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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 their latest promotion on purchased points, where we’re seeing both a bonus and the limit on how many points you can purchase increased.
While I wouldn’t speculatively buy points, this is potentially a great opportunity.
Marriott’s 50% Bonus On Purchased Points
Through Wednesday, March 25, 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 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. If you want to buy more than 50,000 points you’ll need to do two separate transactions.
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 terms suggest that it could take 24-48 hours 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 90 days after enrollment
For context, this is the best promotion I recall seeing on purchased Bonvoy points. Past promotions we’ve seen have offered 25% off and 30% off, so a 50% bonus not only offers you a lower cost per point, but also increases the cap on how many points you can buy.
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 spend.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach minimum spend, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) or Citi® Double Cash Card (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.
Do keep in mind that Marriott Bonvoy is adjusting the categories of about 29% of their hotels for bookings made as of March 4, 2020. So let’s look at opportunities in terms of what you could book now, since I always recommend buying points with a short term use in mind.
For example, for this summer I booked five nights at the EDITION Bodrum for 200,000 points (50,000 points per night, plus a fifth night free).
The paid rate, including the service charge, would have been ~$5,200 for the five night stay.
At 0.83 cents per point you’d be paying the equivalent of $333 per night, which is about a third of the paid rate. That’s an incredible value.
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 certainly 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 they introduced peak pricing, 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 EDITION Bodrum for about two thirds 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 50% bonus?