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I write a lot about itthe value of hotel loyalty programs, and in this post I wanted to be specific about the best way to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points and how to use my points. In addition to writing instructions forRedeem Hilton Honors PointsmiHyatt World Points, in this post I wanted to share strategies on how to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for maximum value.
In this post:
Marriott Bonvoy Points Redemption Basics
Let's start by talking about the basics of redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points: how much do you have to pay for free nights, are there blackout dates, how much are Marriott Bonvoy points worth, etc.?
I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each
I personallycourageMarriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each. There's no science behind this, but I think it's a fair and conservative assessment of point value. In other words, I will only redeem my Bonvoy points if I can earn more than 0.7 cents per point. This is also an opportunity to convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles at a fair price.
It is important that you create a score for yourself (this may differ from mine) so that you can do thisDecide if you want to pay in cash or redeem pointsfor a hotel stay.
Marriott Bonvoy has dynamic award pricing
Currently, Marriott Bonvoy no longer has an award table, but instead has dynamic award pricing. This means that the number of points required for a free night can vary based on the cash cost of the stay, and there is no longer a minimum or maximum points for the cost of a free night.
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect most accommodations to cost between 5,000 and 120,000 points per night. While Marriott Bonvoy raised the limit on how much free night awards can cost starting in 2023, I didn't find the changes too drastic.
Marriott Bonvoy Awards Blackout Policy
Every hotel loyalty program has onePolicy when it comes to blackout dates. In general, hotel loyalty programs allow you to redeem points for a stay as long as there is a standard room for sale. Unfortunately, in the case of Marriott Bonvoy, there is a limited lockout policy.
What does that mean? Marriott Bonvoy does not have blackout dates, but there are sometimes capacity restrictions. Most Marriott hotels make all standard rooms available for awards on most days, although on a limited number of days hotels may limit the number of standard rooms available for awards.
In other words, it is possible for a hotel to offer standard rooms for sale by paying in cash, but not with points. However, this should be the exception and not the rule.
Marriott Bonvoy offers a free fifth night as a reward
If you want to maximize your Marriott Bonvoy points, I recommend redeeming them for hotel stays in five-night increments. Marriott has a 5th night free award policy, or more specifically, it's now called "Stay for 5, Pay for 4."
If you redeem points for five consecutive nights at a hotel, you will only be charged points for four nights. The cheapest of the five nights will not be charged. You can use this consecutive package for multiple stays. So if you stay 10 nights you get two nights free.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be converted into airline miles
One interesting thing about the Marriott Bonvoy is thatPoints can be efficiently converted into airline miles. Marriott Bonvoy has more than three dozen airline partners and points are transferred at a 3:1 ratio. You receive 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred, which means that 60,000 Bonvoy points typically earn you 25,000 flight miles.
While I personally don't use my points that way, it's not a bad use of points if you're having trouble getting good value out of them.
Marriott Cash & Points is usually not very cheap
Marriott has a Cash & Points program where you can redeem (as the name suggests) part cash and part points for a hotel stay. This involves many more capacity checks than the standard Free Night Award redemption, so it won't always be available.
To see if Cash & Points are available, simply look for Regular Free Night Availability and if available, it will appear as an option. You can look at the numbers on each redemption, but for the most part I don't think it represents much value.
Take Duxton Reserve Singapore, for example, where the fee is 43,000 Bonvoy Points or 21,500 Bonvoy Points plus 170 SGD (~122 USD). Basically, you pay $122 to save 21,500 Bonvoy points, which is a decent deal since I value those points at $150.
The footprint? This isn't much of a rescue to begin with as the cost of revenue would only be $294.
As another example, take the Sheraton Grand Dubai where the rate is 35,000 Bonvoy points or 17,500 Bonvoy points plus AED 202 (~$55). Basically, you pay $55 to save 17,500 Bonvoy points, which is a pretty good deal since I rate those points at $123.
The footprint? Not much of a rescue to begin with, either, since the cost of the recipe alone would be $131.
