When you travel a lot for business, it makes sense to sign up for travel rewards programs – especially if you frequent the same hotels or airlines repeatedly. And if Marriott is one of those hotels you stay in often, you’re definitely going to want to sign up for the Marriott Rewards program.
But beyond just signing up and flashing your card every time you check into a Marriott hotel, there are others ways you can earn extra points than just staying in a specific hotel. Some of them may be obvious to you, but some of them may be things you didn’t know about – and the quicker you master the various ways to earn Marriott points in their rewards program, the quicker you get to cash in on those rewards.
How to Earn Marriott Points
The Marriott family of hotels offers lots of choice, but how many points you earn in the rewards program will depend on which division of the chain you’re staying in.
The most points you can earn is 10 Marriott Rewards points (or 2 air miles) for each US dollar spent, and that’s good at Marriott Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and Renaissance Hotels and Resorts. You’ll earn 10 Marriott Rewards points (or 1 air mile) for every US dollar spent on room rate only at Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, and Fairfield Inn by Marriott.
You’ll get 5 Marriott Rewards points (or 1 air mile) for each US dollar spent on room rate only at Residence Inn by Marriott, and TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Every US dollar spent at participating Marriott Conference Centers is good for 10 Marriott Rewards points; and if you’re staying in one place long enough to rent a Marriott ExecuStay apartment you’ll get 2.5 points per dollar spent on “all qualifying charges,” while renting a Marriott Executive Apartment will get you 2.5 points (or 1 air mile) per dollar spent.
Marriott Rewards Credit Cards
There are a few credit cards that will earn you points in the Marriott Rewards program, and the amount you can earn depends on which card you choose (and, of course, how often you use it).
The Marriott Rewards Visa Signature Card earns 3 points for every US dollar spent at a Marriott location, and 1 point for every dollar spent anywhere else. Additionally, you get 20,000 bonus points immediately after you make your first purchase with the card.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card earns 5 points for every US dollar spent at Marriott locations, 2 points for every dollar spent on airline, dining, and rental car expenses, and 1 point for every dollar spent anywhere else. You’ll get the same automatic 20,000 points after your first purchase with this card, too.
The Marriott Rewards Visa Business Card earns 3 points for every US dollar spent at Marriott locations, and 1 point for every dollar spent anywhere else. This card, too, comes with the 20,000 bonus points after you make your first purchase on the card.
If your main goal with earning points in the Marriott Rewards program is to cash them in on an airline ticket, then you might be more interested in the number of airline miles you’re earning rather than the actual “points” equivalent. The number of miles you can earn depends on the airline, and also on the particular Marriott hotel chain you’re staying in to earn those points.
As noted above in the “Hotel Stays” section, some Marriott hotels earn 2 miles per US dollar, while others earn only 1. And while the list of participating airlines is long, it’s not exhaustive. So it’s important to find out whether the airline you’re hoping to fly is one of those that participates in the Marriott Rewards program before you get too excited about booking a trip.
While you’re traveling for work, you can earn points on more than just hotel stays and flights. Marriott partners with several prominent travel services which can help you rack up points more quickly.
For every car rental you book with Hertz or European car rental company Sixt, you’ll get 500 Marriott Rewards points automatically (you have to provide your membership number when you make the reservation). Book a cruise through CruisesOnly and earn as many as 20,000 bonus points.
For using the send-your-bags-ahead service of The Luggage Club, you can earn Marriott Rewards points (as well as save the hassle of carrying your own suitcases). Using the services of Travelling Connect to make mobile phone calls on a local network you can earn up to 10 points for every minute of call time.
Through Marriott Vacation Club International you can buy a timeshare in a participating Marriott resort in one of many popular vacation destinations. You’ll earn 10 Marriott points (or 2 air miles) for every US dollar spent buying into your timeshare, and if you decide not to use your timeshare during a particular year you can let Marriott rent it out for you – and earn more points that way, too.
If you feel like shopping while you’re en route from one place to another, you can earn points when you buy things in a couple different places.
First, you can earn points through that seat-back standby, the SkyMall catalog – just make sure you provide your Marriott Rewards number when you buy anything through SkyMall and you’ll get 10 Marriott Rewards points for every dollar spent. Use your Marriott Rewards credit card to make the purchase and you’ll earn even more points.
You can also earn points by shopping online at several popular stores which are linked through the Marriott Rewards Mall. The number of points you’ll earn will vary depending on the merchant and how much you’re spending, but there are often special promotions running where you can earn double or even triple points on selected items.
Marriott’s Rewards credit cards are provided through Chase bank, and Chase is also a partner in the points-earning program. You can earn Marriott points by having a Chase Home Mortgage – you’ll get 3,000 Marriott Rewards points for every $10,000 you borrow.
If your job requires that you organize or plan events for your company, you can earn thousands of points by booking your next event at a participating Marriott hotel. You can earn up to 50,000 points (or up to 15,000 miles), so even if it’s not a work-related function you’re in charge of (family reunion? wedding reception? little league awards dinner?) keep that Marriott Rewards card handy and you’re even closer to redeeming those points.
Convert Other Points
Not using those Diners Club points? Turn them into Marriott Rewards points instead. 1,250 Diners Club points will get you 1,500 Marriott points. And if you’ve got points with RewardsCentral, you can convert those, too. 6,000 RewardsCentral points will get you 2,500 Marriott points.
This points partner is only available in New York state (although it doesn’t include Long Island), but if you live in the right state you can earn 2 Marriott points for every US dollar spent on your electric bill.
>> You can find out more about each of these ways to earn Marriott points on the official Marriott site here.
photo by terri_brown