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How to use the £400 Amex Platinum credit at Marriott for food and drink – no stay needed

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Many Head for Points readers who have an American Express Platinum card have been given a very generous offer by Marriott.

You will receive £400 cashback when you spend £400 at selected luxury Marriott International properties. The UK hotels participating are mainly in London, plus The Langley and Turnberry.

American Express Amex Platinum card Marriott £400 offer

The rules of the offer imply that the credit can only be claimed for items linked to an overnight stay. You are probably not meant to use it for food, drink or spa treatments if you are not a registered guest. The actual wording is vague though, saying only that it should be linked to ‘checkout spend’ with no mention of actually having to stay.

(The reason for this is that restaurants and spas usually have a different ‘merchant code’ in the American Express system. Amex will only pay the £400 cashback if it spots the merchant code for the hotel. The restaurant and spa may be set up differently.)

One reader found a way around this ……

To quote:

“I thought you’d be interested to read my experience of using Amex’s £400 Marriott offer solely for non-accommodation charges.

To celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday yesterday, we went with two friends to the JW Steak House at Marriott’s Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane on Friday 16th October, the last night before London moved to tier 2.  I was considering saving this £400 offer until my own birthday just before the offer’s extended expiry date, but decided that celebrations in December might be even more impeded by the pandemic than they are now.

I phoned the hotel and explained what I wanted to do and why, i.e. spend at least £400 in the restaurant but pay at the front desk as a hotel checkout charge in order to qualify for an Amex offer.  They were very co-operative and created a “paymaster account” for me, which had a 8-prefixed virtual room number together with my Bonvoy number

When we arrived for dinner, I asked to prepay £400 with my Amex card at the front desk in the hope of receiving an instant e-mail from Amex, as usually (but not always) happens when using other Amex offers.  I used chip & PIN, because the front desk’s card machine doesn’t support Apple Pay.  I didn’t receive an e-mail.

After a very enjoyable dinner, I went back to the front desk and they printed a standard hotel checkout invoice for me, showing the charge by the restaurant, together with the virtual room number.  Yesterday I noticed in my Amex online account that the offer was redeemed with a saving of £400, and today I see the £400 credit dated yesterday.”

So …. if you don’t really need a luxury hotel room in London but DO like the idea of £400 of free food and drink, you may want to give this option a try.

The JW Marriott Grosvenor House website is here if you want to find out more.


How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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 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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy 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.)

Comments (91)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • VP says:

    We stayed on Sunday at JW Marriot Grosvenor house.
    It’s not exceptional but not terrible either.

    Exec Room – Spacious, no views (was told only Suites have Hyde Park views). Bathroom has a walk in shower (no tub bath). While the room looks its age, the bathroom definitely looks 90’s and in need of a makeover. Generous size upgraded Bvlgari toiletries.

    Exec Lounge – Very pleasant and spacious and would be surprised if it’s not among the largest in London. Happy hour consists of Wine (Red and White), Beers and cold Canapes. No spirits, no hot food. Crisps only during happy hour but some biscuits throughout the day. We went right in middle of happy hours and already the canapes were over. We did get to taste some after half an hour but don’t count on any food in the Lounge. Don’t know if it’s normal but Wine was kept even after happy hour ended. So quite generous there.

    JW Steakhouse – Sunday 3 course lunch is a really nice deal and included their famous cheese cake as well. Sunday lunch was delicious but in evening the burger and chicken was disappointing (soggy fries, dry burger, one under cooked piece of chicken). You won’t be hungry for sure as the serving size is copious. Think american portion sizes!

    Breakfast – Disappointing. Small continental spread and a hot menu and while the quality and quantity was good, only 1 hot dish is included which feels stingy for a 5* as pancakes and waffles are included in hot menu. So you can’t have eggs and pancakes. Also, we had to expressly ask for toasted slices and butter as it was nowhere in sight. No cakes/muffins as well (at least I didn’t see them when I went to the small continental spread once)

    Gym is open 24 hours and quite impressive for a hotel gym. Along with water bottles and oranges, there were headphones as well !! Overall Staff was friendly. We got 3 pm late checkout (as opposed to 2 pm for Mariott Golds) but no room upgrade.

    Summary: It was free so we of course enjoyed it but I think the hotel reflects the 8+ rating it has on Booking.com (as opposed to 9+ for some others). Exec lounge was £55 more than standard when we booked. If you are expecting Spirits and food then you will be disappointed but seems right for generous amount of wine + nice space to talk + 50% larger room with upgraded toiletries.

    Tip: The main screen on TV has option for seeing your hotel bill if you want to keep track of it. The marketplace has the cheapest cheesecake and the Park room also sells cakes by slices.

  • L Allen says:

    I suppose the feasability of this approach depends on how the restaurants operate within a given hotel. If all the money goes into the hotel pot, then that’s all good. If restaurant spend goes to the restaurant (e.g. because it’s actually a separate business) then there is no value to the hotel in allowing this behaviour. I have no idea how these arrangements work so I could be talking nonsense, of course 🙂 But, all in all, a nice work around!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Even when a hotel restaurant is operated by a third party if you can charge to the room the hotel usually gets a cut as commission.

      It’s only where the 3rd party restaurant is completely independent and not chargeable to the hotel where this approach wouldn’t work at all.

  • Jamie says:

    Thanks for rubbing it in again for those of us who didn’t get the offer on their Plat card. Whole thing has left a sour taste about Marriott and Amex, so think their marketing plan has backfired a bit. Also surprised you published a workaround that is against the terms of the offer.

    • Rob says:

      It’s not much of a workaround. My own plan is to book the cheapest room I can find (likely to be the JW for around £250) and blow the rest in the restaurant with my wife.

      • Tom says:

        Hi Rob, I want to do the same thing. The prepay rate is £251 on the website. How are you planning on doing your plan? I rang the hotel up and they suggested getting the flexible rate at £375, charging dinner to our hotel, then checking out. This obviously would not be optimal. Do you know whether we can pay in separate transactions, like the Selfridges or Harrods credit? (i.e. 2 separate transactions, which break the £400 threshold). Thanks, Tom

        • Rob says:

          JW has a work rate that gives 9am check and 6pm check out the next day. My plan is to book that to get 2 full work days from the room. That is about £260 and then we will do £140 of food one evening.

          My status will also get me brekky and lounge access if open.

          I am waiting beyond 10 Nov in case a double points promo launches.

          • Tom says:

            Interesting. How will you book the room? Will you pay in two transactions? Or is the business rate you’re getting at £260 a flexible rate, whereby you pay when you check out?

          • Rob says:

            I don’t think Marriott has any pre-pay rates at the moment. Everything seems cancellable until the day before.

    • NFH says:

      It’s not against the terms of the offer. The offer states that it must be used for checkout spend. There is no requirement to stay the night.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There is no need to be sour. It’s just a raffle you weren’t chosen for.

      btw Neither was I. AMEX will tell you offers are not a guaranteed feature

  • Tony says:

    So much for the offer- nothing ever like this on the Business Amex Plat

    • Andrew says:

      Or for many personal platinum customers. Still waiting for my “free gift” whilst others get a £400 meal.

      • Alan says:

        Indeed – I think targeting lower value offers is fair enough but for this sort of thing it’s pretty annoying for those of us that didn’t receive it. Shame they didn’t go for £200 but offer it much more widely.

    • Rob says:

      Er … apart from a) the free £250 you’re getting on renewal, b) the £150 Dell credit which I used to buy a £151 item resold for £100+ on eBay and c) the £200 ‘Business Bundle’ credit which I will use for ink cartridges to resell on ebay.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        LOL am I the only who used the Dell and business bundle credits for himself? 🙂

        • BP says:

          I used the Dell credit for myself to upgrade my docking station to a higher spec one which charges my laptop. The business bundle I used one voucher for £20 off a Fitbit the wife and then 9 copies of Fifa21 to resell to CEX at £11 profit a copy.

