From now till 26 November 2020 11.59 a.m SGT, Marriott Bonvoy members will receive a 60% bonus when they purchase points, the largest bonus we’ve ever seen the program offer.
A minimum purchase of just 2,000 points is required to enjoy the 60% bonus, and the equivalent cost per point is 0.78 US cents.
Here’s how this offer 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 tripling the cap to 150,000 points (also pre-bonus).
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. Upon purchase, 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.
With the Hong Kong travel bubble opening up, you might be wondering if it makes sense to buy points and redeem them for hotels. Generally, no. Revenue rates for Hong Kong hotels have hit rock bottom, which means it’s much cheaper to just pay cash outright.
Consider the following examples:
- Ritz Carlton Hong Kong: 100,000 points/ US$375 nett cash
- St Regis Hong Kong: 85,000 points/ US$406 nett cash
- JW Marriott Hong Kong: 50,000 points/ US$230 nett cash
- Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View: 50,000 points/ US$194 nett cash
- The Mira Hong Kong: 40,000 points/ US$116 nett cash
Do the math based on 0.78 US cents per point, and you’ll see it’s much better to go with the cash rates. What’s more, these cash rates sometimes have additional inclusions like F&B credit, or breakfast.
Looking elsewhere, buying points with a 60% bonus could get you a night at the St Regis Maldives (Category 8) for as little as US$546 a night, with the fifth night free. That’s well below half the usual rate, but with a per night cost of 70,000+ points and a purchase cap (post-bonus) of 240,000 points, you’d find it hard to accumulate enough points for a worthwhile stay.
|If you’re looking at the Maldives, an alternative 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 Bonvoy points to Alaska Airlines
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 Alaska Mileage Plan. You’d receive 20,000 base and 5,000 bonus miles, and 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$936) or 70,000 (US$1,310) miles, also a good option.
Here’s the full list of Marriott Bonvoy airline transfer partners:
|Frequent Flyer Program||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 S$1K Max S$2K FCY spend per s. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite
||3 mpd||Min spend S$2K per s. month|
|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.
A 60% bonus is the largest we’ve ever seen Marriott Bonvoy offer, so do the math and see if it makes sense for you. Redeeming points doesn’t make sense when hotel rates are low or when they’re offering very attractive inclusions with cash rates, so you need to be familiar with what the alternative options are.