How Many Marriott Points Are Needed for Free Nights?

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After the recent merger between Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG), a lot of people now wonder how many points it takes for a free night at Marriott properties. This article will show you exactly how many points you can expect to pay at different Marriott properties.

I’ll first show you some ways to earn Marriott points and then go through each category on the new award chart and show you the value you can expect from different redemptions. I’ll also give some recommendations for some properties I’ve stayed at in the past.

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Earning Marriott points

There are a lot of ways to earn Marriott points but one of the best ways is to jump on the right credit cards. There are a few credit cards you may want to consider, including those issued by Amex and Chase.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase is a 1:1 transfer partner with Marriott and there are several great travel cards issued by chase like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Transferring points to Marriott is not always the best idea because you often lose value on your points but in some cases it can make sense when the price is right.

Another option to consider is using the Chase Travel Portal to book Marriott stays. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem your points at a rate of 1.5 cents per point, which is very competitive and often much higher than you’ll get for your Marriott points. The drawback to using the portal is that you might not be able to receive your elite perks so that’s something to consider.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus

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The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card will offer you some decent earning rates at Marriott properties but the real strength of this card in my opinion is the free night that gets issued each year. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits of this card:

  • 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 6X Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels
  • 2X on all other purchases
  • Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points
  • Marriott Silver elite status
  • $95 annual fee

There is also a business version of this card as which is very similar but offers slightly different benefits, such as 4X points for every $1 spent on gas station, restaurant, shipping, internet, cable and phone service purchases.

You should note that the Ritz-Carlton card is no longer open to new applications.

The SPG Luxury Card

  • 75,000 points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • 6X on Marriott/SPG purchases
  • 3X at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 points) at a participating hotel.
  • $300 hotel credit
  • Gold elite status
  • $450 annual fee

The SPG Luxury Card is a great premium card with some solid perks like a $300 hotel credit and a free night award which can be used for properties at or under 50,000 points (which can be extremely valuable). I don’t care that much for the Gold status since it is now devalued and doesn’t include free breakfast. The welcome bonus did just drop from 100,000 points so you might want to wait until that 100,000 point offer returns.

There’s also a less premium SPG card you can get with a similar welcome bonus offered and only a $95 annual fee (and a business version of this as well). So in total there are five different Marriott/SPG credit cards that you can choose from.

There are a lot of restrictions for receiving bonuses for these different Marriott and SPG cards. Basically, by receiving a welcome or upgrade offer for one card or recently opening or holding a Marriott/SPG card, you may not be eligible for another card for 24 months. 


Marriott award chart

After the recent merger, Marriott created a new award chart and this new chart has added a new category into the mix and has also introduced peak and off-peak awards (though these won’t come into effect until 2019). So each property will have three different prices that could be used depending on the time of year that you’re booking the property.

Here’s what the Marriott award chart looks like:

The new Marriott award chart.

You can use this link to search for the point requirements for specific Marriott properties. It’s a very easy search feature to use and you can simply enter the city, country or region, brand name, or even the award category to browse through the different properties.

Note that hotels slated to be in Category 8 will be placed temporarily in Category 7, until Category 8 is introduced. So if you are interested in a future Category 8 hotel, you have the opportunity to save 25,000 points per night by booking before 2019.

Also, Marriott allows you to use cash + points for bookings so you don’t always have to cover the entire stay with your points.


Marriott point value

I typically value Marriott points at about .8 cent per point but it’s possible to get over 1 cent per point of value with some redemptions.

The value for Marriott points for everyone will differ but I’d encourage you to find a baseline value (likely somewhere around .8 cent per point), so that you can have reasonable expectations for the value of your points and know when a redemption is subpar.


5th night free

When you use award points to cover 5 consecutive nights, you’ll get the 5th night free. This is a great way to increase the value of your points so always take that into consideration when determining the value of your redemptions.


Marriott award categories

Below is a list of the different hotel brands that you might find within the categories 1 through 8. There are hundreds of properties across all of these categories so it would be a lot of work to break all of these down. So I’ve just pulled prices from random dates for different brands so you can get a sense of what the value can be for your redemptions.

