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Marriott Bonvoy launched its first ever points sale back in the middle of April and anyone interested in topping up an account has less than 48 hours to do so before the promotion expires.
Promotion Headline Terms & Conditions
- Transactions must be completed by 11:59 PM ET May 15, 2019 to be eligible for the discount.
- Purchased points do not count towards Marriott Bonvoy Elite status.
- A member may purchase or receive as a gift from another member a combined maximum of 50,000 points per calendar year.
- Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000.
- Excluding promo periods, purchase rate is 12.50 (USD) per 1,000 points.
- Please allow 24-48 hours for transaction to be completed and points awarded to recipient.
- You must be a member in good standing to both purchase and receive points.
- A new member may purchase points thirty (30) days after enrollment if their Marriott Bonvoy account reflects qualifying activity as described in the Marriott Bonvoy Program Rules. After ninety (90) days from enrollment, a new member is eligible to purchase points regardless of their account activity.
- Once points have been purchased or gifted, no refunds will be permitted.
- Purchasing points using a Marriott Bonvoy or The Ritz-Carlton credit card will result in earning one point per dollar spent on these transactions.
This is a pretty strightforward promotion – you’ll get a 25% discount on the regular price of Marriott Bonvoy points as long as you buy at least 5,000 poionts.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter if you buy 5,000 or 50,000 points as the cost/point doesn’t change.
Buing 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (the minimum required to get the 25% discount) will cost $46.88….
…and that works out to a cost/point of ~0.94 cents.
Buying 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (the maximum you can buy in a year) will cost $468.75….
….which also comes to a cost/point of ~0.94 cents.
Should You Consider Buying Points?
If you have some Marriott Bonvoy points which haven’t been touched for a while and are getting perilously close to expiring this may be a good opportunity to reset the expiry date.
Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months of inactivity but any points purchase will reset the clock back to zero and give you a further 24 months in which to use the points or to put another transaction through your account (to reset the expiry date again).
Outside of topping up and account the value offerd by this promotion will depend on individual circumstances and is far from giuaranteed.
I value Marriott Bonvoy points at around 0.6 cents each so I’m automatically sceptical of the value to be had here….but there may be times when buying points here isn’t a bad deal
To show what I mean I’ll start with the current Marriott Bonvoy award chart (for standard rate redemptions):
At 0.94 cents/point this is how much a night at each category would cost if you were to buy points in this promotion:
- Category 1 – $70.50
- Category 2 – $117.50
- Category 3 – $164.50
- Category 4 – $235.00
- Category 5 – $329.00
- Category 6 – $470.00
- Category 7 – $564.00
- Category 8 – $799.00
Note: One account can’t buy enough points for a night at properties in Categories 7 & 8 but two accounts could buy points and pool them together.
In expensive cities (like New York) there will be times when buying points in this sale (and then using them to book a room) will be cheaper than paying the cash rate on offer.
Here are the first 5 properties Marriott.com shows in a search for rooms in Manhattan on a random date in June (click to enlarge):
Bearing in mind that the cash prices you see above are all before tax (and that you don’t pay tax on points bookings) it would be cheaper to buy points in this sale and use them to book a room at every property than it would be to pay the cash rates.
Clearly this will not be the case all the time and certainly not in cheaper markets, but the illustration above does show that there will be times when buying points in this sale makes sense….even if they cost more than the value I (and most people) assign to them.
Don’t buy Marriott Bonvoy points if you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to use them – that’s a poor tactic to adopt in the miles and points game as you never know whwn points will be devalued.
As usual, here’s what I think is a sensible way to proceed:
- 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 you need to top up an account or if the math clearly makes sense should you buy points in this sale. If the results are inconclusive you should probably pass.