 1:1 value, or use them to purchase travel directly through the Chase travel portal, which gives your points 25% more value. This card offers a $50 annual credit for hotel bookings purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
New cardholders can also earn an attractive sign-up bonus. If you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, you can earn 60,000 points, which is worth $750 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase portal. This rewards credit card is an awesome choice for people who want flexibility with earning and redemption.
Learn more with our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review.
American Express® Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card is a premium travel rewards card with a $250 annual fee and generous rewards. You can earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. You can also earn up to $10 back per month when you dine at certain restaurants or order delivery from Grubhub, so this card is perfect for folks who dine out and order delivery frequently. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
There’s also an impressive welcome bonus: You can get 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 6 months. And when you transfer those cards to Marriott Bonvoy, one Amex Membership Rewards point equals one Marriott point.
Get more details at American Express Gold Card Review.
FAQs about Marriott Bonvoy points
How many points do you need for a free night at Marriott?
You need a minimum of 5,000 points to book an award night at a Marriott property. This would be only for Category 1 hotels in off-peak pricing. Category 1 hotels are the lowest level Marriott properties you can book, and off-peak pricing is the least expensive option. Marriott hotel categories range from 1 to 8 and award night pricing includes three rates: off-peak, standard, and peak. For comparison, a Category 8 hotel during peak pricing times could cost 100,000 Marriott points.
If you open a Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and meet the minimum spend requirements, your introductory Marriott Bonvoy bonus points could have you well on your way to free nights at many Marriott properties, off-peak or on.
How much is 25,000 Marriott points worth?
The value of your points will depend on the specific redemption you use them for. But if you calculate Marriott points to be worth .8 cents per point (based on the average redemption), 25,000 points would be worth $200. However, you could potentially get more value out of 25,000 points when booking award nights that have high cash values.
How do I book a free night at Marriott?
To book an award night at a Marriott property, you’ll need Marriott points. You can earn points by using certain credit cards or transferring points from specific Chase credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and American Express credit cards, such as the American Express Gold Card.
Once you have Marriott points, you can book award nights through your online account on the Marriott website or the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app. Choose the Use Points option when you search for hotels so you can book with your points.
Do Marriott points expire?
Marriott points will expire if your Marriott Bonvoy account has no qualifying activity for 24 consecutive months. Qualifying activities may include:
- Completed paid or redemption hotel stays
- Purchasing points
- Redeeming points
- Converting points to miles or miles to points
Qualifying activities do not include:
- Gifting or transferring points to another member
- Receiving points as a gift or transfer
- Earning points through social media programs
What are the Marriott Bonvoy program tiers?
The Marriott Bonvoy program offers six membership tiers:
- Silver Elite
- Gold Elite
- Platinum Elite
- Titanium Elite
- Ambassador Elite
Each membership tier offers benefits for loyal Marriott guests, though you can expect more luxurious perks and benefits with higher membership tiers. For instance, with Silver Elite status, you get 10% more points on hotel stays; but with Titanium Elite status, you get 75% more points on hotel stays.
How do I contact Marriott customer service?
You can use the form on the Marriott contact page, call the customer service line at 800-535-4028, or send a message to one of Marriott’s social media channels.
Marriott hotel rewards can be extremely valuable when used wisely — and it should be no surprise that the best value for these points is typically for award nights at Marriott properties. Marriott offers more than 7,000 properties to choose from in countries all over the world, so it’s easy to find somewhere exciting to stay — and you might even be able to stay at hotels for free, depending on how many points you're able to earn.
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt to have the option of transferring your Marriott points to plenty of airline partners. You can get great value with some of the available transfer options, but it might take a little digging on your part to find those deals.
A Great Card for Travel Rewards Beginners
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Earn 3 Free Night Awards (up to a 150,000 Total Point Value) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening (each night valued up to 50,000 points)
up to 17X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 3X points at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year; and 2X points on all other purchases