Hotel chains take differing approaches to whether you can earn points from eating and dining in their hotels if you are not a registered guest.
It isn’t an easy topic to get your head around, especially as few brands have global policies.
As you will know if you’ve ever spent time in the Middle East and Asia, the Western hotel brands tend to act as unofficial social spots for expats. In order to attract this business, you are often able to earn points.
This is often not the case in other regions of the world where going to a hotel to eat or drink as a non-resident is less common.
I thought I’d take a look at Marriott Bonvoy today, as it is the only brand of the ‘big three’ that offers this in the UK and Europe. Hilton and IHG do not let non-residents at their UK and European hotels earn points.
Here is the wording from the terms and conditions of Marriott Bonvoy:
Charges incurred by the Member, without a stay in a guest room, for food and beverage (excluding alcoholic beverage where prohibited by law) at restaurants located at Participating Properties that offer this benefit if:
A. the charges are greater than $10 U.S. dollars (excluding taxes, service charges, and gratuities);
B. the food and beverages are not in connection with a banquet, meeting or other function that is excluded from Qualifying Charges as provided in Section 2.1.b. and
so long as the Member provides their Membership Number at the time of payment. Elite bonus Points will not be awarded on charges incurred by the Member without a stay in a guest room under Section 2.1.b(ii). Charges from food and beverage outlets managed or operated by a third party may not be eligible for earning Points. Charges incurred at outlets that are not located within the Participating Property or All-Inclusive Resort are not Qualifying Charges. Earning at restaurants without a stay is offered:
(1) In Asia Pacific: at Participating Brands of the Loyalty Program, except for Moxy, Element, Marriott Vacation Club, Design Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, and include restaurants and bars listed on https://marriottbonvoyasia.com/R+B (some exclusions may apply); and
(2) In the United States, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa: at restaurants and bars at the following Participating Brands of the Loyalty Program: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio, Four Points, Aloft and Element
In simple terms …..
In Europe, the historic Marriott brands (ie the ones which it owned before it bought Starwood a few years ago) are excluded.
The brands which DO let you earn points on restaurant and bar spend as a non-resident are those which used to belong to Starwood Hotels & Resorts:
- St. Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- Le Méridien
- Tribute Portfolio
- Four Points
As long as you are eating or drinking in one of these brands, there are few restrictions on earning points except:
- your bill needs to be for $10 equivalent before taxes, service etc
- you won’t get any elite bonus via your hotel status – you will only earn base points, usually 10 points per $1 spent
Just like the Marriott Bonvoy free breakfast benefit rules – which are so complex that I managed to write a full article on how they work – Marriott Bonvoy struggles to present a simplified offering to members.
The reason is contractual, based on agreements signed with hotel owners under separate Marriott and Starwood ownership, but it is still something that Marriott could fix if it tried. Hotels should see the value in paying for points if it attracts more non-resident visitors.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (February 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)