Marriott Hotel Rewards Overview

Michelle Radcliff
Marriott Hotel

The Marriott Rewards program offers numerous incentives that benefit both business and leisure travelers, with opportunities to earn points at properties that accommodate a wide range of lifestyles and travel budgets. Marriott has properties throughout the U.S. and in 70 other countries.

Marriott Rewards Program Overview

How to Join

Sign up with Marriott Rewards for free by filling out a simple online form providing your name, address and contact information. By submitting this information, you are agreeing to Marriott's terms of use, privacy statement and data protection clause. Be sure to click on the highlighted links in blue to review this information before submitting your form.

Member Perks

A primary benefit of joining is the opportunity to earn and redeem points that can be redeemed for free stays, but there are also additional benefits. Examples include:

  • Free Wi-Fi: Business travelers and social media mavens will appreciate free Wi-Fi during each stay.
  • Mobile check-in: Enjoy quick and easy check-in from your smartphone. Simply download the Marriott app for Android or iOS, sign in with your rewards account and select your arrival time. You'll receive an alert when your room is ready and sometimes receive extra points or an opportunity to win prizes.
  • No blackout dates: Unlike some hotel rewards programs, there are no dates that are blocked from points redemption. Travel when and where you want with the points you earn.
  • eFolio: You'll receive an emailed cop of your hotel bill after each stay, so you don't have to keep track of extra paperwork on your return home.

Each stay accumulates points that lead to higher, elite status memberships with access to even more perks and rewards.

Elite Status

Elite status comes with additional benefits such as weekend discounts, guaranteed lounge access with a complimentary breakfast and complimentary room upgrades.

There are three elite levels (based on calendar year overnight stays):

  • Silver - Stay 10 nights or more
  • Gold - Stay 50 nights or more
  • Platinum - Stay 75 nights or more

For frequent travelers, elite status bonuses can add up to hundreds and even thousands of dollars in perks and benefits at the higher two levels.

How to Earn Points

There are multiple options for earning points with Marriott Rewards. For the fine print on earning points, refer to the terms and conditions.

Hotel Stays

With over a dozen hotel brands scattered throughout 70 countries, it's not hard to find a Marriott property and start adding your points balance right away. Marriott offers a variety of property types including luxury, moderate, extended stay and boutique hotels.

10 Points Per Night

Earn ten points for every dollar spent on room rates at the following 14 properties:

  • JW Marriott (also earn points on other qualifying purchase, such as room service and in-room movies)
  • Renaissance Hotels (also earn points on other qualifying purchases)
  • Marriott Hotels (also earn points on other qualifying purchases)
  • Marriott Vacation Club (except for Atlantis and Paradise Island, also earn points on other qualifying purchases)
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • Delta Hotels and Resorts (participating locations only)
  • Edition Hotels
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Courtyard Marriott
  • Fairfield Inns and Suites
  • Springhill Suites
  • AC Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Moxy Hotels

5 Points Per Night

Earn five points for every dollar spent on room rates at two properties:

  • Residence Inn
  • Towne Place Suites

Meetings, Events and Groups

Holding a meeting or event for a large group of people is one of the fastest ways to rack up Marriott Rewards points. Get points for each room night, even if your guests are covering the cost of their own rooms.

  • Earn three 3 points per dollar spent, up to a maximum of 50,000 points.
  • Book ten or more guest rooms for at least one night and get ten elite nights
  • Earn instant Silver elite status

Don't worry if a colleague or business partner helped you put the event together - the reward points can be split in half and shared as long as he or she is a Rewards member too.

Referrals

Each calendar year, you can refer up to five new members. Every time one of your referred members stays at a Marriott property, you'll get 2,000 bonus points, up to five stays per referral. If all five of your referrals each stay up to five times, you can earn up to 50,000 points.

Rewards Partners

Dozens of merchants have teamed up with Marriott Rewards so that you can earn points on every dollar spent on a wide variety of products, from flowers and gifts to computers and apparel. This is done by accessing the Shop My Way mall. Merchant coupons show the number of points you'll earn with each dollar spent.

A handful of other businesses can help turn your dollars spent into Marriott points, including Hertz, Cruises Only, NRG Home and Diners Club.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

With the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card, you'll earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Rack up more points with:

  • 5 points for every dollar spent at a Marriott property
  • 2 points for every dollar spent booking directly with an airline or car rental agency and at restaurants
  • 1 point for every dollar spent on purchases elsewhere

Watch for the MegaBonus promotion and register when the dates become available. You can earn a free night after just two stays and find more bonus points offered when signing in to your account.

Redeeming Marriott Points for Rewards

The best part about Marriott points is turning them into rewards. While there are many ways to earn points, there are even more ways to use them. In an effort to entice travelers away from popular hotel alternative services such as Airbnb, Marriott is enhancing its Rewards program to offer increased flexibility for points redemption.

Free Hotel Stays

Marriott properties are grouped into categories depending on the location of the hotel, the brand and the type. The number of points needed for one night depends on which category the hotel has been assigned to. Each hotel's website has the category number listed on the 'Our Hotel' page, near the amenities and map location information.

