Currently Marriott is selling its points with 60% bonus until June 30, 2020. Originally it costs 1.25 cents per points (cpp) but with this bonus, it costs about 0.78 cents per points. And if you haven’t purchased any points this year, you can purchase up to 160,000 points (100,000 points + 60,000 points as bonus). However, should you purchase Marriott Bonvoy points, even with this bonus?
1. You are planning for your points stay and you don’t have enough points.
This is the most straightforward reason why you would purchase a points. While Marriott has devalued its program bit by bit, it still has a fantastic redemption opportunities in various properties. However, unless you are 100% sure about specific redemption, it may not be smart to rack up points for the sake of increasing your points balance. Points value continues to decline so it would be not a great idea to keep huge amount of points on your accounts (it is good idea to have some amount left in your account, just in case if you need to redeem points within short period of time.). However, generally speaking, instead of using points for hotels, it is better to transfer points to airlines.
2. You are short on airline miles for your next redemption.
Unlike other points, Marriott Bonvoy program has a generous transfer ratio (thanks to SPG) of 3:1 (with 0.78 cpp, this translates to 2.34 cents per miles (cpm); excluding JetBlue TrueBlue (6:1), Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1), and United MileagePlus (3:1.1)). This may not sound too great, if you compare with Hyatt, which has 2.5:1, but considering that it is more difficult to earn World of Hyatt points than Marriott Bonvoy points, Marriott’s conversion rate is not that bad. Moreover, for every 60,000 points transferred, Marriott adds additional 5,000 miles (thanks to SPG, again), boosting the ratio to 3:1.25 (60,000 points get converted to 25,000 airlines miles; this means each mile transferred is essentially purchased at 1.87 cpm). This can be extremely useful, if you are short on airline miles for your next trip. Also this can be useful if the program that you are looking to book does not have any transfer partners (e.g. American Airlines’s AAdvantage, and Japan Airlines’s JAL Mileage Bank). While in terms of cpm, it is not that great, but it would be valuable to have an option to transfer to various airline programs.
3. You are considering Hotel + Air Package.
Marriott has interesting points redemption program called Hotel + Air Package. With lump-sum of points, you get 7-night certificate in specific category and 50,000 miles or 100,000 miles. While it is not as great as before, it is still something to consider if you can find 7 straight nights with award room available. Note that each package has different amount of savings (generally Category 5 packages tend to give the most savings), so it is important to run the numbers, before redeeming one.
While I hoped that it would’ve been nicer if Marriott offered better bonus amounts but this is the biggest bonus that we’ve ever seen so far. If you have a good use case, it could be a good idea to purchase some. Note that the limit for points purchase is 100,000 points per calendar year (normally 50,000 points per calendar year) and bonus points are not counted towards the limit.