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On April 16, Marriott shared many key details of its new combined loyalty program, incorporating elements of both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Many of our most pressing questions were addressed at that time, but a few still remain, including the fate of Marriott’s entirely useful Points Advance feature. Long story short, it isn’t going anywhere this August.

Points Advance allows Marriott Rewards members to book an award stay without yet having the necessary number of points in their account. So if your planned stay requires 100,000 points but you only have 10,000 in your account, you can still confirm an award.

You’ll then have until 14 days prior to check-in to achieve the required balance, either by purchasing points, earning from stays or credit card transactions or transferring in from a partner, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you don’t have enough points accrued by that time, your reservation may be canceled — even if it isn’t, you’ll need to have the correct number before your stay.

(Photo courtesy Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino)

According to Marriott, Points Advance is sticking around, and it’ll even be expanded to SPG hotels:

Points Advance will continue to be available at brands participating in Marriott Rewards leading up to and after the August transition. As SPG brands convert to the Marriott technology platform beginning in August, Points Advance will become available to members at those brands as well.

This is great news — you’ll soon be able to book stays at thousands more properties, and then work to build up your balance to cover the trip. It also presents an opportunity to lock in current rates at properties that are expected to jump once the new chart kicks in this August — get booking!

The Points Guy has comprehensive coverage of Marriott’s new loyalty program — read all our stories at “The New Marriott.”

Featured photo courtesy Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.