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Since the middle of August, Marriott Bonvoy has been running a points sale promotion in which it has been offering a mystery bonus on points purchased and points gifted through 25 September 2021. Most people appear to have been targeted for a useful 45% bonus but as this promotion is ending tomorrow, there’s not much time left to make the most of it if you need to top up a Bonvoy account.
Key Terms (My Offer)
- Transactions must be completed by 11:59 p.m. EDT September 25, 2021 (TOMORROW), to be eligible for the 45% 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 or Gift Points pages.
- Purchased Points do not count toward Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status.
- Members may purchase or receive Points purchased by another Member as a gift for a combined maximum of 100,000 Points.
- Points that have been already purchased or received as a gift in 2021 are included in the 100,000 Points purchase limit.
- The 45% bonus Points earned with this promotion are not included in the 100,000 Points annual purchase limit.
- Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000, up to 50,000 Points (with a minimum purchase of 2,000 Points required for promotion eligibility), or in increments of 5,000, up to 100,000 Points.
- Points can be purchased at a rate of US$12.50 per 1,000 points (US$62.50 per 5,000 Points) with a minimum purchase of 2,000 Points.
- 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 cobrand credit card will earn Points as an everyday purchase.
- Members can purchase Marriott Bonvoy points using their Union Pay single-logo credit cards (with card number starting with digits 62) by choosing Discover as their payment option.
- This is an exclusive, non-transferable offer for the intended recipient only and may not be forwarded.
- Bonus Points purchase offer may change for each points purchase transaction you make during the promotion period.
The promotion that I can see in my account is pretty simple:
- Buy 2,000 points & don’t get a bonus
- Buy 2,000+ points & get a 45% bonus
Because Marriott doesn’t play around with how its points are priced within a bonus band, anyone targeted for this deal and buying 2,000 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 just 2,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you’ll receive a total of 2,900 points at a cost of $25:
This works out to a cost/point of ~0.86 cents.
If you buy 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll receive a total of 145,000 points at a cost of $1,250:
This also comes to a cost/point of ~0.86 cents.
Is This A Good Deal?
Note: Anyone even vaguely new to the miles and points world should read this post before proceeding.
The first thing to note is that this isn’t the best points offer that we’re accustomed to seeing from Marriott so there’s a very good chance that a better offer (e.g. 50% bonus) will be made available later this year.
The second thing to note is that as I value Marriott Bonvoy points at around 0.6 cents each, these points can appear to be expensive.
Those two things, however, don’t mean that this sale should be ignored by all.
Yes, if you have no pressing need for Bonvoy Points you should almost certainly wait for a better offer to be published before you buy (or gift) points, but that doesn’t mean that anyone needing points right now shouldn’t consider this sale. In fact, in limited circumstances, this sale may even be useful for people considering a cash booking at a high-end property in a traditionally expensive location.
To see what I mean we have to start with the current Marriott Bonvoy award chart:
At 0.86 cents/point this is how much an award night would cost at hotels in each category if you were to buy 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 highly 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 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 in February, a guest would be charged $729 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 $516 and would therefore save a Bonvoy member $213…and that’s just in one night.
Another example would be the Lexington Hotel in New York where, on a randomly selected night in May, the property is charging $823 for a room it is prepared to sell for 60,000 points.
Once again, using points purchased in this sale, the 60,000 points needed for this night would cost approximately $516 but this time they would save a Bonvoy member over $300 on a one-night stay.
Buying points in this sale and then making a booking with them 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 incredibly easy to find examples of properties at which using points purchased in this sale would be a little crazy. 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 $172 and $258/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 great deal (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card) or to boost your earnings of a currency that you particularly like.
This may or may not be a sale to consider depending on how you plan to spend any points you buy. Don’t buy Marriott Bonvoy points if you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to use them but buy as many as you need if the math makes sense.
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.