If you’re currently Marriott Gold elite member and going for a Marriott Platinum Status challenge right now (or thinking about doing so), the most recent Marriott promotion can net you a lot of value in return and can help offset the cost of your mattress runs. If you’re not familiar, read here about the benefits of Marriott Platinum status and check out the link above for more about status challenges.
Here’s a quick look at the promo:
Marriott Rewards Megabonus Infinite Points
- Earn 2,000 bonus points beginning with your second stay – with no limit to the number of points you can earn.
- Earn an additional 2,000 bonus points for each new brand you stay with, beginning with your second brand. (The first stay establishes the first brand. Members will earn bonus points for every additional brand they stay with.)
- Valid May 27 – September 4, 2017.
- Register by August 30, 2017.
- Register here.
The Megabonus infinite promo allows you to earn 4,000 Marriott points by staying at different brands of Marriott properties which means that by hopping around to different brands during your status challenge, you can maximize the value received.
I’ll first show six sample rates for cheap Marriott properties that you could take advantage of. Obviously, these will differ based on region and dates but these will give you an idea of what you can find on the outskirts of a major city on weekends, when I often find very low rates. Just because these properties are cheap doesn’t mean they’re bad — I’ve stayed in some really nice SpringHill Suites and Courtyards before. So you don’t have resort to a pure mattress run to take advantage of these prices, you could potentially work them into your existing travel plans.
Cheap Marriott properties
Here’s a rate for the Fairfield Inn:
As stated on weekends, It’s generally not too difficult to find the following properties somewhere in the range of the above prices cited.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Residence Inn by Marriott
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott
So let’s take the average of these three totals for the sake of an example which come out to.
Prices = (no tax/tax included)
And let’s just say you stay at the Fairfield Inn at $59 for three stays to reach the total 9 stays required by the challenge.
$654 out of pocket for 9 Marriott stays which isn’t that bad considering all of the benefits of Marriott/SPG Platinum Status. In fact, some people who frequent Marriott or SPG properties would probably take that offer outright because of the value it would present them.
But by utilizing these promos the deal can get much sweeter.
First let’s deduct what you could net by earning 5% cash back when booking Marriott properties through a cash back portal. (The cash back rates might fluctuate but that’s generally what you’ll be earning.)
$556 x .05 = $28 (Cash back on base rate)
This brings the out of pocket to $626.
Now let’s factor in the new Marriott “Megabonus” promo. Let’s say you stay at each of the six different Marriott properties and earn 4,000 points for each stay. And then you’ll stay at the same brand for the other three stays, earning a total of 4,000 points (since the first stay nets no bonus points).
That’s 4,000 x 6 = 24,000 Marriott Points and at .08 cents per point = $192
So deduct $192 from $626 and now we’re at $434
Plus, you’d earn 4,000 Marriott points for your two additional stays, so that’s an additional $32 knocked off. So now we’re at $402. (The first stay would not earn 2,000 points since the promo wouldn’t count it).
But you’ve still got to factor in the base points earned.
You’ll earn 10X at most properties but 5X at some like the TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn, so I’l only count 5X for those two nights. So that’s:
- $51 x 10 = 510 x 4 = 2,040
- $64 x 5 = 320
- $72 x 10 = 720
- $72 x 5 = 360
- $72 x 10 = 720
- $75 x 10 = 750
- This equals 4,910 Marriott base points
- Plus 1,228 25% Gold Elite bonus
- Total 6,137 Marriott points
- At .08 cents per point that is $49 worth of Marriott points.
So now we’re at $353.
Now let’s assume you used the Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3X on your $595 hotel bookings (tax included). That’s 1,785 Ultimate Rewards. At 2 cents per point, that’s $35 worth of Ultimate Rewards.
So with this new promo you’re potentially only out $318, assuming you don’t find any other promos/Amex Offers to stack with these deals. $318 for Marriott/SPG Platinum and thus United Silver status isn’t a bad deal at all to me. This is especially true if you already had a few Marriott stays lined up and could capitalize further on the 2,000 points bonus.
Of course, you’d always want to weigh this against booking the cheapest properties for all 9 stays. If you could book the $60 night for 9 stays that’s $540 out of pocket.
- $459 x .05 = $23 (5% cash back)
- $459 x 10 = 4,590 Marriott base points = 5,737 Marriott points (gold elite) = $46
- 16,000 Marriott bonus points = $128
- 1,620 UR = $32
With all of the points and cash back factored in, that’s actually $311 out of pocket so you’d be able to achieve Platinum status for cheaper. However, getting that low rate for all 9 stays may not be possible so it’s probably more realistic to only use that low rate for a few stays like the first example.
If you play around with the numbers, there may be more cost-effecient combinations by utilizing cheap properties. A good way to look at it is to think of the additional 2,000 point bonus as $16. If a property is more than $16 cheaper than another property that would earn you the additional 2,000 points, it’s probably a better deal to go with the cheaper property if you’re concerned with lowering your out of pocket cost.
There are a lot of different ways you could work the new Marriott promo into a status challenge. I’d entertain a lot of different possibilities before choosing a single path but it shouldn’t be very difficult to receive a lot of value back when booking these hotels and therefore lower the effective cost of obtaining Marriott Platinum.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.