When it comes to hotel loyalty programs, not all are created equal. Some offer more value and perks than others. If you're aiming for a luxurious experience using points, it's crucial to select the right loyalty program.
Hilton and Marriott, two renowned global hotel brands, both have loyalty programs for their customers. In this article, we'll compare the features and benefits of these programs to help you determine which one is best suited to your needs.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Key Differences Between Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy:
Tier Levels: Marriott Bonvoy offers six status tiers, while Hilton Honors have only four.
Status Matching: Hilton Honors allow status matching with competitors, whereas Marriott Bonvoy does not.
Points Transfer Fees: Hilton Honors imposes a processing fee for points transfers, while Marriott Bonvoy does not.
Points Transfer Limit: Hilton Honors has no maximum limit on the number of points that can be transferred per year, whereas Marriott Bonvoy restricts it to 100,000 points annually.
Credit Card Partnership: Marriott Bonvoy has a partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards, while Hilton Honors do not.
Sign up for the loyalty programs now to avoid forgetting while traveling.
It's beneficial to join major hotel loyalty programs in case you unexpectedly stay at one of their properties. Collecting points for future use is always advantageous.
Consider purchasing points for an upcoming trip, as it can often provide better value than paying with cash when traveling.
Be kind during check-in and throughout your stay, as it contributes to a smooth trip for yourself and a better experience for the hotel staff.
A Comparison of the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Loyalty Programs:
Hilton Honors: Hilton's loyalty program, Hilton Honors, is free to join and consists of four tiers, each requiring a minimum number of nights stayed.
- Member: 0-6 nights
- Silver: 7+ nights
- Gold: 28+ nights
- Diamond: 42+ nights
Credit card holders can access higher membership tiers without meeting the night requirements. Benefits increase as you move up the tiers.
- Guaranteed discounted rates for Hilton Honors members
- Accumulation of points for free nights
- No resort fees when redeeming points
- Digital check-in and out
- Room selection options
- Digital key
- Free WiFi
- Access to exclusive Hilton Honors experiences
Silver members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- 20% bonus on points
- Free bottled water
- Fifth night free
- Elite rollover nights
- All-inclusive spa discounts
Gold members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- 80% bonus on points
- Upgrade options for available rooms
- Daily food or beverage credit at U.S. hotels or continental breakfast at non-U.S. properties
Diamond members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- 100% bonus on points
- Executive lounge access
- Diamond status extension
- Premium WiFi
- 48-hour room guarantee
- Elite status gifting options
Marriott Bonvoy: Marriott's loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, offers six tiers. Membership is free, and each tier has specific requirements.
- Member: 0-9 nights per year
- Silver Elite: 10 nights per year
- Gold Elite: 25 nights per year
- Platinum Elite: 50 nights per year
- Titanium Elite: 75 nights per year
- Ambassador Elite: 100 nights per year and $20,000 in spending
Credit card holders can achieve higher tiers without meeting the required nights
Benefits increase as you move up the tiers in Marriott Bonvoy.
All members receive:
- Free WiFi
- Mobile check-in and out
- Exclusive member rates
- Points earning opportunities
Silver Elite members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- Ultimate reservation guarantee
- 10% points bonus
- Priority late checkout
- Gold Elite members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- 25% points bonus
- 2 pm late checkout
- Welcome gift of points
- Room upgrade when available
Platinum Elite members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- 50% points bonus
- 4 pm late checkout
- Welcome gift of points, breakfast, or amenity
- Room upgrades, including suite options
- Dedicated support line
- Lounge access
- Annual choice benefit
Titanium Elite members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- 75% points bonus
- 48-hour room guarantee
Ambassador Elite members receive all the above benefits, plus:
- Flexible check-in and check-out times within 24 hours
- Ambassador service
Both loyalty programs offer comparable benefits to their members, but Marriott Bonvoy allows for two extra tiers compared to Hilton Honors.
After analyzing the advantages of both programs, Marriott Bonvoy emerges as the superior option. It's recommended to sign up for both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy to start earning points and enjoying benefits at both properties since membership is free.
Points Expiration: Hilton Honors points expire if the member's account remains inactive for 24 consecutive months. Similarly, if your Marriott Bonvoy account is unused for 24 months, your points will expire and be removed.
In some cases, the cost of a night's stay in points can be lower than the cash price for the same reservation. In such situations, purchasing points can provide savings and allow you to leverage your loyalty program benefits.
Both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy offer the option to buy points. While it's not always advisable to buy points instead of paying in cash, it can be beneficial in certain scenarios. It's a way to save on your reservation and take advantage of your loyalty program membership benefits.
Hilton Honors allows points transfers to other Hilton Honors members, albeit with a processing fee. The transfer can be done in increments of 10,000 points, and there's no maximum limit, but the fee depends on the total number of points transferred.
Marriott Bonvoy permits points transfers to individuals with loyalty accounts, which can be useful for spouses utilizing each other's points. Transfers can be initiated by contacting Marriott directly, and there's no processing fee. However, there's an annual limit of 100,000 points, and it's important to plan due to potential processing time.
Both Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors accept points transfers from specific credit card reward programs. Hilton Honors accept transfers from American Express Membership Rewards at a ratio of 1:2, subject to potential changes.
Marriott Bonvoy allows transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. Again, this ratio is subject to change based on promotional shifts or agreements between the companies.
Attaining higher status levels in hotel loyalty programs can be achieved through traditional means of staying the required number of nights, but it can also be costly. Another option is to leverage credit cards that offer membership benefits for higher tier levels in Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy. For example, the American Express Platinum card provides travel benefits, including hotel loyalty status.
Credit card holders can achieve higher tiers without meeting the required nights.
Hilton Honors offer a status match program where you can request a match by providing proof of your status with other loyalty programs through their dedicated matching website. This allows you to attain a corresponding tier status with Hilton Honors and enjoy the associated benefits.
On the other hand, Marriott Bonvoy does not offer a formal status match program, which can be considered a disadvantage compared to Hilton Honors when it comes to obtaining elite status benefits.
In conclusion, when comparing Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs, Marriott Bonvoy tends to offer a better return on point value and perks. With six status tiers, Marriott Bonvoy provides more opportunities for elite benefits, while Hilton Honors offer four tiers. Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy has a partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards, giving cardholders more flexibility and options for earning and redeeming points.
However, it's worth noting that both programs have their merits, and signing up for both can be advantageous, especially considering that membership is free. By joining both loyalty programs, you can accumulate points and enjoy benefits across a wide range of properties.
Remember to keep track of your points expiration policies, consider buying points when it offers better value, and explore credit card point transfers to maximize your benefits. Whether you choose Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy, taking advantage of these loyalty programs can enhance your hotel experiences and provide you with valuable rewards and perks.
Airbnb vs Hotel
When choosing whether you would prefer to stay at a hotel or an Airbnb location on your next trip, there are several things you will need to consider.