6 Ways to Use Your Marriott Bonvoy Points for an Epic Vacation in 2023

Go big and spend your Bonvoy points on an overwater villa in the Maldives, a stylish boutique hotel in Rome, and more.

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands sits on the turquoise waters of the Fari Islands Archipelago.

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands operates mostly on solar energy.

Courtesy of Marriott International

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Marriott Bonvoy’s 177 million-plus members have resumed globetrotting and accruing loyalty points once again. They’re also spending hard-earned points across Marriott’s portfolio: 30 brands, nearly 8,300 properties in 138 countries and territories. With so many choices, how can a traveler even begin to decide where to stay?

For a little inspiration, we’ve hand-picked five standout hotel experiences you can book with Marriott Bonvoy points, along with one exciting newcomer we’re keeping our eye on that will be bookable with points before the end of this year. (Warning: pangs of wanderlust may ensue.) Plus: Tips for using Marriott co-branded credit cards to accrue points toward that next trip.

This overwater villa at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands has a circular shape inspired by the sun.

Each villa at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands has a dedicated butler.

Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

  • Location: Fari Islands, Maldives
  • From 92,000 points per night
  • Book now

Opened in June 2021 on the white sand beaches of the Maldives’ North Malé atoll, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is the vision of the late Kerry Hill, the Australian design legend behind some of the best resorts in Asia. Inspired by the sun, the resort’s futuristic-feeling circular theme starts with 100 round, wood-framed villas (some overwater, others on the beach, but all with a private infinity pool and serviced by a butler), and continues with a floating doughnut-shaped spa. The resort appeals to both families and honeymooners, with extensive daily programming including sunrise yoga, cinema under the stars, and stand-up paddleboarding and boat excursions. A kids club has a playground area accessed via a tunnel, complete with a multi-story playpen and slide flanked by water spouts. Multiple food and beverage options include the southern Italian restaurant La Locanda, which serves housemade pasta in an overwater setting.

The Maria Klotild Royal Suite at the Matild Palace has three bedrooms and large living spaces.

The Maria Klotild Royal Suite at the Matild Palace has three bedrooms and large living spaces.

Courtesy of Matild Palace

    Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel

    • Location: Budapest, Hungary
    • From 52,000 points per night
    • Book now

    Following a meticulous five-year renovation, the Belle Epoque–era Matild Palace in Budapest, used for royal functions at the turn of the 20th century, has been transformed into a 130-room luxury hotel. The architectural heritage of this UNESCO World Heritage landmark was preserved while interior designer Maria Vafiadis of MKV Design created beautiful spaces that celebrate Hungarian culture. Guestroom walls feature prints by Hungarian artists while headboards have been handcrafted by national artisans. Within the hotel, one of Eastern Europe’s most historic coffee houses, the two-story Art Nouveau Belvaìrosi Kaìveìhaìz, has been reimagined as Matild Café & Cabaret with menus curated by chef Wolfgang Puck. The hotel occupies an enviable location with views of the Danube River, ideal for waterfront strolls to reach iconic sites like the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and St. Stephen’s Basilica.

    The pool at the Miami Beach EDITION is surrounded by palm tress.

    The Miami Beach EDITION features two outdoor pools that face the ocean.

    Courtesy of the Miami Beach EDITION

    The Miami Beach EDITION

    • Location: Miami
    • From 71,500 points per night
    • Book now

    Miami in winter is the best—ideal temps when so much of the U.S. has dropped below freezing. Cure the seasonal blues by checking into The Miami Beach EDITION, which delivers on the full Miami glam experience, with a pool scene that’s all designer bikinis and sculpted beach bods, a beach club, a restaurant by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and an Instagram-worthy interior design that’s heavy on the Earth tones and light wood furnishings.

    Hospitality titan Ian Schrager—the mind behind legendary Studio 54 in NYC—reinvented the 1955 Seville Hotel into this 322-room retreat, which is chock-full of amenities appealing to today’s cool kids (for one: the underground “Basement” nightclub with an ice-skating rink and bowling alley). With a prime location on Collins Avenue and 29th street, it’s easy to check out nearby Art Deco landmarks like The Bass Museum (made from local oolitic limestone) and plug into the energetic restaurant and nightlife scenes of Mid-Beach and South Beach.

    The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort's overwater bungalows are located in a private lagoon.

