Marriott Tweaks The Rules Of ‘Points Advance’….And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter


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Marriott has made a small change to how its ‘Points Advance’ award booking benefit works (which seems to have raised a few hackles in the Twittersphere) but, when you think through the change that Marriott has pushed though, it’s hard to see how it makes any great difference at all.

I wasn’t actually planning on writing about this change (which I fist saw mentioned on Jeffsetter Travel) but a combination of emails that I’ve received complaining about the change and tweets that I’ve seen from people claiming they’ve been ‘Bonvoyed’ has changed my mind.

Marriott’s Points Advance

As part of its loyalty program Marriott offers a benefit called “Points Advance” which allows guests to book award nights at Marriott properties even if they don’t have enough points in their account at the time of booking.

Even if a guest has no points in their account Marriott will allow them to make an award booking and will give them up to 14 days before their check-in date to earn/buy/transfer in the points they need for the stay.

A quirk of the Points Advance option is that Marriott used to give Bonvoy members the option to choose the pay later option even if their account had enough points for the reservation…but not any longer.

Marriott has, without any notice, removed the ability for Bonvoy members to make Points Advance reservations if they have the required number of points sitting in their account.

Who Cares?

Anyone who reads this blog with any frequency will know that I’m hardly a Marriott apologist but, in this case, I’m really not sure this makes any difference whatsoever.

Sure, the fact that Marriott has moved the goalposts without any notice doesn’t bode well for future changes the program may make….but why does anyone really care about this change?

Most Marriott award bookings are flexible so, if you’re really bothered about making a points advance reservation when you have the required number of points in your account, how about trying this:

  1. Reduce the number of points in your Marriott Bonvoy account by making an award booking far in the future (further in the future than the Points Advance booking you wish to make)
  2. Make the Points Advance booking you want to make (now that your account doesn’t have enough points to fulfil the reservation)
  3. Cancel the first award booking (to return your points to your account) only when you’re happy for Marriott to take payment for the Points Advance reservation or once you’ve canceled the Points Advance reservation (because you’ve decided you don’t need it any more).

Problem solved!

Bottom Line

It’s not great that Marriott appears happy to make changes to the Bonvoy program without giving any notice but, in this case, I don’t really see how the change is going to affect all that many people (if any) at all.

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