MARRIOTT OFFERS 50% BONUS ON PURCHASED POINTS

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It’s no secret, many travel brands are in a cash crunch due to the pandemic. Over the past few weeks, it has appeared to be ‘business as usual’ but, as I predicted, we’re starting to see several brands launch promotions to increase revenue.

Marriott is the latest brand jump on the bandwagon so let’s take a look at their newest offer.

50% BONUS

A few weeks ago, Marriott sold discounted electronic gift cards with tiered bonuses. Now the hotel chain has returned with their latest offer: Marriott is offering a 50% bonus when you buy or gift 2,000+ points through 22 October 2020.

For example, for a cool ~$1900, you can buy (or gift) 150,000 points and will receive a bonus of 75,000 points for a grand total 225,000 points.

If you’re a fan of buying Marriott points, you may have noticed that Marriott has tripled the number of points that you can buy in a given year (50,000 to now 150,000). However, it’s worth noting that if you have purchased Marriott points this year, bonus points do not count towards the 150,000 cap, but the purchased points do.

IS THIS A GOOD DEAL?

This has the potential to be a really good deal. A 50% bonus on anything is generally a good deal, however, whether you should purchase points is a different question.

If you are a Marriott “loyalist,” or tend to stay at Marriott brand hotels far more than other brands, then I can understand why you would purchase it.

Though I foresee a few hotels going out of business, Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world so there is a good chance that you will find a hotel in any destination that you visit. Additionally, the fact that points expire only AFTER 2 YEARS of non-activity on your account is also an advantage.

The bad news is earlier this year (between May and July 2020), Marriott offered a 60% bonus on purchased points so this current deal is clearly not as lucrative as that deal.

HAS MARRIOTT LOST THEIR WAY?

Understanding all of the information above takes me to my next point…has Marriott lost vision and priced themselves out of the market?

Everyone has different travel goals and different visions of how to redeem their points. The overwhelming majority of points enthusiasts focus on extracting more value than the points are worth. For example, I value Marriott points at 7/10ths of a cent.

Recently, I’ve been re-evaluating my points valuations (and making a blog landing page) so you can compare. In recent searches of Marriott properties around the world, I’ve noticed the prices have decreased exponentially across the board. I trust the pandemic has had some influence on this.

However, I started to notice this trend before the pandemic started and it has only been exacerbated since that point.

The best way to describe this phenomena is through examples. Let’s take a sample of the hotel market in Atlanta, GA 30 days from now.

Hotel #1: The Ritz Carlton
Category 6: 40,000 – 60,000 (Standard 50,000 points value = $350)
Price: $283
Result: Cash price wins.

Hotel #2: Aloft
Category 5: 30,000 – 40,000 (Standard 35,000 value = $245)
Price: $136
Result: There’s no question. Cash is by far a better value.

Hotel #3: Glenn Hotel (part of the Autograph collection)
Category 5: 30,000 – 40,000 (Standard 35,000 value = $245)
Price: $114
Result: This is a better value than staying at the Aloft. I’m using cash here too!

Hotel #4: Courtyard Marriott
Category 2: 10,000 – 15,000 (Standard 12,500 value = $87.50 )
Price: $73
Result: Paying cash here too!

Here is the Marriott award chart if you’re wondering where I obtained those numbers.

FINAL STAMP

Marriott is offering a 50% bonus when you buy or gift 2,000+ points through 22 October 2020. This sale could potentially be a good deal depending on when are where you travels take you.

I don’t find myself accruing or redeeming Marriott points the way I used to. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for the loyalty program as the points are highly inflated and you’re only able to extract value in particular circumstances.

If you’re going to redeem points at Marriott properties, I find the best value is either at the chain’s most expensive or least expensive properties (or on transfers to airlines). If you’re seeking value with the hotels in the middle of the chart, you’re not going to find much.

However, I still predict we’ll see even more sales and promotions over the next few weeks as things return to “normal” and airlines and hotels are seeking to boost revenue.

Do you plan on taking advantage of this 50% bonus?

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