  • CC says:

    Thinking of doing exactly the same thing with the “Spend £200 or more, get £75 back” AND “Spend £200 or more, get £50 back” offers, both of which are saved on my Marriott Bonvoy Amex, for a total of £125 off! Does anyone know if both offers will trigger on one transaction?

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      Should be fine. Done it for me twice (World Duty Free and Harvey Nichols, I think)

      • Andrew says:

        Harrods last year too with a £20 and a £30 off £100 spend on the same card. There’s a Tory Burch offer at the moment which will probably stack with the Bicester offer at the store there, if you’re looking for a mid-market handbag.

        • Nick says:

          Are you sure about Bicester? I thought all shops there went through on BV’s merchant account, not the individual brand’s.

          • Andrew says:

            I think they go through their own merchant account – with their own receipts and returns policies etc, showing on your statement as the shop where you shopped etc. Places like the White Company let you return at high st shops.

    • Ian says:

      Both triggered for me last weekend.

  • Gareth Jeanne says:

    Can anyone recommend any of the hotels on the list in the UK that have a decent restaurant for Vegetarians? Keen to use the voucher up, but a lot of the restaurants attached to hotels tend to be steak house/brasserie orientated, which is somewhat limiting 🙂

    • Stanley says:

      Try Brunello at the Baglioni….. Very good Italian food.

    • Stanley says:

      Sorry, ignore that. Its not on the list. But the Bulgari hotel is – they have 2 Italian restaurants there which should be more accessible for vegetarians.

      • Rob says:

        Bulgari is rarely below £600 per night for the room though so you’d need them to do you a deal on paying for the meal.

        • NFH says:

          Forget the Bulgari. You can’t use this offer in their restaurant, because it’s a separate business.

  • Niall says:

    Email just received: “When staying at The London EDITION the hotel credit you receive as part of the booking made, whether this is through Marriott or American Express can be used toward dining in Berners Tavern”

    Not sure what that means exactly…

    • Jonathan says:

      It means if you’ve booked an AmEx FHR rate with $100 hotel credit or one of the Marriott rates with €50/day credit you can use that in the restaurant.

      • Niall says:

        But what about qualifying for the *Amex offer’s £400* as a guest diner at the Berners Tavern restaurant (London Edition hotel won’t be open before 14 November)?

  • TGLoyalty says:

    If its close by maybe pop in for a lunchtime drink and see what it posts as?

    • Niall says:

      Berners Tavern always posts under ‘Marriott’, but I’d still question whether or not it qualifies for the Amex offer, as it’s not check-out spend…

      • Rob says:

        Makes no difference. All that matters is that it goes through with the same merchant code as a hotel check-out would incur.

        • Niall says:

          Splendid, but if so, why doesn’t every Londoner who’s saved the offer (including you, Rob!) opt to dine as a non-staying guest? Allows you to make use of more of Amex’s offer, i.e. more value.

          • Gin and Tonic Please says:

            I’ve just booked a table for Sat. Not yet decided whether I’ll go for it with the £400 offer, or play it faster with the £50 off £200 one. Will report back…

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Nothing ventured nothing gained! You might even get £450 off £400 spend if it’s on the same card.

          • Gin and Tonic Please says:

            Agreed! Sadly on different cards…

          • Gin and Tonic Please says:

            It worked! Spent £400 (well, actually a bit more…) at Berners Tavern last Saturday and got the £400 credit back this morning. Woohoo!

          • Rob says:

            Not sure how my wife and I can drop £400 on a meal given that we cannot invite anyone from outside our household.

          • Gin and Tonic Please says:

            Trust me, it’s doable, and also totally worth it. 😀 Remember you ‘only’ need to spend £355 before adding service to get to £400 overall. Cote de boeuf £90 for two people. Decent bottle of red wine £100. Starters and desserts £14 each. Throw in a cocktail to start/end (or another bottle of wine) and you’re there.

          • Gin and Tonic Please says:

            Should have said – it was only two of us on Sat. We would have been pretty much bang on the £400 level if we hadn’t then also gone to the bar for drinks afterwards.

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