|Update: Some customers may have issues using Singapore-issued credit cards. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this except try a different one. I purchased successfully with an AMEX Platinum Charge.|
Hotels are desperate for cash now, and we’ve seen some of them roll out big discounts for prepaid stays or gift certificates. So far it’s been the smaller chains or individual properties who have offered such promotions, but now we’re seeing one of the big boys step up.
Marriott’s gift card sale
From now till 17 May, Marriott is selling gift cards at 20% off. These are available in denominations of:
- US$50 (Pay US$40)
- US$100 (Pay US$80)
- US$250 (Pay US$200)
- US$500 (Pay US$400)
- US$1,000 (Pay US$800)
Up to US$5,000 can be purchased per person per credit card per day. Although gift cards are denominated in USD, they can be used globally at any Marriott property except for:
- Design Hotels
- Ritz-Carlton Residences
- Homes and Villas by Marriott
All other brands will accept them.
Gift cards will be fulfilled electronically within 1-7 business days, and the value never expires. There’s no need to use all the value at once. For example, if you have a US$1,000 card and use US$400 for a stay, you’ll have US$600 left in your balance.
Should you buy Marriott gift cards at 20% off?
Assuming you have no liquidity issues, this could be a great way of securing a discount for the future. You cannot use these for prepaid rates (because you give them to the front desk at check-out for payment) or to guarantee your stay, but with flexible rates being as low as they are right now, there’s potential for big savings.
Unlike smaller hotels which may or may not go out of business, I have pretty much zero concerns about Marriott.
What card should I use to purchase Marriott gift cards?
These purchases will code as foreign currency hotel spending, so you can use the following cards to maximise the miles you earn.
|DBS Woman’s World Card|
|4 mpd||Cap S$2K per c. month|
|UOB Visa Signature|
|4 mpd||Min S$1K FCY per s. month, cap at S$2K FCY per s. month|
|UOB Lady’s Card|
|4 mpd||Cap S$1K per c. month. Declare travel as 10X category|
|UOB Lady’s Solitaire|
|4 mpd||Cap S$3K per c. month. Declare travel as 10X category|
|SCB X Card|
|3 mpd||Until 30 Jun 20. Min S$2K per c. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite||3 mpd||Min S$2K per s. month|
|BOC Elite Miles ||3 mpd|
|3 mpd||Cap S$5K per c. month|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
I have fewer misgivings about buying gift cards than I do points, because I’d sooner trust the central bank behind the money than points. Be sure to see if this can fit into your future travel plans, and use the right card to maximize the rebate you earn.