Among the large planetary edifice chains, Marriott and Hilton are astir apt the 2 astir compelling brands for Canadian travellers looking to maximize their gains done loyalty programs.
Both person awesome footprints astir the world, and their respective loyalty programs let you to gain points comparatively easy without needfully having to walk a batch of wealth out-of-pocket, portion besides providing users with aspirational redemption saccharine spots.
So however bash they stack up against each other? Is Marriott Bonvoy’s estimation arsenic the champion edifice loyalty programme for Canadians justified, oregon are determination areas successful which Hilton Honors is successful information much advantageous?
The Value of a Point
Whenever we comparison antithetic loyalty programs, it’s utile to found the comparative worth betwixt a azygous constituent successful each program.
In this case, we mostly value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per constituent (CAD) and Hilton Honors points astatine 0.6 cents per constituent (CAD), truthful we’ll notation to these a priori valuations passim the head-to-head comparison.
It whitethorn beryllium tempting to reason instantly from these valuations that Marriott Bonvoy is the much invaluable program, but that’s not needfully the lawsuit for each benignant of traveller, arsenic we shall see.
The much avenues a loyalty programme offers to accumulate respectable quantities of points, the easier it is for america to prosecute with it and deduce benefits from the program.
Credit Card Welcome Bonuses
Marriott Bonvoy has 2 co-branded recognition cards successful Canada: the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card and the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, each presently offering 80,000 Bonvoy points arsenic a invited bonus. While the bonuses connected these cards aren’t the highest that we’ve seen, the cards should beryllium successful the wallets of anyone who takes their edifice points seriously.
Dipping into the US recognition paper market opens up adjacent much possibilities for Bonvoy loyalists. The Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Card, and the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Business Card person offers of 100,000–150,000 Bonvoy points, and besides travel with galore different perks.
Furthermore, Chase has 4 co-branded Marriott Bonvoy cards, ranging from premium to no-fee: Bountiful, Boundless, Bold, and the Ritz-Carlton Card (which tin lone beryllium obtained by upgrading from 1 of the different three). These cards besides person immoderate juicy invited bonuses and perks.
Meanwhile, Hilton Honors does not person a co-branded merchandise successful the Canadian market; instead, immoderate disposable recognition paper offers tin lone beryllium accessed done the US recognition paper market.
The bully quality is that Canadians tin easy initiate an American Express Global Transfer to 1 of Hilton’s Amex US products: the Hilton Honors Card (100,000 points), the Hilton Honors Surpass Card (130,000 points), oregon the Hilton Honors Aspire Card (150,000 points).
Verdict: Marriott is the victor here, since they marque it easier for Canadians to gain points done recognition paper invited bonuses without having to dabble with US recognition cards.
However, the awesome quantity of Hilton Honors points offered connected the US-issued Amex cards (150,000 points is thing to scoff at) marque them worthy the occupation of going done Amex Global Transfer.
Credit Card Spending
The astir almighty points earning complaint connected a Bonvoy-branded recognition paper is astir apt the “5-3-2” operation connected the Amex Business Bonvoy. You’ll gain 5 points per dollar spent astatine Marriott hotels, 3 points per dollar spent connected gas, dining, and travel, and 2 points per dollar spent connected everything else.
The US-issued Hilton cards connection a precocious complaint of instrumentality erstwhile staying astatine Hilton hotels, though the basal earning complaint is simply a azygous 3x connected wide purchases extracurricular of the United States. The lone objection to this is the 7 points per dollar spent connected prime question purchases with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
When making purchases extracurricular of bonus categories, I’d decidedly take to usage the Canadian-issued Bonvoy cards and gain 2 Bonvoy points per Canadian dollar spent (which I’d worth astatine astir a 2% return), alternatively of 3 Hilton points per USD spent connected immoderate of the Hilton cards (which I’d worth astatine astir a 1.6% return, taking into relationship the overseas speech difference).
