For the first time since the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs merged, Marriott Bonvoy is offering its first buy-points promotion. And it’s a surprisingly good deal. Now through May 15, you can buy Marriott Bonvoy points at a 25% discount, which drops the price to just 0.94 cents per point.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down during this promotion:
- Buy 1,000-4,000 points for 1.25 cents per point
- Buy 5,000-50,000 points at a 25% discount for 0.9375 cents per point
If you want to max out this bonus, you can buy 50,000 points for $469:
TPG just dropped his valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points from 0.9 cents per point down to 0.8 cents per point. While the average redemption value hasn’t dropped significantly, our frustration with the program led us to drop this valuation. So, while the 0.94 rate is above TPG valuations, it’s still worth considering for those who know how to navigate the pitfalls of the combined program.
How to Buy Points
- Visit Marriott’s Buy Points link.
- Enter your first name, last name, Marriott Bonvoy member number and email address to log in.
- Select the number of points you want to purchase.
- Enter your credit card information and billing address
- Check the box to agree to the terms and conditions and click “pay now.”
Here are some of the important terms and conditions to keep in mind:
- You can’t buy points within 30 days of enrolling a new Marriott Bonvoy account. Members who signed up in the past 90 days must have qualifying activity to purchase points.
- Members are only allowed to buy and/or receive as a gift 50,000 points per year.
- Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000.
- The 25% discount ends at 11:59pm ET on May 15, 2019
Which Credit Card Should You Use?
The terms note that “purchasing points using a Marriott Bonvoy or The Ritz-Carlton credit card will result in earning one point per dollar spent on these transactions.” These cards are supposed to earn 2x points per dollar spent on general purchases, so earning just 1x point per dollar spent would be quite strange. Instead, I assume that this note is trying to indicate that Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards won’t qualify as Marriott purchases and will earn just 2x points per dollar.
That’s pretty common for buying points. Since the purchase is processed by Points.com, you won’t earn a travel category bonus from this purchase on most cards. The only card that we’ve tested that got a bonus on Points.com purchases was the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card — which has earned 3x Ultimate Rewards points. That nets a solid 6% return on your purchase based on TPG valuations.
Other good options to consider are The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express 2x Membership Rewards points (on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x thereafter) for a return of 4%, or the Chase Freedom Unlimited‘s 1.5% cash back — which can convert to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points for those with qualifying cards for a return of 3%.
Other Ways to Grow Your Marriott Balance
This promo is a good way to top off your account with as little as 5,000 points for a promotion. But the 50,000 points per year maximum is going to keep anyone from being able to really bulk up their balance for a major redemption. If you’re looking for a lot more Marriott Bonvoy points, you’re going to want to turn to a Marriott credit card.
After aligning and re-branding the Marriott/Starwood/Ritz-Carlton credit cards, here’s what’s currently available:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express® Card: sign up to earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Offer ends April 24.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card allows businesses to rack up 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after using the card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Offer ends April 24.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card which is offering 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months from account opening.