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Marriott Bonvoy has launched its first Points sale promotion of 2021 and it’s one of the better sales Marriott offers. In this sale, Bonvoy members are being offered a bonus of up to 50% for purchases made through 22 March, but the maximum bonus available may not be immediately apparent when you first access the sale site.
A 40% or 50% Bonus
When I first accessed the sale page it looked like the latest Marriott points sale was only offering a 40% bonus…
…but as soon as I checked the cost of a points purchase (and entered my details), the improved 50% offer appeared:
- Transactions must be completed between 9:00 a.m. EST February 16, 2021, and 11:59 p.m. EST March 22, 2021, to be eligible for the 50% bonus Points offer with a minimum purchase of 2,000 Points.
- 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 100,000 Points during the promotional period only.
- Points that have been already purchased or received as a gift in 2021 are included in the 100,000 Points limit.
- The 50% bonus Points earned with this promotion are not included in the 100,000 Points limit.
- Points purchases will be processed up to seven (7) business days after purchase.
- Base Points purchased will be deposited into members’ Accounts first. Bonus Points will be deposited up to 48 hours after that initial deposit.
- New members 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 one (1) year from enrollment, new members are eligible to purchase Points regardless of their Account activity.
The promotion is pretty simple:
- Buy 1,000 points & don’t get a bonus
- Buy 2,000+ points & get a 50% bonus
Because Marriott doesn’t play around with how its points are priced within a bonus band anyone 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 3,000 points for an outlay of $25:
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: Anyone even vaguely new to the miles and points world should read this post before proceeding.
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 here isn’t such a bad 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 points in this promotion:
If you’re looking 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 (although slightly extreme) example would be a hotel like JW Marriott Miami where, on a randomly selected night in May, a guest would be charged over $650 for a room that the property will also happily sell for 35,000 points.
Another (less extreme) example would be the AC Hotel Seattle Bellvue/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 so that eliminates the scope to earn a travel/flight/airline 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 the Amex Gold Card )…
…or to boost your earnings of a currency that you particularly like. I, for example, would probably use my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card if I was to buy Avios 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 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.