Verdict: In general, Marriott Bonvoy’s co-branded recognition cards connection a stronger instrumentality connected spending, with the objection of the 7–14x net you’d get connected really staying astatine Hilton hotels with 1 of the Hilton cards.
Transferring from Other Programs
Both Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors are transportation partners from American Express Membership Rewards (MR), with transportation ratios of 1:1.2 and 1:1 respectively. There are occasional transportation bonus promotions to some programs, astatine which constituent the ratios would beryllium temporarily accrued successful your favour.
There’s constricted worth successful converting your Membership Rewards points to either edifice program, since they tin beryllium overmuch much efficaciously redeemed for hose rewards. However, if you request to apical up your equilibrium successful either programme for an aspirational redemption, you tin inactive get decent worth retired of the transfer.
Verdict: Although some programs let transfers from Amex MR points, Marriott Bonvoy is the much compelling option, acknowledgment to a superior transportation ratio.
Ignoring elite bonuses (we’ll get to that later), some Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors springiness users 10 points per US dollar spent at full-service properties and 5 points per US dollar spent at limited-service properties.
Both programs besides routinely enactment connected promotions for users to gain further points from their stays, specified arsenic a model of accidental to gain treble points connected each stay.
Verdict: Bonvoy and Honors some travel the aforesaid manufacture modular here, but Marriott Bonvoy comes retired up if we comparison the comparative values of the 2 points currencies you’re earning.
Purchasing points outright is ne'er the first-choice enactment for padding your balances, but it tin ever beryllium utile if you request a fistful of other points successful a pinch.
Marriott and Hilton some let you to bargain points, astatine accustomed rates of 1.25 US cents per point and 1 US cent per point, respectively. Neither of these options are peculiarly compelling, and should lone beryllium utilized if you desperately request to top-up your relationship for an upcoming redemption.
However, some programs often enactment connected promotions allowing users to bargain points astatine a discount.
In the caller past, Marriott Bonvoy’s astir generous promotion truthful acold has been a 60% bonus, reducing the acquisition terms to 0.78 US cents per point.
Meanwhile, Hilton often puts connected generous 100% bonuses erstwhile buying points, which is equivalent to a 50% discount. This lowers the acquisition terms to 0.5 US cents per point, which is an connection I’d instrumentality up well before Marriott’s discounted offer, particularly if I’m looking astatine booking immoderate aspirational Hilton edifice stays.
Verdict: Hilton’s predominant 100% bonus events connected points purchases marque it the victor successful this category. If you’re looking for opportunities to strategically bargain points to get a discount connected high-value edifice stays, you’d beryllium overmuch amended served with Hilton than with Marriott.
Redemption Sweet Spots
It’s lone meaningful to speech astir points earning opportunities if we besides see what you tin redeem those points for. On balance, however galore escaped nights astatine a edifice tin you unlock utilizing the recognition paper signup bonuses (and different earning opportunities we covered above) from each program?
Again, this question tin beryllium breached down into respective antithetic considerations:
Low-End / Mid-Range Hotels
Some travellers similar to usage their edifice points to screen arsenic galore escaped edifice nights arsenic possible, with small respect for the luxury origin that mightiness travel with higher-tier hotels wrong a program.
Marriott Bonvoy is moving successful the absorption of dynamic pricing successful 2023. For now, we tin instrumentality vantage of immoderate saccharine spots wrong the program, specified arsenic stays astatine mid-range hotels successful Kuala Lumpur for astir 12,500 points per night.
If you’re visiting a much costly destination, you tin inactive find immoderate saccharine spots wrong Marriott Bonvoy. For example, Australia strikes a bully equilibrium betwixt outgo successful points against the currency price.
During Australia’s summertime months, a nighttime astatine the Brisbane Marriott Hotel costs astir $400 AUD ($346 CAD) per night.
For the aforesaid clip frame, we tin publication rooms utilizing Bonvoy points for 20,000–30,000 points.
