This article is in the process of being updated.
Marriott’s hotel loyalty program got off to a difficult start after the program merged with Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest under the new name of Marriott Bonvoy. I had been part of the SPG program before the merger and was not sure what I thought of the new program. Although the merger process has not gone smoothly, I have enjoyed Marriott Bonvoy and the perks it has to offer ever since.
Marriott Bonvoy represents a massive portfolio of properties at all price and comfort levels around the world. I like knowing that I can use my points to get big at the Ritz-Carlton, but I also have the option of keeping it economical at a low to mid-level Marriott property that will always be comfortable and clean.
The other major reason why Marriott Bonvoy is a personal favorite is its huge footprint, with over 7,000 hotels participating in the program. This means that if you consider Marriott hotels for hotel stay needs, you can usually find comfortable, well-rated hotels that are available at a relatively low rate no matter where in the world you travel.
Marriott Elite Status
There are six status levels in the Marriott Bonvoy program, and you need to take either serious travel or significant expense to level up. But there is one big perk that you receive as soon as you sign up for the program: free Wi-Fi. Plus, membership in the Marriott Bonvoy program is free.
There are few things that I find more boring than spending big on a nice hotel room and charging myself money for every step I take. the credit card is a little bonus that I appreciate.
The multiple levels also mean that it is easy for me to maintain a certain level of status even in a year when I travel less. The lowest Silver Elite status can be achieved after just ten qualifying nights at any of their hotels and offers late check out and a 10% points bonus on stays.
One of my favorite hotels in the Bonvoy program is the Westin St. Francis on Union Square in San Francisco. I usually stay here when visiting family on vacation when the hotel is packed. The last thing I want to do after my wife and I are in from Los Angeles is wait in a line that can be dozens deep before we can check in.
Fortunately, Marriott Bonvoy members can use mobile check-in even before arriving at the hotel, and a designated employee will greet you and give you your key upon arrival. If you’ve booked a Grand Deluxe King City View room, you can then ascend 20 floors to the club level, where you can enjoy some of the best views of a beautiful city.
Using Bonvoy credit cards
Another strength of the Marriott Bonvoy program is its affiliated credit cards. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Business ™ American Express® Card offers a meaty welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after using your new card to make $ 3,000 in qualifying purchases during the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, get up to $ 150 in statement credits on qualifying purchases made with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Conditions apply. It also automatically gives you Silver Elite status. This card has an annual fee of $ 125. The card also offers excellent bonus categories, offering 6 points per $ 1 spent at Marriott properties, 4 points per $ 1 spent at US restaurants, US gas stations, wireless phone services purchased directly from US service providers and on US purchases for shipping, and 2 points per $ 1 for all your other expenses. Conditions apply.
These points become even more valuable as most Marriott Bonvoy hotels also offer 10 points per dollar spent at most of their brands, regardless of which credit card you put them on. So if you are already planning to stay at a Marriott property, paying for your stay with a Marriott Bonvoy credit card can earn you some serious points. As a frequent traveler who visits a number of hotels in the Marriott portfolio, I am able to accumulate points quickly.
One drawback to watch out for
Of course, Marriott Bonvoy, like any program, has its drawbacks and issues to deal with. One of the most important is that the “no blackout dates” policy is patchy. Although Marriott says its program does not have blackout dates, it makes an exception for a large number of hotels in its portfolio that it calls “older hotels.” So there is always the possibility that you will have difficulty finding rooms eligible for the awards during your desired travel dates.
To consult the rates and costs of the Marriott Bonvoy Business ™ American Express® Card, see this page.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
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