    The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort’s overwater bungalows are located in a private lagoon.

    Courtesy of the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

    The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

    • Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
    • From 88,000 points per night
    • Book now

    The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is located on a small motu (islet) across from Bora Bora proper. Here, forest-cloaked Mount Otemanu towers 2,400 feet over deep turquoise waters, fringed by sparkling white sand beaches. The 44-acre resort comprises 90 villas, the most coveted of which are the overwater units featuring expansive sundecks and private infinity-edge pools fronting the ocean blues. Also on property are amenities like the 13,000 square foot Iridium Spa, a swim up bar, and four themed restaurants including the open-air, French Polynesia-inspired Te Pahu. Those looking for pursuits off-property can take a guided tour to swim with nurse sharks and stingrays or take the boat shuttle to Bora Bora, tour the town, and grab a drink at the beach bar Bloody Mary’s, an island institution since 1979.

    W Rome guest rooms blend different colors—in this case, subtle blues and pinks.

    The W Rome’s guest rooms are inspired by residences.

    Courtesy of Marriott International

    W Rome

    • Location: Rome
    • From 71,500 points per night
    • Book now

    The young and hip W brand is all grown up, and it’s revealing some next-gen hotels to prove it. Case in point: the new W Rome, which swaps the brand’s once signature party aesthetic for intimate, high design interiors. Spread over two adjacent 19th century palazzos, the 162 guest rooms of this Meyer Davis-designed hotel are illuminated by colorful leather furnishings, patterned half-moon couches, and tasteful gold trim. Most major sights are within easy access–for example, the Spanish Steps and Trevi Foundation are about 10 minutes away on foot. Between explorations, sip on an aperitivo in the open-air courtyard or in the secret magic garden within the property. Or feast on Sicilian-Roman fusion cuisine (think paccheri pasta with aubergine, tomatoes, and ricotta) at Giano Restaurant by chef Ciccio Sultano, whose Ciccio Sultano Duomo in the Sicilian city of Ragusa is decorated with two Michelin stars.

    The tented accommodations at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge are large and have neutral-toned interiors.

    The JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge as built in a way that would cause minimal disruption to the surrounding vegetation.

    Courtesy of Marriott International

    JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, Kenya

    • Location: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
    • Points per night not yet available (check back soon)
    • Book now

    An East African safari will soon become achievable with points before the end of 2023, thanks to the April debut of the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge in Kenya’s wildlife-rich Masai Mara National Reserve. All food, drink (including alcohol), and activities are bundled into the price of this all-inclusive tented camp, which will feature 20 units, each done up in soothing neutral tones with a private deck overlooking the Talek River and the surrounding lion and wildebeest-filled savanna. The resort aims to hire 70 percent of its staff from the area’s Masai community.

    Rise before sunset and jump in an open-air Toyota Land Cruiser to get a glimpse of predators and large herbivores like elephants, while also taking time to appreciate the smaller things on nature walks and bird-watching excursions. Luxuriate around camp in your own tent or in the communal areas, which include a lounge bar, dining area, spa, gym, and outdoor viewing deck with a fire pit.

    How to boost your points balance

    While Marriott Bonvoy switched to a dynamic pricing model for points stays in March 2022 (eschewing a published award chart and official hotel categories), as seen above, the loyalty program continues to present solid opportunities for scoring free nights at even its most esteemed brands.

    The easiest way to fast track a free stay is by getting one of Marriott’s four co-branded personal credit cards, each coming with a welcome offer, elite status, and opportunities to rack up points quickly, plus four cards offering anniversary certificates for free nights.

    The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card have the following introductory bonuses for new cardholders. With the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card ($250 annual fee, see rates and fees), earn 125,000 points after spending $5,000 in six months and earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after staying six eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy through January 31, 2024. (Offer ends August 9, 2023.) You’ll also gain Gold elite status just for being a cardholder, and earn 18.5x points per dollar spent at properties under the greater Marriott portfolio (once the elite bonus is factored in.) With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card ($650 annual fee, see rates and fees), earn 150,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first six months, gain Platinum elite status as a card membership perk, and receive an annual award certificate on their account anniversary valued up to 85,000 points. They’ll also receive up to $300 in annual dining credits (awarded as $25 monthly, and which helps offset the high annual fee).

    While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.

    Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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