With this example, a azygous invited bonus of 80,000 points from a recognition paper tin unlock up to 5 nights astatine the Brisbane Marriott Hotel (January 12–17) erstwhile utilizing the Fifth Night Free benefit, each for the yearly interest of $120. That’s not atrocious astatine all, considering that the aforesaid rooms erstwhile booked with currency would outgo $1,740 AUD ($1,506 CAD).
On the different hand, let’s look astatine immoderate ways to usage the invited bonus from the base-level Hilton Honors Card from Amex US, which offers up to 100,000 Hilton Honors points for nary yearly fee.
Instead of utilizing a fixed reward chart, Hilton Honors besides prices their hotels dynamically, meaning that the grant outgo varies based connected galore antithetic factors. You’ll truthful person to look up your circumstantial edifice to fig retired its nonstop grant cost, and we tin lone marque unsmooth judgments connected however galore escaped edifice nights you mightiness get with a definite fig of Hilton points.
While a prime fewer Hilton properties astir the satellite are priced arsenic debased arsenic 5,000 points per night, most mid-range hotels successful semi-popular destinations astir the satellite are priced astatine 20,000–40,000 points per night.
At the little end, you tin find properties specified arsenic the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport for lone 5,000 points per night.
Moving up to a mid-range hotel, the Hilton Kuala Lumpur tends to terms retired astatine astir 30,000 points per night.
Therefore, akin to Marriott Bonvoy, your invited bonus volition beryllium bully for astir 2 to 5 nights astatine a non-luxury spot (taking into relationship the Fifth Night Free benefit, which Hilton besides offers). If you redeem points for hotels astatine the lowest outgo successful each program, you tin get up to 20 nights with a azygous invited bonus.
Of course, this was lone the base-level Hilton recognition paper and the base-level Bonvoy recognition card; the higher-end cards from Amex US tin surely beryllium utilized to screen adjacent much edifice nights connected your trip.
Verdict: On balance, I’d enactment Marriott and Hilton astir connected par successful presumption of redeeming escaped nights astatine low-end oregon mid-range hotels. It volition beryllium absorbing to spot however the 2 programs comparison erstwhile Marriott Bonvoy joins Hilton with dynamically-priced edifice redemptions.
High-End Luxury Hotels
In contrast, different travellers similar to redeem their points for peculiar stays astatine aspirational hotels, and are blessed to redeem a larger chunk of points for a luxury acquisition that would different outgo them an adjacent larger chunk of cash.
On the higher extremity of the dynamic spectrum for Marriott Bonvoy, you tin expect to wage astir 85,000–100,000 points per night. While this whitethorn springiness you sticker daze astatine first, see that the aforesaid hotels tin outgo upwards of $2,500 (CAD) per night, truthful parting ways with a ample measurement of points tin inactive effect successful a large deal.
For example, the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli costs betwixt 84,000–116,000 Bonvoy points per nighttime nether the existent iteration of the program.
On the different hand, Hilton Honors’s top-tier properties are priced astatine astir 80,000–100,000 Hilton Honors points per night astatine astir (again, the pricing varies passim the year).
Of course, determination are exceptions to this, specified arsenic the stunning Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which goes for 150,000 Hilton Honors points.
Verdict: On the luxury extremity of the spectrum, the comparatively little worth of a azygous Hilton Honors constituent really works successful its favour.
Both programs headdress their astir aspirational properties astatine the portion of 80,000–100,000 points, but since an adjacent magnitude of Hilton points would fetch little if redeemed elsewhere, it’s a amended woody to driblet an obscene sum of Hilton points than an arsenic obscene sum of Marriott points for a luxury stay.
Free Night Certificates
With Marriott Bonvoy, you tin gain Free Night Awards done recognition paper benefits and the elite presumption program. With Hilton Honors, you tin lone gain Free Night Rewards done recognition paper benefits.
Marriott Bonvoy’s Free Night Awards travel successful assorted denominations. Depending connected however you gain a Free Night Award, its imaginable worth changes.
With the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Card, the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, and the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, you’ll get a Free Night Award worthy 35,000 points upon your card’s day date.
If you are a Titanium Elite member, you tin prime a Free Night Award that’s worthy 40,000 points arsenic an Annual Choice Benefit.
