There are two ways to earn "rewards". First is a status within the program, each level brings with it a defined set of perks, including possible upgrades to your rooms at higher levels. The second is earning points either as Marriott points or with an airline, etc of your choice that Marriott participates with for rewards. The status is generally earned by the number of stays or meetings you have at various Marriott properties. The exception to this is by getting the MR Platinum card(s) and different ones credit you different levels of "elite nights" each year you keep the card. At the highest level, you get 15 elite nights, which puts you into the silver status level each year even if you don't step foot into a hotel. Points are also earned generally the same way, staying in the properties or hosting meetings at a MR property. Each point program is different, there are bonuses at times but all of that information is available on the Earn Points page @ https://www.marriott.com/rewards/earn-points.mi Of course there are exceptions to this as well by earning points via various rewards credit cards. If you are looking to earn free hotel stays, getting the black MR chase card will give you a good lead in and then use that card as you are comfortable to earn more points. The easiest way of course and what most folks really do is stay at properties or hosting meetings at the MR properties.