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

Marriott Hotel in Minsk, Belarus
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Marriott’s loyalty program is known as Marriott Bonvoy. Today, it continues to be one of the most flexible and versatile hotel rewards currencies available.

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
Transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska Airlines. Image Credit: Marriott

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 transferable 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 Airlines Mileage Plan, 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 during standard dates 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 cancellations 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. You can even fly to the Czech Republic on points, making this a potentially free vacation.

The world’s only Category 1 Marriott property in the Luxury Collection brand is the ITC Kakatiya, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hyderabad, which offers an Executive Club room at a standard rate for an incredible value!

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 has added peak and off-peak redemption prices to each of its award tiers. According to Marriott’s redemption chart, 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 to 3 Cash + Points Stay

Le Meridien Saigon PointsCash
A Cash + Points booking may save you money during peak seasons. Image Credit: Marriott

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) 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.

Sheraton Nha Trang Points and Cash
Not all Marriott hotels are eligible for Cash + Points redemptions. Image Credit: Marriott

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 calendar 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 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 a number of different charities and foundations, including:

  • 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 = $10 donation
  • 5,000 points = $20 donation
  • 7,500 points = $30 donation
  • 10,000 points = $40 donation
  • 12,500 points = $50 donation
  • 15,000 points = $60 donation
  • 17,500 points = $70 donation
  • 20,000 points = $80 donation
  • 22,500 points = $90 donation
  • 25,000 points = $100 donation
  • 62,500 points = $250 donation
  • 125,000 points = $500 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

You can also use your Marriott Bonvoy points to purchase gift cards and other merchandise at 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 at 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
Redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points for a YETI mug. Image Credit: Marriott

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!


Frequently asked questions

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 Bonvoy 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: AC Hotels by Marriott, Aloft Hotels, Autograph Collection, Courtyard by Marriott, Delta Hotels, Design Hotels, EDITION Hotels, Element by Westin, Fairfield by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Gaylord Hotels, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, JW Marriott Hotels, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Vacation Club, Moxy Hotels, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, SpringHill Suites, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, TownePlace Suites, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels, and Westin Hotels.

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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6 comments

  1. David Giraitis September 18, 2019

    It is important to factor the cost of lodging taxes, which usually range from 10-20%. These taxes are generally not collected when you pay with points. Also, the 5th night is free when paying for a stay with points. That is another 25% that is saved.

    Reply

  2. Can I use my Marriott Bonvoy points to purchase gift cards? Can I transfer my points to another points card (i.e. a different Amex that offers different rewards for points)?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    Best,

    Steffi

    Reply

    • Hi Steffi,

      You can redeem Marriott points for gift cards, but it is a terrible way to use your points. For example, a $25 Amazon.com gift card is 10,000 points. That means you’ll get .25 cents per point, instead of the generally accepted value of around .7-.9 cents per point. If you still want to, visit this site for more information:

      https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/redeem/shopping.mi

      You’ll want to scroll down and click “Take your points shopping”.

      Reply

  3. Hi, can I use points for breakfast at a JW Marriot resort? How many points do I need for one breakfast buffet?

    Reply

    • Hello Siv. You can use Marriott Rewards points for Instant Redemptions at participating properties. 2,500 rewards points = $10 in credits, 5,000 points = $20 in credit, etc. You would charge the breakfast buffet (prices vary by location) to your room and then request an Instant Redemption to use points to cover the cost.

      Reply

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