The Essential Guide to

Marriott Bonvoy

Last updated: April 19, 2022
Best ways to earn:
American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card: Up to 85,000 Bonvoy points
American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card: Up to 90,000 Bonvoy points
Transfer from Amex MR at a 1:1.2 ratio
Best ways to redeem:
Hotel stays at Marriott properties
Fifth Night Free
Transfer to 40+ airline partners at a ratio of 60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 airline miles

Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty program of Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world. It came about as a result of the Marriott–Starwood merger of 2016, which eventually witnessed the legacy programs of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest combining into a singular program in August 2018 and taking on the Marriott Bonvoy name in February 2019.

Marriott’s vast international footprint, composed of over 6,500 properties, means that there’s something in the Bonvoy program to cater to every type of traveller out there, whether you’re looking for luxury resorts or roadside inns.

And for Canadian travellers, it’s is one of the easiest and most accessible hotel loyalty programs for obtaining free hotel stays and taking advantage of elite perks and benefits. Let’s take a closer look at how you can get the most out of Marriott Bonvoy.

Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points

There’s a plethora of ways to accumulate Marriott Bonvoy points. Co-branded credit cards represent the easiest avenue for most travellers to rack up huge volumes of points, while those of you who frequently pay out-of-pocket for Marriott hotel stays (whether for business or pleasure) will earn points from those stays as well.

Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Right now, the personal card is offering 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months. The business version of the card is offering 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first six months, up to 25,000 points from a 5x category multiplier on gas, dining, and travel, and a further 15,000 points upon making a purchase after 14 months, for a total of 105,000 points.

Both cards also offer the following benefits:

  • 15 elite qualifying nights per calendar year

  • An anniversary free night at a property costing up to 35,000 points

  • Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year

Credit Card Spending

The return on daily spending on these cards will also earn Bonvoy points. The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card earns:

  • 5 Bonvoy points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels

  • 2 Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Meanwhile, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card earns:

  • 5 Bonvoy points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels

  • 3 Bonvoy points per dollar spent on gas, dining, and travel purchases

  • 2 Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Transferring from American Express

Another way to earn points via Canadian credit cards is to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points over to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2

Since the bonuses on the Amex MR credit cards are much larger than those on the Bonvoy credit cards, this represents a good way to supercharge your Bonvoy earnings. However, there are also more valuable potential uses of Amex MR points out there (such as transferring to frequent flyer programs), so that’s the tradeoff.

US Credit Cards

By diversifying into US credit cards, you can gain access to an even wider pool of Bonvoy bonuses. The cards you can potentially apply for include:

The Amex US cards in particular are easy for Canadians to obtain by way of initiating an American Express Global Transfer, as long as you have a Canadian Amex card that’s been open and in good standing for at least three months.

Staying at Hotels

Outside of credit cards, the primary way to earn points is through spending at Marriott hotels (room rate, dining, on-property incidentals, etc.). The amount of points you’ll earn depends on your elite status with Marriott (we’ll cover this below).

Base-level members will earn 10 Bonvoy points per US$1 spent at Marriott properties, unless they’re staying at Element, Residence Inn, or TownePlace Suites, where the earning rate is only five Bonvoy points per US$1 spent. 

From that baseline, Silver Elite members will earn a 10% points bonus, Gold Elite members will earn a 25% points bonus, Platinum Elite members will earn a 50% points bonus, and Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members will earn a 75% points bonus.

If you’re a high-tier elite member, then, you’re earning 17.5 Bonvoy points per US$1 spent with Marriott, which is a great return. If you manage to redeem those points later at an average rate of 1 cent per point (cpp), which is certainly doable, then you’re effectively getting a sweet 17.5% discount on your hotel stays.


Lastly, Marriott regularly runs promotions to incentivize member activity, and these are typically known as Megabonus. The rules for each Megabonus are different, but usually you’ll earn a solid chunk of promotional points (think 2,000 to 10,000 points here or there) based on your stay activity with Marriott.

Megabonus promotions are rarely generous enough to go out of your way and plan stays just for the sake of them (a practice known as “mattress running”), but they’re usually worth keeping an eye on and seeing if you can plan some of your upcoming travel around them.

Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy Points for Hotel Stays

Naturally, as a hotel loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy points are generally best used towards free nights at one of the program’s 6,500+ participating properties worldwide.

All Marriott hotels are priced dynamically, depending on the season, and even the day of the week. That being said, there are some general ranges you can expect hotels to price at:

Low-end hotels: 5,000 points – 15,000 points per night

Mid-tier hotels: 20,000 points – 60,000 points per night

High-end hotels: 70,000+ points per night

Keep in mind that the “tier” the hotel falls into is also highly dependent on the market it’s in, so you can expect the Fairfield Inn and Suites near Disneyland, California to price at mid-tier levels even though it’s a limited service brand.

