Marriott is the largest hotel brand in the world by number of rooms, with over 7,800 properties in over 130 countries. The brand offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly options like Fairfield Inn and Suites to luxury hotels like The Ritz-Carlton.
Marriott's geographic footprint is vast, with properties in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Some of the brand's most notable properties include the Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Renaissance, Courtyard, and Westin.
In comparison to other major hotel brands, Marriott is the largest, with a significantly larger number of properties than Hilton, IHG, and Hyatt. However, Marriott's vast size has led to criticism that some of its properties lack unique character and feel more corporate.
Marriott has more brands than just about anyone else.
Le Meridien: Chic french brand that used to be owned by Air France. Generally great value and strong character .
Element: Hip health-conscious brand with free breakfast and rooms equipped with kitchens and other amenities for longer stays.
Luxury Collection: Very unique boutique luxury hotels
Autograph Collection: Very unique boutique nice hotels (step down from Luxury Collection)
St Regis: More classic/generic luxury but treats elite status members very well (unlike its twin Ritz-Carlton)
Aloft & Moxy: Basically the same thing — accessible and hip
Delta Hotels: Canadian brand of business hotels. Usually very large and kind of sterile.
W Hotels: Try to be sexy and luxurious, generally have small rooms, and sometimes overdo the chic. Often have nightclubs on their roof if that’s your vibe.
Ritz-Carlton: Classic luxury, nice Diptyque amenities but can be a bit cookie-cutter in North America and don’t recognize elites well (no free breakfast, basically no room upgrades).
If you get Platinum or above elite status with Marriott (you can do this by opening a single credit card) you get free breakfast at only ~1/2 of Marriotts. This makes some brands like St. Regis much better than Ritz Carlton if you value this.
Bonvoy dynamically prices their awards so there is no award chart to rely on. The program has often been devalued (this has become known as being “Bonvoyed”) and the most expensive awards can now cost up to 150,000 points / night. Value is often best when cash prices are low which can limit how much value you get for your points. You can redeem five nights for the cost of four (and subsequent multiples of 5 — 10 for 8, etc).
Marriott points can be transferred into 35+ airline mile currencies. Unfortunately, the rates are not great: 2.4 - 3 Marriott points → 1 airline point. United gets transfers as good as 2 → 1 and can be worthwhile.
Here are some of the best ways to redeem Marriott points around the world.
Check out this advanced guide if you’re interested in learning more about Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott has a few strong credit cards. You can earn Platinum status (free breakfast) and extra elite nights (max 1 business and 1 personal card at a time). Ongoing earnings are weaker but the perks can often justify the annual fees.