Comprehensive Guide to Marriott/Ritz Carlton Rewards (and Their Credit Cards)

DWQA QuestionsComprehensive Guide to Marriott/Ritz Carlton Rewards (and Their Credit Cards)
biohartsipenby asked 6 years ago

Alrighty, so I actually feel somewhat educated in this field…so it’s getting a guide :smileytongue: 


Firstly, let’s talk about the Marriott Family of hotels and what to expect


   Marriott rewards is a rewards program that encompasses 19 brands of hotels, we’ll break them up into categories – Full Service Hotels,Luxury Hotels, Select Service Hotels, Extended Stay Hotels, Timeshare/Villa properties, and earning only hotels (which means you can’t REDEEM points for a stay there) 


Full Service

  • JW Marriott – JW
  • Marriott 
  • Rennaissance – Ren
  • Autograph Collection
  • Protea Fire & Ice
  • Delta Hotels

Luxury Hotels

  • Ritz Carlton – RC
  • Edition – Edition
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Protea – African Pride

Select Service Hotels

  • Springhill Suites – SHS
  • Fairfield Inn and Suites – FFI
  • Courtyard – CY
  • AC Hotels – AC
  • Moxy – Moxy
  • Protea


Extended Stay Hotels

  • Residence Inn – RI
  • Towneplace Suites – TPS


Timeshare/Villa Properties

  • Marriott Vacation Club – MVC

Earning Only Hotels

  • Marriott Executive Apartments – MEA
  • ExecuStay – ES


I know there is more than 19 brands listed there, but 3 of them (Protea, African Pride, and Protea Fire and Ice) are all just different brands within the same family. 


What do these classifications mean?


Full service hotels are exactly what they sound like. They offer more in the way of amenities. They may have a club level, one or more restauraunts, nicer toiletries, turndown service, and so on. 


Luxury hotels are pretty self explanatory. These are going to be your (most likely) most expensive hotels here. JW Marriott could fall into this category, but it depends on the hotel, and your opinion. These are the hotels that are going to provide the best of the best in terms or service quality, amenity quality, (hopefully) room quality, but you will pay for this. 


Select Service Hotels give you a room, they may or may not have a restaurant, this is going to be your standard hotel, with no real frills. 


Extended stay hotels include a kitchen, and offer studio rooms, and one or two bedroom suites. These are meant for extended stays, and there’s a downside to staying at them (which we’ll get into later). Residence inn is a more upscale hotel, TownePlace Suites is more of a mid tier hotel, but they did just revamp their breakfast offerings. 


Marriott Vacation Club resorts are timeshare properties, but you are able to book a stay there just like any other hotel. These will usually be 2 or 3 bedroom villas, with a full kitchen, and a LARGE resort property. 


Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay are EARNING ONLY partner hotels, you cannot redeem points here, and like the previous category they’re usually used for extended stays, but for business travelers as opposed to families. 







Marriott Rewards Program


Marriott rewards offers 6 membership levels, with different benefits, and you can choose to either earn marriott points, or airline miles (38 partner airline programs). 


Basic Member

  • Free Wifi at (almost) every marriott hotel
  • 5th night free on all award stays


Silver Elite – 10 Qualifying Nights

  • 20% bonus points
  • Late Checkout
  • Weekend Discounts
  • Elite only Offers

Gold Elite – 50 Qualifying Nights

  • Guaranteed lounge access/breakfast for members and one guest (excludes resorts, and RC)
  • Room Upgrades – (Excludes Suites and Club Level at RC)
  • Free “Enhanced” Wifi
  • Guaranteed Room Type
  • Hertz #1 Gold Membership
  • Free local phone calls and faxes, discounted long distance phone calls
  • 25% bonus on points

Platinum Elite Status – 75 Qualifying Nights

  • 48 hour guaranteed availability for hotel rooms
  • Complimentary United MileagePlus Silver Status
  • Platinum Arrival Gift
  • 50% bonus on points

Platinum Premier Elite Status – ???? Nights/Spend

  • Fancy Title
  • Complimentary United MileagePlus Gold Status

Platinum 5-Star Status – Not Gonna Happen – VIP/Personal Friend of Marriott Family

  • Everything you want


If you are gold/platinum and a hotel does not have a lounge, or the lounge is closed you will either be given bonus points, or free breakfast in the hotel restaurant. 





1000 points (or 500 miles) at

  • RC

500 points (or a food/beverage amenity) at 

  • JW
  • Autograph Collection
  • Ren
  • Marriott
  • Gaylord
  • MVC
  • EDITION (or 250 miles)

400 points (or food and bev amenity) at

  • AC (US & Canada)
  • CY (US & Canada)


250 points or food and bev amenity at (international)

  • AC
  • CY
  • Moxy
  • Protea

200 points or food and bev amenity at




Elite Night Credits: 

 You will earn 1 elite night credit for each PAID night stayed at ALL hotels EXCEPT 

– Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay  – Both will earn you 1 elite night credit for every THREE nights stayed. 


If you fall short of qualifying for your next status level, your nights will rollover (one time, with one exception, See: Credit Cards)



You end 2015 with 45 elite qualifying nights. You only need 10 to qualify for silver, 35 nights will rollover and you will start 2016 with 35 nights. If you only stay 10 nights and end the year with 45 nights again, these nights will NOT rollover again. You will start 2016 with 0 nights (unless you have a marriott credit card) 


ALL elite qualifying nights (nights stayed, credit card nights, rollover nights) count towards lifetime status



Now In marriott rewards you can choose to earn either points and miles, but earnings differ based on hotel brand. 