In essence, you'll typically find that Cash & Points is sometimes a good deal compared to redeeming points outright, although redeeming points at these hotels is often not a great deal to begin with, as turnover rates are typically low. . Because? Cash & Points are based on capacity and are generally only available when the hotel is not expected to be full, so these are also situations where cash rates may not be so great.
The Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Calendar is Helpful
I find Marriott Bonvoy's calendar feature incredibly helpful in deciding when points are worth redeeming. When searching for a destination, simply select the flexible dates tab and then select the month in which you wish to check availability.
You'll see premium prices for an entire month at a time, which is an easy way to see when you're getting the best deal.
You can also toggle between the rewards calendar and the pricing calendar to see when you get the best value. For example, with the hotel I searched for, it's interesting that October 25 and November 1 cost 57,000 Bonvoy points, while paying cash costs 517 euros and 412 euros respectively. Obviously, the first option will give you a better deal when redeeming points in terms of value per point.
Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status for More Value
When redeeming points, you naturally want to get as much value out of the property as possible. This is where Elite status really helps, especially when you can earn BonvoyPlatinum-Elite,Elite-Titan, oelite ambassadorsState. This is where the benefits really start to pay off.Get suite updates,get free breakfast, zHave access to Choice Benefits.
Remember, Marriott Bonvoy status is very easy to obtain in the United States.with credit cards. you can easilyreceive up to 40 elite nights per yearjust to have twoMarriott co-branded credit cards, including theTarjeta Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express®(Analyze) (15 nights) andTarjeta Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express®(Analyze) (25 nights).
Marriott Bonvoy Pool Points to maximize value
Although not as generous as the guidelines ofHilton AwardsoHyatt Welt, Marriott Bonvoy le permiteGroup of points between accounts. You can do this with any other member, though you are limited to transferring up to 100,000 points per calendar year and you can earn up to 500,000 points per calendar year.
The best use of Marriott Bonvoy points
Now that the basics of redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points are out of the way, how can you get the most out of your points? Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it used to be. When Marriott had a published rewards table, it was easy to generate excessive value by redeeming it at hotels during peak hours.
Not so easy anymore as Marriott now has dynamic premium pricing. I continue to redeem my Marriott Bonvoy points for free nights on standard rooms, ideally for five nights (so that one night is free). There's no longer a consistent sweet spot like there used to be, but I'm finding some value with Bonvoy points across all types of redemptions.
This is how I usually think of it:
- The fancier hotels during demand spikes are generally still a nice point earner, at least relative to out-of-pocket costs; There are still some limits on the price of the Marriott Bonvoy award
- Plus, you'll often find the best value for money using points in markets during quieter periods when cash rates don't change much by season. This relates to the economics of Marriott Bonvoy, as the program pays much less when members redeem points at hotels that aren't full.
Let me use the St. Regis Aspen as an example, since it is a popular ski resort. In the dead of winter, I can find a five-night reward stay for 478,000 Bonvoy points (including one free night), which equates to an average of 95,600 Bonvoy points per night (which I value at ~$669).
Meanwhile, the cash rate would be over $1,600 per night. Suffice to say that redeeming points is pretty good value.
Another worthwhile destination is the Maldives, so let's take the Ritz-Carlton Maldives as an example. During a busy period, I can find a five-night award stay for 468,000 Bonvoy points (including one free night), which equates to an average of 93,600 Bonvoy points per night (which I value at ~$655).
Meanwhile, the cash rate would be over $2250 per night, which is an amazing use of points.
Although Marriott Bonvoy no longer has a redemption cost cap, I still find the best value in redemption in luxury real estate.
Marriott Bonvoy is a popular hotel loyalty program that I have been a part of for over a decade. While the program isn't as useful as it used to be, there's still value to be gained.
Currently, Marriott Bonvoy has dynamic award pricing, so there is no longer an award table or maximum amount to redeem an award. That said, I still find Marriott Bonvoy to be the best value for five-night standard room luxury hotel bookings, particularly hotels that would otherwise sell for $1500 or more per night.
What is your experience redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points?