The Best Ways to Use 10,000 (or fewer) Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott Hotel in Minsk, Belarus

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Last year, Marriott combined its 3 loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz Carlton Rewards) into 1 program: Marriott Bonvoy. And while the program has been met with much controversy, it still continues to be one of the most flexible and versatile hotel rewards currencies available today.

This means that travelers have a number of options for redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points, even if they just have a few thousand points in their account. In this article, we’ll discuss all ways to redeem 10,000 or fewer Marriott Bonvoy points for maximum value.

Just note that 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points isn’t a ton of points, so you will have limited redemption options. Regardless, these options are better than letting orphaned Marriott Bonvoy points expire or otherwise not be used.

Let’s get started!

Top up Airline Mileage Balances

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy Points to Airlines
Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska Airlines. Image Credit: Marriott.com

Marriott Bonvoy has a number of different airline transfer partners, most of which transfer at a 3:1 ratio. This isn’t as good of a transfer ratio as other transferrable points currencies like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou Points, but the program has a number of unique transfer partners not found anywhere else.

Some of these include JAL Mileage Bank, Alaska MileagePlan, and American Airlines AAdvantage. These programs do not transfer in from other points programs, making them tough to earn without either flying their respective airline or opening a co-branded credit card.

Hot Tip: Marriott points transfers often take 24+ hours to process. Make sure to transfer your points as soon as you have a redemption in mind so you can secure your award ticket before it sells out.

We recommend transferring a small balance of Marriott Bonvoy points to one of these hard-to-earn airlines when short on points for a specific redemption. However, we do not recommend preemptively transferring points as this limits flexibility and can leave travelers subject to devaluations.

Book a Night at a Category 1 Hotel

Booking A Category 1 Marriott Hotel With Marriott Bonvoy Points
Booking a Category 1 Marriott hotel can be a great use of Marriott Bonvoy points. Image Credit: Marriott.com

Marriott Bonvoy members can redeem 7,500 points for a 1-night stay at any Category 1 hotel in the Marriott portfolio. While Category 1 hotels are generally mid-range hotels in smaller cities, they can be a particularly good deal when booking during peak travel times or at the last minute.

Further, there are some gems to be had in Category 1. For example, Four Points by Sheraton Fargo Medical Center is a Category 1 hotel in Fargo, North Dakota’s medical district. When booking a week in advance, a 1-night stay costs $113. This gives travelers a point value of 1.5 cents each!

Another useful Category 1 hotel is the Courtyard Houston Hobby Airport. A 1-night stay is $123 when booked a week in advance, giving your points a value of 1.64 cents each. This can be especially helpful during flight cancelations and overnight layovers.

Fancy a trip abroad instead? The Courtyard Pilsen in Pilsen, Czech Republic is located in the heart of the Czech Republic’s famous brewery town. However, rates generally hover around $60 (1378kč) when booked 1 week out, giving a value of just 0.8 cents per point.

With this in mind, make sure to do your research before booking a Category 1 Marriott stay with points. It can often be a better deal to pay cash for these hotel stays and save the points for a more lucrative redemption in the future.

Peak and Off-Peak Category 1 Redemptions

Keep in mind that Marriott is adding peak and off-peak redemption prices to each of its award tiers sometime in 2019. According to Marriott’s website, off-peak Category 1 hotel stays will cost 5,000 points per night, and peak stays will cost 10,000 points per night.

Book a Category 1-3 Cash + Points Stay

Booking a Marriott Cash + Points Stay
A Cash + Points booking may save you money during peak seasons. Image Credit: Marriott.com

Can’t find any Category 1 hotels that fit your travel schedule? Consider booking a Cash + Points redemption instead.

These redemptions let travelers use a mixture of cash and Marriott Bonvoy points to stay at a higher category hotel. With 10,000 or fewer points, you can redeem the following for a 1-night stay:

  • Category 1: $55 + 3,500 points
  • Category 2: $65 + 6,000 points
  • Category 3: $80 + 8,500 points

It’s important to note that these redemptions can have varying value, similar to booking Category 1 award nights with points above.

For example, a 1-night stay at the Courtyard Glasgow Airport costs $167.60 (132 GBP) when booked a week in advance. This is a Category 3 hotel, meaning a Cash + Points booking yields a value of 1.0 cent per point — not too shabby for Marriott points.

On the other hand, a 1-night stay at the Aberdeen Marriott Hotel costs just $71.10 (56 GBP) when booked a week in advance. This is also a Category 3 hotel, so you’d actually spend more money on a Cash + Points redemption!

Again, make sure to do your math before booking a Cash + Points award. These have the potential to give you good value, but sometimes fall short when a hotel is already low-priced to begin with.

Finding Cash + Points Availability
Not all Marriott hotels are eligible for Cash + Points redemptions. Image Credit: Marriott.com

Additionally, note that not all stays are eligible for Cash + Points redemptions. You can find them by checking the Use Points button when searching for a Marriott hotel — when available, Cash + Points redemptions will be displayed above the hotel’s standard points cost.

Transfer Your Points to Another Marriott Bonvoy Member

One of the nice things about the Marriott Bonvoy program is that you can transfer your points to other Marriott Bonvoy members for free.

Marriott Bonvoy members can transfer up to 100,000 points per year to another member, and receive up to 500,000 from other members. However, both the sending and receiving accounts must be in good standing and open for at least 60 days in order to transfer points.

This can be helpful if you have a friend or family member who needs to top-up points before making a large redemption, or if you want to take advantage of a travel companion’s elite status.

To transfer points, call Marriott Bonvoy at 1 (801) 468-4000 with both account numbers ready.

Alternatively, Marriott Bonvoy points can be exchanged for a charitable donation to one of Marriott’s charity partners. Currently, Marriott partners with 3 different charities:

  • American Red Cross
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Marriott Disaster Relief Fund

These are the current redemption rates available:

  • 2,500 points = $5 donation
  • 5,000 points = $15 donation
  • 7,500 points = $25 donation

Donating Marriott Bonvoy points to charity lets travelers have a real impact on these organizations and the people they help support. Visit Marriott’s donation page for more information and instructions on how to donate points to charity.

Redeem Your Marriott Bonvoy Points for Merchandise

Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy Points for Merchandise
You can redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for merchandise. Image Credit: Marriott.com

You can also use your Marriott Bonvoy points to purchase gift cards and other merchandise on Marriott’s online store. Marriott even has a special section of this store that’s dedicated to redemptions of 10,000 or fewer points.

However, whether you should redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for gift cards or merchandise is another question.

We looked through the Marriott web store and found that most of these redemptions give travelers far less value than redeeming for a Category 1 or Points + Cash redemption.

On the gift card side, a $10 Sephora gift card costs 5,000 points on the web store. This yields a value of just 0.2 cents per point — 1.44 cents per point less than the Courtyard Houston Hobby Airport redemption we mentioned earlier.

Redeeming Bonvoy Points for A YETI Mug
Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for a coffee mug. Image Credit: Marriott.com

Merchandise redemptions aren’t much better. A YETI Rambler 14 oz. Mug costs 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on Marriott’s store. This same mug is just $24.99 on Amazon, giving you a redemption value of 0.249 cents per point.

Bottom Line: To get a reasonable value from your points, we recommend steering clear of merchandise and gift card redemptions and focusing on travel rewards instead.

Use Marriott Bonvoy Points for Instant Redemptions at Hotels

Finally, Marriott Bonvoy points can be used to cover spa treatments, dining expenses, bar tabs, and other on-property purchases made during stays at a participating Marriott hotel.

To do this, simply charge an on-property expense to your room and request to use points to cover the charge at checkout.

You can redeem points at the following rates:

PointsDollars
250$1
1,250$5
2,500$10
5,000$20
12,500$50
25,000$100
125,000$500

Generally speaking, these redemptions do not make for a good deal. Redeeming 5,000 points for a $20 credit gives a value of just 0.4 cents per point. While this is better than a merchandise redemption, it’s still far less value than a free night at a Category 1 hotel.

Final Thoughts

In this article we looked at the best ways to redeem 10,000 or fewer Marriott Bonvoy points. While there aren’t a ton of options available, the ones highlighted here can provide relatively good value for a limited number of points.

We recommend sticking with booking free Category 1 nights if possible — generally speaking, these provide the best deal and can save you a decent chunk of change if traveling during peak seasons or booking at the last minute.

Let us know your favorite way to use small numbers of Marriott Bonvoy points in the comments below!


Feature Image Credit: Sergei Prokhorov

FAQ

How can I check my Marriott Bonvoy points balance?

To see your rewards balance, sign in to your Marriott Bonvoy account here. Then you will see your rewards balance at the upper right corner of the page.

When do Marriott points expire?

Marriott points expire after 24 months of no account activity. You can keep your points active by staying at a Marriott hotel or spending money on a Marriott co-branded credit card.

Can I transfer points to Marriott Bonvoy from my credit card?

Yes, you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy.

At which hotel chains can I earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points?

You can earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points at the following hotel brands: Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, AC, Delta Hotels, EDITION, MOXY Hotels, Protea Hotels, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, La Meridien, Tribune Portfolio, Design Hotels, aloft, Four Points, and element.

Can I use Marriott Bonvoy points to upgrade my room?

Yes, you can do this upon check-in at a Marriott property.

How many airline transfer partners does Marriott Bonvoy have?

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to over 40 different domestic and international airline loyalty programs.

Andrew Kunesh

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City. He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

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