Should you buy Marriott points with a 50% bonus?

Sep 14, 2020

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Marriott just announced the latest sale on Marriott Bonvoy points. From now through Oct. 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 is likely to be in late 2020 or early 2021. There’s no way to guarantee this though, so make sure to familiarize yourself with Marriott’s change and cancellation policies before you buy miles to book a stay that you may need to cancel.

Related: Current buy points and miles promotions

Marriott buy-points promotion details

Through Oct. 22, 2020, Marriott is selling points with a 50% bonus, dropping the price of Marriott 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. 

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?

St. Regis Bal Harbour (Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.)

If you’ve already earned the bonuses on the best Marriott credit cards, buying points with this discount could be enticing.

TPG monthly valuations estimate Marriott points to be worth 0.8 cents each, so under this promotion you would be paying more than our valuation. During Marriott’s summer promotion, the cost to buy points had dropped to 0.78 cents each. Still, if you are topping off your account for a high-value award, it may be worth taking advantage of.

One time when buying hotel points is a good deal is if you’re able to purchase the points needed for a specific stay at a cheaper rate than a cash stay. 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 $625, and receive an effective discount of $375+ 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 miles to top up your account for a five-night redemption if you’re running low on Marriott Bonvoy points.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with Marriott Bonvoy

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 5 free nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (worth up to 250,000 points). Further, 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), but currently has a limited time offer: earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021.

. Further, it also includes an annual up to $300 Marriott credit and free night certificate (worth up to 50,000 points).

Related: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

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, look at cards like The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express, which offers 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar (on the first $50,000 per 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).

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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