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Changes are coming to Marriott Bonvoy in March, 2022.
The current Marriott redemption chart showing how many points it takes to redeem for a room, as well as peak, off-peak and standard offers will disappear.
This predictable and stable pricing will soon be replaced with flexible point redemption rates.
Marketed as a “More Redemption Flexibility” opportunity in an October, 2021 edition of the Marriott Bonvoy newsletter: the number of points required will vary based on demand, seasonality, and whatever other factors Marriott decides essential.
Just like we’ve seen in recent years with dynamically priced concert and sports tickets, things won’t be as straightforward as checking the price tag when it comes to redeeming your Bonvoy points.
As a result, you should be strategizing to use your points before then.
You don’t need to stay before March, 2022, but you should plan and book your stays before the deadline to avoid losing value in your points.
So what are the best ways to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points?
From free nights to hotel expenses, airline points and gift cards; let’s take a look at everything you can redeem your Marriott points for:
Redeem Points for Free Nights
You can use your points to pay for your stay at Marriott properties. The points needed will vary by property and the time of year you’re looking to book.
The biggest draw to redeeming hotel loyalty points is redeeming them for free hotel rooms, and this is easily the best way to redeem your Marriott points.
Redeem Points for Room Upgrades
Point Upgrade Awards
You can use your points towards an upgraded room, like an ocean view, or a suite.
Paid Upgrade Awards
You can also use a combination of points and cash for a room upgrade. If you want to use points to redeem for a standard room, you can pay cash for the remaining balance and receive a room upgrade (based on availability).
Book 4 Nights on Points, Get 1 Night Free
With the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4 Award”, if you book your entire stay using Bonvoy points, you can redeem points for 4 nights and you’ll get the 5th night free. This is a huge benefit that will help extend your stay, and is available at all Marriott properties year round.
To use the benefit, simply book five consecutive nights under the same reservation, and you’ll automatically be credited for the 5th night. The free night offer applies to the lowest point redemption during your stay.
Use a Combo of Cash & Points
If you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost of your stay, you can use a combination of cash and points at participating Marriott properties.
This allows a more flexible redemption if you have points to use up, but keep in mind, there are some drawbacks to this redemption:
- If you use a combination of cash and points, you won’t qualify for the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4 Award”. You need to pay for the entire stay using points to get the free night.
- You also won’t earn points on the cash portion of the paid stay, as you would if you paid for the entire stay with cash.
Save up to 20% with PointsSavers Deals
PointsSavers rates allow you to save up to 20% when participating Marriott hotels go on sale. These deals can be limited, but it’s always a good idea to check if there’s one for your destination.
Book Now, Pay Later with a Points Advance
You can book your Marriott stay up to 2 months in advance; even if you don’t have enough points.
Participating Marriott properties allow you to book your stay and allow you to earn enough points with a Points Advance Redemption Reservation.
This method allows you to reserve your room (at up to 3 properties at once), then earn the points while your reservation is secured. Make sure you have the required points in your account at least 2 weeks before your arrival date.
If your travel plans change, or you didn’t earn enough points, you can cancel the room for free as long as it’s before the hotel’s cancellation date. This is a no-risk way to speculatively book a room.
Redeem Your Points at Checkout
Instant point redemptions allow you to redeem your points at check-out. You can use your points to cover the cost of your stay including: your room, food, drinks, golf, spa, and any other incidental costs at the hotel.
To do an instant points redemption, just request you’d like to pay with points at check-out and the points will be automatically deducted from your account.
Bid on Marriott Moments
A fun advantage of being a Marriott Bonvoy member is that you can bid on unique experiences with Marriott Moments. You can bid against other Bonvoy members in an auction style format on the experience you want.
Cash isn’t accepted for Marriott Moments; Bonvoy points are the only way to pay.
Experiences are always changing, but can include:
- Luxury suites at concerts and games.
- Private chef experiences.
- Dining at sold out Michelin Star restaurants.
- VIP access to the NFL Pro Bowl.
- Suite tickets to watch the NFL Super Bowl.
- Watching the NFL Super Bowl halftime show up close.
Donate Your Points
You can donate your Bonvoy points to a number of charitable causes including The American Red Cross, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, WWF, Marriott Disaster Relief Fund, and more.
It’s important to note, donations are not tax deductible when paying with Bonvoy points.
If you’re looking to donate to one of these causes, you’d be better off paying cash, as the donation equivalent does not represent a strong redemption. And you’ll also receive a tax donation receipt.
Buy Gift Cards and Merchandise
Although considered a poor redemption, you can redeem your Bonvoy points for Marriott and retailer gift cards or buy merchandise from the online store.
Unlike other loyalty programs, Marriott doesn’t have an online shopping portal for earning points; only redeeming them.
Book a Hotel and Air Travel Package
You can use your Bonvoy points towards a vacation package and redeem for a flight and hotel.
