Of all the major hotel groups, Marriott has taken the biggest strides into competing directly with Airbnb with ‘Homes & Villas by Marriott’.
Marriott is currently offering a 10% discount if you book a home or villa rental for next year. Paying the balance with Marriott Bonvoy points recently became less attractive, as I will show.
What’s the deal?
If you book any property through Homes & Villas by Marriott between now and 31st December, you will receive a 10% discount.
The small print is:
- Your ‘homes and villas’ stay must begin between 1st January and 30th November 2021
- You must book by 31st December 2020
- A small number of properties are not participating, but there are no blackout dates or length-of-stay restrictions
- The 10% discount applies to both cash and redemption stays
You can find full rules on this page of the Homes & Villas website.
One important point to note is that many of the homes featured by Marriott are not exclusive to its platform. It is worth checking to see if the same property is listed on Airbnb (earning you Avios when you book) or Vrbo (ex HomeAway) at a different price or with different terms.
Do I get Marriott Bonvoy points with a homes and villas rental?
You earn at the same rate as Marriott’s long stay hotel brands. This means 5 points per $1 spent. You do not earn points on booking fees, taxes, cleaning fees and extra add-ons during your stay.
If you have Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you also earn a tier bonus:
- Silver Elite: 5 points per eligible dollar plus 10% bonus
- Gold Elite: 5 points per eligible dollar plus 25% bonus
- Platinum Elite: 5 points per eligible dollar plus 50% bonus
- Titanium Elite: 5 points per eligible dollar plus 75% bonus
- Ambassador: 5 points per eligible dollar plus 75% bonus
Gold Elite members and higher also receive a welcome gift:
- Ambassador Elite, Titanium Elite, Platinum Elite: 1,000 points
- Gold Elite: 500 points
Do I earn elite night credits too?
You also earn elite night credits for each night you stay. These nights count towards your annual status renewal but do not count towards lifetime status.
Are homes and villas bookings flexible?
Fairly flexible, yes.
For bookings until 31st March, you can cancel up to 10 days before arrival. There will be a $75 cancellation fee for cash bookings but no fee on points bookings.
Bookings for stays from 1st April will be subject to the standard cancellation policy of 14-90 days depending on property.
Can I pay with Marriott Bonvoy points?
Yes. However, Marriott has recently made the rate worse.
There is no reward chart for ‘Homes & Villas’. It is pure revenue-based redemption, with each Marriott Bonvoy point you redeem having a fixed value.
When launched, 1 Bonvoy point was worth 0.7 cents (0.54p) when used for a ‘Homes & Villas’ redemption.
This has just been cut to 0.6 cents (0.46p) per Bonvoy point.
I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.5p each. In theory, this means that using points for ‘Homes & Villas’ now becomes a poorer deal. It isn’t that simple, of course:
- getting 0.5p per point is trickier than it used to be at the moment, given that hotel room rates have collapsed in most places whilst Bonvoy pricing has remained constant
- if you need to redeem for a family, ‘Homes & Villas’ is a welcome option which can easily provide you with the space you need
That said, I am typing this in a Bonvoy resort where I am getting an impressive 1.5p per point (story to follow). Whilst 0.5p is a good ‘average’ figure, you will always do better than this if you sit on your points until the planets cross. Wait until you find yourself needing a room in an expensive place at an expensive time.
10% isn’t a hugely attractive additional discount, but as long as the cancellation policy works for you then it does no harm to lock in a booking now for next Summer.
You may want to reconsider using Bonvoy points to pay, given the recent drop in value. That said, if you travel as a family then this is an easy way of getting a points redemption which will sleep a larger group.
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.)