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If you’ve seen any of my adventures on Instagram or TikTok, then you already know how much this girl loves to travel!

The most frequent question I’m asked online is, “How are you able to travel so much?” That’s a good question! Sometimes I can’t even believe it. 

If I told you I get a lot of free trips covered using points and miles offered by loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy and airlines, would you believe it?

Geeves in her hotel room looking out the span of windows onto the lights of the city of Vancouver
Suite at JW, Vancouver

FYI, this is NOT a sponsored post

In my last blog, Marriott Bonvoy Membership: A Real Girl’s Guide to Marriott Hotels and Resorts, I gave you a quick intro to the Marriott brand and shared the different hotel categories (which determines the type of trip you have and what it’ll cost ya- points &/or cash).

This blog will go into a bit more detail on Marriott’s perks and tips. I want you to get the most out of each trip. 

Pinterest Marketing Pin | How to Leverage Marriott Points and Miles with Marriott Partners

Welcome to the World of Travel Rewards

When I first started traveling 170+ days/yr, I kept hearing of all the perks and rewards that came with signing up for loyalty programs at different hotels.

Then, I met my then partner, who was getting travel perks up the ying-yang. I was like, “Heck yeah! Give me some of that!” It was then that I discovered Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy.

At first, the world of travel rewards seemed like a secret society. It wasn’t until much later that I would get the hang of it. I even learned the best ways to take advantage of loyalty programs and get more bang for your buck like with “double dipping” where you get multiple rewards for the same transaction through “reciprocal agreements” that brands have with each other. We’ll go into more detail about this later.

Long brown couch against a span of windows looking out onto the city of Vancouver at Marriott Hotel
JW, Vancouver

The world of travel rewards may be unfamiliar to you now, but once you get the hang of it, you’re going to rack up so many amazing free perks.  

My goal is to help you live your best life. In this blog, I’m going to share with you some fairly easy and super awesome tips to maximize your membership when you travel so you can earn rewards toward your next trip. 

You pay good money to travel. You should be compensated for your loyalty.

If you missed the other blogs in this Marriott series, I’ve shared…

The perks of being loyal to a hotel brand:
Marriott Bonvoy Membership: Your Guide to Marriott Hotels and Resorts

Some of my favorite tropical and cajun Marriott stays:

Marriott Hotel Reviews: Some Island Favorites and a Little Cajun In-Between

Funny reviews about %$#^&^ Marriott hotels I’ve stayed in and the good ones too:

Best and Worst Marriott Hotels I’ve Stayed In, Boom or Bust

Hotel Perks for Dummies

During the course of my relationship with my then partner, we would do a lot of traveling together. Most if not all of my vacations with him were paid for solely with points.

I’ve also experienced the excitement that comes with getting to the next level in my membership and unlocking the benefits that each Marriott status has to offer.

The benefits I’ve received through my Marriott Bonvoy membership range from free nights and bonus points to gifts, lounge access, complimentary breakfast, very early (& flexible) check-ins and late checkouts, and more. 

Geeves in an infinity pool with the ocean behind her as she looks back and smiles
Wailea Beach Resort, Maui

Needless to say, since first becoming a member several years ago, I’m hooked and have never looked back. Loyalty has paid off.

Just for having a Marriott Bonvoy membership and it’s free to sign up! Just like you can’t win if you don’t play, you can’t earn if you don’t sign up. 😉

A Crash Course in Hotel Rewards

Marriott Bonvoy Program

Maybe you’re after a hotel brand with membership perks, the most bang for your buck, the style and aesthetic you’re into, or hotels in each of the cities you travel to.

Or, maybe no one introduced you to the world of travel rewards until now. 

Marriott is great. Yes, I have affiliate links in this blog. But also yes, so do I for every other hotel chain so I’m not biased.. not that I am anyway.. I’ve given bad reviews for free products I’ve received in the past.  

A room at the Ritz | Marriott Hotel
Ritz Carlton, New Orleans

What I Love About Marriott

I’ve been loyal to Marriott for several years now. Not because they’re paying me (this isn’t sponsored). I’ve just had great experiences. Here are a few of my favorite benefits.