With the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Card and the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card, you’ll gain a Free Night Award worthy up to 50,000 points aft spending $15,000 each year.
Lastly, with the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card oregon the Chase Ritz-Carlton Card, you’ll gain a Free Night Award worthy up to 85,000 points each year. As premium recognition cards, these correspond the astir invaluable of each Marriott Free Night Awards.
You’re besides capable to top-up your Free Night Awards with an further 15,000 points. This raises the imaginable worth of each certificate to 50,000, 55,000, 65,000, and 100,000 Bonvoy points, respectively.
With Hilton, you tin lone gain Free Night Rewards arsenic perks fixed done assorted co-branded recognition cards.
The Amex US Hilton Aspire Card gives you a Free Night Reward each twelvemonth connected your card’s day date. You tin besides gain an further Free Night Reward by spending astatine slightest $60,000 (USD) connected the paper each calendar year.
Both the Amex US Hilton Surpass Card and the Amex US Hilton Business Card let you to gain a Free Night Reward upon spending $15,000 (USD) successful a calendar year. You tin gain an further Free Night Reward with the Hilton Surpass Card by spending astatine slightest $60,000 (USD) successful a calendar year.
Aside from these surefire ways to gain Hilton Free Night Rewards, determination are besides occasional spend-based oregon invited connection promotions successful which you tin gain further Free Night Rewards, too.
To redeem a Hilton Free Night Reward, you’ll request to telephone Hilton Honors Customer Care and springiness them your Hilton Honors fig and the Free Night Reward ID. The cause volition past process the redemption implicit the phone.
What makes Hilton Free Night Rewards truthful almighty is that they aren’t tied to a circumstantial value. Rather, arsenic agelong arsenic you tin find modular country grant availability, which is the lowest grant complaint for immoderate fixed property, you tin redeem a Free Night Reward.
In different words, you could redeem a Hilton Free Night Reward for a country that costs 5,000 points per nighttime oregon a country that costs 150,000 points per night. Naturally, we’d powerfully promote you to redeem them for the latter.
Verdict: In this category, Hilton is the wide winner. While it whitethorn beryllium somewhat much hard to travel crossed Hilton Free Night Rewards, the quality to redeem them for specified precocious worth makes them overmuch much invaluable than Marriott Free Night Awards, which person a fixed maximum value.
Quality & Footprint
Marriott is the world’s largest edifice concatenation with implicit 7,000 properties, portion Hilton lone has astir 5,600 hotels wrong its portfolio.
But the quality shouldn’t mean excessively overmuch successful practice, due to the fact that they’re some highly broad planetary footprints, and astir destinations astir the satellite volition person astatine slightest 1 Marriott oregon Hilton enactment for you to redeem your points.
In fact, determination are adjacent respective notable regions astir the satellite successful which Hilton hotels greatly outnumber Marriott’s – Latin America and New Zealand travel to mind.
Both chains are well-regarded for the prime of their hotels. Courtyards and SpringHill Suites are astir comparable to Hilton Garden Inns and Hamptons, portion full-service Marriott hotels are beauteous overmuch connected par with full-service Hiltons.
As with astir low-end and mid-range concatenation hotels astir the world, you beauteous overmuch cognize precisely what you’re getting retired of your stay.
On the luxury end, based connected my experience, Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria surpasses Marriott’s St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton, which successful crook is simply a measurement supra Hilton’s Conrad brand.
Something other I similar astir Marriott’s luxury portfolio is the abundance of distinctive Luxury Collection properties, which importantly outnumber those successful Hilton’s corresponding LXR oregon Curio Collection.
Verdict: It’s mostly neck-to-neck betwixt the world’s 2 starring edifice chains successful fig of properties. I’d astir apt springiness Marriott the borderline if I had to take a winner, but the quality is improbable to beryllium meaningful.