“No Blackout Dates”

Marriott has a “No Blackout Dates” policy, which means that as long as a hotel has a standard room available on a certain date, then it can be booked using either cash or points. In other words, hotels can’t control points inventory separately from cash bookings – if a standard room is available, then either form currency must be accepted for it.

This policy works decently well, and means that you generally won’t have too much trouble finding availability for points bookings on your travel dates.

However, keep in mind that each hotel is free to determine what they consider a “standard room”, so once all of its standard rooms are booked up, then any higher-tier room (such as a Deluxe Room, Executive Room, junior suite, and full suites) may be capacity-controlled when it comes to points bookings.

Stay 5, Pay for 4

When you redeem points for five consecutive nights at the same hotel, you can make use of the Fifth Night Free benefit and only pay for four nights. With dynamic pricing, this is less of a “Fifth Night Free” and more of “Cheapest night free when you stay for at least five”. When booking a stay of at least five nights, the cheapest night will be free; when booking for ten nights, the cheapest two will be free, etc.

Along this logic, it may make sense to break longer stays into increments of five nights to increase the value of your free night.

Cash + Points

There’s also a Cash + Points redemption option, which highly depends on each property and what they choose to offer, and it also won’t be available at every hotel. Sometimes, you’ll be allowed to use Cash + Points for the base room, while other times, it’ll be for premium rooms (i.e. a cash upgrade supplement).

Generally, Cash + Points makes sense in two circumstances: when you don’t have enough points to pay for the full points redemption, and when the cash rate is disproportionately high.

Say you’re looking to stay somewhere on New Year’s Eve, or when there’s a major conference or sporting event in town – in these circumstances, redeeming points for the room will be a great deal, but if you don’t have enough points to do so, then Cash + Points represents a way to capture some of that value and save yourself a chunk of change.

However, note that just because a room is available to be booked on points, doesn’t mean that it’s available at the Cash + Points rate. In fact, Cash + Points availability tends to be rather scarce, so the occasions on which you’ll be able to make use of it will be rather limited.

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy Points to Airlines

Besides redeeming Bonvoy points for hotel stays, the other valuable way to use points is to transfer them to one of 40+ airline frequent flyer programs, such as Aeroplan, Avios, Alaska Mileage Plan, and more.

The full list of participating programs can be found here. Basically, if it’s a major frequent flyer program with potential sweet spots, then you’ll likely be able to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points over in order to earn miles with the program.

The transfer ratio is 3:1 for most programs, and Marriott will also give you a bonus of 5,000 airline miles when you transfer in chunks of 60,000 Bonvoy points. This means that the optimal strategy is to transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points into 25,000 airline miles.

The exceptions to the 3:1 ratio are Air New Zealand AirPoints (200:1), JetBlue TrueBlue (6:1), and United MileagePlus (3:1.1, essentially a 10% bonus on all transfers).

Depending on the program, transfers typically take at least three business days to complete, so you’ll want to leave enough buffer time if you’re planning to book an award flight using your airline miles. Additionally, the name and address should match between your Bonvoy account and your airline account, in order to prevent delays in the process.

Transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy represents the easiest way that Canadians can earn miles in “hard-to-reach” programs like Korean Air SKYPASS, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. They can also be a great way to top-up your earnings in programs like Alaska Mileage Plan or American Airlines AAdvantage if you’re chasing a big flight redemption.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

Elite status plays a significant role in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, as the perks and benefits you receive as an elite member go a long way to making your stays at Marriott hotels more enjoyable.

Qualifying for each tier of elite status is based on earning elite qualifying nights. Every night you stay at a Marriott hotel (whether paid with cash or points) will earn you one elite qualifying night. The status levels are as follows:

Status level

Required nights

Credit cards


10 nights

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (US)

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card (US)

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card (US)

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card (US)


25 nights

American Express Platinum Card (US)

American Express Business Platinum Card (US)

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card (US)

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card (US)

Chase Ritz-Carlton Card (US)


50 nights

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (US)


75 nights


100 nights + $20,000 (USD) spending

Status levels are granted based on how many nights you stay during a calendar year. Unlike other loyalty programs (in particular the legacy SPG program), there is no separate qualification criteria for “stays” vs. nights.

Once you earn a certain status level, it will be valid until the February two years later. Essentially, the status begins when you earn the required number of nights during a calendar year, and is valid until 14 months after the end of that calendar year.

For example, let’s say you earn Platinum Elite status in 2019 by staying 50 nights during the year. Then you’d enjoy your Platinum status benefits until February 2021. Once January 2020 rolls around, a new qualification period has started, meaning that you’d need to achieve 50 nights in 2020 to renew your Platinum status for the subsequent year. Doing so would extend your status validity until February 2022, and so on.

