With the recent rollout of the Marriott Bonvoy family of co-branded credit cards, a lot of people are looking at picking one up, mainly because of the welcome bonuses that top out at 100,000 Marriott points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express® Card (formerly the SPG Luxury Card) (Offer ends April 24)
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card (formerly the SPG Business Card) (Offer ends April 24)
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card) (Offer ends May 2)
The number of Marriott cards can be a bit confusing. We can help you figure out which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you.
Easily amassing 100,000 Marriott points can be an excellent opportunity and TPG has already talked about five ways families can maximize 100,000 Marriott points as well as how to get over $1,000 in value from your 100,000 Marriott points. Now, let’s talk about how to stretch 100,000 Marriott points to the max.
17 Nights at a Marriott Category 1 Hotel
Standard pricing for a Marriott category 1 hotel is only 7,500 points per night so you might think that you can get just 13 nights with your 105,000 points (100k points from the credit card welcome bonus and 5k points from the required spend to trigger that bonus). But you can actually do better than 13 nights. A benefit of the Marriott Bonvoy program is that members get their fifth night free on award stays, so that’s an extra three nights for free (as long as you’re booking in five-night increments). Then, just pay 7,500 points per night for the last two evenings and that’s a total of 17 nights for 105,000 Marriott points. You can really explore a destination in-depth with more than two weeks at your family’s disposal!
And the Marriott Category 1 hotels aren’t dumps either. While they’re basic, each one I have visited has been clean and a good place to stay the night.
A special bonus is that unlike other chains (Hilton, for example), the Category 1 hotels are not all in Egypt or China. Marriott has 407 Category 1 hotels, and 160 of them are in the United States. They are typically either Fairfield Inn and Suites, TownePlace Suites or Four Points hotels.
Check Out PointSavers
Similar to the IHG PointBreaks program, Marriott PointSavers are hotels that are temporarily available for a lower-than-normal number of points. So your 100,000 points could get you even more than 17 nights, though you might well be more interested in a smaller number of nights at a higher-category hotel.
Stay 5 Nights in a 2-Bedroom Suite With Free Breakfast and Dinner
Our family of eight can sometimes have trouble finding a single hotel room that will fit all of us. Residence Inn is one of our favorite brands, since its properties come with two-bedroom suites, which means we can have a room for ourselves, a room for most of the kids and still have enough space for the older kids to hang out in the evenings.
And most Residence Inns have a “manager’s reception” Monday through Thursday nights, which is code for “free dinner.” Staying in a place that gives free breakfast and free dinner is one of our family’s best tips for feeding a large family on a vacation, since it gives our family 16 free meals per day.
How many nights you can get depends on which category of hotel you’re considering, but 732 out of the 821 Residence Inns (89%) are Category 4 or lower, which means your 100,000-point bonus would get you at least five nights. (Read about the 10 best Marriott Category 1–4 hotels for families.)
Note that you typically would only book into a one-bedroom suite with your points, but I’ve had pretty good luck with emailing the hotel beforehand and having them give us a complimentary upgrade to the two-bedroom suite.
A Luxury Getaway in Hawaii (or Anywhere Else!)
Family vacations and road trips are fun, but sometimes mom and dad need to get away by themselves. Marriott, of course, has a wide variety of luxury hotels and resorts, so you might want to spend your 100,000 points on a tropical vacation. Marriott has a few Category 4 hotels in Hawaii, including the Courtyard Kaua’i at Coconut Beach (pictured above), where you can get five nights over Thanksgiving weekend for only 100,000 points (though that may cease to be the case once Marriott introduces peak and off-peak award pricing later this year).
Or, if you already have Marriott points (or Chase Ultimate Rewards points that transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio) and want to go somewhere other than Hawaii, play around with the Marriott hotel search page to see what’s available.
Turn It Into (Almost) 50,000 Airline Miles
The last suggestion is one that is specific to the Marriott program (brought over from the Starwood Preferred Guest program). You can turn your Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles on nearly every major airline. While in most cases it is not a good idea to convert hotel points to airline miles or vice versa, this an exception to the rule.
You can transfer as few as 3,000 points, and most airlines transfer 3:1, meaning 3,000 Marriott points gives you 1,000 airline miles. And if you transfer 60,000 points, you get a 5,000-mile bonus on top of the 20,000 airline miles, making it 25,000 miles. Of course, the savvy mathematicians in the group might note that your Bonvoy bonus of 100,000 points won’t quite be enough to make two full 60,000-point transfers, but it’s well worth waiting to accumulate 120,000 points to make sure you get the 5,000 bonus airline miles.
There are many ways families can make the most of 100,000 Marriott points (or 200,000 if both partners sign up for cards and each earn the welcome bonus). Smart travelers will use the size and variety of Marriott’s hotel portfolio to find budget or luxury. With over 6,000 hotels you should have plenty of choices. The goal is to make sure you find the best value for your points. That may take a bit of work, but sifting through the hotels to find the right fit for your family will pay off in the long run.
What would you do with 100,000 Marriott points? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Featured image of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman by Don Riddle