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Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards is the complimentary hotel loyalty program of the Marriott Hotel group. Members earn points and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at more than 4000 hotels & resorts, across Marriott’s 18 brands in more than 78 countries: The Ritz Carlton, BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott, Edition, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Moxy Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, Protea Hotels, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott, TownPlace Suites by Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments, Gaylord Hotels, and Marriott Vacation Club.

The Ritz CarltonBVLGARI Hotels & ResortsJW Marriott, and EDITION Hotels are Marriott’s luxury hotel brands.

In this overview, I explain the Marriott Rewards program:

  • Membership tiers
  • Earn Marriott Reward Points
  • Redeem awards & travel for free
  • Pros & things I like about Marriott Rewards
  • Cons & things I don’t like about Marriott Rewards
  • Reviews of Marriott luxury hotels around the world
  • Key points
  • Poll: what’s the best hotel loyalty program?


MARRIOT REWARDS EXPLAINED: MEMBERSHIP TIERS

Marriott Rewards is a top class awards structure offering a three-tier system of awards points. Silver is the first level, Gold the second, and Platinum is the top-level. Each level has benefits and as the member moves from Silver to Gold then Platinum, they become more valuable. For an overview of the Elite membership levels, click here.

  • Signing-up to the program is free and will enable you to start earning Marriott Reward Points (see below). In addition, free standard in-room WiFi is a benefit for all members who book directly on Marriott.com, Marriott’s mobile app, Marriott’s call center, or through a Marriott hotel.
  • Silver is reached after completing 10 eligible nights in a calendar year or by hosting a qualified event. You will enjoy the following benefits:
    • 20% bonus on Marriott Reward Points.
    • Late check-out (when requested and available).
    • 10% discount at Marriott gift shops.
    • 10% discount on regular rates for your Friday and Saturday night stays at participating Courtyard and SpringHill Suites locations.
    • Access to an elite reservation line to make reservations or request redemption stays and reward certificates.
    • Access to an exclusive guest services line to assist you with all of your membership needs.
    • Reservation guarantee: if for some reason the hotel is unable to honor your reservation, Marriott will pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience.
    • Access to exclusive elite offers.
  • Gold is reached after completing 50 eligible nights in a calendar year. As a Gold member, you will enjoy the following benefits:
    • 25% bonus on Marriott Reward Points.
    • Late check-out (when requested and available).
    • 10% discount at Marriott Gift Shops.
    • 10% discount on regular rates for your Friday and Saturday night stays at participating Courtyard and SpringHill Suites locations.
    • Access to an elite reservation line to make reservations or request redemption stays and reward certificates.
    • Access to an exclusive guest services line to assist you with all of your membership needs.
    • Reservation guarantee: if for some reason the hotel is unable to honor your reservation, Marriott will pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience.
    • Access to exclusive elite offers.
    • Complimentary premium internet.
    • Room upgrade (based on availability at check-in).
    • Within USA & Canada:  guaranteed room & bed type.
    • Free daily continental breakfast, light snacks and beverages for members and one guest.
    • Free local phone and fax.
    • Discounted long distance phone calls.
    • Complimentary 1-year gold membership with Hertz.
  • Platinum is reached after completing 75 eligible nights. As a Platinum member, you will enjoy the following benefits:
    • 50% bonus on Marriott Reward Points.
    • Late check-out (when requested and available).
    • 10% discount at Marriott gift shops.
    • 10% discount on regular rates for your Friday and Saturday night stays at participating Courtyard and SpringHill Suites locations.
    • Access to a dedicated Plantinum elite reservation line to make reservations or request redemption stays and reward certificates.
    • Access to an exclusive guest services line to assist you with all of your membership needs.
    • Reservation guarantee: if for some reason the hotel is unable to honor your reservation, Marriott will pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience.
    • Access to exclusive elite offers.
    • Complimentary premium internet.
    • Room upgrade (based on availability at check-in).
    • Within USA & Canada:  guaranteed room & bed type.
    • Free daily continental breakfast, light snacks and beverages for members and one guest.
    • Free local phone and fax.
    • Discounted long distance phone calls.
    • Complimentary 1-year gold membership with Hertz.
    • Guaranteed room availability when you make a reservation at least 48 hours before arrival.
    • Complimentary Premier Silver status with United Airlines, which includes complimentary upgrades and access to Economy Plus seating (when available), 1 complimentary checked bag, Premier bonus miles and more.

