Introduction to the Marriott Rewards program

GUIDE: Program Guide
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
POSTED: September 12, 2018
UPDATED: October 13, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Marriott Rewards

Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world, with a global reach of 6,500 hotels across a range of brands.

The recently completed merger with Starwood has led to the amalgamation of the SPG and Marriott Rewards programs – at least on the back-end. While the final name of this program has not yet been revealed, we will in the interim call it ‘Marriott Rewards’ for simplicity. Final branding is expected to be revealed in early 2019.

Marriott points are one of the few hotel currencies that are available from credit card spend in New Zealand.

This guide goes over the basics of the program, including hotel locations, status benefits, how to get free status, and the basics of earning and redeeming points.

Featured photo is the St Regis Bora Bora Resort.

But… my account is still branded SPG or Ritz-Carlton Rewards?

Yes – the program is still very a little confusing. Marriott have in part kept intact legacy SPG and Ritz-Carlton memberships, at least on the front-end. However regardless of the ‘brand’ that your membership is under, it is now for all intents and purposes a ‘Marriott’ membership, with the same earn rates, status benefits, and membership functions. To keep things easy in the interim, we recommend merging your accounts and acquiring a single membership number.


Marriott have 22 properties in Australasia. The group includes legacy Marriott properties, plus those from SPG and Ritz-Carlton – you’ll likely be familiar with brands such as Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, and Courtyard.

One of these is in New Zealand – the Four Points by Sheraton Auckland.

Four Points by Sheraton Auckland

Check out our separate guide with a more complete list of hotel options across Australia and the Pacific Islands.


Marriott offers six status tiers in the following order (from lowest to highest): Member, Silver, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Platinum Elite Premier, and Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador.

A comprehensive table of benefits for each membership tier can be found here.

It’s worth it to join the program just to get free internet, discounted member rates, and the ability to earn hotel or airline points.

Get status with the American Express Platinum Charge

You’ll automatically get ‘Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Elite Status’ if you are an American Express Platinum Charge cardholder. Despite the current retention of SPG branding, this is simply ‘Gold Elite’ status with the entire Marriott group.

Earning Marriott Rewards points

Staying at Marriott hotels

The standard earn rate at Marriott properties is 10 Marriott points per US dollar spent on stays and food.

At Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites hotels, which are mostly located in the US, you’ll earn 5 points per eligible US dollar spent.

If you have the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll earn 25% more points on every eligible hotel purchase, including on room rate and other incidentals that can be charged to your room, such as dining and spa, thanks to complimentary Gold Elite status.

Have a read of our full guide on hotel redemption options in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Car Hire with Hertz

Marriott have a partnership with Hertz that allows you to earn points on all Hertz car rentals, at the following rates:

  • 2-4 days: 2,000 points
  • 5 days or more: 3,000 points

You can book via this dedicated booking portal.

Hertz Marriott

Travelling Connect

You can earn up to 10 Marriott points per minute of call time abroad with participating networks in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, America and Asia.

Your choice – earn frequent flyer points instead of Marriott points

You can choose to earn either Marriott points, or frequent flyer points with your preferred airline program. Simply login and update your profile to choose your preferred earning option.

A full list of frequent flyer partners and earn rates can be found here. All the programs of value to us in New Zealand are present, including Airpoints, Qantas, Virgin Velocity, KrisFlyer, and Asia Miles.

Remember – it is usually better value to earn Marriott points and then transfer to one of these frequent flyer partners. However you will require a minimum of 3,000 points before you can initiate a transfer.

If your stay at a Marriott property looks to be a one-off, you may be better off opting to earn frequent flyer points so you do not end up with a Marriott balance that you cannot use.

Example partners

Credit card transfer partners

If you have an American Express Membership Rewards card, you can transfer points to the Marriott/SPG program in increments of 330 points at a 1:1 ratio. The online portal still shows the partner as ‘Starwood’ and the currency as ‘Starpoints’ though for all intents and purposes, the points are now treated the same amongst the entire Marriott group.

Marriott MRP

If you have merged your legacy SPG and Marriott memberships, and received a new membership number, be sure to add this new ‘Partner Account Number’ to Membership Rewards prior to initiating a transferring – otherwise your Membership Rewards Points could become lost in the ether if tied to an older number.

Marriott MRP

Be sure to add your new account number to replace any existing one shown here

Buying points

Points promotions from SPG used to be wonderful, and represented great value for topping up either for specific stay redemptions, or for transfers to one of their many frequent flyer programs.

It is yet to be seen whether Marriott will continue with SPG’s legacy of running great promotions for buying points.

You can purchase a maximum of 50,000 Marriott Rewards points before bonuses each calendar year.

Points cost US$12.50 per 1,000.

If you’re a new member, there is a waiting period for buying points of either:

  • 30 days after enrolment if your account reflects activity (a hotel stay or earning of points through a Marriott partner); or
  • 90 days with no account activity

Buying Points Marriott

Redeeming Marriott Rewards points

Here are the ways in which you can use your Marriott points:

Here is a full list of airline transfer partners, including many which are otherwise inaccessible to New Zealand points collectors:

Frequent Flyer ProgramsExchange Ratio - Marriott Points : Airline Miles
Aegean Airlines3:1
Aeroflot Bonus3:1
AeroMexico ClubPremier3:1
Air Canada Aeroplan3:1
Air China Phoenix Miles3:1
Air France/KLM Flying Blue3:1
Air New Zealand Airpoints200:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia3:1
ANA Mileage Club3:1
American Airlines AAdvantage3:1
Asia Miles3:1
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3:1
Avianca LifeMiles3:1
British Airways Executive Club3:1
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles3:1
China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club3:1
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles3:1
Delta SkyMiles3:1
Emirates Skywards3:1
Etihad Airways3:1
Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns3:1
Hainan Airlines3:1
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles3:1
Iberia Plus3:1
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank3:1
Jet Airways JetPrivilege3:1
JetBlue TrueBlue6:1
Korean Air SKYPASS3:1
Lufthansa Miles & More3:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer3:1
Qatar Privilege Club3:1
Saudia Airlines3:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3:1
South African Airways Voyager3:1
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards3:1
TAP Air Portugal3:1
THAI Airways3:1
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles3:1
United MileagePlus3:1.1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club3:1
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer3:1

Marriott are following on with the SPG tradition of offering bonus points for transfers to frequent flyer partners:

  • Receive 15,000 bonus points per 60,000 points transferred – this will result in a total of 25,000 total points/miles being deposited into your frequent flyer account (or 375 Airpoints Dollars if you choose Air New Zealand)
  • You can transfer 3,000–240,000 points/day

Be sure to read our full guide to the transfer bonus, including key redemption sweet spots.

Current offers

You can find the full list of Marriott offers here.

Summing up

It’s not hard to earn Marriott points from everyday spend in New Zealand. The effective transfer rate of 1:1 over to Marriott/SPG from American Express Membership Rewards is respectable – considering the value and flexibility of these points – and it’s certainly possible to get a good stash of points going in your Marriott account.

If you haven’t already, start by joining the program for free, even if its just to lock in a discounted rate and free internet access.

If you’re an existing member of either the legacy SPG or Marriott programs, you may like to spend some time familiarising yourself with the program and any nuances, given the recent merger. Online functionality is known to currently be a bit buggy.

Be sure to keep an eye out for bonus points offers that provide an opportunity to boost points earn.

Supplementary images courtesy of Marriott.

Introduction to the Marriott Rewards program was last modified: October 13th, 2018 by Daniel Kinnoch