Should you buy Marriott points with a 50% bonus?
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If you’re looking to plan travel for 2021, Marriott is currently offering a bonus when buying Marriott Bonvoy points. From now through Dec. 22, 2020, you’ll receive a 50% bonus when you purchase 2,000 or more Marriott Bonvoy points, dropping the cost to just 0.83 cents per point. This is a steep discount when compared to the usual price of 1.25 cents per point.
We’ll take a closer look at the promotion and discuss times when it makes sense to purchase Marriott points. But before we do that, let’s address the question on all our minds: should you buy hotel points in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak?
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Should you buy Marriott points now?
The world is currently in the middle of the global coronavirus outbreak — this has brought travel to a near standstill, and you should only take essential trips until the virus is contained. That said, there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re planning to purchase Marriott Bonvoy points during this promotion.
The first is the financial state of the hospitality industry. The coronavirus has brought hotel demand to virtually zero, with hotels in the U.S. reporting extremely low occupancy rates. Marriott is expecting a 45% drop in occupancy this year and while it has a plan in place to deal with this downturn, there’s no guarantee that Marriott will make it through the coronavirus outbreak without serious financial hardship.
We’re confident that Marriott will make it through the downturn unscathed, but in a worst-case scenario where Marriott did go bankrupt or insolvent, your newly purchased points could be rendered worthless.
With that in mind, TPG only recommends buying points and miles of any type unless you have an immediate plan to use them. This means you’ll purchase hotel points for a stay that happens after it’s safe to travel again, which ultimately depends on your comfort level. Make sure to familiarize yourself with Marriott’s change and cancellation policies before you buy points to book a stay that you may need to cancel.
Marriott buy-points promotion details
Through Dec. 22, 2020, Marriott is selling points with a 50% bonus when you buy a minimum of 2,000 points, dropping the price of Bonvoy points to just 0.83 cents apiece. You can take advantage of this promotion by heading to Marriott’s Buy Points page. Do note that you can normally only purchase 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per year, but Marriott has upped this limit to 150,000 for this promotion. Bonus points are not included in this limit.
If you’re new to Marriott Bonvoy, note that the terms say you may purchase points 30 days after enrollment if your Marriott Bonvoy account has other mileage earning activity from hotel stays or credit card spend. You’re eligible to purchase points regardless of your account activity after your account is open for at least one year.
Who should buy Marriott Bonvoy points?
If you’ve already earned the bonuses on the best Marriott credit cards, buying points with this discount could be enticing.
TPG’s monthly valuations estimate Marriott points to be worth 0.8 cents each, so under this promotion, you’re paying just slightly more than our valuation. Regardless, this can make the promotion an excellent deal if you have an immediate plan to use the points to book expensive stays at a discount.
For example, you can book Marriott Category 8 hotels for 70,000 points on off-peak dates. You’ll pay more than $1,000 per night at many of these hotels, like the St. Regis Maldives. But with this deal, you can purchase 70,000 points for $584, and receive an effective discount of $400+ per night compared to paying cash.
You’ll receive an even better value when you book five or more consecutive award nights thanks to Marriott’s fifth-night free perk. You may want to buy points to top up your account for a five-night redemption if you’re running low on Marriott Bonvoy points.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points
Purchasing Marriott Bonvoy points isn’t your only earn Marriott Bonvoy points without staying at hotels. In fact, one of the easiest ways to earn these points is with Marriott’s cobranded credit cards that are offered by Chase and American Express.
Currently, Chase offers two cobranded credit cards. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card earns 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, while the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Each card has various benefits and annual fees.
On the other hand, American Express offers the more premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. This card has a higher $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) is currently offering 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Use the right credit card to buy points
The terms state that purchasing points with a Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit card will earn points as an everyday purchase, so you won’t earn bonus points like you would on a Marriott stay. To maximize your spending when buying Marriott points, look at cards like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which offers 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (on the first $50,000 per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar thereafter, terms apply), or the Chase Freedom Unlimited, with 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar).
Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.
Joseph Hostetler and JT Genter contributed to this post.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
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