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How to spend a million Marriott points for an epic post-pandemic trip

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 5/24/2021 Ariana Arghandewal
a group of people riding horses on a beach © Provided by The Points Guy
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We came across a social media post recently from someone who had a million Marriott points saved up and wondered how far they would take him. Marriott Bonvoy has over 8,000 hotels worldwide and is a popular loyalty program for business and leisure travelers alike. This isn’t the first time we’ve come across someone with a balance this large and it probably won’t be the last.

TPG’s Points and Miles team got to discussing this conundrum and decided to offer their own take on how to unload a Marriott Bonvoy balance of this size. From desert adventures to extravagant private island retreats, here’s how TPG’s Points and Miles team would redeem a million Marriott points:

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In This Post

Benji Stawski: North Island resort Seychelles

a pool next to a tree: North Island, Seychelles (Photo courtesy of the hotel) © The Points Guy North Island, Seychelles (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

There are several private-island resorts you can book with Marriott Bonvoy points. Among them: the North Island Resort in Seychelles. Stays here come at a cost, however. Awards cost 388,000 Marriott points per night so your million points will get you just two nights here. You’ll also need to fork over 814 Euros each way for mandatory helicopter transfers.

In exchange for those points, you’ll enjoy a nearly 5,000-square-foot two-bedroom villa with a private pool. Your stay will also include complimentary breakfast, use of an island buggy, morning yoga and kids activities. Cash rates are often around $7,000 per night so you could be getting some serious value from your points. Just beware of potentially steep extra guest fees.

Katie Genter: Al Maha and A luxury jaunt around Japan

a house with a pool in front of a building: The Al Maha Dubai. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy The Al Maha Dubai. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

I’ve seriously considered booking the aspirational Category 8 Al Maha using points. But, if I was gifted one million Marriott points and told to spend them, a five-night stay on points at Al Maha would be at the top of my list. After all, the unique experience that includes all your food and two activities each day is appealing.

A five-night stay at Al Maha will cost between 280,000 and 400,000 points after Marriott’s Stay for 5, Pay for 4 perk. So, I’d have between 600,000 and 720,000 points to spend on a second trip. I loved using two expiring Marriott Bonvoy free night certificates to stay at the St. Regis Osaka and the Ritz-Carlton Osaka back-to-back in early 2020. So, I might use the remaining points to try several of Marriott’s other luxury hotels in Japan, including:

Of course, if you have Platinum Elite status or higher with Marriott Bonvoy, it’s worth considering which brands will provide you breakfast as a Marriott Bonvoy elite. When planning your trip, check out our posts on using points and miles in Dubai and how to fly to Japan using points and miles.


Gallery: Summer Travel You Don’t Have To Splurge On: Cities You Can Stay in for Less Than $140/Night (GOBankingRates)

Related: 5 ways to maximize Marriott Bonvoy award night redemptions

Andrew Kunesh: A tour of Central Europe

I’m a huge fan of European travel, and Marriott has a huge presence in the region. I would use 1 million Marriott points to revisit my favorite cities in Central Europe. I’d start with five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, which costs 230,000 points total after factoring in the fifth-night free benefit. This hotel is Ritz’s flagship in Berlin and is right in the center of the action in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz district.

Then, I’d take the train to Prague and stay five nights at the Augustine, a Luxury Collection property. This stay costs 280,000 points for five nights with the fifth-night free benefit or is over $350 per night this summer. This hotel is near Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge and is surrounded by incredible architecture. The property feels like a fairytale with lush gardens, classic Czech design and marble bathrooms.

a castle with a clock at the top of a building: Old Town Square in Prague Czech Republic (Photo by kps1664/Shutterstock) © The Points Guy Old Town Square in Prague Czech Republic (Photo by kps1664/Shutterstock)

After this, I’d hop on the train again and head to Vienna, where I’d spend five nights at the Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel. This iconic hotel has ultra-luxurious rooms decorated in Victorian style. It’s located in Vienna’s historic city center and puts you close to the city’s best parks, museums and restaurants. Five nights cost 280,000 points after factoring in the fifth-night free benefit.

My final stop would be a quick flight away in Budapest, where I’d spent five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest. This property is located in the center of downtown Budapest and — like the Ritz in Berlin — is the premier Ritz property in Hungary. This stay costs 240,000 points including the fifth-night free benefit.

Related: How to fly round-trip to Europe in business class for 88,000 miles

How to earn Marriott points

While earning a million Marriott points takes a lot of time and effort, you can get close faster with credit card welcome bonuses. We don’t recommend earning points without a plan or immediate use. Marriott could devalue points at any time without notice and the last thing you want is to sit on hundreds of thousands of unredeemed points that are now worth less.

That being said, if you want to give your Marriott account a boost for one of these awards, here are some currently welcome offers to be aware of.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card – 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card – Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.​ Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership.

Related: 17 ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points

Bottom line

Whether you have a million Marriott points or none, hopefully this gives you some inspiration and an idea for what’s possible. With Marriott’s vast portfolio of 8,000+ hotels spanning the globe, there are lots of incredible places to get value for your Marriott points. And with international travel set to make a comeback this summer, we should all be dreaming big and excited about getting back out there.

Featured image of by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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