Found the answer to my question:
From February 1, 2013 through April 30, 2013, all Marriott Rewards members registered for this promotion will earn their own exclusive MegaBonus offer for qualifying stays made at over 3,400 participating Marriott properties around the world. Each MegaBonus promotional offer is personalized according to a number of factors, which if you must know, include a member’s history with the Rewards program along with the frequency and nature travel, among plenty of other factors. Your personalized promotion may vary from year to year, depending upon your travel patterns, so individual offers may not be switched.
Registration opens on December 20, when you will be able to visit your own personalized MegaBonus page (or visit your Promotion Central page) to receive your unique offer. All qualifying stays can be booked with the payment method/credit card of your choice (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.)
Registration is required by March 15, 2013 (12/20/12-3/15/13)
February 1- April 30, 2013
JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott(SM), Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Gaylord Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®. The Ritz-Carlton® participates as the exclusive luxury partner to Marriott Rewards.
Just an FYI, if you don't like the personalized promotion that Marriott Marketing assigns you, you can have it changed. This last promotion period, I was offered the free Category 4 nights vs. points. I rarely, if ever, stay at category 4 hotels so I called and asked if I could enroll in the points promotion instead. No problem was the answer, they tracked in manually and when I hit my thresholds, the points appeared in my account.
BTW, thanks for the heads up on the first 2013 promotion. Went to my account and there it was, 50,000 bonus points promotion.
What was your offer in Promo Central?
This is what was in my Promo Central offer
Just imagine earning up to 50,000 points with MegaBonus® when you stay at any participating Marriott® hotel worldwide. Experience the world like never before, from Caribbean mornings to Mediterranean nights.
To earn your bonus points:
Enjoy your bonus points at more than 3,600 hotels worldwide.
I did a quick analysis and by no means a scientific one points versus free nights:
if you select points you get 50,000 points for staying 25 nights. If you stay at a Cat 4 hotel using Rewards Points it will cost you approximately 20,000 points per night
SOOOOO for staying 25 nights you get 2.5 nights at a CAT4 hotel.
If you select the free nights option, you get 1 free night at a CAT4 hotel after 2 (two) paid stays, up to a maximum of 3 free nights.
SOOOOO for staying just 6 (six) nights you get 3 (three) free nights at a CAT4 hotel
I have been a Platinum Member for I don't know how many years, I have Lifetime Platinum Member status and again this year achieved Platinum Premier status, so I have been around for a long time and very loyal, but this seems to be a very lopsided deal for most of us members who chose points over free night certificates.
It is not the fact that they use CAT4 as the base line, it is the disparity in the program for the most loyal of customers.
The fact that you would want to stay at a CAT5 or higher only exasperates the disparity, staying 25 paid nights for only 50,000 points nets you even less free nights if you stay higher than a CAT4, so in essence your are staying 25 nights to get 2 or possibly only 1 free night. Where as those members who are less loyal, and stay less and who choose to stay at CAT4 or below, get 2 to 3 free nights for staying only 6 paid nights. So the most loyal members end up on the short end of the stick.
For me, the answer to the disparity is that for us very loyal members, once we satisfy one MegaBonus promotion, say the 25 nights for 50,000 points, which I generally complete more than a month before the end of the promotion period, we then be allowed to participate in the alternative promotion of 2 or 3 free nights after six paid stays.
You hit the nail on the head. The program is not designed for the true Loyal members like us. In 2011 I spent 300 nights at a Marriott property and over a period of time realized the true loyal customers are not rewarded the way they should have been.
For example: I had a 80 day hotel stay in this Megabonus promotion period (Feb thru April 2013), I called customer service and asked if they could do anything as I had a long stay planned and like usual they said "SORRY" we cannot do anything. So what I did was I immediately switched to a competing Hilton property near by as soon as I had completed 30 or so nights at a Marriott property. This way I capped on my eligible nights I had to complete for the promotion and got the 50,000 bonus points + I am leveraging the offers from Hilton.
While hilton points may not hold the best value what I have realized is that they at least reward the super loyal customers on their promotions and do not put a cap on your earning ability.
In my view Marriott takes "Loyaly for Granted" in case of long stay customers like us, I am not sure if Marriott even realizes that they could potentially lose customers because their marketing department designed a wrong program.
The one advantage the points have over the nights is that they don't expire, whereas my understanding is that the Cat 4 certificates have to be used within 6 months or a year? Also, I could use the points to buy the $1,000 Marriott cheques which I could use in the past for 6-7 nights including 3 at the Cosmopolitan.... that option is gone so points are not as a good an option now.
I was automatically enrolled 15 nights = 25,000; 20 nights = 40,000. May call to see if I can change to the stay 2 get 1...I will have 9 nights this month which won"t count and surgery next month that may keep me grounded for a few weeks.
The promo didn't show up for me either on the website. I called marriott rewards, and the rep. enrolled me. She said that she would advise the training area that some people have not been able to see the promo and that someone would see what is wrong.
Also - I am a platinum, but I wasn't automatically enrolled.