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Back in mid-April, Marriott Bonvoy launched its first buy-points promotion since the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs merged. And it turned out to be a surprisingly good deal. The 25% discount drops the price to just 0.94 cents per point. But this month-long promotion will end Wednesday, May 15 at 11:59pm ET.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down during this promotion:
- Buy 1,000-4,000 points for 1.25 cents per point
- Buy 5,000-50,000 points at a 25% discount for 0.9375 cents per point
If you want to max out this bonus, you can buy 50,000 points for $469:
TPG just dropped his valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points from 0.9 cents per point down to 0.8 cents per point. While the average redemption value hasn’t dropped significantly, our frustration with the program led us to drop this valuation. So, while the 0.94 rate is above TPG valuations, it’s still worth considering for those who know how to navigate the pitfalls of the combined program.
How to Buy Points
- Visit Marriott’s Buy Points link.
- Enter your first name, last name, Marriott Bonvoy member number and email address to log in.
- Select the number of points you want to purchase.
- Enter your credit card information and billing address
- Check the box to agree to the terms and conditions and click “pay now.”
Here are some of the important terms and conditions to keep in mind:
- You can’t buy points within 30 days of enrolling a new Marriott Bonvoy account. Members who signed up in the past 90 days must have qualifying activity to purchase points.
- Members are only allowed to buy and/or receive as a gift 50,000 points per year.
- Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000.
- The 25% discount ends at 11:59pm ET on May 15, 2019
Which Credit Card Should You Use?
The terms note that “purchasing points using a Marriott Bonvoy or The Ritz-Carlton credit card will result in earning one point per dollar spent on these transactions.” These cards are supposed to earn 2x points per dollar spent on general purchases, so earning just 1x point per dollar spent would be quite strange. Instead, I assume that this note is trying to indicate that Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards won’t qualify as Marriott purchases and will earn just 2x points per dollar.
That’s pretty common for buying points. Since the purchase is processed by Points.com, you won’t earn a travel category bonus from this purchase on most cards.
Update 5/29/2019: While Points.com purchases on the Ink Business Preferred have previously earned 3x points, recent purchases have only earned 1x point per dollar.
Good options to consider are The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express 2x Membership Rewards points (on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x thereafter) for a return of 4%, or the Chase Freedom Unlimited‘s 3% cash back (on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent) — which can convert to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points for those with qualifying cards for a return of 3%.
Other Ways to Grow Your Marriott Balance
This promo is a good way to top off your account with as little as 5,000 points for a promotion. But the 50,000 points per year maximum is going to keep anyone from being able to really bulk up their balance for a major redemption. If you’re looking for a lot more Marriott Bonvoy points, you’re going to want to turn to a Marriott credit card.
After aligning and re-branding the Marriott/Starwood/Ritz-Carlton credit cards, here’s what’s currently available:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card which is offering 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: earn 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card allows businesses to rack up 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after using the card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Thanks to TPG reader Sam for being the first to share this promotion. If you have a tip, remember that you can earn a $100 gift card for being the first to share a deal, promotion or tip via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee