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Marriott has launched a 2-day sale in which it’s offering customers a 15% discount on e-gift card purchases made through the end of tomorrow. This sale is restricted to residents of the United States and Canada only (which is disappointing) but this could be a good deal for frequent visitors to Marriott portfolio properties.
Marriott’s Gift Card Sale
Here’s what you need to know:
- Sale runs through 23:59 EST on 1 December 2020
- The 25% discount is valid only on the following e-gift card denominations:
- Per Marriott, Marriott co-branded gift cards will earn bonus points on these gift card purchases.
- Up to $5,000 in gift cards may be purchased per person per credit card per day.
- Marriott e-gift cards do not expire.
- Gift cards cannot be used to pay for a deposit or for an advance purchase rate.
- The following brands in the Marriott portfolio do not accept Marriott GiftCards:
- Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts
- Design Hotels
- Homes & Villas by Marriott International
- The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
- The Ritz-Carlton Residences.
- e-gift card orders are delivered within 1-15 business days due to order verification.
As was the case when Marriott offered a 20% discount on gift card purchases earlier this year, this sale is Marriott’s way of bringing in much-needed cash at a time where most hotels are still running empty (mass European lock-downs are not helping the hotel industry) but, fortunately, this shouldn’t matter.
Marriott is highly unlikely to be facing financial ruin any time soon and with these e-gift cards not expiring, there’s little downside to a frequent Marriott visitor who chooses to load up with a few gift cards in this promotion. The cards offer a discount and if you visit Marriott properties often enough the cards will get used pretty quickly.
Having said that, there are a few things to keep in mind before buying e-gift cards in this sale:
These gift cards cannot be used for advance purchase rates so can only be used to settle bills after a stay has taken place (i.e. upon checkout) and that excludes them from being used on the cheapest rates on offer in some geographical areas.
Also, these gift cards are all issued in US Dollars so, although there’s no issue with using them abroad, be aware that the exchange rate you’ll get when checking out may not be as favorable as the exchange rate you would get if you were using a US credit card. If you search the forums, you’ll find that some people report getting exchange rates as good as those offered by the credit card companies while others report a poor exchange rate being used. Your mileage may vary (as they say).
Using Credit Cards To Buy Gift Cards
The really good news here is that Marriott has said that all transactions made using Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards (e.g. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant credit card) will earn points as if the card was being used to pay for a regular Marriott stay so, in most cases, that means earning 6 Bonvoy Points/dollar.
What this also means is that anyone who has been fortunate enough to be targeted for Chase’s offer of 10 Marriott Bonvoy Points per dollar (on up to $3,500 of spending) on their Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card (e.g Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card), should* be able to stack that deal with this gift card saving.
*I have not been able to confirm this.
Also, if you hold the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card from American Express and have not used up your annual $300 Marriott credit, that credit will be triggered by any e-gift card purchases.
Lastly, as long as Marriott hasn’t changed how these e-gift card purchase code since May, all Marriott E-Gift card purchases should code as travel purchases. I tested this out during the last gift card sale and the purchases I made with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, my Citi Premier Card, and my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, all earned me bonus points.
I equate the 3 points/dollar that a lot of the more popular credit cards (Amex Green, Chase Sapphire Reserve, etc..) offer for travel spending with a 4.5% rebate and I value the 6 points/dollar that my Marriott cards offer me for Marriott purchases at 3.6% so, on the face of things, using a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers better value than a Bonvoy co-branded card.
If, however, an e-gift card purchase will trigger the Chase credit card bonus mentioned earlier (10 points/dollar on up to $3,500 of spending), then the Bonvoy card suddenly becomes the better card to use as it would offer a 6% return. Personally, I’ll be taking the risk and using my Chase Marriott card to buy gift cards in this sale because I think I’ll earn 10 points/dollar but others may prefer to play a safer game.
If you visit Marriott properties with any frequency this is undoubtedly a good deal. You don’t have to buy more than $50 in gift cards to get the 15% discount and even if all you do is book prepaid rates (which the gift cards cannot be used for), you can still use your gift card(s) to pay for any incidentals that you change to your room (drinks, food, tours, etc…) when you check out…just be careful of the exchange rate when using them abroad.
Will you be buying gift cards in this sale and, if you are, which card will you be using?