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Marriott Bonvoy members may be surprised to learn that they can now buy points during the booking process for a hotel room. While you've always been able to buy Marriott Bonvoy points, this new ability offers two improvements. First, it can be done during the booking process itself. Second, these points are in addition to your normal limits. Here's what this means for travelers.
Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points During the Booking Process
Marriott Bonvoy members always have the ability to buy points. You can buy up to 100,000 points per year before any discounts or bonuses are factored in. You can track the latest promotions to buy Marriott points at a discounted rate here.
Additionally, Marriott members have always had the ability to combine points with other members, subject to these rules:
“…Members can transfer up to a maximum of 100,000 Points per calendar year between any two accounts in good standing that have each been open for at least sixty (60) days, whether sending or receiving Points.”
While the ability to buy more points to complete a redemption booking isn't necessarily new, there are two features that we want to highlight regarding the ability to buy Marriott Bonvoy points during the booking process. Here are the reasons why this is newsworthy.
Related Content: Everything About the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program
Firstly, you can buy points during the booking process. This avoids needing to go buy the points and then return to complete your booking. Perhaps the room you wanted might disappear. Maybe not, but buying points separately is obviously more cumbersome. Now, you can buy Marriott points during the booking process without exiting the reservation system on the website.
Second, Marriott's terms state this interesting piece:
“Members may purchase Points or receive Points purchased by another Member as a gift for a maximum of 100,000 Points annually through the promotion’s Buy Points or Gift Points pages.
Members may purchase up to an additional 100,000 Points annually while booking a hotel stay through the reservation path on Marriott.com.”
This means that you can purchase 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points during booking in addition to the annual limit of purchasing 100,000 points “the regular way”. That creates an annual limit of purchasing 200,000 Marriott Bonvoy points: 100k in the regular way we've always had and another 100k during the booking process.
Example Booking: Hotel in New York City
I wanted to test this out for myself and see what the process is like to buy Marriott Bonvoy points during the booking. I currently have 65,935 points in my account. Thus, I wanted to find a property that costs less than 165,935 points for the stay. Why? If I can only buy 100,000 Marriott points while booking, it can't cost more than 100,000 points over what I currently have.
I ran a search for hotels in New York City since there are a lot of options there and also some pretty expensive hotels. I found the AC Hotel New York Down available for 105,000 points for a 5-night stay. Note that it's incorporating the 5th-night free perk in that price.
My test booking shows 5 nights at 105,000 points for the stay. That includes paying for 4 nights and getting 1 night free. The pricing breakdown is as follows.
From the detailed pricing, we see that the first night is free, 3 nights cost 25,000 points per night, and one night costs 30,000 points per night. My total would be 105,000 points.
When I try to go forward with every night marked as a points redemption above, Marriott automatically takes me to a page offering to buy points during the booking process.
At the time of writing, Marriott points are on sale with a bonus. Marriott automatically incorporates that bonus into the price it shows me when offering to buy points to complete my booking.
In this way, you can make your points purchase and award booking at the same time.
Why This Could Be Advantageous
There are a few things to highlight. While we never recommend buying points speculatively (without a solid plan), there are some areas that make this new “buy points while booking” feature a positive development.
- You keep moving forward in the booking, completing it faster so the room you want doesn't sell out while you go buy points.
- This doesn't affect your normal limit of buying 100,000 points in a year.
- If points are on sale with a discount or bonus, Marriott is already factoring this in — not charging you the standard buy points rate.
Key Terms to Note
- The terms on the page where I could buy points during booking state this: “Once Points have been purchased or gifted, no refunds will be permitted.” This leads me to believe that if I later canceled a booking I would keep the points.
- Additionally, the terms state “Purchasing Points using a Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit card will earn Points as an everyday purchase.” You will not earn bonus points when using a Marriott credit card.
- Be aware that Marriott does not guarantee immediacy of the transactions when buying points during your booking process. “Points purchases will be processed within 72 hours after the purchase is complete.”
This is definitely an interesting development from Marriott. In addition to your annual limits for receiving points from other members and buying up to 100,000 points, you can now add to that by buying up to 100,000 points during your hotel booking process. If there are sales at the time, those are automatically factored in.
As Marriott award pricing becomes less and less certain, it's interesting to see that we have access to buying more points at the same time as these changes roll out.
What are your thoughts on Marriott adding the ability to buy points while booking a hotel room?
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