According to their own specific, unpublished criteria, Marriott also has a status “above” Platinum Elite, called Platinum Premier Elite. It is quite mysterious what Premier Elite Status means other than being the top 2-3% of Marriott’s loyal guests according to some metric Marriott uses. Most Platinum Elite members report that they receive a 20% discount on food and beverages at select properties once they reach this status.


MARRIOTT REWARD: EARN POINTS

There are several ways to earn Marriott Reward Points (or air miles) and boost your account:

  • You earn Base Points or air miles with hotel stays at the Marriott group. You earn 10 Base Points or up to 2 air miles for every US dollar spent on all qualifying charges. Some exceptions apply:
    • At Edition Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, and Moxy Hotels, you earn 10 Base Points or up to 2 air miles for every US dollar spent on your room rate only.
    • At Residence Inn by Marriott, TownPlace Suites by Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments, you earn 5 Base Points or up to 1 air miles for every US dollar spent on your room rate only.
    • At BVLGARI Hotels, you earn nothing as this brand does currently not participate into the Marriott Rewards program.
  • Marriott Rewards elite members automatically receive extra Bonus Points on all the Base Points they earn: a 20% bonus once you reach Silver status, a 25% bonus once you reach Gold status, and a 50% bonus once you achieve Platinum status.
  • You can earn Marriott Rewards Bonus Points with selected travel partners: Hertz, Sixt Rental Cars, Avios, Diners Club, Ctrip, Travelling Connect, Identy Points, Shop My Way, Energy Plus, and UR*Tix.
  • You can also buy Marriott Reward Points when you need them or receive Marriott Reward Points as gifts (up to 50,000 points per calendar year). You can also transfer your points to your legal spouse or domestic partner at time of reward redemption provided he or she is also a Marriott Rewards member.
  • You can earn up to 50,000 points per qualified event with Rewarding Events, when you hold a meeting, conference, wedding or other event at a participating Marriott brand hotel.
  • You can earn up to 50,000 points per calendar year when you refer friends. You can refer up to 5 new members each calendar year, and will earn 2,000 Marriott Rewards Bonus Points for each stay your referrals make beginning with their first paid stay, up to 5 stays per referral. Your friends will also earn 2,000 Marriott Rewards Bonus Points beginning with their first paid stay, up to 5 stays. That’s 10,000 Bonus Points for them, in addition to the Base Points they’ll earn.
  • The Marriott Rewards VISA Signature credit card is one of the fastest ways to earn Marriott Reward Points (only available in USA):
    • 5 points for every $1 spent at over 3,800 Marriott locations, including The Ritz-Carlton.
    • 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies & restaurants.
    • 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases anywhere else.
    • In addition: you receive 15 credits toward your next Elite membership level after account approval and every year after account anniversary, and you earn 1 Elite credit for every $3,000 spent.

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MARRIOTT REWARDS: REDEEM POINTS & TRAVEL FOR FREE

The Marriott Rewards program offers several possibilities to use points:

  • You can use your Marriott Reward Points to book a free or discounted standard room at any of the Marriott Group hotels and resorts worldwide (except for BVULGARI Hotels), with no blackout dates.
    • You can redeem free nights without black dates, starting at just 7500 Marriott Rewards Points for a night at a category 1 hotel to a minimum of 45 000 Marriott Reward Points at a category 9 hotel. Properties are grouped into categories, depending on the hotel brand, location and type. This table indicates the number of points required for free nights.
    • Seasonal Awards offer you savings of at least 25% on the points required for a free night during certain times of the year. Not all hotels offer Seasonal Awards though.
    • Awards at PointSavers hotels are charged at one category lower level (up to 33% fewer points) and category 1 hotels at 20% off. You can access Marriott’s web page for PointSavers awards here.
    • You can stretch your Marriott Reward Points with Cash + Points Rewards, and book a seriously discounted hotel room using a combination of Marriott Reward Points and cash. The exact value of this varies from hotel to hotel, but expect to pay somewhere between 3000 and 40,000  Marriott Reward Points plus $30 to $100 USD. You’ll still earn points and Elite night credits for your nights paid with cash.
    • Award stays do count toward elite status qualification.
    • When you redeem 4 nights at select hotels and resorts, then your 5th consecutive night is free.
    • You can also use your Marriott Reward Points to upgrade to a higher room category. Upgrade reward requirements vary by hotel and by season.
  • The Marriott Rewards Program let you also redeem points instantly at any participating Marriott. That’s on anything that can be charged to your guest room, such as dinners, cocktails, massages, or golf. There’s no certificates, no waiting.
  • The Marriott Rewards airline transfer program allows you to convert Marriott Reward Points to frequent-flyer miles on over 30 major airline partners, where you can redeem them for free plane tickets or upgrades. Exchanges are in increments of 10,000 points and you need to allow up to 30 days for your exchange to process. Expedited processing is available for an extra fee.
    • Click here to find out how many frequent flyer miles you will receive for your Marriott Reward Points.
    • Marriott has a special relation with United Airlines: you will get a 20% discount when you convert Marriott Rewards points to United MileagePlus miles with RewardsPlus, a new program created to enhance every step of your travel journey.
  • The Marriott Rewards program also allows you to exchange your points for a week of hotel accommodations with airline miles included (which is a better deal than using points of hotel and flight booking separately).
    • Click here for the tables with the point requirements.
    • You’ll receive 10% more MileagePlus miles when you redeem for a Marriott Rewards Hotel + Air Package on United Airline (up to 12,000 more miles).
  • The Marriott Rewards airline transfer program allows you to convert Marriott Reward Points to a complimentary train ride on the Orient Express. For example, London to Venice (or vice versa) one-way in Superior Class for one passenger aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will cost you 285,000 Marriott Reward Points. Click here  for more info.
  • You can directly redeem your Marriott Reward Points for an airline ticket on virtually any airline. You will need more points to book a flight as compared to transferring them to an airlines’ frequent flyer program and book a flight from there, but you will not face the standard restrictions that limit most frequent-flyer awards. Plus, you can search for airline tickets whenever you choose, even during peak periods such as holidays. Click here for more info.
  • You can directly redeem your Marriott Reward Points for a car rental virtually everywhere world. Click here for more info.
  • You can also convert your Marriott Reward Points into Identity Points for free stays at The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. Click here  for more info.
  • You can use Marriott Reward Points for shopping in Marriott’s Exclusively Yours online shopping mall, a virtual shopping paradise of top designers and brands, including merchandise from Apple, Tiffany & Co., Michel Kors, Prada, Nikon, Canon and many more. You can also use points for shopping vouchers in Japan and China.
  • You can also donate Marriott Reward Points to friends and family.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MARRIOTT REWARDS
  • The Marriott Group’s portfolio of hotels is very impressive, with more than 4000 properties worldwide, making it quite easy from a geographical point of view to earn or redeem points.
  • Although North America is its stronghold, Marriott does have a strong worldwide presence in most major international markets and business centers.
  • Marriott runs a Best Rate Guarantee program, which means you will always get the best available rate at a Marriott branded hotels when you book through an official Marriott channel. Should you find a lower rate on another website, within 24 hours of completing a reservation using any Marriott reservation channel (Marriott website, Marriott Hotel Telephone Reservations, or directly at a hotel), Marriott will match the lower rate found and will discount it even further by an additional 20%. You must submit an online claim form within 24 hours of booking your hotel room on an official Marriott reservation channel. Finding a better rate is not difficult at all, as you can read in my tips for booking a luxury hotel at the cheapest price.
  • Marriott Rewards has a high number of airline partners.
  • You can book a Marriott Rewards room redemption irrespective of how many points you have.  All that matters is that, on check in day, your account has enough points in it.
  • You can move up to 50,000 points per year into the account of a friend or family member.   There is no charge for Gold or higher Marriott Rewards members.  Silver and base level members must pay a flat fee of $10.
  • A stay on points counts as a night towards elite status requalification.
  • Marriott Rewards regularly launches excellent promotions to boost your account. Most promotions feature on the Marriott Reward homepage.
  • With Elite Rollover, your extra Elite nights will be carried into the next year, making it faster and easier to achieve higher Elite status and maintain the Elite benefits you’ve come to enjoy with Marriott Rewards. Silver member nights in excess of 10, Gold member nights in excess of 50 and Platinum member nights in excess of 75 all carry forward to the next year.
  • Marriott Reward points do not expire: as long as you make a paid stay at a Marriott hotel every 24 months, your account and points remain active.
  • There are no award blackout dates. As long as there is standard room available, you can book it using your Marriott Reward Points.
  • Marriott Rewards has a number of different award types, including travel packages, airline tickets, train rides, and hotel stays.
  • There are quite a few ways (e.g. Seasonal Awards, PointSavers Award) to save on the number of Marriott Rewards Points for hotel stays.
  • The travel package award option is a very good one, but requires high number of points. You redeem for airline miles and a 7-night hotel stay. You don’t have to spend the miles at the same time, however. They are just deposited to your chosen frequent flier account.
  • Elite Lifetime Status is possible within the Marriott Rewards program, and is determined by your total qualified nights stayed and points earned throughout the course of your membership:
    • Lifetime Silver Elite is reached after 250 nights & 1.2 million points.
    • Lifetime Gold Elite is reached after 500 nights & 1.6 million points.
    • Lifetime Platinum Elite is reached after 750 nights & 2 million points.

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CONS & THINGS I DO NOT LIKE ABOUT MARRIOT REWARDS
  • Marriott’s ultraluxurious hotel brand, BVLGARI, does not participate to Marriott Rewards. So, unfortunately, this means that you cannot earn nor spend points for stays at BVLGARI.
  • Sadly (and somewhat inexplicably), The Ritz-Carlton and BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts are excluded from Marriott’s best rate guarantee program.
  • The Ritz-Carlton has its own loyalty program, called The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards are effectively the same program, but you cannot combine both accounts at the same time. You can call to Marriott Rewards and have them switch you back and forth between Marriott and Ritz-Carlton rewards as often as you wish. By keeping both programs apart, Marriott hopes to maintain the exclusive character of its Ritz-Carlton brand.
  • Marriott has very high requirement for elite statuses compared to the other chains. The base level (Silver) requires 10 nights, Gold 50 nights, and Platinum 75 nights.
  • You cannot qualify based on number of stays; only the number of nights counts.
  • While internationally well represented, Marriott lacks properties in luxury vacation spots such as the Seychelles, Maldives, and French Polynesia, where all of their competitors run very popular hotels.
  • There is very little difference between Gold and Platinum. Gold gets you lounge access. Platinum only gives you the platinum amenity and occasional better upgrade.
  • The resort locations are not required to provide breakfast to Gold or Platinum elite members.

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MY REVIEWS OF MARRIOTT‘S LUXURY HOTELS

Click the thumbnail to read my reviews of Marriott’s luxury properties around the globe:


KEYPOINTS
  • Marriott Rewards is a well-regarded loyalty programs, but it is not as excellent as the ones managed by Starwood and Hyatt.
  • BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts do not participate to Marriott’s Rewards.
  • Always make a booking using a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) to throw in an additional discount of 20%. Unfortunately, Marriott’s top luxury brands, The Ritz-Carlton and BVLGARI, are excluded from a BRG.
  • The best way to spend your Marriott Rewards Points is to use them for hotel stays in the mid-luxury segment or vacation packages.
  • The worst way to spend your Marriott Rewards Points is to transfer them to airline miles or use them for category 8 or 9 hotels.

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