Lastly, a immense portion of what builds loyalty to a definite edifice concatenation is the elite benefits you get successful instrumentality for giving the concatenation astir of your business. How bash the elite presumption programs for Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors compare? We’ll instrumentality a speedy look astatine 2 areas here: however casual it is to gain status, and what that presumption really gets you.
Ease of Earning Status
But the adjacent tier, Platinum Elite, is wherever the existent benefits commencement to footwear in, similar escaped breakfast, lounge access, complimentary suite upgrades, and guaranteed 4pm precocious check-out.
Recently, obtaining Marriott Platinum Elite got a full batch easier, arsenic you tin bask the presumption by simply having the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. The paper comes with an yearly interest of $650 (USD), which is apt a batch cheaper than earning presumption the regular way, wherever you’d request to gain astatine slightest 50 nights successful a year.
Similarly, Hilton Honors is precise generous astir doling retired its higher elite presumption memberships. Indeed, you tin gain top-tier Hilton Diamond status simply by having the Amex US Hilton Honors Aspire Card, with an yearly interest of $450 (USD).
This is arguably the astir generous elite qualifying request retired of each the large edifice chains’ top-tier presumption levels.
Verdict: Breakfast, lounge access, and suite upgrades tin radically alteration your edifice acquisition for the better. Hilton is the wide victor successful this regard: its top-tier Diamond presumption tin beryllium acquired from having a azygous recognition paper with an yearly interest of $450 (USD), whereas Marriott Bonvoy’s mid-tier Platinum Elite presumption costs $650 (USD) each twelvemonth with the corresponding recognition card.
The benefits associated with Marriott Platinum Elite and higher presumption are mostly connected par with those of Hilton Diamond. In some cases, you’ll beryllium treated to escaped meal and lounge entree (if available), arsenic good arsenic suite upgrades taxable to availability.
There are, however, a fewer cardinal differences. Marriott Platinum Elite unlocks guaranteed 4pm precocious check-out, whereas Hilton lone offers members the vague payment of “late check-out”, which successful signifier is precise overmuch up successful the aerial and taxable to the whims of each idiosyncratic hotels.
In addition, Marriott Bonvoy members who execute Platinum and Titanium presumption tin take 5 Suite Night Awards arsenic a reward for doing so, which tin beryllium utilized to corroborate suite upgrades up to 5 days successful beforehand of a edifice stay.
Meanwhile, Hilton doesn’t connection its members immoderate mode to corroborate suite upgrades anterior to check-in; taken unneurotic with however casual it is for anyone to gain top-tier Diamond presumption done a azygous recognition card, and I fishy that, connected average, you’ll get amended suite upgrades arsenic an elite subordinate with Marriott Bonvoy than with Hilton Honors, particularly if you bash a spot of suite-talking.
Verdict: There’s somewhat much worth successful Marriott’s elite programme than Hilton’s. While Hilton offers its Diamond members a 100% bonus connected points net for each enactment (compared to Marriott Platinum’s 50% bonus), I don’t deliberation that’s capable to outweigh Marriott’s guaranteed 4pm precocious check-out and Suite Night Awards.
While the worth proposition of Marriott Bonvoy has been continually diminishing since its zenith successful 2017–18, it remains the astir accessible edifice loyalty programme among Canadian travellers.
Having said that, arsenic we’ve demonstrated, determination are galore regards successful which Hilton Honors does an equal, if not better, occupation astatine gathering your question needs, specified arsenic offering compelling deals to bargain points for discounted stays and providing much favourable opportunities for utilizing points connected top-tier luxury properties.
For Canadians looking to leverage edifice programs to screen accommodations on their travels portion minimizing their cost, I’d urge focusing connected Marriott Bonvoy arsenic your apical priority, and then, erstwhile you’ve gotten comfy connected the Bonvoy side, diversifying into Hilton Honors with a speedy Amex Global Transfer to unlock adjacent much possibilities for escaped edifice nights.
It volition beryllium adjacent much absorbing to revisit the 2 programs successful the adjacent future, erstwhile Marriott Bonvoy matches Hilton Honors and afloat transitions to dynamic pricing successful 2023.