What Makes Marriott Unique? 

If you like to travel, you may want to earn rewards when staying at hotels and resorts. By joining Marriott Bonvoy, the loyalty program of the Marriott hotel group, you can do that. This hotel loyalty program boasts over 7,000 properties and 30 brands that range from budget-focused to luxury. If you regularly stay at properties from participating brands, you can take advantage of unique features and benefits — and earn rewards.

Here’s what sets Marriott and its loyalty program apart from other hotels.

is a hotel rewards program that is free to join. Marriott established the current program to reward loyal travelers in 2019 when the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program and the former Marriott Rewards program combined to become the Marriott Bonvoy program that we know today.

NerdWallet values at per point. The best way to maximize the value of your Marriott Bonvoy points is to redeem them for hotel stays. You should avoid redeeming points for air travel, car rentals, cruises or gift cards, as those redemptions typically offer much lower value. Keep in mind that if you have no qualifying activity for 24 consecutive months.

Marriott Bonvoy offers incentives to frequent hotel guests. The program has five with each successive tier offering more attractive benefits and bonuses. New Marriott Bonvoy members start at the standard member level with perks such as access to member hotel rates, complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and mobile check-in services. By moving up the elite status ladder, members will get access to more perks and higher points earning rates.

Here’s a quick summary of the elite status tiers and their offerings.

You may be wondering what makes the Marriott Bonvoy program stand out against other hotel rewards programs. Marriott has some distinctive offerings that make the Marriott Bonvoy program unique.

Marriott Bonvoy has 30 hotel brands under its portfolio, and travelers can stay at over 7,000 participating properties around the globe. Compared to other hotel rewards programs, Marriott Bonvoy has more participating properties, which gives you greater flexibility when making travel plans.

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Marriott’s Points Advance program allows you to book stays despite an insufficient points balance. This gives travelers the chance to book a sought-after hotel in advance, even if they’re short on points when making the reservation.

Here’s how it works: Your arrival date must be at least 30 or more days from the booking date, and you can’t make a booking if you have enough points in your account to fully cover the cost. Only three Points Advance program reservations can be made at once and you can only use Points Advance for free night award stays.

The program includes bookings for:

After making a reservation, you’ll need to have the required points in your account within 60 days of booking or 14 days prior to arrival, whichever comes first.

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Marriott Bonvoy has a redemption chart that outlines how many points you’ll need to pay per award night depending on the hotel category. Marriott offers standard, peak and off-peak redemptions based on the dates you’re traveling.

For instance, you can redeem an off-peak night for as little as 5,000 points per night. This can be a nice perk for travelers with flexibility who are looking for a great deal. Traveling during off-peak dates gives you more chances to take advantage of the best redemptions. You can see the savings when comparing standard, peak and off-peak dates below.

Marriott Bonvoy has a program called PointSavers. With this program, you can redeem your points for hotel stays and take advantage of discounted redemption rates of up to 20% off. NerdWallet’s will show you how to find and book discounted redemptions.

The amount you’ll save depends on the property category and whether you’re traveling during standard, peak or off-peak dates. Here’s how many points you’ll need to book through PointSavers.

Marriott Bonvoy gives members a free night when redeeming points for stays of five consecutive nights. This perk is available to all members, regardless of whether they’ve achieved elite status or not.

Of the five nights you book, the lowest point value night will be free. This is an excellent way to increase the overall value of your points and extend your next trip. Here’s an example:

The standard rate for a Category 4 hotel is 25,000 points per night. At that rate, a four-night stay would cost you 100,000 points. With a five-night stay that includes a free fifth night, the cost is still 100,000 points. That means by staying a fifth free night, your per-night point redemption is essentially 20,000 instead of 25,000. If you can afford to extend your trip an extra day, booking a five-night redemption can be a smart move to make.

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You don’t have to stay at a Marriott hotel to earn points; you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points by dining at participating Eat Around Town restaurants. All you have to do is link your debit card or credit card to your Marriott Bonvoy account and you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend at more than 11,000 participating restaurants.

While all members can earn points, elite members earn at a higher rate:

For travelers who frequently dine out, this is an excellent extra way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.

One way to earn points is by using a to make purchases; but you can also use other to earn points that you then redeem through the Marriott Bonvoy program. Both American Express and Chase have a partnership with Marriott Bonvoy. That means you can transfer  points or points to the Marriott Bonvoy program.

This opportunity gives you more flexibility to redeem for stays with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

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While the Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty program isn’t perfect, it has some notable features compared to other available hotel loyalty programs.

The program includes an impressive portfolio of thousands of participating properties. The PointSavers and Points Advance programs give you improved award booking options. And Marriott Bonvoy offers all members the ability to get one night free when redeeming points for five consecutive nights.

While Marriott Bonvoy’s points might not offer as much value as some other hotel rewards programs, this program has some standout features. These unique features set Marriott Bonvoy apart from other hotel loyalty programs. If you’re thinking of joining a hotel rewards program to earn points for free hotel stays, Marriott Bonvoy is worth considering.

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This post was originally published on Nerd Wallet

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