Credit card earns 5 points for dollars at marriott stays. The other points come from actually staying at the hotel. Air and hotel is a good use of marriott points.
We are finding that in SOME years, using Marriott points that we got from trading in unused timeshare property IS a good use of those points - but ONLY if you convert them as part of a vacation package, hotel and miles. (I held onto an erroneous position WAY to long, I found out!) These do NOT have to be used for the same vacation - we will take a train (nearby, easy) to Washington for 5 days, mainly so we can move a LOT of Marriott points into Delta SkyMiles - fee free. If you just want to transfer points into airline miles, it is NOT so cheap to do so! Since we take other trips outside of timesharing, periodically we find ourselves with extra property, and rather than go thru the hassle (for us) of renting it out, we convert to Marriott points - the old-fashioned hotel kind - because we have uses for them, too. Since they never expire, they are like that 10 pounds of meatloaf in my big basement freezer - you never know when you will find it handy. We have converted property into Destination points, too - often as part of a smart, shoulder-season usage - but a few times found ourselves with UNUSABLE leftovers ( there's that meatloaf again . . ). We seldom buy ANYTHING online without checking the Marriott Rewards shopping site - where you can often get multiples on points - or the Delta SkyMiles shopping site. We also just got a second pair of Delta cards - for the 50K in bonus miles they gave me after only spending a thousand dollars. We try to keep the flow going between HIS account and MY account of SkyMiles, because we do not want to pay to transfer miles back and forth even between ourselves - because THAT costs, too. So we plan ahead, and keep track of what card to use when, to reach a goal - and get nice bonuses, too. To have to PAY to use something that I earned, or was given through loyalty, is foolish - a little thought, and you find smart ways to make those cards sing - or at least hum a little. There are folks here that are top card holders, point categories, and REALLY smart about those top levels - but we think we are pretty efficient for OUR level. One pair of Delta Platinum (husband primary); *reverse* (wife primary) pair of Delta Gold; black Marriott card. Have a stack of others, but never use them - why? Right now, we need no more property, no more super-duper points, no more cards - we are fine because we finally are paying more attention to what we have, and how to use it. Works for us - your mileage may vary.