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Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points with a 50% Bonus (Extended)

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Marriott Bonvoy is the hotel loyalty program of choice for many Canadians, both for hotel bookings and for its flexibility to transfer to a huge variety of airline partners.

Since merging with Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Bonvoy has joined the ranks of programs that run frequent promotions on purchasing points directly from the program.

Marriott Bonvoy has now extended their latest promotion for anyone looking to boost their points balance, which could be useful for sneaking in some must-not-miss high-value hotel bookings in the last few days before the impending Marriott Bonvoy devaluation as of March 29, 2022.

Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points with a 50% Bonus

Marriott Bonvoy is offering a bonus on points purchases until April 3, 2022, extended from the original deadline of March 23, 2022. You’ll get a tiered bonus when you buy at least 2,000 points, up to a maximum of a 50% bonus:

  • 40% bonus when you buy 2,000–9,000 points
  • 45% bonus when you buy 10,000–39,000 points
  • 50% bonus when you buy 40,000–100,000 points

You’ll also get an additional 10% discount if you use a UnionPay credit card for the purchase.

Typically, Marriott charges 1.25 cents per point (USD) to buy directly from the program. With a 50% bonus, the rate improves to 0.83 cents per point (USD).

That’s competitive, although not quite on par, with our current valuation of 0.7 cents per Bonvoy point (USD).

We’ve seen Marriott go as high as 60% on these promotions before, but this still might be a compelling opportunity to buy points. With the value of Bonvoy redemptions changing soon, this might be your last chance to top up for one last hurrah.

How many Marriott Bonvoy points can you buy?

Starting in 2021, Marriott Bonvoy imposes a limit of 100,000 points purchased per calendar year, up from 50,000 previously.

This limit includes points purchased for yourself, plus points you receive that were purchased and gifted by others. Previously purchased points do count towards the limit.

If you max out this promotion, it’ll cost US$1,250 for 150,000 Bonvoy points. 

Which credit card should you use to buy Marriott Bonvoy points?

Marriott sells points through an external vendor, Points.com. They don’t count as a travel purchase, and there’s no extra benefit to using a co-branded Amex Marriott Bonvoy card issued in Canada or the US.

Instead, I’d suggest any card with a high base earn rate, or one where you’re working on meeting the minimum spend requirement.

Because the purchase is charged in USD, you might consider using a Canadian-issued card with no foreign exchange fees, or any US credit card.

For this particular promotion, you’ll want to use a UnionPay card if you have one. A 10% discount will outweigh any foreign transaction fees, and likely any rewards as well.

Who Should Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points?

Buying points can be a good way to top-up your account if you’re keen to make a redemption soon.

Booking a High-Value Aspirational Hotel

The Marriott Bonvoy portfolio contains some of the most exceptional hotel brands in the world, including Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and EDITION, among others.

With sky-high cash prices, booking on points can bring these experiences within reach – at least until March 2022, when the program will be eliminating award charts and allowing the points prices to fluctuate dynamically.

The best of the best, Category 8, go for 85,000 points per night at the standard rate. Compare that to the cash price at the Luxury Collection’s Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai, which can easily exceed $1,600 (CAD) per night!

At a cash price of US$705.50 for 85,000 points (with the 50% bonus), it definitely makes sense to buy points instead of pay cash if a luxury booking is on your radar, whether for a top-up or to fund the entire stay.

Or if the desert isn’t your style, you could indulge in decadence at the JW Marriott Maldives. Even with “relatively” more reasonable prices under $1,000 (CAD) per night, a points booking is still the way to go.

With Marriott Bonvoy’s “Stay 5, Pay for 4” benefit on points bookings, the total points cost would start at 280,000 points for five nights at the off-peak rate.

In these examples, you’re getting fantastic values exceeding 1.5 cents per point, well above both the nominal valuation of a Bonvoy point and the cash cost of a points purchase.

Of course, you’ll want to ensure you’ve lined up the award availability at the hotel before pulling the trigger on a points purchase, especially if you’re trying to maximize the fifth-night-free benefit.

Quick Top-Up for Any Upcoming Redemption

For travellers with more humble taste, the top end of the Marriott Bonvoy chart isn’t the only place to find good value.

At the end of the day, as long as the value of your redemption is above the acquisition cost of 0.8 cents per point (USD), you’ll come out ahead on any booking.

