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Unlike a lot of loyalty programs, Marriott didn’t start selling its currency at a discount until April last year. Since then, however, the hotelier has offered up at least three further sales and the sale ending today sees Marriott Bonvoy offering its biggest bonus to date. Bonvoy members have just hours left to make the most of this sale.
Headline terms & conditions
- Transactions must be completed by 11:59 PM ET July 15, 2020 to be eligible for the 60% 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 2020 are included in the 100,000 points limit.
- Points can be purchased at a rate of $12.50 (USD) per 1,000 points.
- Points purchases will be processed up to 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.
- 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.
This is just about as simple as it gets – as long as you buy 2,000 points or more you’ll be buying Marriott Bonvoy points with a 60% bonus and at the cheapest rate I have ever seen them sold.
Here are the numbers:
If you buy just 2,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you’ll receive a total of 3,200 points for an outlay of $25:
This works out to a cost/point of ~0.781 cents.
If you buy 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll receive a total of 80,000 points at a cost of $625:
This also comes to a cost/point of ~0.781 cents.
Is thus 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 there may 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 which now includes peak and off-peak award rates.
At 0.781 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:
Note: You can only buy a maximum of 80,000 points per transaction (including bonus) but you can currently buy a total of 100,000 points per calendar year (excluding bonuses) so two transactions in this sale would easily see you net enough points for a Category 8 Peak Season award.
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 example would be a hotel like the Langley which, historically, almost always charges more than $450/night (including taxes):
Buying points in this sale and making a booking with those is therefore often cheaper than paying for the booking with cash…even in peak season. On the date matching the image above, rooms are available for 50,000 points and so booking with points purchased in this sale would see a guest save approximately $90/night.
A negative example would be a property like the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit which 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 $156 and $234/night).
Use the right 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 (e.g. the card_name). With that option not open to us, this makes this sale a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a welcome bonus (e.g. the excellent card_name)
If you’re not working towards a card’s welcome bonus the Citi® Double Cash credit card which offers 2% cash back on all purchases would be one of the better options to use.
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.