The Marriott Rewards program is very popular, especially to those outside of the core miles and points community I interact with online, day in and day out.  I am always blown away by how many awards their loyalty program receives each year at the Freddie Awards and this loyalty/popularity is backed up by how many business and leisure travelers I talk to in everyday life who almost always bring up Marriott Rewards once we start talking miles and points.  I know that Marriott has a tremendous footprint with more than 4,000 hotels around the world, compared to the 500 – 600 that are currently under the Hyatt flag, so I have to assume this massive presence around the world has something to do with it.  They also have lots of family-friendly properties that may or may not be luxurious, but they offer a clean bed close to the attractions that families want to visit.

I think it is time to devote a post to discussing how to stretch your Marriott Reward points to get as many “free” nights as possible.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Save Up To 33% With PointSavers:
You can stretch your Marriott Reward points up to 33% further by taking advantage of PointSavers.  PointSavers are hotels that are available for a lower number of points on select dates.  If a hotel is available via a PointSavers rate the price in points essentially goes down one category.

Marriott Award chart

A quick look at the current list shows PointSavers hotels such as Castle Hotel, Autograph Collection, in Orlando and the Courtyard Rome Central Park.  Given that there are 4,000+ hotels in the Marriott family the list was pretty short, but of course it is still worth checking to see if the two dozen hotels on the list may save you some points.

Castle Hotel

Castle Hotel Orlando

Some of the hotels on the list had PointSaver rates only on select dates, while others had the lower points price available for months at a time.  The easiest way to search and find the PointSaver rates are to select “My dates are flexible” and “Use Rewards points” when searching an eligible hotel. The Castle Hotel Orlando had availability for 25,000 points per night throughout August thanks to PointSavers while the Courtyard Rome Central Park had hit and miss 25,000 point availability toward the end of the year.

Both hotels are normally Category 6 hotels at 30,000 points but were just 25,000 points per night via PointSavers.  Ritz Carlton also has PointSavers, too, but I don’t see any hotels currently on the list.

5th Night Free on Points:

Just like with the Starwood Preferred Guest program you can get the 5th award night free if you redeem points for a Marriott hotel for 5 nights or longer.  This even stacks with the PointSaver rates, so you could get the Castle Hotel Orlando for on PointSavers for five nights for 100,000 points (20k per night) compared to the normal rate of 30,000 points per night.

The 5th night free is available on point redemptions whether you are on a PointSavers rate or not.

Get Hotel Nights and Airline Miles with Marriott Hotel + Air Packages:

Similar to the SPG Nights + Flights concept, the Marriott Hotel + Air packages offer you seven nights of hotel plus an amount of airline miles ranging from 25,000 – 132,000 miles depending on the airline selected and the number of miles desired.  You pay one points price for the entire package and of course the more airline miles you want, the higher the cost of the package.

They have a few different pricing models for this that you can see here, but I’ll share a couple examples using United miles since they are one of the best deals.  Let’s say you wanted to stay for a week on Marriott points at the Category 8 Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Hawaii.  Category 8 hotels typically cost 40,000 Marriott points per night.  You would get the 5th night free bringing the seven day reservation to a total of 240,000 points.  However, for just 290,000 points you could get the seven nights of hotel + 55,000 United miles to use however you wish.  55,000 United miles are worth more than 50,000 Marriott points every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  The largest package in that category would be for 360,000 Marriott points and would get you the seven nights + 132,000 United miles.  That is an additional 120,000 Marriott points for 132,000 United miles.  Again, great trade if you have the Marriott points to do it.

Wailea Marriott

Wailea Marriott

If a Category 8 is too rich for your points blood, then if you are looking at a Category 1-5 property for seven days those packages start at 200,000 points for the seven nights + you receive 55,000 United miles.  That means you could have a week at Fairfield Inn & Suites Steamboat Springs and 55,000 United miles to help you get there (or anywhere else) for 200,000 Marriott points.  The seven nights without receiving airline miles would normally cost 150,000 Marriott points.  Your family of four could also hit the free hot continental breakfasts, enjoy two queen beds, and free internet at that property.  It may not be overly luxurious, but it is a way to bring a ski trip back into the realm of affordable!

Another popular use of the hotel + air packages would be to credit the miles to Southwest in order to get closer to the Companion Pass that requires 110,000 eligible points in a calendar year.  You can get more than that via just one package!  The Points Guy has a recent story of how that worked out well for his travel plans.

PointSavers, 5th Night Free, and Hotel + Air packages are three ways to stretch the Marriott points you earn from the limited time Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or any other source, that much more valuable.  In fact, earning points is generally regarded as the “easy part” learning the nuisances from each program to stretch your points is the part that takes a bit more effort.

If you are a Marriott pro, I’d love to hear how you stretch your points to cover as many ‘free’ nights as possible for your family!

 

 

Posted by Mommy Points | 12 Comments

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12 Responses to “How to Stretch Your Marriott Reward Points”

  1. For me, Marriott is my hotel chain of choice because they are everywhere. No Hyatts or Starwoods to be found anywhere close to grandma’s house in rural North Carolina. So I totally understand why more regular people (i.e., non-miles & points obsessed) choose Marriott.

