Marriott Rewards Megabonus and Hilton HHonors Elite Comparison

The beginning of the calendar year is the time to consider your hotel loyalty plan for the year.  All the major hotel programs are currently offering promotions and Marriott Rewards kicked off the 2009 promotions with the start of the 25,000 points Megabonus yesterday.

pleasanton-California-Marriott Residence Inn

Marriott Residence Inn, Pleasanton, California

February is here and so is your opportunity to earn 2,500 Marriott Rewards bonus points with every Marriott brand hotel stay, beginning with your second stay.  Promotion dates are February 1 through April 30 and promotion registration is required.

Marriott Rewards – up to 25,000 points

Promotion dates: February 1 – April 30, 2009

Registration required.




Offer: 2,500 points per stay starting with second stay. 


Some Marriott Rewards members may receive a different offer for earning between 15,000 to 50,000 points, and some members have a bonus based on nights stayed.  My wife has no elite status with Marriott Rewards and she received a 25,000 points offer.


Some Marriott Rewards elites have mentioned on FlyerTalk being able to successfully get their promotion changed by a customer service representative to a promotion based on nights stayed.  This can be more lucrative in earning power for members who have longer multi-night stays and will not particularly benefit from 2,500 bonus points per stay.


25,000 bonus points is equivalent to points normally earned with $2,500 spending for a member without elite status.


Toughest Kid on the Hotel Block

Marriott Rewards has the toughest qualification standards for reaching top tier elite membership of the major US upscale hotel loyalty programs.



Hilton HHonors

Hyatt Gold Passport

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club

Starwood Preferred Guest

Lowest elite tier


10 nights or

2 events


10 nights or

4 stays


15 nights or

5 stays

Gold – $50 or 15 nights or

20,000 points

Gold –

25 nights or 10 stays

Middle elite tier


50 nights or

5 events


36 nights or

16 stays or

60,000 base points* in calendar year




Highest elite tier

Platinum – 75 nights or

7 events

Diamond – 60 nights or 28 stays or 100,000 base points* in calendar year

Diamond – 50 nights or 25 stays

Platinum –

50 nights or 60,000 points earned in calendar year

Platinum – 50 Nights or 25 stays

*60,000 HHonors base points is equivalent to $6,000 in eligible hotel spending; 100,000 HHonors base points = $10,000.

Marriott Rewards has a high threshold for elite qualification at 75 nights for top tier Platinum in contrast to the 28 stays qualification requirement for HHonors Diamond elite in the comparably sized Hilton Hotels chain. 

The recent change in Marriott Rewards with a 50% elite bonus for Platinum members places Marriott Rewards on an equivalent elite bonus earning level to HHonors Diamond. 

Double Dip allows the HHonors Diamond member a Points & Points option to earn 20 points per $1 with the Diamond elite bonus.  Marriott Rewards Platinum members earn 15 points per $1 with the new 50% elite bonus.

A frequent guest can reach top elite in any of the other four hotel loyalty programs for less than half of the 75 night requirement for Marriott Rewards Platinum, depending on your hotel stay pattern. 

Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest both ran Double Stay promotions in 2008 allowing a member to reach top elite status in as few as 13 nights.  IHG Priority Club allows multiple points bonuses to be earned for a single stay and it is possible to earn Priority Club Platinum elite in fewer than 10 nights if hotel stays are planned to maximize bonus point opportunities.

Something to Talk About: Marriott v. Hilton

FlyerTalkers sound off on Hilton and Marriott in this thread from October 2008 (before the Marriott rewards 2009 changes were announced.)

Reasons frequently cited for choosing Marriott Rewards:

1.    Number of hotels globally and throughout USA


2.    Quality of Full Service Hotels: Marriott and Renaissance brands


3.    Competitive prices for Fairfield Inn, Courtyard, and Residence Inns compared to other chain hotels.


4.    MegaBonus promotions occur a couple of times annually for bonus points


5.    5th Night free award redemption.

6. Marriott Hotel and Air Travel Packages

Reasons cited for favoring Hilton HHonors over Marriott included:

1.    Free breakfast on most full-service hotel stays every day of week for HHonors Gold and Diamond elites either at hotel lounge or restaurant.


Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum members receive hotel lounge access and breakfast, however, at hotels without a lounge the complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant is only offered on weekdays. No complimentary breakfast for weekend stays at full service hotels (JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard) without a lounge or hotels designated as resorts (and Marriott promotes its program stating it has over 225 Resorts). 


2.    Some frequent guests prefer Hilton’s Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn properties over Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Courtyard.  On the flip side, some guests find upper upscale properties are more consistent with Marriott/Renaissance than Hilton/Doubletree.


3.    HHonors award stays count towards elite qualification.


4.    Discount on awards for 6 or more consecutive nights.


5.    Earn Points and Miles for hotel stays. Points are earned at faster rate with Points & Points preference (15 points per $1, plus elite bonus with HHonors.  Marriott is 10 points/$1, plus elite bonus.)


Related Loyalty traveler posts:

Analysis of 2009 Marriott Rewards changes – http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2008/10/22/marriott-rewards-analysis-of-2009-program-changes/




Here is my Loyalty traveler analysis of Marriott and Hilton hotel categories and my argument for why I think Marriott will see a major hotel category shift for free night redemption.


About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »



  1. I am Marriott Silver from last year, and this is the offer I got – only every other stay:

    “Register by March 31 to Earn up to 15,000 MegaBonusSM Points
    You’re not dreaming. This is real and a really good opportunity to earn thousands of extra Marriott Rewards® points. Just register for the MegaBonus promotion and receive 3,000 points for every other paid stay you make at Marriott hotels – starting with your second stay. You can earn a maximum of 15,000 bonus points toward the vacation of your dreams.”

  2. Loyalty Traveler —

    This article can be a little bit misleading in my opinion. You start off by titling the article “Marriott Rewards 25,000 Megabonus & “Marriott Rewards: Up To 25,000 Points”

    Yet you then acknowledge that “Some Marriott Rewards members may receive a different offer for earning between 15,000 to 50,000 points”

    I am Platinum & my offer from Marriott is:

    “Earn 35,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points when you stay 20 paid nights. Earn an additional 15,000 bonus points when you stay 5 additional nights for a total of 25 paid nights. You can receive up to 50,000 bonus points overall.”

    This 50,000 Point MegaBonus combined with the new 50% Platinum Bonus is enough for me to consider actually skipping Starwood’s Night After Night promotion & stay with Marriott…

  3. It is difficult to analyze targetted promotions when there are a variety of different offers.

    I based the title of the post on 25,000 points since that is my offer and 25,000 points appears to be a common offer for people without Marriott Rewards status.

    Here are two commenters with vastly different offers that span the 15,000 to 50,000 points range.

    The 15,000 to 50,000 points was extracted from a previous post I did for the Megabonus promotion.

    Sorry for the inconsistencies.

  4. I was not criticizing – just thought I’d share the info on the offer I’d received. I find it interesting that the offers vary so much, both in number of points and how often points are awarded (every other stay, number of nights stayed). I think everyone has to check their own situation to see whether the tradeoffs are the same. Playing this “game” to “level up” is addicting but very time-consuming to keep track of. Thanks for your blog!!

  5. Mine as a Platinum is slightly different as well:

    “Earn: 25,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points when you stay 15 paid nights. Earn an additional 15,000 bonus points when you stay 20 paid nights. You can receive up to 40,000 bonus points overall.”

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