  • Marriott Rewards and Perks

    It pays to be loyal! Literally. There are so many benefits to having status with Marriott.
  • Large Range Hotels

    Marriott is currently the largest hotel chain with over 7,000 properties to choose from across 30 different hotel brands. I’ve never had an issue finding a Marriott property in the city I was traveling to.

    Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, you can choose a hotel with a boutique feel or a luxury brand like The Ritz while still racking up points which is awesome! 
  • Consistency

    I’ve found Marriott to be pretty consistent in terms of customer service and cleanliness, even at their lower-tiered properties like Residence Inn

    Don’t get me wrong, I love supporting small businesses but there’s something to be said about chains who deliver consistency every time. You know what you’re getting. And if you don’t, they have the means to correct the situation. 

    You can see all the different hotel brands and their levels here.
Lounge area of Ritz Club house with cozy brown couches and armchairs, library in the back, fireplace in between with a painting of a gentlemen

What is the Quickest Way to Earn Points with Marriott? 

How do I travel so frequently without paying out a small fortune?? Well, I honestly still do… but, I also got a lot of stays for free (not sponsored).

It’s called Double Dipping!

No, don’t go for the community ketchup with your saliva-laced french fry, gross.

I mean double dip as in… get perks from two different sources with the same purchase! 

It’s all about leveraging reward programs that have partnered up with Marriott.

Let’s say you’re flying with United Airlines.

Do you know how you get miles per dollar spent on the flight? Well, you can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points for that flight also through something amazing called…

Say it with me, “reciprocal agreements”.

It’s fantastic because you’re getting perks from 2 different sources for the price of 1! Voila, double rewards!

So, the myth shattered. Double dipping is not just the act of dunking finger food in sauce twice. Boom.

But, you don’t just earn points for flights taken. 

You can also get perks by making other purchases like car rentals (Hertz), dining, cruises, and more! 

So, you’ll get benefits with Marriott as well as Marriott’s partners when you’re signed up with both rewards programs. And, the good news? It’s absolutely free to sign up. 

You can get more info and sign up for a Marriott membership here.

Real Girl Review Tip: Before Booking Your Hotel

Before booking a Marriott property, do a quick online search for cheaper rates. (i.e. Hotels.com) Marriott offers a “look no further best rate guarantee” but, you have to book with them directly which you can do here.


If you find a cheaper rate elsewhere for the same hotel, room type, and dates within 24 hours of making your reservation and you’re approved, you qualify for Marriott’s price match guarantee + an additional 25% discount off your stay OR 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. It’s up to you. Fill out the claim form here.

Time to Leverage Those Rewards Even More Baby!

At first, it seems really trivial.. racking up rewards… but, we all make purchases every day. We may as well be getting points for it and earn free stuff! Right? 

And, not just toward Marriott’s free hotel stays. 

I’m also talking… free car rentals, flights, dining experiences, and much, much more!

But, just how exactly do you manage to get things for free? Where do you start? 

I’ve got you covered. By the end, you’re going to be like, “Girl.. I need a vacation”. 😉

For the record, I’m not trying to sell you. I just wish that someone had given me this info in basic easy to follow terms in a way that didn’t make me want to rip my hair out. 

Now, we’ll talk more about travel rewards:

Marriott’s Reciprocal Agreements
The Best Ways to Earn Points and Maximize Your Marriott Bonvoy Membership
Maximize Rewards with a Travel Credit Card 

But, before we get into any of this super cool stuff though, let’s start with the basics…

For travel essentials, check out my Amazon shop page!

What Are “Marriott Points” and Why Do We Want Them?

large tub inside a marble bathroom inside JW Vancouver

It may seem obvious but, with each completed Marriott stay, you earn points.

The higher your Marriott status, the more points you rack up through what’s called a “point multiplier”. 

So, starting out, you may not rack up that much at the lowest statuses but at some point, you’ll reach a certain status and start racking up points like crazy which you can then use toward things like free stays.

But, there are so many different ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy’s points. Not just hotel stays.

So, how do we earn them? From credit card purchases, flights, car rentals, dining, etc. 

Want to learn more? Follow me! 

