Marriott Further Monetizes Bonvoy With Second Way To Buy Points, And New Bonus

Like airlines, Marriott will now sell you points while making a booking, not just on a dedicated page. That way they have more opportunities to sell points. And they’ve increased the limit on the number of points you can buy. They’re also running a new points purchase bonus of up to 50% more points.

To create a more seamless experience for members when purchasing points, Marriott Bonvoy is enhancing the purchase experience by integrating it into the booking path on Marriott.com. With this new update, members have more flexibility to enjoy points promotions and choose the amount of points they want to buy to cover a shortfall for a redemption stay while in the booking process.

From February 15 through March 23, 2022, Marriott is offering up to a 50% bonus on points purchases:

  • 40% bonus: 2,000 – 9,000 points
  • 45% bonus: 10,000 – 39,000 points
  • 50% bonus: 40,000 – 100,000 points

    Buy 100,000 at a cost of $1250 and you’ll get 150,000 points, at a cost of $0.00833 apiece. That’s more than a Marriott point is worth in my view (I value Marriott points at $0.006) however it can make sense,

    • To top off an award for a big stay, since the last points you need making the trip possible raise the average value of your points
    • For especially expensive stays when you’re getting a penny or more in value per point (relatively rare but happens)

    It’s very rare for Marriott to run a bigger bonus selling points than this.

    Marriott limits members to purchasing 100,000 points – but now that cap applies separately to standalone purchase transactions and to purchases made in the booking path for an award. Bonus points do not count towards this cap.

    You might think, who buys points, anyway? At least at regular prices ‘it must be poorly-informed consumers’ who don’t understand the program, or hyper-calculating members comparing paid rates to award pricing on each stay (factoring in hotel taxes on paid rates and any resort fees or junk charges on redemptions).

    In fact elites who have plenty of points are often the best candidates to buy more. Put another way people who like the points most are the people most likely to buy them, and a currency’s biggest fans are also the most likely to pay more for that currency.

    Selling points while selling a stay is precisely when someone is most likely to buy, because they’re seeing and getting value out of those points in the moment.

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. Marriott says buy more points NOW before we further devalue

    –Mets Fan in NC

    I guess “further devalue” refers to the “secret devaluation” of BonVoy points that self-anointed “travel gurus” predict is sure to happen as soon as the program transitions to dynamic award pricing.

    Coup de Grâce:
    This clear devaluation of WoH awards that just happened with the raising of some of the program’s ‘aspirational’ hotels to Category 8 is a dagger to the heart of the self-anointed ‘travel gurus’ high priesthood that has equated fixed award charts with ‘safe haven’, while making dynamic award pricing synonymous with ‘massive devaluation’.

    No program is immune from devaluations, but while Hilton Honors has had ‘dynamic award pricing’ since 2017, the program has kept its highest standard award cost capped at its pre-dynamic pricing level of 95K/night, except at just 2 of more than 6K+ hotels where the cap is exceeded. Hyatt now has an entire ‘fixed’ category of hotels — many highly coveted for redemption — with standard award costs that exceed those at all but two Hilton hotels.

    Funny how much damage can be done in broad daylight even with a ‘fixed’ award chart, ain’t it?

  2. In December I had to buy some points to complete a points stay in Europe and this was offered both on the reservation page as well as on the phone. The regular price was charged. The charge posted as MARRIOTT PATH.

  3. With this 100k per year points purchase limit, not sure if points that are transferred from another member’s account counts towards that limit since it has its own 100k limit. I was looking to book a 5 night stay at St Regis Bahia for 400k points this year where my account currently has 180k points. If I buy these points with the bonus to make my balance 330k and then the other 70k points is transferred from my wife’s account not sure if that’ll be allowed.

  4. Based on the promotion dates, can we assume March 24th will be the date Marriott devalues Bonvoy points and increases the points required to stay in their most exclusive properties such as Al Maha, St. Regis in Bora Bora and Maldives, or the new Ritz Maldives?

    Gary, I hope you’ll update us on the new program date once you hear of it.