A detailed listing of all the elite benefits can be found here. Essentially, Silver Elite status delivers minimal benefits, given how easy it is to earn simply by holding a co-branded credit card. Gold Elite benefits are also not too exciting, with the 2pm late checkout (based on availability, not guaranteed) being the most appealing one.

It’s really at Platinum Elite that the real benefits start to kick in: lounge access, free breakfast, suite upgrades, 4pm late checkout, etc. You achieve Platinum Elite status at 50 elite qualifying nights, although there are a few creative ways to help you reach that threshold.

For example, you’ll already earn 15 qualifying nights from holding one of the Bonvoy credit cards here in Canada or if you’re in the US game, you can hold both of their Business and Personal Bonvoy credit cards to earn a total of 30 elite nights. Then, you just need to stay 20 more nights with Marriott in order to secure Platinum status.

If you hold the following combination of Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards...

You will receive...

Canadian personal + Canadian business

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian personal + US personal

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian personal + US business

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian business + US personal

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian business + US business

15 elite qualifying nights

US personal + US business

30 elite qualifying nights

One of the additional perks of Platinum Elite status is an Annual Choice Benefit of one of the following:

  • Five Suite Night Awards

  • Five extra elite qualifying nights

  • Give the gift of Silver Elite status to another member

  • 40% off your favourite hotel mattress

  • US$100 charity donation

For me, the clear winner among these benefits is the Suite Night Awards, which allow you to guarantee a suite upgrade (availability permitting) up to five days prior to your arrival at a property, rather than seeing if a suite is available upon check-in.

Titanium Elite is achieved at 75 qualifying nights, although at the moment doesn’t deliver too many benefits over and above Platinum Elite, with the exception of another Annual Choice Benefit (I’d choose another five Suite Night Awards).

And lastly, Ambassador Elite is achieved at 100 qualifying nights and US$20,000 of annual spend. At this level, you get assigned a personal Ambassador who can help you with all your Marriott booking needs. Needless to say, unless you’re a heavy spender with Marriott, this elite level will be pretty out of reach for most of us!

Tricks of the Trade

Like most loyalty programs, there are plenty of little tricks you can keep up your sleeve once you dabble with the program a bit. Here are just a handful…

Maximize the Fifth Night Free: As mentioned above, the Fifth Night Free benefit allows you to book five nights on points for the price of four, and is one of the most valuable perks in the program.

However, even if you only need four nights, you can go ahead and book five nights since it’s the same cost anyway! This effectively gives you late checkout on your fourth day until however late you want, and also an extra elite qualifying night to help you achieve a higher status level.

Sharing Points: You can transfer up to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points between members’ accounts per calendar year. This is done by calling Marriott to initiate the transfer process.

It’s a great way to pool points earned by different members of a household into one account; however, the 100,000-point limit is rather strictly enforced, so you’ll want to plan accordingly if, say, you want all the bookings to be done under one household member’s account in order to achieve elite status faster.

Upgrades & Suite Night Awards: A fancy upgrade can really make the difference between a good hotel stay and a fantastic and unforgettable one. As a Platinum Elite member and above, you’re entitled to the best available upgrade upon check-in, including standard suites.

If you’re a Platinum Elite member or above, you can also use your Suite Night Awards to “lock in” a suite upgrade up to five days in advance – again, depending on availability.

If you’re only a Gold Elite member, don’t count on receiving a complimentary suite upgrade, but you can still get lucky if you contact your hotel in advance and tell them you’d love to have a suite upgrade if there are any!

RewardsPlus with United Airlines: Marriott and United have a partnership in which each program’s top-tier elite members get reciprocal benefits with the other program. If you earn Titanium Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, you’ll automatically be given an upgrade to United MileagePlus Premier Silver status, which is also Star Alliance Silver status!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the value of a Marriott Bonvoy point?

Depending on the specific circumstances, redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays can get you anywhere from 0.5–1.5 cents per point (cpp) in value, and sometimes even more.

Can you pool points across different Marriott Bonvoy accounts?

Yes, you can pool points between different Marriott Bonvoy accounts, although each account is limited to sending 100,000 points per calendar year and receiving 500,000 points per calendar year.

How quickly do points from the Amex Bonvoy credit cards post to your account?

In Canada, it typically takes 2–3 business days from the credit card statement closing date before you’ll see the Bonvoy points in your Bonvoy account.

How do you transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to airline programs?

Transfers are initiated on Marriott’s website, under About Marriott Bonvoy > Redeem Points > Travel > Transfer Points to Miles. From there, you can convert points to airline programs at the listed exchange rate.

Are the Marriott Flight & Hotel Packages a good deal?

The Flight & Hotel Packages were a great deal in the old days of Marriott Rewards. However, with their new price under Marriott Bonvoy, they’re only worth considering if you’re absolutely certain that you want to convert your Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles and a seven-night hotel stay.


