For years, Marriott has released their MegaBonus promotions – a way to earn additional bonus points for fixed periods of time. They mix it up periodically, with slightly different formulas for how you earn bonus points, and while the promotions have certainly been devalued over the years, they still provide an easy way to bolster your account with minimal additional effort.
Fall 2018 MegaBonus Promotion
The promotion just went live, and is valid for stays from September 26th, 2018 and January 31st, 2019, although you’ll need to register no later than January 7th, 2019.
For every qualifying stay of two nights or more, you’ll earn 2,000 bonus points once you register through this link (and honestly, it takes like two seconds to register if you’re already a Marriott Rewards member). If you’re doing the math, this promotion probably offers slightly less value than last spring’s MegaBonus promotion of 750 points per night, unless your hotel stays somehow occur in exactly two-night increments.
You could try, I suppose, to break up your hotel stays into separate reservations if you’re keen to maximize these points, although the terms and conditions indicate that this tactic may not fly. And it might lead to some weird conversations at the check-in desk.
It’s also worth noting that award stays and most stays booked through third-party online retailers will not qualify for this promotion, per their terms and conditions.
1,000 Bonus Points for Each Additional Brand
That said, Marriott has added an additional option to earn points, based on their newly-acquired SPG and Ritz Carlton portfolios. With the SPG/Marriott merger fully in place, they’re now operating 29 unique brands, and they seem to be embracing this new portfolio by rewarding members with bonus points. The Fall 2018 MegaBonus promotion offers an additional 1,000 bonus points for each stay at a unique brand, starting with your second brand. This could, conceivably, earn you up to 28,000 bonus points for the duration of the program if you manage to stay at all 29 brands. And that just seems like a lot of work.
More realistically, I could imagine this promotion moving the needle for me if, for example, I’m debating between trying a new A.C. Hotel or staying at yet another Courtyard or Sheraton property. And for weekly road warriors who travel to the same location and know the hotel staff by name, this probably doesn’t buy you much.
29 Ways to Stay
In addition to their standard promotion, they’re really doubling down on their massive new hotel portfolio by introducing their “29 Ways to Stay” game. Part trivia, part sweepstakes (I think – the details are still a little vague), the game will run from October 4th through November 1st. According to Marriott’s press release:
“29 Ways to Stay” is a memory game with fun facts and trivia about Marriott’s entire loyalty portfolio of brands. Each day, players have the chance to win instant prizes, including bonus points and nights. By playing “29 Ways to Stay” every day members increase their chances of winning the grand prize which includes a two-night stay at each of the 29 brands participating in Marriott’s loyalty programs.
I guess they’re not merging individual hotel brands anytime soon.
With plenty of fall promotions out there offered by Hilton, Hyatt, Club Carlson, IHG, and Choice Privileges, this may not be the most competitive promotion out there. But if you’re already wed to Marriott/SPG brands, it’s an easy way to earn bonus points with minimal effort.
And I’ll never say no to trivia.
Does anyone actually plan to stay at all 29 Marriott/SPG brands?