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Marriott has brought back a similar points sale promotion to one that we saw around this time last year in which it’s offering Bonvoy members a bonus of up to 50% on purchases made in the next 6 weeks. For some, this will be a promotion that’s well worth considering while for others this is clearly a promotion to avoid.
Any calculations that you find in this post are based on the assumption that someone buying points in this sale plans on using them before Marriott Bonvoy moves to a dynamic pricing model next month.
For people who intend to use any points purchased in this sale almost immediately, there’s value to be had here, while because we have no idea what awards will cost when Bonvoy’s dynamic pricing kicks, everyone else should be staying away.
- Transactions must be completed between 9:00 a.m. EST February 15, 2022, and 11:59 p.m. EDT March 23, 2022, to be eligible for the bonus Points purchase offer with a minimum purchase of 2,000 Points.
- This offer is valid only for Points purchased through the promotion’s Buy Points and, Gift Points pages or while booking a hotel stay through the reservation path on Marriott.com.
- Purchased Points do not count toward Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status.
- Members may purchase Points or receive Points purchased by another Member as a gift for a maximum of 100,000 Points annually through the promotion’s Buy Points or Gift Points pages.
- Members may purchase up to an additional 100,000 Points annually while booking a hotel stay through the reservation path on Marriott.com.
- When Points are gifted to another member, the recipient of the gift will receive the bonus Points.
- Points that have been already purchased through the Buy Points or Gift Points pages or received as a gift in 2022 are included in the 100,000 Points purchase limit. The bonus Points earned with this promotion through the Buy Points or Gift Points pages are not included in the 100,000 Points annual purchase limit.
- Points purchases will be processed within 72 hours after the purchase is complete.
- A member must be an active member in good standing to purchase and/or receive Points.
- New members may purchase Points thirty (30) days after enrollment in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- Once Points have been purchased or gifted, no refunds will be permitted.
- Purchasing Points using a Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit card will earn Points as an everyday purchase.
The promotion that I can see in my account looks like this:
- Buy 1,000 points & don’t get a bonus
- Buy 2,000 – 9,000 points & get a 40% bonus
- Buy 10,000 – 39,000 points & get a 45% bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 50,000 points and get a 50% bonus
Note: Anyone with a UnionPay credit card can also get a 10% discount on the cost of points in this sale but as most readers won’t have a UnionPay credit card, the figures you see below will not include this 10% discount.
Because Marriott doesn’t play around with how its points are priced within a bonus band, anyone buying 40,000 points or more will be purchasing points at the cheapest rate on offer in this sale. Here’s the math to prove it:
If you buy 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you’ll receive a total of 60,000 points at a cost of $500:
This works out to a cost/point of ~0.833 cents.
If you buy 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll receive a total of 150,000 points at a cost of $1,250:
This also comes to a cost/point of ~0.833 cents.
Is this a good deal?
Note: Make sure you read the “Important” paragraph (above) before proceeding
For the time being, I value Marriott Bonvoy points at around 0.6 cents each so, at first glance, these points are still quite expensive. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when buying points is a very good idea.
To see what I mean we have to start with the current Marriott Bonvoy award chart:
At 0.833 cents/point this is how much an award night would cost at hotels in each category if you were to buy at least 40,000 points in this promotion:
If you’re planning to book a Marriott property in one of the less high-demand locations or if you’re planning to stay at a Marriott during a quiet period, it’s unlikely that you’ll find much value in buying points in this sale.
If, however, you’re considering making a Marriott booking in an expensive city like New York, London, Tokyo, Moscow, etc…, there’s a good chance that this sale could save you some money, but you’ll need to do the math to be sure.
A positive example would be a hotel like the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove where, on a randomly selected night, a guest would be charged $774 for a room that the property will also happily sell for 60,000 points.
Using points purchased in this sale, the 60,000 points needed for this night would cost approximately $500 and would therefore save a Bonvoy member $274.
Another example would be the AC Hotel Seattle Bellevue/Downtown where, on another randomly selected night, the property is charging $406 for a room it is prepared to sell for 30,000 points.
Using points purchased in this sale, the 30,000 points needed for this night would cost approximately $250 and would therefore save a Bonvoy member over $150 on a one-night stay.
Buying points in this sale and making a booking with those can be a lot cheaper than paying for the booking with cash.
Having said that, it’s important to point out that it’s also easy to find an example of a property at which it’s almost always better to pay in cash. The Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit (review), for example, rarely costs much more than $160/night including taxes so, as a Category 4 property costing between 20,000 and 30,000 points per night, it’s a highly uneconomical location at which to spend points purchased in this sale (buying points and using them here would see you paying between $166 and $250/night).
Don’t use the wrong credit card
Marriott Bonvoy points sales are processed by Points.com and that eliminates the scope to earn a travel/hotel bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories. This would be a very good opportunity to boost your spending towards a welcome bonus on a card that’s offering a good deal (like this one), or to boost your earnings of a currency that you particularly like. I, for example, would probably use my card_name if I was to buy Bonvoy Points as I can never have too many Ultimate Rewards points (despite the fact that I would only earn 1 point/dollar).
This may or may not be a good sale depending on how you plan to spend the points you buy. Don’t buy Marriott Bonvoy points if you don’t plan to use them in the next couple of weeks, but buy as many as you need if you can lock in a booking now (for any bookable date in the future) in which the points you purchase offer your a good saving on the cash rate you would otherwise have had to pay.
As usual, following my frequently given advice is probably the best way forward:
- Find out the cost of a night at the properties you would like to visit (at the time of year you would like to travel)
- Compare that cost to the cost of an award night paid for with points purchased in this sale.
Only if the math clearly makes sense is it ok to buy points. If the results are inconclusive you should probably pass.