Marriott Bonvoy has just launched its largest-ever points sale. From now till 1 July 2020 11.59 a.m SGT, members will receive a 60% bonus on points purchases, better than anything we’ve seen previously.
A minimum purchase of just 2,000 points is required to enjoy the 60% bonus. The equivalent cost per point with a 60% bonus is 0.78 US cents.
Here’s how that compares with previous sales:
|30% off||50% bonus||60% bonus|
|Cost per point||0.875 US cents||0.83 US cents||0.78 US cents|
You can normally buy a maximum of 50,000 points per year pre-bonus, but for this sale, Marriott is doubling the cap to 100,000 points (also pre-bonus). You can buy a maximum of 50,000 points (pre-bonus) per transaction, so you’ll need to make two transactions to max out your limit.
A new member may buy points 30 days after enrollment if their Marriott Bonvoy account has a qualifying activity (like a stay). Otherwise, they’ll need to wait 90 days to purchase points.
Points purchases will be processed up to 7 business days after payment is made. Base points will first be deposited, and bonus points will follow within 48 hours of the initial deposit.
What can you do with Marriott Bonvoy points?
As a reminder, here’s Marriott’s award chart. Marriott has now introduced off-peak and peak pricing, and these dates may change every month.
If you bought points at 0.78 US cents each, a night at the St Regis Maldives (Category 8) could cost as little as US$546 a night, with the fifth night free. That’s well below half the usual rate, but still pretty pricey. Moreover, with a per night cost of 70,000+ points and a purchase cap (post-bonus) of 160,000 points, you’d find it hard to accumulate enough points for a worthwhile stay.
|If you’ve got Maldives envy, a much better option is to buy Hilton points at the current 100% bonus sale, then redeem the Conrad Maldives. With the fifth night free factored in, you pay US$380 a night.|
On the other end of the spectrum, a night in a Category 1 hotel would be available from US$39. There are 274 Category 1 hotels around the world, including the AC Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya Marriott and the Aloft Jakarta.
You’ll definitely want to check the revenue rates for the dates you have in mind, as hotels may be offering discounted stays to encourage bookings.
Transfer Marriott points to Alaska Airlines
In my opinion, a much better option is to look at buying points for miles transfers. Marriott points transfer to more than 40 airlines at a 3:1 ratio, and you get a bonus 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points transferred.
Suppose you bought 60,000 points (US$468), then transferred them to 20,000 (base) + 5,000 (bonus) Alaska Mileage Plan miles. Your equivalent cost per mile would be 1.87 US cents, potentially better than most recent Alaska sale.
You could then redeem a one-way Business Class ticket to Tokyo on Japan Airlines for US$468 plus taxes, which is obviously not as fantastic as it was before (on account of the JAL one-way trick nerf), but still decent value in and of itself.
Alternatively, you could redeem a one-way Business or First Class ticket to the USA on Cathay Pacific for 50,000 (US$935) or 70,000 (US$1,309) miles, also a good option.
Here’s the full list of Marriott Bonvoy airline transfer partners:
|FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS||POINTS : MILES|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||3:1|
|Air China PhoenixMiles||3:1|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||3:1|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||200:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™||3:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage®||3:1|
|ANA Mileage Club||3:1|
|Asiana Airlines Asiana Club||3:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||3:1|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||3:1|
|China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles||3:1|
|China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club||3:1|
|Copa Airlines ConnectMiles||3:1|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||3:1|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles®||3:1|
|Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank||3:1|
|Korean Air SKYPASS||3:1|
|LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass||3:1|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||3:1|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||3:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer®||3:1|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards®||3:1|
|TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go||3:1|
|Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus||3:1|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||3:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||3:1|
|Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer||3:1|
There are other programs with great sweet spots, but the issue again is accumulating enough Marriott Bonvoy points to get the miles required.
For example, if you put your points into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you could redeem a round-trip Japan to New York First Class trip on ANA for 120,000 miles, or US$2,244- not jaw-droppingly cheap, but still cheaper than paying full fare (there’ll be additional fuel surcharges). However, this requires transferring 300,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Similarly, with ANA Mileage Club, you can redeem a round-trip Business Class ticket from Singapore to the USA from as low as 100,000 miles (US$1,870). This will require 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
So my advice is to stick with Alaska Mileage Plan, unless someone else knows of other feasible sweet spots given the points purchase limit.
What card should I use to buy Marriott Bonvoy points?
Purchases of Marriott Bonvoy points are processed by Points.com in USD, so they won’t code as hotel purchases. Here’s the best cards to maximize the miles earned on your purchase:
|4 mpd||Cap of S$1K per s. month|
|UOB Visa Signature
|4 mpd||Min FCY spend of S$1K per s. month, cap at S$2K per s. month|
|SCB X Card
|3 mpd||Until 30 Jun 20. Min spend S$2K per c. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite
||3 mpd||Min spend S$2K per s. month|
|BOC Elite Miles
||3 mpd||Until 15 Jun 20|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
There are too many reports of issues with the DBS Woman’s World Card, so I wouldn’t advise you use that for now.
In a time like this, you don’t want to be buying points speculatively. However, a 60% bonus can be very attractive if you already have hotels in mind, or are in the market for Alaska miles.
Do the math, and see if this deal makes sense for you.