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.
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?