  5. @The B — This from the BonVoy FAQ on their dynamic award pricing may be of interest to you and others in tuning out some of the hype and predictions of doom about the upcoming “devaluation”:

    Will it now cost me more Marriott Bonvoy® Points to redeem?
    While an award night can still be booked the same way it always has been, the redemption Rate of an award night is now more flexible. That means when there is more availability at the Hotel – during slower periods, for instance – redemption Rates may be lower. In general, the range of Marriott Bonvoy® Points required to redeem a Stay at a Hotel will be the same as they are today.

    Hilton made a promise just like the one bolded back in 2017 and kept it. The program is thriving and is more vibrant, IMHO, 5 years later. It’s anyone’s guess how Marriott is going to implement their dynamic award pricing scheme, but bad vibes beget bad vibes and there are definitely already plenty of those in the air, with the constant talk of the upcoming doom…

    G’day.

  6. @DCS – Bonvoy’s record isn’t exactly stellar. The fact that Hilton had similar wording 5 years ago is pretty immaterial. Bonvoy will definitely do what it wants, when it wants. You can bet that if it appeases the hotel owners at the expense of the guests, they’ll always go with the owners. And the owners do not want redemptions – especially elite redemptions.

  7. @Jon – You do not know what BonVoy will do, any more than do those who painted — wrongly, I am happy to add — the same doomsday scenario when Hilton decided to switch, and are at it again now vs. BonVoy. According to those same people you’ve been listening to Hilton Honors’ record was even worse than BonVoy’s!

    Wait until you see what happens before you judge and decide!

  8. @DCS Bonvoy has said that 3% will not be within range. It is very reasonable to assume the 3% will be high end properties (like the biggest devaluation that Hyatt announced). So if you are interested in the top 3% of Bonvoy properties – let the buyer beware. I am glad that Hilton has kept the 95k cap for almost all high end properties. Bonvoy has promised to only exclude 3% the first year…and no promises beyond that

  9. @Marriott Marty — I have seen that claim about 3% of “top” properties to be “out of range.” However, I have not seen where that is officially stated by Marriott. If true, then what that means is that Marriott intends to put 3% of their “top” hotel in a special category similar to the one in which Hilton currently has just 2 of their most ‘aspirational’ properties, (WA Maldives and Cabos) where the 95K points/night cap is exceeded with standard awards that cost 120K or 150K per not.

    If that is correct, then if Marriott has 100 properties that they consider their “top” hotels (likely all those in their current Category 8), only 3 of those would be put” out of range”; 1 would be “out orange” if there are 33 such hotels; or just 2 will be “out of range” if there are 67 such hotels. One can hope that is what they mean because then the ‘damage’ won’t be so bad, and “out of range” could simply mean that standard costs at those 3% top” hotels would exceed the current 100K/night cap; they could cost 125K, 150K, 200K but not millions of points.

    In short, Marriott seems to be gearing up to implementing their dynamic award pricing by copying Hilton’s model, which is the best that one can hope…

  10. A guest has always had the opportunity to buy points to make up the difference.

    Few side notes-the 50 night choice page states it will be completed by email for 2022 (not online in the profile).

    Ambassador emails are coming from a country outside the US 6 hours behind the west coast. Same as customer care. It seems they are the same people responding to both.

  11. Marriott cut personal reps for the Ambassador program but they have also farmed out the personalized service to China.
    The new benefit to give Platinum Elite to a family member is only to mine data. If you ever speak with Customer Care ask where they are located-they will hesitate. The phones are answered in the states but the emails are all responded to by China. All emails from Marriott have email trackers. They will say respond to this email since it has a tracker. Paste, save and start a new email if you need to respond.

  12. I need 6k more points to complete a booking so I decided to give this a try. Yes, they are offering me a 40% bonus on the points but the minimum they will let me buy is… 6k. So I get the points I need to complete the booking plus another 2400 points that will be useless to me.

    What I really want is to buy just enough so the purchase + bonus gets me to 6k.

    Sigh.

    Cost to me would be $94.80 USD. I can do a cash & points redemption for $133 CAD + 8,000 points, or a straight room purchase for $273 CAD.

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