    What works for me? We stay in and pay in cash for cheaper Marriott properties in smaller towns when we travel. With the Marriott card earning 5x, we rack up points pretty quickly on paid stays. Points then get saved for a big Ritz-Carlton redemption that we’d never pay for out of pocket. Not the best “value” in terms of absolute numbers, but the best value for our family in terms of what we need and value in our travels.

  2. LaduZi says:

    Using Marriott points in Asia is the BEST. It feels like half price like as do eating in most cities and Asian countries

  3. Tyler says:

    Are you just going to skip the significantly better 140,000 Ritz Carlton cc offer because you can’t get the referral link? Cmon.

  4. Chris says:

    The whole post is an excuse to push the card now that she has an affiliate link.

    Never mind that FT has had a link for a LOWER spending requirement of $1,000 for ages which was NEVER mentioned EVER before.

  5. Mike H says:

    Many people appreciate a post like this–and some are hearing this for the first time. Thank you! And could some of you please park the snarkiness someplace else?

  6. Nick says:

    You can use Marriott cash and points(it’s not like real cash and points) by splitting up an awards stay with a cash night in between and still take advantage of fifth night free( on the points nights). Always make sure you book the cheapest night with cash. The Marriott best rate guarantee is really the best of the lot.

  7. Jason says:

    Hi, thanks for this post with the pointers. I know that Ritz Carlton and Marriott are connected somehow, and I see that Ritz Carlton points can be transferred to their airline partners for miles. But do you know if Ritz Carlton has a Hotel+Air transfer deal just like Marriott to get a stay and airline miles? And specifically, if this is possible and it was done to make Southwest points and a stay, would the Southwest points be Companion Pass eligible? Thanks for a great blog!

  8. Hua says:

    Can you combine a free night certificate with points to get the 5th night free?

  9. Mommy Points says:

    Leslie, yeah having 4,000 hotels world wide, including near Grandma’s, does make it a good program for lots of people I think!
    LaduZi, for sure!
    Tyler, I didn’t know that offer was still kicking strong for non targeted folks until I saw Gary’s post this morning (sick all day yesterday). I would have also linked to that as well – two good offers are always better than one though I don’t think either offer is 100% better for all people.
    http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2014/07/28/140000-point-signup-bonus-ritz-carlton-rewards/
    Chris, there is a bunch of increased interest right now in Marriott because of the public and widely advertized 70k offer, so that is the reason for the post.
    Mike, glad to hear the post was useful for you.
    Nick, good point – thanks!
    Jason, yes they do and you can find the info here:
    http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Rewards/RedeemingRewards/TravelPackages.htm Also great question with the Companion Pass – I will have to add that detail to the post as yes the points are reported to count toward the CP. The Points Guy wrote a recent example here:
    http://thepointsguy.com/2014/05/using-marriott-flight-hotel-awards-for-the-southwest-companion-pass/
    Hua, that I’m not sure about. Seems like it wouldn’t work, but I have never tried it myself so can’t say with certainty.

  10. Denise says:

    While I am a fairly avid points and miles chaser, Marriott has pretty much always been my hotel chain of choice. The quality is consistent and sometimes I have to travel to places where there is no Hyatt or Starwood. (Not that uncommon of a situation, especially in the US!) We own a Marriott Timeshare so everytime we stay at a Marriott Vacation Club property we get Elite night credit. That adds up!The Asian Marriott properties are amazing, especially the JW’s, so we gather points at Fairfields and Courtyards and spend on JW’s.

  11. Beresford says:

    I am a Marriott loyalist and am always puzzled by how tough a beating they take on the blogs. OK, not puzzled b/c I know it is easier to reach plat status, etc. with other hotels, but here is why I like them. (1) as people have mentioned, there is some kind of Marriott EVERYWHERE; (2) and they are at every pricepoint, from budget (Fairfield Inn) to luxurious (Autograph Collection); (3) they are not all the same!! This is huge for me b/c I like variety. Sorry, Hyatt, but your bland beige colors are the same in many states (I used to have to travel and use Hyatt), but the variety in Marriotts enriches the experience; (4) generally high quality food, at least if you are not at the budget level — this is because Marriott used to be primarily a restaurant business as far as I can tell; (5) If you are loyal, those points add up quickly, esp if you get the Marriott credit card; (6) we always get at least 1 and sometimes 2 mini-vacations/long weekends on the bonuses they run (going to long weekend in Providence next weekend to see the mansions on just such a megabonus); (7) customer service is excellent; (8) I love the autograph collection! If you love unique hotels, my top 2 favorite are the Mayflower in DC and the Brown Palace in Denver (we just stayed there last week). Truly magnificent. (9) very family-friendly — lots of activities for the kids and no feeling like, oh no, my kids need to tiptoe around as in other luxury hotels. Marriott strikes a nice balance, even at the autograph collection hotels. There are more, but that’s enough for now. Oh yeah, I also am a Marriott Vacation Club owner, so that means points add up quickly as well. Great program.

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