There are quite a few loyalty programs that frequently run promotions on purchased points, which can represent a great deal, especially for aspirational redemptions.
Back in the day Starwood Preferred Guest would often have promotions on purchased points, while Marriott Rewards wouldn’t. Since the Marriott Bonvoy program was formed we’ve seen several promotions on purchased points.
Over a month ago we saw Marriott launch its current promotion on purchased points — this is a reminder of that, as the promotion is due to expire today, so this is your last chance.
Marriott’s bonus on purchased points
Through today (Monday, March 22, 2021), Marriott Bonvoy is offering a bonus when you purchase at least 2,000 points in one transaction:
- When you first go to the promotion page, Marriott markets this as being up to a 40% bonus
- However, as soon as I logged into my account, I was offered up to a 50% bonus; I’m not sure who is and isn’t eligible for that improved bonus
With this promotion Marriott is also doubling the cap on how many points you can buy — while the limit is usually 50,000 points, you can buy 100,000 points with this promotion, pre-bonus. Note that any points already purchased this year would count towards that limit.
Ordinarily Marriott Bonvoy charges 1.25 cents per purchased point. If you’re eligible for a 50% bonus, this means you’re potentially looking at paying just 0.83 cents per point. The maximum points you can purchase is 150,000 (after the 50% bonus) at a cost of $1,250.
The terms suggest that it could take up to seven business days for purchased points to post. Furthermore, there are some eligibility restrictions to be aware of:
- A new member may purchase points 30 days after enrollment if they have some qualifying activity
- Without qualifying activity, a new member may purchase points only one year after enrollment
For context, up until now we’ve seen Marriott offer anywhere from a 25-30% discount on purchased points, or anywhere from a 50-60% bonus. So a 50% bonus isn’t quite the best promotion we’ve seen on Bonvoy points, but it is among the better ones, while a 40% bonus would be among the weaker offers.
Best credit card for buying Marriott points
Marriott points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as a hotel purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach minimum spending, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), Citi® Double Cash Card (review), or The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review).
Is buying Marriott Bonvoy points a good deal?
Personally I value Marriott points at ~0.7 cents each, which is based both on the ability to redeem points towards the cost of hotel stays, and also based on the ability to convert Bonvoy points into airline miles at a 3:1 ratio (and when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points you get 25,000 airline miles).
As a reminder, here’s Marriott’s award chart, not factoring in the opportunity to stay five nights and pay for four:
There are ways to get outsized value from Marriott points, and there are most definitely circumstances where buying points could represent a good deal, especially if you’re topping off an account for a redemption.
Just to give an example of a great redemption, last summer I stayed at the Bodrum EDITION (which I loved). I paid 240,000 points for a five night redemption, which averages out to 48,000 points per night. At a rate of ~0.83 cents per point, that’s like paying ~$400 per night, which is roughly a third of the normal rate in cash in peak season.
While you won’t always get that kind of value, that’s a circumstance where buying Marriott points makes a lot of sense. Personally I’m not a buyer of Marriott points simply because I still have a sizable balance, but otherwise I might be.
The EDITION Bodrum
Marriott Bonvoy is currently offering a 40-50% bonus on purchased points. If you’ve been considering this promotion but haven’t yet made a purchase, this is your last chance.
While I wouldn’t speculatively buy Marriott points for 0.83 cents each (which is the cost with a 50% bonus), there are plenty of circumstances where buying Marriott points at that rate could represent a great deal.
To me, there’s not as much value in the Bonvoy program since peak pricing was introduced, but still, there are situations where it could be worth buying points at this rate, as I explained above. Buying points could get you a room at the Bodrum EDITION for well over half off, for example.
For more opportunities to earn Marriott points, see this post for the best credit cards for earning Marriott points.
Do you plan on purchasing Marriott points with a bonus? Are you eligible for the 40% or 50% bonus?