Hotel Category Points Reward for 1 Night Stay
1 7,500
2 10,000
3 15,000
4 20,000
5 25,000
6 30,000
7 35,000
8 40,000
9 45,000

You can use your points when booking rooms online by entering your Marriott Rewards number and checking the box marked 'use Marriott Rewards points.'

  • If you don't have enough points to cover the entire cost of the stay, you can combine cash and points to book your reservation.
  • Check the promotions offered at Marriott Rewards under PointSavers and save 33% on the number of reward points needed to book your stay.

Instant Redemption

Points can be used during your hotel stay to offset charges made to your room including:

  • Cocktails
  • Meals
  • Spa services
  • Room upgrade

Request the use of your reward points anytime between check-in and checkout.

Luxury Partners

Treat yourself to something special by using Marriott Rewards points for a complimentary stay at an upscale Ritz-Carlton property. Ritz-Carlton hotels fall under a tier chart of 1 to 5, depending on the type of property and location.

Hotel Tier Points Reward for 1 Night Stay
1 30,000
2 40,000
3 50,000
4 60,000
5 70,000

Redeem Points for Travel

Search for flights or car rentals at Marriott Rewards to use your points to offset the cost of travel expenses. You can also convert your points into miles if you're a member of United's Mileage Plus program. It's important to note that it takes approximately six weeks to add the miles to your frequent flyer account. For faster service, you can contact Marriott Rewards Customer service to ask about express service, which may require a fee.

Weeklong vacation packages are available by combining hotel rewards with airline miles or you can use your points for a discount on a cruise.

Gifts and Goodies

Shopaholics may enjoy redeeming Marriott Rewards points for merchandise or gift cards at Populr Rewards. Here you can swap points for:

  • Electronics
  • Home and Garden goods
  • Apparel and fashion accessories
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Sporting goods

Use points to purchase gift cards from companies like Best Buy, Bath and Body Works, Lowes, Foot Locker and Pier 1 Imports. Points converted into a Marriott gift card can be used for dining, golf or spa experiences.

Praise for Marriott Rewards

Consistent Winner

In May of 2015, PR Newswire announced Marriott Rewards was voted the top hotel loyalty program for the eighth year in a row. The honor was bestowed by the prestigious Freddie Awards, which recognizes excellence in the airline and hotel industries offering travel reward programs. Earning the 2015 Hotel Program of the Year in the Americas, Marriott Rewards continues to be the leading global loyalty program with:

  • Points that can be earned and redeemed at 3,800 properties worldwide
  • Interchangeable points that can be used at luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton
  • Points that can be redeemed for frequent flyer miles, cruises, car rentals and merchandise

Other organizations naming Marriott as the best hotel rewards program include U.S. News & World Report, Barton Associates and Yahoo Travel.

Praise for Payback

According to the Wall Street Journal, Marriott's program is better than other leading global hotel rewards programs, offering the highest payback for every dollar spent on hotel stays when compared to:

  • Hilton HHonors
  • IHG Awards
  • Starwood SPG Awards

A survey conducted by IdeaWorks Company indicates that Marriott Rewards returns an average of 9.4% of room night spending. This is a 54% higher return than fourth place program, Starwood SPG Awards.

Marriott Rewards Limitations

No single hotel reward program can meet the needs of every traveler. Although Marriott Rewards continues to be recognized as an award-winning leader in hotel rewards, some industry experts are quick to point out where the program is lacking. Drawbacks include:

  • Most Marriott brands fall under multiple categories, meaning a Residence Inn in Phoenix may be a category three while a Residence Inn in Birmingham is a category one, making point redemption complicated.
  • Expert travel blogger, Gary Leff of View From the Wing compared several of the top hotel loyalty programs in terms of rewards versus dollar spent at the properties. While he found Marriott to have a good, solid redemption program, Leff indicated the elite membership takes the most nights to earn status but offers some of the least generous benefits.
  • According to US News and World Report, Marriott's top-level platinum elite status is harder to reach than the top levels at Starwood's or Hilton's reward programs. It takes a large number of points to earn just one free night at high category hotels and the Rewards points expire if there is no activity over a two-year period.
  • Travel consultant and avid points collector, Ben Schlappig of Travel Sort reports the 50 nights required to earn mid-level Gold status with Marriott Rewards would put you in the highest levels of other rewards programs.
  • Scott MacKenzie of Travel Codex also points out Gold status can only be earned through nights and not stays. (Stays consist of one check-in and checkout, but may contain multiple nights.)

Is Marriott Rewards Right for You?

Marriott's flexibility is hard-to-beat with a wide range of property types and solid coverage throughout the United States and in popular destinations throughout the world. However, the high number of nights needed for upper-level memberships combined with less than stellar rewards for elite members may be a deal breaker for some.

The program's overall member rating at Web Flyer, a site for frequent flyer miles/points enthusiasts, is around eight out of ten. Favorable features include MegaBonus, a recurring promotion for accelerated points earnings and discounted promotions like PointSavers or getting a fifth free night when redeeming four nights. The chief complaint from frequent Marriott guests noted at Web Flyer relates directly to the elite level program. Members feel it lags behind what other major hotel programs offer their loyal customers

Before joining any hotel rewards program, be sure it adheres to your traveling lifestyle and offers benefits best suited to your needs.

Marriott Hotel Rewards Overview