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Marriott launches its new promotion – the same but, erm, worse

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UPDATE – DECEMBER 2020:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.  We produce a monthly summary of the top hotel bonus point offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ menu above. 

Marriott is not currently running a global bonus points offer. However, until 22nd December, you get a 50% bonus when you buy Marriott Bonvoy points. The link is here.

The Summer hotel promotions are starting to drift out from the major chains.  Starwood launched ‘Double Take’ on May 1st.

Marriott Rewards is now following up bringing back its MegaBonus promotion again, with the new version running from 15th May to 2nd September.  This version is called ‘Unexpected Bonus’.

Marriott Unexpected Bonus

Marriott targets different offers to different members, based on stay pattern.  I very rarely stay at a Marriott group property, and if I log into my Marriott Rewards account and click on ‘Promotion Central’, I am offered what seems to be the most generous version:

  • One free night for every 2 paid stays during the promotional period
  • Maximum of 3 free nights to be earned
  • Free nights to be redeemed at Category 1-4 properties only
  • Free nights to be redeemed within 1 year

Now, in general, I never liked this offer.  A typical Category 4 hotel would be the Bristol or Northampton Marriott’s in the UK.  You would struggle to find anything decent in a major European capital city in Category 1-4.

However, in February, things got a lot worse when Marriott launched a major devaluation of Marriott Rewards.  This involved launched a new category, Category 9, requiring 45,000 points a night.  More importantly, though, 370 hotels were moved from Category 4 to Category 5.

This means that there are now 370 fewer places to use your free nights from this promotion.  The Marriott in Leeds, which I have previously mentioned as a possible Category 4 redemption, moves up to Category 5 for example.

Other options

If you are Marriott elite member, you may receive a different version of this promotion.

  • Stay 2 times, get a Category 1-5 certificate (maximum 2 free nights)
  • Stay 15 nights and get 25,000 bonus points plus either an extra 10,000 points for a further 5 nights or 2,000 bonus points for up to five additional nights
  • Stay 20 nights and get 35,000 bonus points plus either an extra 10,000 points for a further 5 nights or 2,000 bonus points for up to ten additional nights

Anyone whose Marriott account is set up to give miles instead of points will receive a different miles promotion instead.

Note that you need to register by 31st July, so it is worth registering even if you are not planning any Marriott stays at present – it would be a shame to be faced with a couple of Marriott nights in August only to find that you can no longer sign up for the MegaBonus.

Whether this promotion works for you will depend on your stay pattern.  In hard £ terms, a free night certificate for just 2 stays is far more generous than the current Hilton or Starwood promotions.  It just depends on whether you can find a decent hotel in category 1-4 to redeem it (you will struggle to find anything in a major global capital).  The odds are certainly a lot lower than they were before the devaluation.

(Remember to follow our ‘Hotel Promos‘ page for the latest offers for all of the major hotel chains.)

Comments (3)

  • PT says:

    I have no status with Marriott but did for a while, not even stayed in their hotels for last couple of years.

    I have got the Stay 2 times, get a Category 1-5 certificate (maximum 2 free nights). This open ups Manchester, Liverpool and even the excellent Hanbury Manor for UK stays so definitely worth switching a few business trips

  • trickster says:

    I got the 1-5 offer so I’ve registered. Cat 5 in the UK includes most of the country club hotels which from my experience are nice. They are also an opportunity to get the 2 stays needed to trigger this bonus, as often you can pick up a good diner bed and breakfast rate.

  • GnarlyOldGoatDude says:

    No promotion for me, but I don’t care. They’ve given me Marriott Silver two years on the trot despite not having stayed with them for over 2 years. I was a gold three years ago, so this is an impressively soft landing.

    Nevertheless, this is, and will remain a dormant account.