Alongside the expected hotel perks like room upgrades for frequent guests and free Internet access for all, Marriott Rewards also treats top-tier members to free breakfast, hotel lounge access and even United Premier Silver/Star Alliance Silver frequent flyer status.
Those perks and more are earned by staying at JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Edition, AC Hotels, Courtyard, Autograph Collection Hotels, Residence Inn, Renaissance Hotels, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Marriott Vacation Club.
Check-ins at TownePlace Suites, Gaylord Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Protea Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay also earn you points and count towards your Marriott Rewards status, so whatever your budget you’re sure to find something both suitable and points-earning.
Here’s how to make the most of Marriott Rewards.
Marriott Rewards 101
Once you’ve joined for free on the Marriott website, the number of Marriott Rewards points you’ll earn per dollar spent depends on which brand you’re staying with – although provided you have at least one paid stay every 24 months, those points never expire.
At the top end of the scale are JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott and Marriott Vacation Club where you’ll pocket 10 points per US$1 spent on accommodation and other charges such as room service and restaurant dining.
The Ritz-Carlton, Edition, Gaylord Hotels, AC Hotels, Courtyard, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Protea Hotels and Moxy Hotels also award 10 points per US$1 spent on the room rate itself, but zero extra points on added extras.
Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites provide just five points per US$1 spent, again on the room rate alone.
There’s also an option to earn up to two airline frequent flyer points or miles in lieu of Marriott Rewards points with the likes of Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and more, with the rate also varying based on each hotel brand.
While you’re earning points on the road, Marriott tallies the number of nights you spend at its range of hotels each year and uses that to award Silver Elite, Gold Elite and Platinum Elite status, plus the invitation-only Platinum Premier Elite status for its top guests.
Marriott Rewards Silver Elite status
Just 10 nights in any calendar year nets a Marriott Rewards Silver Elite card, instantly granting free late check-outs where available, 20% more Marriott Rewards points with every stay and access to priority reservation and guest services contact centres.
(At Marriott’s long-stay brands being Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay, you’ll earn one ‘night’ towards Marriott Rewards status for every three paid nights. With all other brands, one night stayed is one night gained.)
Should a hotel be unable to honour your paid and confirmed reservation, you’ll also receive up to US$200 compensation in addition to the chain paying for comparable accommodation nearby with similar inclusions.
Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status
Push your Marriott travels to 50 nights in a calendar year and you’ll progress to Gold Elite status, which unlocks hotel lounges and free breakfast privileges at the JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance and Marriott brands.
Complimentary room upgrades are also provided where available – ranging from a better view or a higher floor right through to a suite – with the exception of Marriott Vacation Club. Upgrades are too offered at The Ritz-Carlton hotels but with the exception of suites and Club-level rooms.
Joining that is higher-speed Internet than the standard connection where properties offer more than one access speed...
... along with free local phone calls, discounted long distance calls, 25% more Marriott Rewards points on your stays and a higher priority in securing your requested room type and configuration.
Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite status
Spend 75 nights in a calendar year at Marriott’s range of brands to earn Platinum Elite status, going above and beyond the privileges offered to Golds with 50% more points earned with every stay, a dedicated Platinum reservation line and a free gift or hospitality credit on arrival.
Platinum Elite members can also secure rooms at already-full hotels when booking at least 48 hours before arrival (excludes Marriott Vacation Club), and also receive free United Premier Silver/Star Alliance Silver frequent flyer status.
While only providing priority waitlisting benefits on Star Alliance members such as Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, it means you’ll pay no fees to check a bag on United flights – even on fares that only permit carry-on – and can use the Premier priority lanes for check-in, security screening and boarding when flying with United.
Better yet, having Premier Silver makes you eligible for free first class upgrades on United when travelling on selected flights within North America (not including longer journeys such as from Australia to the USA), and failing that, a seat in United’s extra-legroom Economy Plus zones.
As for how you progress from Platinum Elite to the 'secret' Platinum Premier Elite tier, if you need to know, you already do.
Redeeming Marriott Rewards points
The number of Marriott Rewards points you’ll need for a free overnight hotel stay depends on either the hotel’s ‘category’ or ‘tier’.
For example, the Brisbane Marriott hotel sits in Category 7 which needs 35,000 Marriott Rewards points for as much, while both the Sydney Harbour Marriott at Circular Quay and Melbourne Marriott belong to Category 8: requiring a higher 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.
From time to time, you may also spot ‘PointSaver Rewards’ – they’re similar to standard awards but with the asking price reduced by up to 10,000 Marriott Rewards points per night during various promotions.
Guests who opt to earn Marriott Rewards points as opposed to airline frequent flyer points with every stay may also convert their Marriott Rewards balance to an airline of their choosing at a later date.
For example, 10,000 Marriott Rewards points buys a mere 1,500 frequent flyer points or miles with Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and more, while a smaller 8,000 Marriott Rewards points equals 2,000 United MileagePlus miles.
With some Marriott brands serving up either 10 Rewards points or 2 frequent flyer points per US$1 spent, base-level members may find themselves better-off by opting frequent flyer points up-front while Silver, Gold and Platinum members could do better with the manual conversions,
That’s because Elite members can earn more Marriott Rewards points for every dollar spent – although not more frequent flyer points when directly earned – so by converting your points after the bonus has been applied you could well end up with a bigger frequent flyer balance at the end.
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