You are currently viewing Introduction: How Marriott Bonvoy points work

Marriott Bonvoy points are the currency of the best hotel rewards program for Canadian travelers, Marriott Bonvoy. It’s the rewards program with the most members in the world, and Marriott is the world’s largest hotel chain. ALL travelers should be interested in it, and therefore be interested in how it works.

It’s really easy to get tens of thousands of Marriott Bonvoy points with the great deal currently offered. It’s usually offered just once a year and ends on Monday, May 6, 2024, at the end of the day.

It’s the increased welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (and the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card for those who already have the other one — no, you don’t need to have an incorporated business at all). 

So here’s an introduction to how Marriott Bonvoy points work — while we wait for our ultimate guide and free webinar!

 

Basics of Marriott points

Here’s the short version: the best redemption option for Marriott Bonvoy points is for free nights in Marriott hotels

The best! Marriott points are by far the best hotel points for Canadian travelers. They can give you incredibly high value or an incredibly high number of free nights!

The number of points required varies depending on the hotel, the date of stay, and the date of booking. The value of the points varies depending on the amount of points required and the cash price for that hotel.

You can use your Marriott points:

  • For any hotel
    • If you want to maximize your flexibility
  • For the right hotels
    • If you want to maximize your points
Stay for 5, Pay for 4! One of the best benefits of Marriott points is the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” benefit! Every time you use points for 5 consecutive nights in the same hotel, you'll pay just 4. That gives you 25% more free nights!

I’ll explain this in a little more detail.

 

Basics of the 2 types of rewards that exist

It’s very important to understand the basics of the redemption side of rewards and that’s what seems to be the most complicated for so many travelers.

There are dozens and dozens of reward redemption options, but for each of these options, the way it works is always 1 of only 2 ways that exist.

The 2 types are very different from one another:

  • More simple
  • More lucrative
Always! Everything in life is either more simple or more lucrative. Always! It's particularly true for everything travel-related!

 

More simple type

Rewards redemption options of the more simple type are obviously less lucrative

It’s more simple because the value of the rewards remains the same (or very similar) no matter what trip you choose. 

It’s less lucrative because it can never be worth more; the number of points required is tied to the cash price of the trip.

 

More lucrative type

Rewards redemption options of the more lucrative type are obviously less simple

It’s less simple because the value of rewards varies a lot depending on the trip you choose. 

It’s more lucrative because it can be worth a lot more; the number of points required is NOT tied to the cash price of the trip.

 

Example for each type

More simple type: You get 77,500 Scene+ points with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card’s welcome bonus. It’s more simple: it’s worth $775 no matter which trip you choose. It’s less lucrative: it’s never going to be worth more than $775 because the number of points required is tied to the cash price of the trip.

More lucrative type: You get 71,000 Marriott points with the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card‘s welcome bonus. It’s less simple: it could be worth $639 or $3000 depending on the trip you choose. It’s more lucrative: it can be worth literally $3000 instead of $639 because the number of points required is not tied to the cash price of the trip!!!!!!

Marriott Bonvoy points! The best redemption option for Marriott Bonvoy points is for free nights in hotels... and like all the best points redemptions, this option is of the more lucrative type! But it's still not that complicated!

 

Basics of Marriott Bonvoy points

So it’s an extremely easy concept to understand now that you know: some Marriott point redemptions are good, some are excellent, some are exceptional, some are phenomenal… and some are not good! 

IT DEPENDS! It varies.

It’s less simple: the value of points varies by hotel and by date. Our conservative Flytrippers Valuation of the points is ≈ 0.9¢/pt.

It’s more lucrative: points can be worth so much more than 0.9¢/pt. The amount of points required is not tied to the cash price of the hotel.

If you want to maximize the value of your Marriott points, just calculate the value. If you don’t want to maximize, worst-case scenario, you can still use your Marriott points for any Marriott hotel.

 

How Marriott points work

Here are the different redemption options for Marriott points:

  • Free rooms in Marriott hotels (BEST)
    • 30+ different hotel brands
    • 8000+ hotels almost everywhere in the world
    • Niche hotels from mid-range to very high-end
    • No hotels in the low-end range
  • 6 other options (RARELY RECOMMENDED)
    • Rooms with partial payment (points and cash)
    • Rooms in private accommodation (Homes and Villas)
    • Experiences (concerts, sports, celebrities, etc.)
    • Transfers to airline programs
    • Flights and cruises
    • Merchandise, gift cards, and more
Best option! For virtually all travelers, Marriott points will give you the most value by using them for free rooms.

Here’s the list of the 30+ Marriott hotel brands.

Marriott hotel brands (image credit: Marriott)

 

Here are the basics on how it works for the best redemption option for Marriott points.

Marriott points can be used:

  • For free nights in Marriott hotel rooms
    • Points also cover taxes*
  • For all standard rooms available in cash
    • No restrictions in terms of availability*
  • For many premium rooms (upgrades, suites, villas, etc.)
    • But not all, unlike standard rooms
  • For as many nights as you want
    • But the ideal is to get 5 when you can
    • You’ll pay for just 4 (automatic discount)
  • With no time limit at all
    • You can easily extend the expiration date indefinitely
  • With no risk at all as all bookings are refundable for free
    • Up to a certain deadline
    • Like up to 2 days before check-in (it varies)
  • In combination with your travel companions’ points
    • Pool them in just a few clicks online
  • On the Marriott website or app
    • Marriott points = Marriott platforms

So far, it’s pretty simple. If one of the Marriott hotels has a standard room (the basic room) available for cash, you can use your Marriott points to get it.