You earn 10 base points, or 2 miles per dollar on ALL qualifying charges at (room service, hotel restaurant, spa services, and so on)

  • JW
  • Autograph Collection
  • Marriott
  • Rennaissance
  • MVC

You earn 10 base points, or 2 miles per dollar on room rate ONLY at

  • SHS
  • FFI
  • Protea
  • CY
  • Moxy
  • AC
  • Gaylord
  • RC


You will earn 5 base points or 1 miles per dollar on room rate ONLY at

  • RI
  • TPS

You will earn 2.5 points or 1 mile per dollar on 

  • MEA (Room Rate Only)
  • ES (All Qualifying Charges) 


 – Delta Is NOT on the earning chart. As of right now you CANNOT earn points at Delta Hotels






Spending Your Points




There are 9 categories, and 5 tiers of hotels, representing a point cost per night. ALL members get their 5th consecutive night (spent at the same hotel) for free. Most hotels use the “Category” system, ONLY RC, and Edition use the Tier system. 

  • Category 1 – 7,500
  • Category 2 – 10,000
  • Category 3 – 15,000
  • Category 4 – 20,000
  • Category 5 – 25,000
  • Category 6 – 30,000
  • Category 7 – 35,000
  • Category 8 – 40,000
  • Category 9 – 45,000
  • Tier 1 – 30,000
  • Tier 2 – 40,000
  • Tier 3 – 50,000
  • Tier 4 – 60,000
  • Tier 5 – 70,000




That is the basics of the marriott rewards program…the ritz carlton rewards program is the SAME program, with a different name. You can only belong to one of them, and you can switch your “allegiance” at any time you choose by simply calling up customer service. The only difference is bonus opportunities. 




Onto the Credit Cards


There are 4 credit cards associated with this rewards program


Marriott Rewards Credit Card

Marriott Rewards Premier 

Marriott Rewards Business Premier

Ritz Carlton Rewards Card



The standard marriott rewards credit

  • $ 49 AF, waived first year
  • 10 elite qualifying nights (these are not FREE nights for you to stay, they are nights towards elite status – This will get you silver status) 
  • 3 points per dollar on marriott hotels 
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 1 Elite night credit for every $ 3,000 spent on the card

Marriott Rewards Premier Card

  • $ 85 annual fee, waived first year
  • 15 elite qualifying nights (10 for silver status, 5 extra to get you towards the next level)
  • 1 free category 1-4 certificate on account approval, and one free category 1-5 certificate on each following cardmember anniversary
  • 5 points per dollar spent at all marriott properties
  • 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, rental cars, and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere
  • 1 elite night credit for every $ 3,000 in card spend

Marriott Rewards Premier Card (Business)

  • $ 99 annual fee, waived first year
  • 15 elite qualifying nights (10 for silver status, 5 extra to get you towards the next level)
  • 1 free category 1-4 certificate on account approval, and one free category 1-5 certificate on each following cardmember anniversary
  • 5 points per dollar spent at all marriott properties
  • 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, rental cars, and restaurants, office supply stores, internet service, cable service, phone service
  • 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere
  • 1 elite night credit for every $ 3,000 in card spend


Ritz Carlton Rewards Card

  • $ 395 annual fee
  • Automatic Marriott Gold Elite Status for your first year (and maintained each year after that with $ 10,000 spent on the card) 
  • Ability to earn platinum elite status ($ 75,000 in card spend/yearly)
  • $ 300 Airline Incidental Credit (airline lounge day pass, or towards a yearly lounge membership of your choice; airline seat upgrades; airline baggage fees; in-flight internet/entertainment; in-flight meals; Global Entry fees)
  • $ 100 Hotel Credit on paid stays of 2+ nights (RC hotels ONLY, must use Z34 booking code (online) or book over the phone)
  • 3 Certificates for upgrade to club level on a paid stay of up to 7 nights (RC hotels Only, must pay a certain rate, must be booked over the phone )
  • LoungeClub membership (Also free for authorized users)
  • 5 points per dollar spent at marriott
  • 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, rental cars and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 10% yearly bonus on ALL points earned through card spend



 The basic marriott card is pretty much useless in my opinion. For a few more bucks a year you get a free night every year. 


The premier card (personal and business), to me, is a keeper for the free annual night. You’ll rarely find a hotel for cheaper than $ 85, and silver status (though it doesn’t give much) certainly helps with the 20% bonus points. This also allows you to take a gold elite status challenge (if you are a basic member you can only take a silver challenge) which will give you a fast track to gold status. Like all hotel cards that offer a free annual night (Marriott, Hyatt, IHG…) I think this card is a no brainer if you travel at all. 


The Ritz Carlton card holds TREMENDOUS value for it’s automatic gold status, and benefits at ritz carlton. Even if you NEVER step foot in a ritz carlton hotel, if you stay at marriott often (but not often enough to achieve gold status), the free breakfast alone can be worth up to $ 50/day, and lounge access can be invaluable. Free food almost all day long, some lounges have free alcohol all day long. The ritz carlton club level upgrades can easily be worth $ 1000 (or more) each if used correctly, and the $ 100 hotel credit is worth $ 100 :smileytongue: Though you may have trouble using the $ 300 airline credit for gift cards, it still has its’ uses. 





I’ve left a lot out, I’ll be editing this over time, but it’s here if you need it :smileyvery-happy: Hope it helps some people a little bit, I know it’s unorganized. 


Feel free to reply with anything you think I missed or if you have any questions =] 






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