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Book today: Last chance for Marriott Points Advance

Sept. 13, 2019
3 min read
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Planning to book an award stay with Marriott? Book it now, because as of Sept. 14 Marriott's beloved Points Advance feature is becoming much more restrictive. That's not all — changes to peak and off-peak pricing are finally coming into effect, as well as Cash + Points bookings. Here are the major changes coming to the Marriott Bonvoy program:

Points Advance

Marriott is an outlier in the hotel loyalty industry, in that it doesn't require you to have all the points necessary for a booking in your account at the time you make your reservation. This has meant awesome things for travelers, as they could book low-category hotels up to a year in advance and be protected from any changes in price.

Well, Marriott has finally caught on, and they're making it harder to plan ahead. In short, your award reservations are no longer protected once they're made. As of Sept. 14 your reservation won’t be locking in award rate itself; rather, it’ll be locking in award availability for the room. This means that once variable award rates comes into effect, you'll be at the mercy of Marriott's new pricing algorithm. The algorithm, which will recalculate rates once a month, may decide that your room rate should now be peak instead of off-peak, leaving you on the hook for the difference in points.

Peak and off-peak pricing

We’ve known for a long time that this was coming, and it’s almost here. Depending on your travel dates, the price of an award night will now vary between off-peak, standard and peak:

Cash + Points

The Cash + Points feature is also changing to accommodate the new peak/off-peak pricing. Essentially, you’ll pay the same amount of cash regardless of when you book, but your point cost will vary according to the new pricing:

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What do you do if you have upcoming travel?

Marriott has already confirmed that all Points Advance stays booked prior to Sept. 14 will lock in the award rate at the time of booking. So if you've been eyeing a Marriott hotel, book it now. Award reservations can be booked and canceled without penalty, so if your plans change you won't be out of pocket. Starting on Sept. 14, however, those reservations are subject to monthly recalculations until you actually earn and then redeem the points for the award stay.

Unfortunately, Marriott annual free-night certificates are also subject to the changes, as they're tied to points values instead of award categories. If your stay occurs during peak pricing at, say, a Category 6 hotel, it'll cost you 60,000 points rather than 50,000, meaning the free-night certificate (valued up to 50,000 points) earned courtesy of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card isn't valid.

So book now and ask questions later, before the changes kick in on Sept. 14.

Featured image by The Westin is just a couple minutes away from the gondola. (Photo courtesy of Marriott.)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
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  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.