Marriott is my hotel of choice when traveling. They have hotel options all over the United States. In the past two years, I’ve only had to spend 1 night at a non-Marriott hotel due to their vast network. I wish I were kidding, but upon check-in to the non-Marriott (Hilton) I discovered urine on the toilet seat in the bathroom, further reinforcing my choice of Marriott hotels. When trying to maximize points with Marriott rewards I’ve picked up a few tricks to earn extra points along the way.

Credit Cards

Open a Marriott Rewards Credit Card. When starting out, there is no better way to get an initial stash of points than by opening the Marriott Premier Rewards credit card. Right now there is a “limited time” offer of 80,000 points. The typical sign-up bonus is 50,000 points, but the 80,000 point offer pops up from time to time. The credit card comes with a free night certificate at a category 1-5 hotel on each anniversary of account opening AND adds 15 nights to your elite status. I generally shy away from co-branded credit cards, but this is one that I find a ton of value in and you will too if Marriott is your primary hotel option.

If you chose to open the Marriott Rewards Credit Card you can also earn extra Marriott points through everyday spending on the card. Maximum value, 5x points per dollar, comes from using the Marriott credit card to pay for hotel stays or other incidental purchases at Marriott properties. The points add up quickly this way. I wouldn’t recommend the card for everyday spending or purchasing airfare (2x points) as there are better options available.

Refer A Friend

Marriott offers a refer a friend program for existing members to boost their personal stash of points. Each friend you refer that gets you 10,000 points! On top of the initial points, each time your referral stays at a Marriott property, you get an additional 2,000 points (up to 5 nights). All in all, you are able to refer 5 people a year. If done right, this could result in an additional 100,000 points a year from referrals. Be careful letting this information fall into the wrong hands as competition for referrals can be intense.

Status

Marriott Platinum status is hugely valuable, platinum status offers several different ways to earn points. Upon check-in, you can choose a “gift” or bonus points. With each stay, you earn 50% bonus points. If the hotel doesn’t offer breakfast or the restaurant is closed for whatever reason, you can pick up a few extra points.

Choose Hotels Wisely

Marriott offers several different hotel brands and each one offers a different number of points per stay. There are several cities that offer multiple brands of hotels and it is important to choose wisely, especially if you are going to be at a location for a full week or multiple weeks. Sometimes, the price per night for a higher earning brand such as a Courtyard is less expensive than a lower earning Residence Inn.

Complain

This is one of the more questionable ways to earn points, but I think it’s worth mentioning. If there is an issue with the room or any part of the Marriott experience, a simple polite phone call to Marriott customer service usually results in a few extra points. Depending on the severity of the complaint you can expect to earn between 1,000-10,000 points. For example, on a recent say the hotel had just performed its annual carpet cleaning. The carpet floors in the hotel rooms were soaked! Each day when I returned from work and removed my shoes, my socks became wet. Admittedly, this is a minor issue, but giving Marriott a quick phone call resulted in a few thousand points. Anytime you call to complain remember to go into the experience expecting nothing and if you earn a few points from the call, great!

Marriott points are not the most valuable points currency out there , but they can prove the be highly valuable when booking internationally. I feel bad putting the final topic in this post, but if Marriott continues to dish out points for wet carpets, broken water slides, or other minor inconveniences that happen when you travel you might as well take advantage of them, right? Best of luck padding your Marriott accounts!

Safe Travels!

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