The Marriott Bonvoy program is a culmination of the Starwood Preferred Guest, Ritz Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards programs, officially reuniting in early 2019.
For those of you who are familiar with the legacy SPG program, not much has changed in terms of the ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points in Australia – it is still fairly limited.
Here are the easiest ways to build up your stash on Marriott Bonvoy points.
American Express Membership Rewards
The versatile American Express Membership Rewards program offers the best points-earning opportunities for your daily spend. This includes the popular Platinum Edge and Explorer cards, as well as the Platinum card.
The new exchange rate is 3 Membership Rewards points for 2 Marriott points, and you need a minimum of 600 MR points to swap for 400 Marriott points.
The April 2019 American Express changes will not affect the Marriott Bonvoy exchange rate, but your Membership Rewards earning rates may be lowered.
Marriott Group Hotels
Of course, you can earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points when staying at properties in the Marriott portfolio. With more than 6,700 hotels in 130 countries, you will usually be able to find a few choices at most destinations around the world.
The normal earn rate is 10 points per USD $1 ($1.42 AUD) at most Marriott brands, including room rates, dining and extra services such as spa treatments or activities.
This is halved to 5 points per USD $1 at Residence Inn, Towne Place Suites and Element hotels, but those brands are not common in Australia.
Finally, you can expect a bucketload of points for organising meetings, functions, conferences, weddings or other approved events at Marriott hotels. The rate is 2 points per USD $1 spent, up to 60,000 points total for non-status members and 105,000 points for Titanium Elite.
Each eligible rental with Hertz worldwide will earn 500 points. Simply supply your Marriott Bonvoy number when making a reservation or at the counter. Points can also be claimed retrospectively for 6 months. Until 31 May 2019, you can earn 2,000 points on an eligible booking of two days or more.
SIXT offers 750 points for every car hire, 1,000 points for limousine transfer and 3 points per 1 USD spent on SIXT ‘mydriver’. Marriott Bonvoy members can also apply for a SIXT card for benefits.
Members can skip the queues and rental formalities. Silver and Gold Elite can get a 10% discount, while Platinum and Titanium Elite members get 15% off and a car upgrade.
You can also buy points direct from Marriott at the standard rate of $12.50 USD ($17.65 AUD) per 1,000 point increments, up to a maximum of 50,000 points a year. New accounts with a qualifying stay can buy points after 30 days, while new accounts without activity can only purchase points after 90 days.
Spending through partners
Marriott has partnered up with various partners so points can be earned on travel-related purchases.
It is certainly easier to earn Marriott Bonvoy points in the United States, where they even have co-branded credit cards with American Express offering bonus points plus rewards for everyday spend.
In Australia, American Express Membership Rewards is probably the best way to gain a decent amount of Marriott Bonvoy points, followed by staying at hotels for those who travel frequently.
Earning points through car hire and other travel partners generally are not as lucrative, but good to keep in mind just in case you do book through them one day.