Marriott’s Reciprocal Agreements

Currently, Marriott has agreements with these two airlines:

  1. Rewards Plus with United
  2. Your World Rewards with Emirates

Let’s talk about each…

Marriott and United Airlines

My ex and I traveled with United quite a bit and loved getting miles from Marriott stays and points with United flights we took. Gotta love double dipping baby! 

If you’re a member of both programs, you’re eligible for the following perks:

Fly United. Stay Marriott.

You get double status when you fly United and stay at Marriott. So, if you have Premier Gold status with United, you automatically get free Gold Elite Status with Marriott. 

Travel Points into Miles

Get 10% more when you convert your Marriott Bonvoy points into United miles.

Air + Hotel Travel Packages

Hotel deal + air miles. Umm.. hello?! Yes!! More of that, please.

Get 10% more miles when you redeem Marriott points for travel packages. See packages here. When you choose to fly with United, you can earn up to 10,000 extra miles. 

Earn miles when you choose Marriott Bonvoy

Book a Marriott Bonvoy hotel within 90 days of your flight here. Just select “book hotel” below your upcoming flight. You’ll earn miles after you’ve completed your stay with Marriott Bonvoy.

Convert United miles into Marriott Bonvoy points 

Convert United miles into Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1-to-1 ratio. Convert up to 100,000 miles into Marriott Bonvoy points each calendar year.

Offer only available for MileagePlus Premier members.

Start Double Dipping with Marriott & United for your next trip! 
Sign up through United here.
Sign up through Marriott here.

Double Dip Even More with United Airlines’ Credit Card 
The United SM Explorer Card works great with Marriott.

Marriott and Emirates  

If you’re a member of both programs, you’re eligible for the following perks with Marriott and Emirates:

Earn Emirates Miles for Marriott Stays 

Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold, and Platinum members earn 1 Mile for every $1 spent at a Marriott Bonvoy property.

Marriott Benefits for Emirates Members 

If you’re an Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum member, you enjoy the following:

• 4 p.m. Late Checkout
• Access to Elite check-in
• Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi

Earn Marriott Points for Emirates Flights

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite members earn 3 points for every $1 spent on Emirates flights (on top of Skywards Miles).

Emirates Benefits for Marriott Members

If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, or Ambassador Elite member, you enjoy the following:

• Elite in-airport benefits (including priority check-in and priority boarding)

Learn more about what you get from the Marriott & Emirates partnership here.  

How to Transfer Marriott Bonvoy Points into Miles with Another Airline

Maybe you’re going somewhere that these two airlines (United & Emirates) don’t have flights for. Or, you just prefer to fly with a different airline.

You can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to miles. It’s like magic! 

And guess what? Over 40 airlines participate. 

You can convert the points to miles here

How Many Marriotts Points to Miles Do I Get?

For every 60,000 points you convert, you get 5,000 bonus miles.

The reciprocal agreement lingo may be total gibberish to you and that’s completely fair. I didn’t always understand it myself. So, don’t feel bad if you don’t get it just yet. If you’ve made it this far, you’re amazing. 😊 

What are the Best Ways to Earn Points and Maximize Your Marriott Bonvoy Membership?

So, you know that you can get double rewards by booking with one of Marriott’s partners or with Marriott directly.  

But, that’s not the only way to get rewards. 

Earn Points for Hotel Stays

On most Marriott Bonvoy hotels, you’ll earn 10 points for every $1 spent. Free nights start at 7,500 points. More info here.

There are over 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy properties to choose from across 30 hotel brands. 

Each falls under a category that’ll tell you the price and style of a given hotel. 

Ready to plan your trip? Explore hotels and book your stay here.

Real Girl Review Tip

Business Travel Rewards

Do you do a lot of business travel? 

Rather than having your company book the trip for you, something amazing that you may be able to suggest is to book the travel accommodations yourself and have your company reimburse you. 

That way, you can use your Marriott or other travel credit card = rewards. Plus, you get to earn points on hotel stays as well as miles for flights.

You’ll rack up points quickly! Bingo babe, that’s what we want! 

Points for Events

You can even earn points for business meetings or for your wedding you held at a Marriott Bonvoy property! 

Do you know how many points you could earn if $1 = 10 points? 

