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While Marriott has sold points for as long as I can remember the hotelier has never (to the best of my recollection) sold points at a discount…but that has just changed.
It looks like Marriott has taken a further leaf out of Starwood’s playbook by launching a points promotion in which it is offering Bonvoy points for sale at a 25% discount to their regular price.
Marriott Bonvoy Points Sale – Headline T&Cs
- 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.
As points promotions go this one couldn’t be any simpler – as long as you buy 5,000 points or more you’ll be buying Marriott Bonvoy points at the cheapest rate we’ve seen them sold for a very long time.
If you buy just 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (the minimum required to get the 25% discount) it will cost you $46.88….
…and that works out to a cost/point of ~0.94 cents.
If you buy 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (the maximum amount you can buy) it will cost you $468.75….
….which also comes to a cost/point of ~0.94 cents.
Is This Sale Worth Considering?
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 see what I mean we have to 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 6 properties Marriott.com shows in a search for rooms in Manhattan on a random date in May (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 would be a great way of throwing money down the drain.
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 should you buy points. If the results are inconclusive you should probably pass.