Marriott Bonvoy Adjusts Points Advance Feature

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Marriott Bonvoy has made a change to its Points Advance program. While some people won’t be happy about this, I think it’s a totally fair change, and if anything it’ll be a positive development for many members.

What is the Marriott Points Advance feature?

For some context, Marriott Bonvoy has a Points Advance feature, whereby members can make an award reservation at a hotel even if they don’t yet have enough points for the stay.

The way it works is that you just make a booking and then there’s no reward certificate attached to it. As long as you earn or purchase the needed points at least 14 days prior to check-in, you’re good to go. If you don’t have the points needed 14 days out, then your reservation gets canceled.

This is intended as a goodwill gesture, and ultimately also keeps people engaged in the program. After all, if you have an award stay booked at a hotel you’re really excited about, then you’re more likely to be engaged in the program and keep earning points.

What’s changing about Marriott Points Advance?

Effective immediately, Marriott Points Advance reservations can only be held for 60 days from the time of booking, or else they’ll be canceled. As before:

  • You’re limited to three Points Advance reservations at once
  • If you don’t have enough points 14 days before check-in your reservation will be canceled (so now your reservation is canceled either 60 days after booking or 14 days before check-in, whichever comes first)

Why is Marriott changing its Points Advance policy?

It’s stated that Marriott has seen a rise in Points Advance bookings at some of the most popular resorts, and many of these end up being canceled. Apparently around 25% of all award bookings at some of Marriott’s most popular resorts are Points Advance reservations.

This potentially disadvantages members who would otherwise book using their points. It also has an economic impact on properties, since many stays are canceled just two weeks out, and for some destinations it’s hard to resell rooms at that point.

Personally I think this is a fair, and perhaps even overdue, policy change. Marriott’s Points Advance feature is one of the most generous in the industry, and I believe this has been taken advantage of (of course members shouldn’t be blamed for that — they were playing by Marriott’s rules).

Ultimately it’s better for members who actually have enough points for redemptions if award nights aren’t being speculatively reserved in this way.

Bottom line

Marriott is adding restrictions to Points Advance reservations. Going forward you’ll need enough points for your reservation either 60 days after booking or 14 days before check-in, whichever comes first.

This is being done as Marriott has seen a rise in Points Advance reservations being canceled at the two week mark, making it hard for some hotels to resell those rooms.

Personally I’m in favor of this change, as it should leave more award availability for those who actually intend to complete stays.

What do you make of Marriott Bonvoy’s Points Advance policy change?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Tommy L

    Hey Lucky -

    Interesting but makes sense. Not complaining but wondering whether this will be applied retroactively? I have a PA booking >60 days out from now and nothing's been indicated or changed so I wouldn't be pleased if it did get cancelled at the 60 days mark.

    Cheers
    T

  2. EC2

    Love it. It will keep people from making speculative bookings way in advance that they can just cancel. Yes, one can do that with normal reservations, but there are only so many rooms for points redemption and speculative bookings block others from booking.

  3. Brian Leu

    I believe there is also the possibility the points deducted can go up if you do not "pay" for the room immediately?

  4. Phillip

    @Tommy L

    If you have a booking >60 days out then Marriott will give 60 days from today for the points to be accrued.

  5. Justin

    No comment from you on the fact that it is being applied retroactively? I don't mind the new policy however changing terms retroactively on existing reservations is not something that should be excluded from your commentary or encouraged IMO.

  6. Tommy L

    @ Phillip -

    Thanks for your response, though it's certainly disappointing... was planning on accruing as many as possible this summer (now that we can travel domestically) and then seeing how many MR I'll need to transfer over to top it up. Certainly won't be cancelling as it's a weekend away for my birthday, but oh well.

  7. Matt

    Like everyone else I understand the reasoning and do hope Marriott will walk back on this a tad and not apply to current existing reservations. If it is getting abused and people are cancelling 2 weeks out then yes, but maybe push out to 60 days from arrival? As an ambassador and booking a number of points advance bookings over the past few years but never being short I find this to be a tad...

    Like everyone else I understand the reasoning and do hope Marriott will walk back on this a tad and not apply to current existing reservations. If it is getting abused and people are cancelling 2 weeks out then yes, but maybe push out to 60 days from arrival? As an ambassador and booking a number of points advance bookings over the past few years but never being short I find this to be a tad much. I have an Al Maha/St. Regis Maldives Trip planned for 2022 with flights purchased, etc and now have to jump through hoops and move reservations around to hopefully save it, and not certain I can without completely cancelling other trips.

  8. meta

    There is nothing stoping you canceling and rebooking every 60 days. The points would increase anyway. There is only the risk of room(s) not coming back to inventory, but you can check in advance and make a decision then.