Let’s say your wedding is $25,000 = 250,000 points! That basically racks up enough free nights at a nice hotel for a honeymoon. Hello… 

Start earning for events here.  

Earn Points for Dining

We all have to eat anyway, we may as well be earning points for it, am I right?!

You get 6 points for every $1 spent. 11,000 restaurants to choose from.  

Earn 1,000 bonus points in your first 30 days here

Tip: Double dip by charging all food, store, and other purchases to your hotel room. At the end of your stay, pay with your Marriott or other travel credit card (below). Those purchases you charged to the room will convert to points after your stay. AND, by paying with your credit card, you get bonus rewards! 

Earns Points for Car Rentals

Learn more here.

Earn Points for Cruises 

Just learned about this recently. Really cool actually. When you book a cruise through Marriott, you can get perks like bonus points and deals. 

You can even use your Marriott Bonvoy points for your cruise! And they have a 110% Price Match Guarantee which is awesome!

If you find a cheaper cruise price listed elsewhere, they’ll refund you 110% of the difference.

More info here.  

You can check out the different cruise lines offered (different types- luxury, destination-specific, themes, etc.) and book your cruise here.

How to Maximize Rewards with a Travel Credit Card?

There are also perks that come with making a purchase or hotel booking with a Marriott credit card (or other travel credit card which I’ll get into in a bit).

An Example

So, to use the same example from earlier but take it a step further, my ex and I wouldn’t just book a United flight and convert my miles into Marriott points to use toward future hotel stays. 

Nahhh… We’d use a Marriott credit card to get even more rewards and deals! Depending on the card, you get free night certificates, sign-up bonus points, a point multiplier, and more. More info here.

It takes double dipping to a whole new level.

Earn Points with a Marriott Credit Card 

My ex had the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase and always raved about it. Quite frankly, I did too. We got a lot of free trips.

When you use the card to make purchases, the points add up pretty quickly because of the point multiplier. What does that mean? More free nights! 

Before my ex and I knew it, we’d have enough for a 2-week vacation. 

I’m not here to talk about all the credit cards you should sign up for but if you’re looking for a quick way to rack up points with Marriott and earn free hotel stays immediately, Marriott credit cards are a great way to go. 

Marriott has several credit cards for you to choose from that range from basic, mid-level, and luxury. 

Depending on what type of travel you do and what you’re looking for in a credit card, you can have great perks like automatic status, free nights certificates, and a point multiplier for purchases made with the credit card! 

Now, you just have to see if one of these credit cards is right for you! 

Compare Marriott cards here.

Real Girl Review Recommends : Starter Credit Card

If you’re new to the game and unsure which credit card to get, I’d consider starting off with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. It’s the best “overall”.

What if I Don’t Want to Stick to One Hotel Brand?

Marriott is fantastic but if you’d prefer to be flexible when you travel, you certainly don’t have to stick to just one hotel brand. 

I love Marriott because I travel a lot and like to rack up the points and get the perks! Being loyal allows me to do that. 

But, what’s right for me may not necessarily be right for you. 

If you would rather keep your travel options open and not commit to a specific hotel brand, you’re better off getting a credit card that you can use at any hotel or airline. 

People often rave about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (below). 

There are a lot of options. Some of the best travel credit cards out there are:

travel Geeves with suitcase

And there you have it! Marriott points & travel rewards in a nutshell!

Stay tuned for my next blog as I share a few of my recent trips and my favorite and not-so-favorite Marriott stays.

Which way(s) would you like to earn points?

I love hearing from my readers! If you enjoyed my post, leave a comment below!

You can also follow me on TikTok, Instagram or Twitter.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

20 Helpful Tips for Traveling with a Chronic Illness

Marriott Bonvoy Membership: Your Ultimate Guide to Marriott Hotels and Resorts

Marriott Hotel Reviews: Some Island Favorites and a Little Cajun In-Between

Best and Worst Marriott Hotels I’ve Stayed In, Boom or Bust


Fact Check:

Real Girl Review strongly values truth and strives for accuracy. If you read something that doesn’t sound right, feel free to contact me and I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary. Posts are updated regularly.

Always keep it real…

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