With two co-branded credit cards each offering 50,000 bonus points, the ability to transfer points from Amex MR at a 1:1.2 ratio, and its vast footprint of over 6,500 hotels around the world to redeem points, Marriott Bonvoy remains one of the best programs for Canadians to rack up free hotel nights and save money along their travels.




  1. Scott

    Hello sir:
    I seek your assistance in figuring out the $/points redemption value math.

    Somehow I must be missing something as when I take the cash price (using the full price option) such as usd$119 (CAA rate) and then compare to the 20,000 points required, I end up with a result of 0.00595.

    This does not seem to align with the 0.06 (average range) of all the various travel mavens.
    Please explain the errors of my ways, thank you.

  2. Jake

    For your annual free night, which is capped at 35k points, can you pay the difference for a higher category night? Thanks Ricky!

    1. Ricky YVR

      Nope, although there are rumblings that this feature may be in the works for a future rollout.

  3. Alex

    What is the limit of points you can receive as a gift? I am hoping to load up next point sale and am confused on the limit I will be able to receive from friends. The fine print states “members may purchase or receive as a gift a new combined maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year when purchased on this site”. However, on this spage you state you can receive up to 500k points. Can you please confirm this.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes, they do. We’ll be sure to add the points-earning rate based on stays to this guide.

  4. Alex

    Do you accumulate points if pay for your stay using points? If so, at what rate?

    1. Ricky YVR


  5. Katie

    Is it possible to transfer Aeroplan to Bonvoy points?

    1. Ricky YVR

      No, only the other way around.

  6. Dan

    If staying on 4 for 5 (5th night free) do the five night earn elite night credit or do you have to add a paid night to get credits at Cat 7 hotel ?

    1. Josh YVR

      Free nights counts as an elite-qualifying nights. You don’t need a paid component of your stay to earn elite nights, it can be all points and it’ll still qualify. Hotel category has no impact on earning elite nights.

  7. gail

    Do the elite benefits apply for everyone in the room? ie. lounge access? If I have elite Titanium Elite access, but my husband does not? Kids? Thinking more for breakfasts 😉

    1. Ricky YVR

      Lounge and breakfast benefits are typically meant to be for the elite member and one guest. However, many hotels are happy to extend access to a family when travelling together as a courtesy.

  8. Alex

    Do the 15 elite qualifying nights from the cards count towards your lifetime elite status?

    1. Ricky YVR


  9. Alexi

    I already have the Amex Platinum, and this gives me the Gold Elite Status. If I get the Marriott Bonvoy Amex in Canada, it comes with 15 elite qualifying nights. Would this mean I only need 10 more nights to get Platinum Elite or does it not stack that way? Thanks in advance!

    1. Jay*

      Does not stack.

      1. Ryan Jewell

        So you basically have to start from scratch with qualifying nights? The Amex Platinum doesn’t help at all?

      2. Alex

        Is the point purchase limit and the point transfer limit associated or completely seperate? Can I buy 100,000 points and have a friend transfer me another 100,000 from his account in the same calendar year?

        1. Ricky YVR

          Yes, they’re separate.

          1. Marina

            The wording on the current Marriott points purchase page suggests otherwise – unless it specifically applies only to 2021.

            “You can purchase up to 100,000 points… Points that have been already purchased or received as a gift in 2021 are included in the 100,000 points purchase limit”

            1. Ricky YVR

              There’s a distinction here between “gifting points” and “transferring points”. Gifting points is when someone buys points directly for you and they get deposited into your account. Transferring points is when someone transfers points (which may or may not have been bought) into your account, to the tune of 100,000 points per year (send limit) or 500,000 points per year (receiving limit).

              1. Marina

                Ah, I see what you are saying. That was not clear to me at all. What would I do without you, Ricky 😂

  10. william

    “The Amex US cards in particular are easy for Canadians to obtain” – one would need a US address, US bank account and a US SIN number for the global transfer to be fulfilled?

    1. Ricky YVR

      No need for a SSN for the Global Transfer / Nova Credit. An ITIN would only be required for subsequent Amex cards or Chase cards.

  11. Jason

    So if I have a CAD Bonvoy and US Bonvoy, I get 15 + 15 Elite Nights? If I go for all 4 cards (CAD & US Business Cards), I can get Platinum Elite?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Nope, you can only get 15 elite qualifying nights per year from any combination credit cards, with only one exception: holding a US personal card and a US business card will give you 30 elite qualifying nights.

      1. Keith

        Have you heard if this rule is changing for the Canadians holding both the Canadian personal and business Marriott Cards ?

        1. Brad

          Bump – also interested in this! Seems unfair that its separate for the US but not Canadians

          1. Ricky YVR

            Can’t say I’ve heard of any plans to implement this for the Canadian cards.

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