For example, at the lower end, the Courtyard Phnom Penh offers better value on points that with cash. A Category 2 hotel, it costs 8,000 points per night at the off-peak PointSavers rate. Against a nightly cash price of $118, this is a value of 1.5 cents per point (CAD).

However, compared to aspirational properties, the value proposition in buying Bonvoy points for lower-end redemptions is less clear-cut. It’s heavily dependent on finding a discrepancy between the cash price and the points price, and that can often be hard to predict.

Therefore, since Bonvoy points are rather easy to earn anyway, I’d recommend exhausting the cheaper sources first before buying points outright.

Transfer to Exclusive Airline Partners

Marriott Bonvoy has over 40 airline partners. For most programs, Bonvoy points can be transferred to airline miles at a rate of 3:1, with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring in increments of 60,000 Bonvoy points.

By buying Bonvoy points at 0.83 cents per point (USD) and transferring to frequent flyer programs, you’re effectively purchasing airline miles for 2 cents per mile (USD).

This is certainly quite expensive, but the real benefit is gaining access to exclusive airlines.

For example, Singapore Airlines doesn’t make First Class award space bookable for partner programs like Aeroplan. Usually, you can only book Singapore Suites with their own KrisFlyer loyalty program.

And with few transfer partners in Canada (HSBC Rewards is the only other one), Marriott Bonvoy can provide a rare gateway to sample this luxurious experience.

Other niche transfer partners include Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan for its unique partner-based sweet spots, ANA Mileage Club for its generous round-the-world award ticket, Korean Air SKYPASS for Korean Air First Class, or any other airline loyalty program with a weaker footprint in the credit card industry.

Multi-Player Mode: Pool Points Among the Family

One of Marriott Bonvoy’s is the ability to transfer points freely between accounts. Each member may send up to 100,000 points per calendar year, and receive up to 500,000 points per calendar year.

If you have elite status on the primary account in your household, it’s ideal to pool your points in the elite member’s account to make bookings, especially for high-end properties where the perks of hotel status really shine.

Once you’ve hit your points purchase cap on your main account, you can buy more points on another account to take advantage of any remaining transfer room. Note that members must be enrolled for 30 days and have some activity on their account before they are eligible to purchase points.

Other Ways to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott Bonvoy is moving to dynamic pricing in 2022, so it can be a risky proposition to commit money to their loyalty program if you aren’t imminently planning a booking.

If you aren’t in a rush to acquire Bonvoy points but would like to slowly build your balance for a bigger redemption down the road, I’d recommend looking at credit card opportunities first.

Canadian Credit Cards by American Express

American Express issues two co-branded Marriott Bonvoy cards in Canada:

  • American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card: Earn 55,000 Bonvoy points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of $120.
    • There’s also an in-path offer for 50,000 Bonvoy points upon spending $1,500 in the first three months, along with a $100 statement credit. 
  • American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card: Earn 75,000 Bonvoy points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, plus extra points on gas, dining, and travel, with an annual fee of $150.

At 0.14–0.18 cents per point (CAD), both cards represent an extremely favourable acquisition cost compared to today’s valuation of 0.9 cents per point (CAD).

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
Credit Card Best Offer Value
55,000 Bonvoy points $429 Apply Now
55,000 Bonvoy points $399 Apply Now

American Express Membership Rewards can also be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a rate of 1:1.2. All MR-earning cards good options; however, the following provide the best return on annual fees:

  • American Express Cobalt Card: Earn up to 50,000 MR points in the first year, with an annual fee of $155.88.
    • Converted to Marriott Bonvoy, this becomes 60,000 Bonvoy points – or more if you mostly use the card for groceries and dining at the 5x rate (6x Bonvoy points).
  • American Express Gold Rewards Card: Earn 50,000 MR points in the first year, with a net annual fee of $150.
    • Converted to Marriott Bonvoy, this becomes 60,000 Bonvoy points.
  • American Express Business Gold Rewards Card: Earn 65,000 MR points in the first year, with an annual fee of $199.
    • Converted to Marriott Bonvoy, this becomes 78,000 Bonvoy points.
  • American Express Business Edge Card: Earn 55,000 MR Select points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of $99.
    • Converted to Marriott Bonvoy, this becomes 66,000 Bonvoy points.
  • Choice Card by American Express: Earn 10,000 MR Select points upon spending $1,000 in the first three months, with no annual fee.
    • Converted to Marriott Bonvoy, this becomes 12,000 Bonvoy points.

