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, and that trend is continuing.
Marriott has just launched its latest promotion on purchased Bonvoy points. While it’s not quite the best promotion we’ve seen from Bonvoy in terms of the cost per point, Marriott has significantly increased the limit on how many points you can purchase, which some people may value.
While I personally wouldn’t speculatively buy points, this is potentially a good opportunity.
Marriott’s 50% bonus on purchased points
Through Thursday, October 22, 2020, Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 50% bonus on purchased points when you buy at least 2,000 points in one transaction.
With this promotion Marriott is also tripling the cap on how many points you can buy — while the limit is usually 50,000 points, you can buy 150,000 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, so through this promotion you’re potentially looking at paying just 0.83 cents per point. The maximum points you can purchase is 225,000 at a cost of $1,875.
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, and we’ve also seen Marriott offer up to a 60% bonus on purchased points.
This is among the better offers we’ve seen from Marriott, but not quite the best. What does set the promotion apart is that you can buy more points than in the past.
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).
See this post for more on which credit cards are best for buying points.
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.
Marriott Bonvoy adjusted the categories of about 29% of its hotels for bookings as of March 2020, which was largely a negative change.
Still, there are ways to get great value. For example, this 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 under $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 couple of million of them, but otherwise I might be.
The EDITION Bodrum
While I wouldn’t speculatively buy Marriott points for 0.83 cents each, 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, 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 50% bonus?