Redeem your Bonvoy points for 7 nights at a Marriott property, and airline miles towards your flight. The number of points required depends on:
- What category hotel you want to stay in.
- How many airline miles you need for your flight.
- What airline you want to travel with. Either United Airlines (which is Marriott’s preferred partner) for a special rate, or 1 of 35+ major participating airlines.
There’s a lot of flexibility with the Hotel and Air Travel Package which allows you to build the flight and hotel package that best fits your travel goals.
To get an idea of how many Bonvoy points you’ll need for your vacation package:
- First you’ll want to find your preferred Marriott hotel. Select “Use Points/Certificates” to complete your search. Take note of what Category hotel it is.
- Then you’ll want to research flights using a tool like Google Flights to see what airlines fly your desired route.
- Once you’ve chosen an airline to fly, then visit the airline loyalty program’s website and see how many miles you’ll need to fly. Next, match that up with how many miles you’ll receive from redeeming your Bonvoy points.
- United Airlines (Marriott Preferred Partner)
- AEGEAN Miles+Bonus
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Aeroflot Bonus
- Aeromexico ClubPremier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™
- American Airlines AAdvantage®
- ANA Mileage Club
- Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
- Delta SkyMiles®
- Emirates Skywards®
- Etihad Guest
- FRONTIER Miles
- Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles®
- Iberia Plus
- Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass
- Multiplus Fidelidade
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Saudia Alfursan
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer®
- Southwest Rapid Rewards®
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Vueling Club
Prior to the merger with SPG in 2018, Hotel and Air Travel Packages could save you money with a smart points redemption, but be warned, this method has since been devalued.
Before you redeem for this method, do your homework using the steps above, and run the numbers to see if the airline miles you receive are worth more than the Marriott points you are redeeming.
Redeem Points for Flights and Car Rental Packages
You can redeem your Bonvoy points directly for airline tickets and car rentals with Marriott Air and Car. This allows you to use your points directly without having to transfer them out of your account. You can use points, or a combination of points and cash. There are over 200 airlines you can redeem points for, and major car rental companies like Hertz, Thrifty, Budget and Dollar Rent a Car.
Book a Cruise on Points
To give you an idea of the value of your points, 63,000 Bonvoy points would get you $250 off the price of your cruise. 1,250,000 Bonvoy points would save you $5,000. When paying with points, you can save up to 75% off the advertised price.
Transfer Your Bonvoy Points to another Member
Combine your points or send them a gift. You can transfer your Bonvoy points to friends, family, or any Bonvoy member.
You’ll need to phone Marriott and chat with a representative to initiate the transfer which will require both members’ consent.
For Bonvoy members in Canada and the USA, call 1-800-228-2100.
Transfer Your Points to Airline Loyalty Programs
This is another bad redemption, but you can convert your Bonvoy points to your preferred airline loyalty program. You’re always better off earning the airline points you need from the start, rather than converting them later.
However, there is one upside to transferring your points to miles: you’ll earn an extra 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you transfer to airline miles.
- You can transfer points to miles at a 3:1 ratio with most programs.
- There are over 40 participating airlines.
- You can transfer 3,000 to 240,000 points per day.
- For most airline partners, your Member name on the frequent flyer program account must match your Marriott Bonvoy first and last name.
Conclusion: Is Marriott Bonvoy Worth it for Canadians?
We’ve taken a look at 15 ways you can redeem your Bonvoy points. The good (free night stays, and the pay for 4 nights, get 1 free), the bad (hotel and air packages), and the ugly (merchandise and gift cards).
The easiest way to fasttrack your way to free nights at Marriott hotels is to sign up for a Bonvoy Business Card that will earn you 85,000 points.
With each recent update we’ve seen to the Bonvoy program, the program has progressively gotten worse. Sweetspots seem few and far between, and with another points devaluation scheduled for March, 2022, things will continue to decline.
In Canada, we have limited options for hotel credit cards, so with the only other option being the Best Western Rewards MBNA Mastercard, Marriott essentially holds the monopoly on the points game for luxury hotels.
Apply Now: Get $50 Cashback on the Best Western Rewards MBNA Mastercard
If you love hotels, the welcome bonus more than pays for the annual fee and will earn you free nights. But regrettably, there are limited travel hacks for the Bonvoy loyalty program.
Aside from earning points on everyday purchases with the Bonvoy Business Card, my strategy will be to continue transferring Amex points to Bonvoy during the yearly transfer bonus promo, and then using my points towards the “Pay for 4 Nights on Points, Get the 5th Night Free” promo.
And although I enjoy splurging on luxury Marriott properties for special occasions, I’m perfectly content to stretch my points and stay longer in category 3-4 hotels.
How do you plan to use your Bonvoy points? Is this program still worth it for you? Let us know in the comments below.