Marriott currently has a “buy points” promo with a nice bonus… but even a nice bonus doesn’t mean that it’s a good price. We rarely recommend buying points, because the prices aren’t often to your advantage.
This is also the case with this current Marriott “buy points” promo, except in certain very specific cases. Not to mention there are plenty of free points available by getting the best credit cards in Canada for Marriott points.
But in all cases, these “buy points” promos are a good reminder of the importance of always doing the math for everything related to travel rewards. We say it often, but it’s because it really is the key!
Marriott “Buy Points” promo
First, the promo is what we called “targeted”: some are seeing a 40% bonus, others are seeing 50%. Log in to your Marriott account to see. I’ll use 50% for the example.
With this promo, the price Marriott is offering is 0.83¢ per point in US currency (which is a 34% discount, or a 50% bonus if you prefer), which comes out to about 1.06¢ per point in Canadian currency. Our Flytrippers valuation of Marriott points is just 0.9¢ per point, so you can see why it’s not an amazing deal.
Our Flytrippers valuation is a conservative and general valuation, as usual. If you’ve learned the basics of variable-value rewards, you know that you can certainly get way more than 1.06¢ per point in value, so it can be a great deal in some instances (see below).
But you need to do the math and make sure you will use the points well, because if not, you’re literally throwing money away for nothing.
That’s why you should rarely buy points speculatively, in other words, you should only buy points if you have a specific redemption in mind and have done the math… or if you are an expert and know you’ll get more than the cost of your points from your redemptions.
As a reminder, Marriott points will give you the most value if you use them for the lowest-category hotels (because these properties require fewer points) and for the highest category hotels (because these ultra-luxurious properties are very expensive in cash).
For everything in between, they are especially valuable when the cash prices are expensive (like all variable-value rewards). Finally, two last tips: staying 5 nights in a row only costs the price of 4 nights, and staying on off-peak/standard dates costs fewer points. Read our introduction to Marriott Bonvoy for more details.
That is $66 per night, which isn’t terrible. But it’s not a slam-dunk deal either, not at all. Let’s say that that would save you on average $34 per night for those hotels that are relatively inexpensive in cash. Is it worth paying such a huge amount upfront? Not unless you’re 100% sure you’ll use them soon, which is hard to say right now with the pandemic.
By buying the 200,000 points required for 2 nights (on Peak dates) for C$2,120 with this “buy points” promo, you’d be “saving” a lot of money, if you want to call it that. At least compared to the regular cash price of those insanely-expensive rooms.
So unless you have a specific use in mind, it’s probably best not to buy Marriott points at this price.
If you do buy Marriott points, here are the rules:
- you must buy Marriott points before March 22nd, 2021
- you must buy a minimum of 2,000 points to get the bonus
- you buy X amount of points and get a 40% or 50% bonus
- you can buy only 100,000 points per account per year
- the bonus points don’t count towards the 100,000 points limit
- you can pool your partner’s points into your account (100k per year)
- you can buy 50,000 points per individual transaction
- your purchase will not code as a Marriott purchase for category multiplier
- points purchases are in US dollars
- points purchases are never refundable
- you must buy points on the Marriott “buy points” page
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Marriott’s “buy points” promo is a great example of the need to always do the math for everything related to travel rewards points. It’s a good bonus offered for point purchases, but it’s still a bad idea for a vast majority of travelers. Only those with a specific (and profitable) redemption in mind should take advantage of this.
Have any questions about Marriott points? Ask us in the comments below.
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