However, I hope you understand that this does not necessarily mean it’s a good use of points! Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

*There are very rare exceptions. In a few rare countries, there are taxes, but they’re just a few dollars per night, not like for flights. And some very rare hotels will sometimes not show availability on some dates, but it’s really extremely rare.

 

How pricing works with Marriott points

For practical purposes, just tell yourself that the amount of points required for a free night in a hotel is fairly random. The value of points varies according to a multitude of factors.

Just do a search to see the price in points. It literally takes 30 seconds.

You can read some tips:

The price in points is not necessarily tied to the price in cash, as mentioned. But of course, the general rule is that the more luxurious the hotel, and the more expensive the destination… the more the hotel will cost, both in cash and in points. 

It’s just not a perfect correlation. And sometimes, some hotels are just a much better deal in points than they are in cash (or vice versa). Once again: it varies.

With most rewards programs that offer redemption options of the more lucrative type, there are fixed-price charts that guarantee the price of flights or hotels. With Marriott, it’s not quite like that. At least, the categories are not public. 

So get in the habit of just doing some searches, it’s very easy.

 

How to calculate the value of Marriott points

The value of Marriott points depends on many factors. So if you want to know how much value any hotel gives you, you have to do the extremely simple math.

The value is how much cash you save per point you use (¢/pt). So to do the math, it’s the same easy formula as for any reward: 

  • ¢: How many ¢ you save
  • /: Divided by
  • pt: Amount of points used

You can read more about this, it’s really part of the basics you need to know:

1 of the 6 most important things! Knowing how to do the math correctly is literally among the 6 most important things in the whole wonderful world of travel rewards. Check out our essential infographic for the other 5 — and the 6 simple steps to always follow.

 

How to correctly use and maximize Marriott points

There are always 3 ways to maximize any rewards currency:

  • Maximize the flexibility of the trips you get
  • Maximize the value of the trips you get
  • Maximize the quantityof the trips you get

 

Maximize the flexibility of the trips you get

Flexibility! Use your Marriott points for any of the 8000+ Marriott hotels without even looking at the price in cash.

If you want your points to give you maximum flexibility, to make it as simple as possible

It’ll give you about ≈ 0.9¢/pt. It can give you more. But it can give you less too. When there’s no maximum value, there’s obviously no minimum value either. Anyway, most of the time, it’ll give you close to our Flytrippers Valuation.

The hotels to maximize the flexibility of the trips you get are located literally everywhere. If you prefer more simple rather than more lucrative, you’re spoilt for choice.

If that’s what you prefer, go to the Marriott website and book any hotel.

But to be clear, we never recommend doing that, because Flytrippers’ mission is to help you travel for less. We’ll have more concrete examples of how to maximize your points in the other 2 ways soon.

But what is urgent is taking advantage of the deal on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card before Monday night.

 

Maximize the value of the trips you get

Value! Use your Marriott points in the right hotels that cost a low number of points compared with the cash price.

If you want your points to give you maximum value, to save the biggest amount possible, or to get a hotel worth the highest amount possible.

It’ll give you from 0.9¢/pt to 4.9¢/pt or even more, it’s unlimited! But that’s obviously for very specific hotels on very specific dates. Plan a trip around them.

The hotels to maximize the value of your travels are often those that cost more in cash (but not always). Hotels that are expensive either because it’s a popular destination, because it’s an expensive destination, because the dates are popular, or because it’s a very luxurious hotel.

Indeed, extremely luxurious hotels will often give you incredible value. This is the same principle that applies to airline points, which are worth infinitely more for flights in business class and first class: luxury costs a lot more in cash, but doesn’t cost that much more in points.

Many people love luxury, especially when it’s free. It’s also a great feeling to get something that’s worth a lot of money completely free, like a night in the Maldives that costs $3000 with just 1 welcome bonus.

If that’s what you prefer, don’t miss our list of the best hotels where to maximize value soon —  so far we’ve mostly focused on the last way to maximize. 

But what is urgent is taking advantage of the deal on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card before Monday night.

 

Maximize the amount of the trips you get

Quantity! Use your Marriott points in the right hotels that cost a very low amount of points.

If you want your points to give you maximum travel, to travel more, or to get as many free nights as possible.

It’ll often give you ≈ 0.9¢/pt or sometimes more, but more nights most importantly — some hotels cost as little as 5000 points per night! But this is obviously for very specific hotels. Plan a trip around them.

The hotels to maximize the quantity of trips you get, there are still dozens and dozens in many regions. Many are located in destinations that are great and interesting.

It’s easy to plan trips around these hotels because we’ll help you list all your options. And there’s fortunately fairly little price variation based on the dates, so once you’ve spotted a hotel, it’s pretty flexible on dates.

If you want to travel more, simply make choices accordingly. I think many would rather have 14 free nights in Bali than just 1 night in the Maldives, even if you get more value in the Maldives given that the night in question costs $3000. Because you probably wouldn’t have really paid $3000 for that (I hope).

We’ve already listed some of the best hotels that cost few points.

 

We’ll have more content around these specific hotels soon.

But what is urgent is taking advantage of the deal on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card before Monday night.

 

Learning how to travel for less

Join over 100,000 savvy Canadian travelers who already receive Flytrippers’ free newsletter so we can help you travel for less — including thanks to the wonderful world of travel rewards!

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Summary

Marriott Bonvoy points are the best for Canadian travelers who want to get free hotels. These are points that can give you extremely high value but are also very flexible. Take advantage of the deal ALL travelers should get on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card before the end of the day Monday!

 

What would you like to know about how Marriott Bonvoy points work? Tell us in the comments below.

 

See the flight deals we spot: Cheap flights

Discover free travel with rewards: Travel rewards

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

 

Featured image: Santorini, Greece (photo credit: Unsplash+)

 

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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