There are two ‘buy points’ offers ending today. If you are thinking of booking any stays for the next couple of months, it may be cheaper to buy points instead of paying cash.
Get a 100% bonus buying Hilton Honors points
We’re not suggesting that Hilton is desperate for cash, but Hilton Honors has been running another promotion offering a 100% bonus when you purchase 10,000+ points.
The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here. TODAY, 15th July, is the last day.
Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.33p each. You are paying 0.39p (0.5 cents) here so the maths in general doesn’t work.
HOWEVER ….. there ARE real bargains to be had at peak periods. Conrad Maldives at 95,000 points per night, the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives at 120,000 points, the ‘all suite’ Conrad New York Downtown or Conrad New York Midtown at 95,000 points etc are places where you will usually save a lot of money by buying points instead of paying cash.
This is especially true if you have Hilton status and can get ‘5 nights for the points of 4’ on a longer stay. If you don’t have status, this article shows you how to get a Hilton Honors status match.
If you are just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway. If you are a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.
Rooms booked on points are also fully refundable, except on some rare occasions such as New Years Eve in key cities. This gives you extra certainty if you want to book but are worried about, for example, future quarantine restrictions at your destination which mean you can’t travel.
It’s also worth remembering that you don’t pay resort fees on Hilton Honors redemption nights. This is a big saving in New York and Las Vegas.
If you have an American Express Platinum card …..
There is an interesting arbitrage here if you have an American Express Platinum card. If you were thinking of transferring any Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors at the 1:2 rate, it is actually a better deal to:
- buy the points for cash using your American Express Platinum card
- pay off the balance using Membership Rewards points (remember that you get 0.9p per point when you use them as statement credit until 20th July)
You will get the equivalent 2.2 Hilton points per 1 Amex point this way, instead of 2 Hilton points if you do a direct points transfer!
You can buy Hilton Honors points via this link. The offer ends tonight, 15th July.
Get a 60% bonus on Marriott Bonvoy points purchases
If this part of the article sounds familiar, it is because I ran it two weeks ago – and then Marriott extended the offer by 15 days!
Via this page of the website, you will get a 60% bonus on all points purchases.
How many Marriott Bonvoy points can I buy?
The annual purchase cap of 50,000 points pre-bonus has been doubled to 100,000 points although the maximum you can buy in one go remains 50,000 points pre-bonus. With the bonus, you could pick up 160,000 Bonvoy points although it would require two separate transactions of 80,000 each.
At the top end you are paying $625 (£487) for 80,000 points under this offer.
What is a Marriott Bonvoy point worth?
My rule of thumb is that a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.5p. You are paying a little more than that (0.60p) under this offer so it isn’t a steal.
However, you might find it worthwhile if:
you are planning a stay at a property where you know you will get outsized value (and it really isn’t that hard to get more 0.6p if you are travelling to peak cities at peak times), or
you are topping off your account before making a points booking, or
you are close to 60,000 Bonvoy points and want to make a transfer into airline miles (you get a bonus of 5,000 airline miles when you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points into 20,000 airline miles)
The snag with Marriott Bonvoy is that the annual points buying cap is too low to allow you to exploit the deal. The St Regis New York, for example, can easily run to $1,300 per night including taxes, which makes 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (on a ‘Standard Reward’ day) a great deal. The problem is getting enough points. Even with the increased cap, the most you could buy from scratch is 160,000 points which doesn’t even get you two nights.
However …. you CAN transfer up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per year from one member to another. You need to ring up to do this, which is a bit annoying, but that is the only restriction. You don’t need to share an address. This is one way around the limit on points purchases.
Buying Marriott Bonvoy points is a way of buying cheap airline miles
Because you can buy 60,000 points in one go, this deal is also a way of picking up 25,000 airline miles in programmes where you can rarely buy them cheaply.
The usual transfer rate from Marriott Bonvoy into airline miles is 3:1, which is already generous. If you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points at once, however, you get 5,000 bonus airline miles which means a total of 25,000 miles.
Do NOT do this with Avios, because there are regular offers to buy Avios for 1p – 1.1p. However, it might make sense for other airlines.
Buying 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points under this offer will cost $475 (£370). If you turned this into 25,000 airline miles, you are paying 1.48p per mile. With SOME airline schemes, you might find this valuable, especially if it is a scheme where you find it very hard to earn miles in the UK.
The link to buy Bonvoy points with a 60% bonus is here if you are interested. The offer ends at midnight tonight – and I very much doubt it will be extended again.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)