11 Reasons Why I Love Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards is one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs for a number of reasons. It’s not difficult to climb the ranks of Marriott elite tiers with credit cards and status challenges; the perks of Gold and Platinum status are solid, and there are various ways to capitalize on value with the program through earning and burning. So here are 11 reasons why love Marriott Rewards.

1) Marriott Status = SPG status

Because of the Marriott SPG merger, your status with Marriott is matched with your status with SPG. So if you obtain Marriott Gold you get SPG Gold, if you obtain Marriott Platinum you get SPG Platinum. (And vice versa.) This adds a lot of value to both programs and one reason why I’m such a big fan of both of them.

The W Las Vegas, an SPG property.

2) Marriott Gold is easy to obtain (with credit cards)

Marriott Gold is one of the hardest mid-tiers to obtain with stays and nights. For example, while it takes 40 nights to receive HHonors Gold and 25 nights to receive SPG Gold, you must complete 50 nights to earn Marriott Gold Elite status.

However, Marriott Gold is very easy to obtain with credit cards. 

  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards card offers automatic Gold elite status for the first year (you’ll have to spend $10,000 in a year to receive it for the following years).
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card offers Silver status but also offers ways to earn elite credits toward Gold and you can earn Gold status by spending $50,000 in a year. (If you’re only able to obtain silver status then you can always contact Marriott and inquire about a status challenge to get to Gold)
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express offer you Hilton Gold, SPG Gold (and therefore Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Gold)
  • Finally, if you are a MileagePlus Premier Gold member. Through the RewardsPlus Program, you’ll be given complimentary Gold status with Marriott.   
Marriott Marquis Houston.

3) Marriott Gold is valuable

With Marriott Gold Elite Status you’ll receive the following perks:

  • Guaranteed lounge access/breakfast for members and one guest
  • Complimentary upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites.
  • Complimentary high-speed internet
  • Check out as late as 4pm
  • Book 5 consecutive nights and the 5th night is free (this perk is available to all Marriott status levels but is worth mentioning).
  • Gold Elite members are credited with a 25% bonus on base points earned during stays.

With these benefits, you’re able to obtain a lot of additional value when you stay at Marriott properties. We recently used Brad’s free-night certificate to stay at the JW Marriott at the Houston Galleria and with Brad’s Gold Status, we received an upgrade, an amazing free breakfast (worth $50), free high-speed wifi, and late checkout.

JW Marriott Houston Galleria.

4) Marriott Platinum is easy to obtain (with credit cards and status challenge)

Marriott Platinum status can be easily obtained if you already have Gold status from a credit card. All you have to do is enroll in a Marriott Platinum status challenge and make 9 stays. This sounds like a lot but if you live in a big city and can utilize a promo or two, it’s possible to earn Platinum Status for as cheap as $318 when you factor in the value received through points and discounts. Because Marriott has so many properties, it’s often not difficult to find a cheaper property near you to help you finish these stays.

5) Marriott Platinum is valuable

With Marriott Platinum Elite Status you’ll receive all of the above perks for Gold Elite members plus the following perks:

  • Guaranteed lounge access/breakfast for members and one guest
  • Complimentary upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites.
  • Dedicated phone line for Platinum members
  • Guaranteed room availability for reservations booked at least 48 hours prior to arrival available at all participating Marriott hotel brands except Marriott Vacation Club
  • Guaranteed arrival gift and if you’re not given one you’re entitled to up to $100 in guest compensation.
  • Platinum Elite members are credited with a 50% bonus on base points earned during stays

These benefits aren’t a tremendous leap up from Marriott Gold. Since I’ve been a Platinum Member, however, I’ve had a much better experience with getting upgraded to suites, such as on a recent stay at a Marriott Renaissance in Phoenix.

Marriott Renaissance Hotel Phoenix Suite.

The big difference in benefits for Platinum members is that through United/Marriott RewardsPlus Program, you’ll be given complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver status when you reach Platinum status with Marriott.

United Silver offers a number of different benefits which I cover in this article. The most worthwhile benefit is probably getting upgraded from economy to economy plus. This is not 100% guaranteed on each flight but in practice, you often receive the upgrades. You’re also eligible for upgrades to business/first (much more rare) and get other bennies like priority check-in, boarding, security, access to more award space, and waived or minimized fees for changes in booking. If you fly United a lot and would regularly purchase economy plus upgrades, then Platinum status can be worth pursuing on that basis alone.

United business class on a Boeing 767.

And don’t forget, you’ll also get SPG Platinum Elite status which comes with a whole host of other benefits

6) Marriott’s footprint is gigantic

Marriott’s footprint is absolutely huge and will only be growing with the SPG merger. In fact, it will now have 30 hotel brands under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world with more than 5,800 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. This makes it easier than ever to earn and use points when traveling across the globe and distinguishes it from other programs like Hyatt where it’s harder to come across their properties.

7) Marriott is one of the most rewarding loyalty programs

I compared the earning rates of several major hotel chains to see which ones earn you the most value by earning points when staying with them. I simply added up how many points you’d earn on stays and then factored in how much those points would be worth to compare programs like IHG, Marriott, SPG, and Hilton.

Marriott had the best earning rate for guests without any elite status and also had the #1 return in value in points when booking stays on the hotel co-branded credit card with mid-tier status. This means that in terms of % received back with your stays, Marriott is arguably the most rewarding loyalty program.  

8) Marriott is okay with your OTA bookings

You won’t earn Marriott points when you book through online travel agencies (OTAs) but you can still get your elite status perks honored. I’ve booked a number of Marriott stays through the new OTA BonWi.com and have still received upgrades to suites, free breakfast, etc. Many other programs like Hilton and IHG are known for not honoring these perks so this is a major plus for Marriott.

9) Transfer partner of Chase

Marriott is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. While you typically get the best hotel value for your Ultimate Rewards when you transfer them to Hyatt, you can still get decent value for your points when transferred to Marriott, as redemptions often earn you .7 to .8 cents per point or more. So if you ever need to top off your Marriott points, it’s extremely easy to do so by earning points on Chase cards.

10) Strong co-branded credit cards

Chase issues two Marriott credit cards: a personal version and a business version (the latter is NOT subject to 5/24 but the former is).The Marriott cards come with bonuses as high as 100,000 at times and offer a free anniversary night, allowing you to earn an instant boost for your Marriott account. In addition, JP Morgan Chase also issues the premium Ritz-Carlton card which sometimes come with three free nights as a sign-up bonus.

And finally you can convert your SPG points to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio so there are even more possibilities for earning Marriott points.

11) Marriott Flight and hotel Packages

Marriott allows you to convert Marriott points into these flight and hotel packages that allow you to maximize the value of your Marriott Rewards points. For example, you can convert 270,000 Marriott points into 132,000 United miles plus 7 nights a category 1-5 hotel.

If you value Marriott points at .7 cents per point, then your starting point for 270,000 points is $1,890 worth of Marriott points.

If you value United points at 1.5 cents per point than you’re getting $1,980 worth of United miles in exchange for $1,890 worth of Marriott points. And that’s not even factoring in the 7 free nights, which could easily be worth another $1,000+. So these flight and hotel packages can be great ways to cash in on the value of your Marriott points.

Final word

We all have our preferences for hotel loyalty programs. Some love stronger point values and confirmed suite upgrades of programs like Hyatt while others might prefer a program like Marriott with strengths in other departments. Personally, I love Marriott Rewards and have enjoyed being a Platinum Member with them and have no intention of giving that up any time soon.

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