  9. Sir Walter Raleigh

    This is actually really good news for the majority of people, myself included

  10. Joe1293

    Marriott Bonvoy is the best
    Way to step up

  11. Ryan

    I understand the need for the change, however, like others have stated, I do feel the retroactive nature of it should be amended. For example, I have a reservation for Hawaii in December. I’m a few months of my typical accrual rate from having enough points to confirm. I know I’ll easily have enough my November or before, but now I’m probably forced to buy points before I hit my 60 day limit in July...

    I understand the need for the change, however, like others have stated, I do feel the retroactive nature of it should be amended. For example, I have a reservation for Hawaii in December. I’m a few months of my typical accrual rate from having enough points to confirm. I know I’ll easily have enough my November or before, but now I’m probably forced to buy points before I hit my 60 day limit in July because I won’t have enough by then. That’s kind of ridiculous considering I’ve already bought plane tickets and used additional points for the first leg of my trip on a different island. So because of this change, I’m going to be out a couple hundred bucks just to confirm my reservation earlier. That sucks.

  12. CC

    Understandable but totally rediculous. This change needs more flexibility. I have two rooms booked in Japan next year. But I only had enough points for one now and will have the rest built up by arrival time. What am I supposed to do for the next eight months? Hope and pray that I can keep rebooking the reservation? What if I cant get a points reservation at the same hotel. What do I do with...

    Understandable but totally rediculous. This change needs more flexibility. I have two rooms booked in Japan next year. But I only had enough points for one now and will have the rest built up by arrival time. What am I supposed to do for the next eight months? Hope and pray that I can keep rebooking the reservation? What if I cant get a points reservation at the same hotel. What do I do with my three kids who are staying in the other room? We can’t put them in a different hotel. How do I drop $6k on flights if I can’t lock up where we’ll stay? This is way to reactionary to a short term change in travel dynamics and I’m calling them on it. Maybe more restrictions are needed but it doesn’t deal with some of the reality of booking vacations when you are more than a two person group.

    1. Ado

      That’s tough luck, maybe you shouldn’t be spending 6k on flights if you don’t have enough points to book for the 2 rooms. It’s really simple here, don’t plan something ahead if you don’t have enough points to book the rooms.

  13. Jc

    Two items:

    1) just called Marriott - if you booked prior to change they will honor terms on your confirmation

    2) this change is b/s they are punishing those who use the system properly (75%) for those who are not - it takes time to accumulate points for trips - if you don’t have enough points you have to wait and then you cannot book your airfare which ends up costing you more - they...

    Two items:

    1) just called Marriott - if you booked prior to change they will honor terms on your confirmation

    2) this change is b/s they are punishing those who use the system properly (75%) for those who are not - it takes time to accumulate points for trips - if you don’t have enough points you have to wait and then you cannot book your airfare which ends up costing you more - they want brand loyalty but do not show customer loyalty may be time to change - note I am a titanium elite

  14. CC

    Update: After an hour on the phone and emailed case appeal, Marriott will not make any exceptions to the new rule. They will not let me hold my second hotel room reservation even though I have already funded the first room. How do you plan international travel if you can’t lock up your hotel rooms? This seems to be totally ignoring the reality planning trips. Credit card reservations for same hotel are not paid in...

    Update: After an hour on the phone and emailed case appeal, Marriott will not make any exceptions to the new rule. They will not let me hold my second hotel room reservation even though I have already funded the first room. How do you plan international travel if you can’t lock up your hotel rooms? This seems to be totally ignoring the reality planning trips. Credit card reservations for same hotel are not paid in advance. They are paid on arrival. So shame on me for using all my points on a different trip later this year? They don’t want my business until I have the points to pay for it in advance. Rediculous.

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Ado

That’s tough luck, maybe you shouldn’t be spending 6k on flights if you don’t have enough points to book for the 2 rooms. It’s really simple here, don’t plan something ahead if you don’t have enough points to book the rooms.

CC

Update: After an hour on the phone and emailed case appeal, Marriott will not make any exceptions to the new rule. They will not let me hold my second hotel room reservation even though I have already funded the first room. How do you plan international travel if you can’t lock up your hotel rooms? This seems to be totally ignoring the reality planning trips. Credit card reservations for same hotel are not paid in advance. They are paid on arrival. So shame on me for using all my points on a different trip later this year? They don’t want my business until I have the points to pay for it in advance. Rediculous.

Jc

Two items: 1) just called Marriott - if you booked prior to change they will honor terms on your confirmation 2) this change is b/s they are punishing those who use the system properly (75%) for those who are not - it takes time to accumulate points for trips - if you don’t have enough points you have to wait and then you cannot book your airfare which ends up costing you more - they want brand loyalty but do not show customer loyalty may be time to change - note I am a titanium elite

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