This article is sponsored by Marriott Bonvoy
Starting yesterday, Marriott Bonvoy has brought back its ‘Week of Wonders’ promotion. It consists of seven days of offers and promotions designed to get you back in the mood for travel.
Yesterday we covered two of the deals:
- 4,000 Marriott Bonvoy hotels are offering off-peak redemption pricing if you stay during October (read more)
- 2,000 bonus points on your next stay if you have a Marriott Bonvoy credit card (read more)
We are looking at two additional offers across two articles today. We are only covering our picks of the ‘Week of Wonders’ offers – take a look at the official website here for all of the deals.
Marriott Bonvoy is running a flash ‘buy points’ deal for ‘Week of Wonders’ – and it is the strongest we’ve seen all year.
Via this page of the website, you will get a 55% bonus on all points purchases until 14th October if you have Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
If you don’t have Marriott Bonvoy status, you receive a slightly lower bonus of 50%.
The bonus kicks in from just 2,000 points.
All of the calculations in this article assume you are getting the 55% bonus.
Do I qualify to buy points at a discount?
There are two restrictions on using this offer. Your Marriott Bonvoy account must be either:
- 90 days old, or
- 30 days old if it has some activity on it
How many Marriott Bonvoy points can I buy?
The annual purchase cap is 100,000 points pre-bonus. With the bonus, you could pick up 155,000 Bonvoy points if you have elite status.
At the top end you are paying $1,250 (£915) for 155,000 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 (0.59p) 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)
Here’s when buying points can make sense
We spent three nights last December at The Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert resort in Ras Al Khaimah, reviewed here.
The cash cost for three nights, per room, was Dhs 11,432 including taxes. (When I say ‘room’, you get a semi-detached house with its own private pool.) This was £2,429 at the time we booked, so for two rooms the cash cost would have been almost £5,000 for three nights.
Using Marriott Bonvoy points, it averaged out at 200,000 points for each room, so 66,666 points per night.
To save you getting your calculator out, this worked out at 1.2p per Marriott Bonvoy point. If I’d bought those points in this promotion, my stay would effectively have been half price.
The snag with Marriott Bonvoy is that the annual points buying cap is too low to allow you to exploit the deal for a long holiday. 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 155,000 points which doesn’t even get you two nights there.
However …. you CAN transfer up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per year from one member to another for free. 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 also 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 around 1.1p. However, it might make sense for other airlines.
Buying 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points under this offer will cost $487.50 (£357) which gets you 39,000 base points plus a 55% bonus to hit the 60,000 points required. If you turned this into 25,000 airline miles, you are paying 1.4p 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 55% bonus is here if you are interested. The offer ends on 14th October.