These prices will surely vary throughout the year so just use them for quick guidance. Pay attention to how widely the price can swing within some of these categories.


Category 1 (7,500 points)

  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Aloft
  • Courtyard
  • Element
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Four Points
  • Protea Hotels
  • Residence Inn
  • SpringHill Suites
  • TownePlace Suites

As you’d expect, the brands in Category 1 aren’t going to be the flashiest. You’ll be able to find standard rates around $100+ for some of these properties, so using 7,500 points for them could actually be a good deal.


Category 2 (12,500 points)

  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Aloft
  • Autograph Collection
  • Courtyard
  • Delta
  • Element
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Four Points
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Renaissance
  • Residence Inn
  • Sheraton
  • SpringHill Suites
  • TownePlace Suites
  • Westin

It’s interesting to see some of the brands in category 2 like the Autograph Collection, JW Marriott, and Westin since these are typically properties are on the luxury side (granted many of these are not in the US) but you won’t find many US properties for those brands. Instead, you’re going to find a lot of Courtyards, Fairfield Inns, Residence Inns, and SpringHill Suites. The price range will often be somewhere around $90 to $120.

You can find some tremendous value in some of these international properties like the JW Marriott Ankara which can go for $334 per night. While there are issues with travel to Turkey right now that would be great value for a 12,500 point stay and goes to show you that international properties in the lower categories can be real sweet spots. 


Category 3 (17,500 points)

  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Aloft
  • Autograph Collection
  • Courtyard
  • Delta
  • Element
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Four Points
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Renaissance
  • Residence Inn
  • Sheraton
  • SpringHill Suites
  • TownePlace Suites
  • Westin

Category 3 has a lot of same hotels as category two with the addition of Element. In category 3 you see a bit more of the luxury brands that are actually located within the US like the Westin but others such as the Le Meridien and Autograph Collection only consist of international locations.

With some of these luxury properties, there are some great deals. For example, the Westin Dallas Park Central for $217 per night which at 17,500 points comes out to 1.2 cents per point and I got the same price for a night at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. So there’s definitely some great value you can find for category 3 properties in the US.

Some other brands offer decent value, too. For example, I saw the Aloft Austin Downtown for $184, which again is over 1 cent per point being offered. Category 3 also has a lot of airport hotels. But be aware that for larger cities, the airport hotels often fall into category 4 or 5.


Category 4 (25,000 points)

  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Aloft
  • Autograph Collection
  • Courtyard
  • Delta
  • Design Hotels
  • Element
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Four Points
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Renaissance
  • Residence Inn
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Sheraton
  • SpringHill Suites
  • St. Regis
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels
  • Westin

With the category 4 tiers, we start to see some of the iconic brands in this category like the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and W Hotels but these are all outside the US and don’t necessarily offer the best value. The rates at the St. Regis properties weren’t very high (under $200) and I found the same for the Ritz-Carlton.

You can still find some good deals in this tier. I’ve stayed at the JW Marriott Houston a couple of times with our free night certificate and rates go for $230/night and with Marriott Platinum benefits we’ve always been upgraded and enjoyed the nice breakfast, easily receiving over $300 in value.

Another good value for this category is the Renaissance Downtown Phoenix. I found winter rates for $276 per night, making it one of the more valuable category 4 properties. If you’re ever in the Hong Kong area, the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel is a great hotel with great value at $213 per night.

If you search hard enough, you should be able to find quite a few properties with prices over the $200 mark.

The Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel.

Category 5 (35,000 points)

  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Aloft
  • Autograph Collection
  • Courtyard
  • Delta
  • Design Hotels
  • Edition
  • Element
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Four Points
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Marriott Vacation Club Intl
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Protea Hotels
  • Renaissance
  • Residence Inn
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Sheraton
  • SpringHill Suites
  • St. Regis
  • TownePlace Suites
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels
  • Westin

Category 5 is where things really start to get interesting since this is the top-tier for the free night awards for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus, so naturally this is the category where you’ll be able to maximize your free night rewards.

There’s more top luxury brands in the US for category 5 but notably missing is the St. Regis with no properties located inside the US. The good news is that there are other luxury brands in the US worth spending your points on for this tier.

Some properties you might want to look at are:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami ($363)
  • The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester ($391)
  • W Miami ($337)
  • JW Marriott Miami ($386)

One great category 5 property that we stayed at before was the Westin Cape Town. It’s a beautiful hotel with great views of Cape Town along with an awesome lounge and breakfast. Rates were at $353 when I checked so the hotel also offers great value for your points at about 1 cent per point.

But be aware you can still find some cheaper brands that you want to be on the lookout for. For example, I found the Courtyard San Diego Old Town for $131. At 35,000 points per night, that’s .37 cent per point which is definitely not the way to maximize your rewards. 

View from the Westin Cape Town in South Africa.

Category 6 (50,000 points)

  • Autograph Collection
  • Courtyard
  • Delta
  • Design Hotels
  • Edition
  • Fairfield Inn
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Marriott Vacation Club Intl
  • Renaissance
  • Residence Inn
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Sheraton
  • SpringHill Suites
  • St. Regis
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels 
  • Westin

There can be some pretty dramatic prices differences for category 6 properties.

While there are more luxury properties, there’s still a limited number of St. Regis properties in the US. For example, the St. Regis Houston is the only category 6 St. Regis property in the US ($394 per night).

You still need to keep an eye out for the value in this category with some of the luxury brands, though. For example, the W San Francisco has nights going for $250 and for 50,000 points that’s only .5 cent per point.

Quite a few Ritz-Carlton properties priced around $300 but the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans priced at $430/night. 

The JW Marriott in Cancun is also another good option with nights at $430 as well.

One of my favorite properties in the world is in this tier: the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London — rooms can easily go for over $350+ and it’s just an iconic property with a perfect connection to the EuroStar.

One thing about the category 6 hotels is that in my opinion they will offer some of the least cents per point. I didn’t have any trouble finding redemption of 1 cent per point or higher for many of the other categories, but that was a task with this category.

It could have just been bad luck when searching, but I did eventually find some high value redemptions like the Le Méridien San Francisco, which was going for $634 per night.

The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London is an iconic hotel.

Category 7 (60,000 points)

  • Autograph Collection
  • Design Hotels
  • Edition
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Marriott
  • Marriott Vacation Club Intl
  • Renaissance
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Sheraton
  • St. Regis
  • W Hotels 
  • Westin

Category 7 has some very luxurious and expensive properties that approach $1,000 per night, including The Edition Times Square ($852 per night) and The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay ($961 per night).

But again, there can be some wide discrepancies in value. For example, I found the W Hollywood for $316 per night. That’s less than the JW Marriott Ankara, which is a category 2 property and would cost 47,500 fewer Marriott points. Obviously these prices will fluctuate depending on a lot of factors but that’s a pretty wild difference between the categories.

The cool thing about the category 7 tier is that these properties will cost 50,000 points during the off-peak season. That means that you’ll be able to use your free night from the SPG Luxury card for these. If you can find availability, that free night certificate can be worth hundreds of dollars as you can tell from the prices above.

The W Hollywood might not be the bet value for your points.

Category 8 (85,000 points)

  • Autograph Collection
  • Design Hotels
  • Edition
  • Le Meridien
  • Luxury Collection
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • St. Regis
  • W Hotels 
  • Westin

The top tier for Marriott going forward in 2019 will be category 8 properties. This is where you’re going to find a lot of Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Luxury Collection hotels. As you’d expect some of these properties can go for some very high prices like the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, which goes for $1,122 per night.

One of my favorite hotels I’ve stayed at was the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, there are a lot of great luxury properties to choose from but this property stood out to me with its great views, lounge, and all-around service.

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

Final word

I think there are are a couple of take-a-ways from this article. The first is that the free night awards from the Marriott and SPG cards can be used for some very valuable properties (if played right). The second big take-a-way from this article is that the value within the tiers can vary by a lot.

So you definitely want to do some shopping around before you use your points for free nights. It’s very possible to find award nights offering over 1 cent per point so if you’re trying to maximize the value of your points try not to settle for those redemptions only offering half a cent for your points.

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