20% Discount On Marriott Gift Cards and 60% Bonus Buying Points (Lowest Price Ever)

We’re seeing some movement, as expected, from brands and loyalty programs generating cash now by offering deals to customers.

Aeroplan sold miles for as little as one cent which is amazing. Marriott now has offers beginning and starting soon that will offer better than normal deals to customers who are willing to pay now.

First is an offer of gift cards at a discount. Gift cards usually sell to merchants for less than face value, and you can often buy them at a discount on the secondary market, but when you can buy them directly from a brand you have less to worry about in terms of fraud or technical glitches.

Second Marriott is offering points with the biggest bonus we’ve seen – you are prepaying for stays, effectively, at a discount here as well. And while gift cards can’t be used at Marriott’s homesharing service they’re offering a discount on those bookings as well, for two days only.

20% oFF Gift Cards Can Be A Great Deal

Marriott is selling U.S. dollar electronic gift cards valid on hotel stays throughout the world at a 20% discount through Sunday, May 17. You’re allowed to buy up to $5000 per person per credit card per day which isn’t much of a limit considering two people using separate credit cards could buy $70,000 worth of Marriott gift cards under this offer.

There are 5 denominations:

  • $50 gift card for $40
  • $100 gift card for $80
    $250 gift card for $200
  • $500 gift card for $400
  • $1,000 gift card for $800

There are a couple of reasons this makes good sense for Marriott loyalists.

  1. The chain, which doesn’t own the vast majority of hotel properties, isn’t going away. They don’t have mortgage payments to make on empty hotels (though in some cases may have payments to hotel owners for missing minimum revenue targets).

  2. The gift cards do not expire.

There are a couple of caveats. Gift cards are only valid on charges you pay at the hotel, so prepaid hotel rates don’t really work here. If you’re someone who typically purchases prepaid hotels, then you’d be giving up that associated discount to pay for room rate via gift card (of course you could still pay for most on-property charges). And gift cards aren’t delivered instantly, they do fraud checks and only promise delivery within 1-7 business days.

Gift cards are accepted globally at most Marriott brands, but aren’t valid at Marriott Homes and Villas, Design Hotels (which aren’t really Marriott..), Bulgari Hotels (which do not participate in Marriott Bonvoy), or Ritz-Carlton Residences (timeshares).

Lowest Price On Purchased Points Ever

May 18 through June 30 Marriott will be offering a 60% bonus on purchased points, which is up from the best previous deal I’m aware of (50% bonus). This translates in a cost per point of $0.0078.

Prior to the latest round of hotel category changes I valued Marriott points at 7/10ths of a cent apiece. I would probably now value these points around $0.0065 each.

It’s possible to get more value out of these points than Marriott will be charging, especially if you need to top off for a specific award (though with peak season pricing dates changing monthly this can be a moving target) and for some of the chain’s most expensive and least expensive hotels. If you’re redeeming for properties in the middle though you aren’t likely to get much more value out of these points than what you pay for them, and you’re effectively prepaying through a points purchase.

Flash Sale 10% Off Home Rentals

On May 18 and 19 Marriott will offer 10% off of Homes and Villas by Marriott stays. This isn’t a huge discount, but homesharing stays may be faster to pick up than hotel bookings, though even hotels have logged four consecutive weeks of increased bookings.

Many of you will consider driving to another town and staying in a rented home before flying somewhere and staying at a hotel, despite ramped up cleaning processes for hotels and for airlines too.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. So to be clear these can be used for an advance purchase rate or for a rate on the deals and packages tab of the screen?

  2. Even if they are allowed outside the US, if it forces you to pay in $$ instead of the local currency, you lose your a big part of your savings as the charges use the hotel’s exchange.

  3. Hi Gary, how did you find out the detail about it not being available for pre-paid hotel stays? There seems to be no details on the Marriott website at all. Is there a complete list of terms and conditions somehwere?

    I’m assuming this can be used to pay for a night at hotel at any rate (even a promotional discount rate) as long as you pay at the hotel and not online? Is that right? Or are there any other exclusions that you know of.

    If not this would seem to be a great offer.

  4. @Gary, will the purchase of the Marriott gift cards trigger the points bonus for the Marriott Amex Bonvoy Brilliant card?

  5. @beachfan – you still pay in local currency, the point was that the currency exchange rate could fluctuate between when you buy the card and when you actually cash it out – which could work against you (or for you)

  6. I found the terms and conditions:

    https://gifts.marriott.com/terms.html

    Also, I called Marriott Gift Cards and confirmed that as long as you are paying at the hotel, you can use the card, even if you are paying any promotional rate (including friends and family of Marriott employees for example). Also the agent said you get the normal miles for the stay. (I assume that means calculated off the full price, not the 80% you paid). She said the card is treated as just a different form of payment.

    She didn’t know how a Marriott branded card would treat the expense.

  7. I used to buy discounted gift cards, but I recall a rash of people who had the value stolen off these. So I would probably factor in that in your calculations as well.

  8. Beachfan, hotels outside the USA will put the charges thru in their home currency, which will be converted to USD by MARSHA at a rate within 1/2% of Mid-Market! NOT at the hotel’s lousy rate for cash conversions over the counter.
    Which also means that if your dollar-billed credit card charges a forex fee (usually 2.5–3%) you will save it!

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