Marriott has a series of promotions running for a week that starts today under the banner of “Week of Wonders”. There’s a sale on paid rates, a bonus offer for making a home booking, and the biggest in my view is all hotels at off peak rates and over 7000 Marriot properties are participating in this.
I’m going to ignore the ‘original short films’ they’ve made about a “Native American horse trainer who travels to ride with gauchos in Patagonia, Argentina, [and] an American chef raised in Brooklyn who travels to Seoul, South Korea to explore his heritage through food.” Because I have Netflix.
Instead let’s focus on what they’re actually offering:
- 30% off merchandise: including the Westin Heavenly Bed, Ritz-Carlton fragrances, La Labo amenities, and W Hotels robes.
- Over 7000 hotels at off peak redemption prices: book “more than 7,000 participating hotels and resorts worldwide for stays through November 30.” Booking Vana Belle in Koh Samui, Thailand (which they promote as an example) for a stay through November 30th may be useful for anyone not already in Thailand, but the U.A.E. is open to tourism and Al Maha is awesome for social distancing since everyone gets their own standalone villa with private pool. This runs through October 15.
Here’s Marriott’s award chart pricing:
- Paid last minute stay sales: Marriott Bonvoy Escapes up to 25% off five day sale “with participating properties in markets like Fort Lauderdale and Wyoming, Montreal and Vancouver, and Mexico and Cayman Islands.” Book by October 11 for stays through November 1.
And they’re promoting their “Escape to Luxury” $300 credits at participating properties in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. These deals will be available to book October 14-18 for stays October 15, 2020 – November 8, 2020.
- Free night with a Homes and Villas booking: Marriott’s home rental business will offer a free hotel night award with a member’s first stay of at least 3 nights booked and consumed themselves between October 8, 2020 and December 31, 2020. (No registration required.)
The free night will be credited 3-6 weeks after the stay, and will have six months of validity for use on a redemption that would cost up to 35,000 points.
Al Maha Desert Resort
Over the summer Marriott offered stays in July at off peak rates but the truth is that the way off-peak and peak pricing was supposed to work, with nearly all hotels having excess capacity these days, nearly all hotels should be offered at off-peak pricing for most days and not just through November 30 based on the value proposition the program is supposed to offer.
In theory Marriott charges members ‘peak’ award prices on nights they think a hotel is going to sell out. They’d have to pay the hotel extra for the stay, so they charge you more points to cover it.
And as part of the deal, with prices going up when hotels are full, they offer ‘off peak’ prices on nights there’s basically no risk that a hotel will be sold out. And for in-between nights, they’ve got standard award prices.
Marriott has been charging peak redemption prices for way too many nights at way too many hotels that are mostly empty, essentially gouging members, and that’s not how off-peak and peak were supposed to work. For several days though you can book hotels for the pricing Marriott should be charging now, albeit only for stays through November 30.