I’ve written before about how I think many travel brands could be doing a better job creatively generating revenue. With so many companies having liquidity issues, I didn’t understand why we weren’t seeing more promotions from travel brands incentivizing people to pay now for travel later.
At the beginning of the week Marriott launched a great promotion that many have found valuable. I just wanted to post a reminder of that, since this promotion ends tomorrow — I just took advantage of it myself, and wanted to make sure everyone who was considering the promotion has a chance to take advantage of it before it ends.
Marriott selling gift cards for 20% off
Between Monday, May 11 and Sunday, May 17, 2020, Marriott is selling gift cards for 20% off (or if you want to look at it differently, they’re offering a 25% bonus):
- The discount applies to electronic gift cards purchased in USD, though the gift cards can be used globally (the exchange rate might be slightly worse than market rates)
- You can purchase up to $5,000 worth of gift cards per person per credit card per day
- Gift cards will be delivered electronically within one to seven business days for order verification
- Gift cards don’t expire
- Only gift cards purchased online are available for 20% off, and not those purchased on-property
- Gift cards can’t be used to pay for a pre-purchased rate
- You won’t be able to use these gift cards at Bulgari, Design Hotels, Ritz-Carlton Residences, and Homes and Villas by Marriott
You can purchase gift cards in the following increments:
- Buy a $50 gift card for $40
- Buy a $100 gift card for $80
- Buy a $250 gift card for $200
- Buy a $500 gift card for $400
- Buy a $1,000 gift card for $800
Should you buy Marriott gift cards at a discount?
If you’re in a position where you have the cash to buy Marriott gift cards at a discount (without causing liquidity issues), I’d highly recommend doing so. The gift cards don’t expire, and getting a 25% bonus on gift cards is pretty awesome.
The major restriction here is that you can’t use these on pre-paid rates.
Buying Marriott gift cards with a 25% bonus is potentially a great deal
Which credit card should you use for Marriott gift cards?
When the promotion launched, a Marriott spokesperson confirmed that purchasing Marriott gift cards would qualify as a Marriott purchases for the purposes of credit card spending, so you should earn 6x Bonvoy points on Marriott co-brand cards.
Nonetheless people were skeptical, and beyond that the question was whether buying gift cards would qualify as a “travel” purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.
As it turns out, buying Marriott gift cards does indeed code as a travel purchase. Based on my valuation of points, personally I bought gift cards with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, so I could earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent.
Based on my valuation of points that’s like a ~5.1% return on that spending, while I value 6x Bonvoy points at a ~4.2% return.
Marriott will sell points with a 60% bonus
While this isn’t yet live, between May 18 and June 30, 2020, Marriott will sell Bonvoy points with a 60% bonus. Up until now the best deal we’ve seen on Bonvoy points is a 50% bonus, so with a 60% bonus you’ll be looking at paying ~0.78 cents per point.
Personally I don’t think that’s a slam dunk in current circumstances, but maybe some will find it to be worthwhile. Personally I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each.
Marriott will sell Bonvoy points with a 60% bonus
10% off Homes and Villas by Marriott
On May 18 & May 19, 2020, you’ll be able to receive 10% off all stays booked through Homes and Villas by Marriott International, which is Marriott’s premium home rental platform. That’s nothing to get too excited about, in my opinion, but is worth being aware of.
Marriott’s home rental platform will offer stays for 10% off
Marriott is selling gift cards with a 20% discount or 25% bonus for one week, which is potentially a great deal. These gift cards don’t expire and can be used at most Marriott brands globally.
If you’re usually a frequent Marriott guest and have the cash to spend on this, then it’s a great deal, in my opinion. These purchases do code as travel, which many people will be happy to hear, since it means that generally there’s no opportunity cost for your credit card rewards vs. paying for a stay directly at a Marriott property.
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this promotion, you have just one day left to do so.
Do you plan on buying discounted Marriott gift cards?