After transferring points to Bonvoy, the annual fees represent acquisition costs at or below 0.25 cents per point (CAD). Indeed, all of the above cards offer good value for the Marriott Bonvoy program.

US Credit Cards by American Express & Chase

South of the border, American Express issues two co-branded Marriott Bonvoy cards:

  • American Express US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$3,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of US$450 (offset by a US$300 annual Marriott credit).
  • American Express US Marriott Bonvoy Business Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$3,000 in the first three months, with an annual fee of US$125.

In addition, Chase has also partnered with the hotel chain, offering two co-branded personal cards on the Visa network:

  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card: Earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$1,000 in the first three months, with no annual fee.
  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$3,000 within the first three months, with an annual fee of US$95.

All of the above cards are quite compelling once you consider the annual Free Night Awards you earn.

Also, keep in mind that if you’ve received the welcome bonus on an Amex US Marriott Bonvoy card within the last 24 months, you’re not eligible for the Chase offers, and vice versa.

So even though there are many ways to earn Bonvoy points from US credit cards, you’ll have to choose just one that suits you best in the short term.

Previous Promotions

As you decide whether this promotion is a good opportunity for you to meet your travel goals, here’s a look back at Marriott Bonvoy’s past bonuses on purchasing points:

Bonus

Cents per point (USD)

Start Date

End Date

45% more purchased points 

0.86

November 4, 2021

December 8, 2021

55% more purchased points

0.81

October 7, 2021

October 14, 2021

45–50% more purchased points 

0.83-0.86

August 12, 2021

September 25, 2021

30% discount on purchased points

0.88

May 13, 2021

June 20, 2021

50% more purchased points

0.83

February 16, 2021

March 22, 2021

50% more purchased points

0.83

November 26, 2020

December 22, 2020

60% more purchased points

0.78

November 19, 2020

November 25, 2020

Conclusion

With so many other ways to collect Marriott Bonvoy points, I wouldn’t rush to speculatively buy points at 0.83 cents per point (USD), especially for a program which has announced an upcoming devaluation.

But if you need to push your balance over the hump for a time-sensitive dream redemption before dynamic pricing starts in a few days’ time on March 29, 2022, this promotion is a great way to make it happen.

Consider loading up with a 50% bonus for one last dance with Marriott Bonvoy – cash rates at top-tier properties are astronomical, and points bookings may soon become further out of reach as well, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by. 

Make sure to purchase Marriott Bonvoy points before April 3, 2022 to take advantage of this offer if you’re interested.

This is a recurring article, regularly updated with the latest promotion. Some comments may refer to past promotions that are no longer available.

7 Comments
  1. CCguy

    Is it easy to churn the amex Marriott cards?

  2. Euro Traveller YYZ

    Hey Josh, check out this line from the T&C of this points offer by Marriott — “Members may purchase up to an additional 100,000 Points annually while booking a hotel stay through the reservation path on Marriott.com.” This looks like a back door way to get 200,000 points in a calendar year.

  3. Frankie

    Hi travel fellows, if I’m having a Marriott Bonvoy “Gold Elite” status as of today, is this current status going to expire on Jan/01/2022?

    Or Marriott Bonvoy will extend to further dates due to the pandemic?

    1. Ricky YVR

      It’ll go through to at least February 2023. You can achieve or retain status in 2022 to keep it through February 2024, and so on.

  4. Talha

    Hey Josh – I have a trip booked for May 2022 to the Mystique in Santorini. I am short points so I haven’t locked in the rate though.

    Today, I am 150K points short. I have the Marriott Bonvoy Personal (CAD) and could get the Business for an additional 70K points. For the shortfall, do you think it makes sense to purchase these, or do you think it makes more sense to get the remaining 80K points a different way?

  5. RR

    Hi, I have. Question on the Bonvoy Gold status earned from the Canadian Amex Platinum Personal Card. Does the status come with a 25 nights credit too ( or just the Gold status)…I have the amex Bonvoy card to and Marriott only credited me with 15 nights and not take into consideration my Amex platinum

    1. Josh YVR

      Hey RR, sorry the late reply. Elite nights get you status, but status doesn’t get you elite nights. If you’re Bonvoy Gold Elite from a credit card status match, you’ll still need to earn 50 EQN to hit Bonvoy Platinum Elite. Sorry to say you’ve indeed received the correct number of nights.

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