Hi! I'm fairly new to marriot rewards, and i am embarrassed to say this, but i cannot figure out how to earn points. I understand that i get 1 point per dollar for staying at a marriott hotel, but i am confused about the categories. How do i know which category is the best to stay at? I am assuming the higher the category the better? Also, i have the credit card so i am silver elite. When my poiints reset this year, it says i have 2 bonus nights. Those are not free nights, but rather 2 nights counting toward the total i need to stay at silver status? Is there any pointers you can give me to get some good travel deals? I appreciate y'alls advice. Any help will be greatly appreciated!!!
Hi demetriabeth, and welcome.
Please don't ever be embarrassed about not understanding the minefield that is Marriott Rewards. Only last week I got in a muddle about a reservation made using points, and the Insiders were very patient and helped me through it. They are a very helpful and informative bunch, who are always more than willing to share knowledge and experiences.
I am not sure what you mean about the bonus nights on reset, but there is another recent thread that might help you. Bonus Nights
But I can tell you about categories.
I am sure others will confirm that the category is simply to tell you how many points you need to have a stay using points at that particular hotel. Experience tells us that the category is not a firm indication of how good/bad the hotel is. The way the category is decided is a well kept secret known only to Marriott, but it seems to be based on popularity, location, and the number of Marriot Rewards members using points to stay there. So London hotels vary in category depending on where they are in relation to the sights, the more central hotels being the highest categories. Then the more of us who make a Rewards Points booking, the higher the category. Every year the categories are reviewed - and considerably more go up than down! We can all tell you of hotels in the same category that bear no comparison to each other.
So if you want to go to a particular area, don't be afraid to ask on here! There will always be someone who has been there. And there is also the hotel reviews tab, which contains honest reviews from Insiders.
Hope this helps.
demetriabeth, I'll try to help explain the bonus nights. Typically, you'll get a more detailed breakout which looks something like this.
Chances are, your 2 bonus nights might be rollover nights from the previous year. If you had more than 10 nights, but fewer than the 50 needed to reach gold, those will carry over. You'll also see the number of nights related to your credit card. 15 will be added on your credit card anniversary date, plus you'll earn 1 additional night for every $3000 you spend. That could mean your bonus nights are due to your spending on your credit card. There are also other promotional nights (often you'll get 1 night credit for your birthday if you have registered it with MR).
In any case, the total of promotional, rewards credit card, rewarding events, and rollover will equal your total bonus nights for the year.
Hope that helps.
Per your question:
“How do i know which category is the best to stay at? I am assuming the higher the category the better?”
NO, be aware there is no direct correlation/connection between “hotel category” and “quality
of the hotel”! The hotel category levels mostly represent and reflects some type of artificial demand from Marriott Reward Member to use their points to stay at a given hotel or in a city.
For example; JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel is a category 3 hotel, on the other hand there are significantly lower quality Marriott Hotels in San Francisco that are category 8 and also Courtyard in San Francisco is category 7.
Your post raises many issues and is probably best answered by a quick guide to the main benefits of Marriott Rewards:
There are 4 levels of membership, each giving many benefits, the mains ones of which are:
1. Member. enrolling and staying up to 9 nights per annum you receive 10 points per $ spent at Marriott hotels on room rates and incidental spend.
2. Silver Elite. Stay between 10 and 49 nights for silver level. As a silver member you receive an extra 20% points per $ bonus over base member on your Marriott spending and priority late checkout.
3. Gold Elite, stay between 50 and 74 nights and as a gold member you receive the benefits of silver and you're eligible for free room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts 7 days a week, free room internet, guaranteed exec lounge access and an extra 25% points per $ bonus over base member on your Marriott spending.
4. Platinum Elite. Those members staying 75 nights or more each year qualify for Platinum membership giving all the benefits of gold plus an arrival gift at the commencement of each stay, guaranteed 48 hour hotel availability and 50% points per $ bonus over base member on your Marriott spending.
Although most members earn most of their nights by staying at marriott hotels, you can also get bonus night credits towards elite membership. The most common bonus nights are those gained from carrying the Marriott credit card. The free card gives 10 nights credit each year, the paid card 15.
At the end of each year the annual nights counter resets to zero and you start the new year at the same elite level as you ended the old one. In February Marriott looks at the previous years stays and if you didn't make the nights required for for your elite level during the previous year, you're reduced down. So a Plat that stays only 60 nights by year end starts the new year at Plat, but having failed to make the nights for that year will be reduced to gold in February. Now for those who made more nights than their elite level on 31st December required, they rollover any excess nights to the next year, so a silver member with 12 nights will rollover 2 to the new year, therefore needing only 8 more nights to renew or 48 to get to gold. Likewise a gold member having 65 nights credit will rollover 15 nights to the new year and hence only need 35 more nights that year to reach gold, or 60 to make platinum.
Points earned can be redeemed for many things but the best value is to be found by redeeming against Marriott hotel stays. Every hotel is assigned a category between 1-9 depending upon past redemptions by the whole membership. Category 1 hotels are typically Fairfields in small towns and cost only 7500 points per night to redeem. Since most members redeem for leisure stays redemption demand at these low-cost business/motel locations is low, hence the category is low. Category 9 hotels are typically full service Marriotts in expensive world-class cities such as London, Paris and New York and cost a whopping 45,000 points per night to redeem. But many members want to redeem when visiting these expensive locations, hence high demand increases the category. The category number does not represent quality, but instead redemption demand, the higher the demand, the higher the category. If you redeem 5 consecutive nights at a hotel, the 5th night is free, so for instance redeeming points for 4 nights in a single stay at a category 5 hotel will cost 100,000 points (4x25,000=100,000). Book a 5th night and the extra night will be free.
Its important to realise this is only the quickest guide to Marriott Rewards, there are many exceptions, for instance, 5 points only per $ at Townplace Suites and a Residence Inns, no free breakfast or points on incidental spend at Courtyards, Edition or AC brands, no lounge access or breakfast at any hotel deemed a resort plus many others but hopefully this quick guide gives you a start.
Message was edited by: brightlybob to improve content and correct Townplace error
Great answer brightlybob.
One minor correction. SpringHill Suites earn 10 points per $ spent. TownePlace Suites (along with Residence Inns, as you pointed out) only earn 5 points per $.
Nice job putting all that detail so succinctly.
Thank you all so much for the information! My husband owns an Accounting firm and we have been so busy during tax season that we decided to go for a weekend away this last weekend. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard in Chattanooga one night then the next day, we drove up to Nashville and spent the night at the Courtyard at the airport. Both stays were nice, so i have my feet wet on earning points! Also, i filled out a survey about my stay at the Nashville Airport Courtyard, and mentioned that our room was not the one that I had reserved, never thinking or meaning that anything should be done about it. Low and behold! this evening i got an email from the manager at the nashville courtyard, apologizing for the "inconvenience" and giving me bonus points for our trouble. I feel kinda guilty accepting them as it really wasn't that big of a deal, but it has made me a confirmed Marriott's traveler that's for sure!