I just booked a stay in about 5 months. I have about 147,000 points and the stay will cost 180,000 points. Based on my typical point accrual rate, and a little extra usage out of my Rewards Visa between now and then , I should be able to earn the remaining ~33,000 points in time.
However, I want to clarify what I should do if I come up short. The trip is in early May, and certainly by mid-April I'll know if I'll make the points or not. If it looks like I won't, what should I do? I'm hoping I could just pay for as many nights as possible with points and the remaining nights with cash. It's a 7 night stay, so worst case scenario is that I only have enough points for 6 nights and pay for the 7th in cash.
Will I have any issues doing this?
If you are short points you can buy them--I recommend you do this well in advance since it may take a while for them to reach your account. Also it has been normally practice to debit your account as soon as you request a points award stay, so you'll need the rez and the points in the account before too long.
I agree that using points for 5 nights for the price of 4, and then paying for the other two nights would be a good idea. If you book for money now and try to switch to points later, the hotel may not have any rooms available for points, or may want more points for instant redemption.
Thanks for the replies everyone. Just wanted to clarify a couple things that were mentioned in the replies:
Based on the responses so far, it seems like the most logical solution would be to purchase points if I come up short. Would everyone agree? Like I said originally, I'll know by mid-April if I'll have all the points or not. So if April 15th rolls around and I feel like I'm not quite going to have enough points, would purchasing the points then (April 15th) give them enough time to appear on my account by the time I check in (May 3)?
In my experience, points for the e-certificate can be redeemed at the time of booking the reservation or 'Held'. If 'Held', the e-certificate is auto-ordered a week prior to arrival.
• A member may purchase or receive as a gift a combined maximum of 50,000 points per calendar year.
• Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000.
• Purchase rate is 12.50 (USD) per 1,000 points.
• Please allow 24-48 hours for transaction to be completed and points awarded to recipient.
• You must be a Marriott Rewards member in good standing to both purchase and receive points.
• Once points have been purchased or gifted, no refunds will be permitted.
• Purchasing points with the Marriott Rewards Visa® card will result in earning one point per dollar spent on these transactions.
• All Marriott Rewards Program terms and conditions apply
For the sake of argument, let's say you are short 30,000 points and the per night rate plus government taxes exceeds $375 US. IMO, buying points is a better value. However, if the nightly rate is discounted or substantially less than what you'd have to pay to fill the gap including the taxes, paying for the night would make sense to me.
Hope this helps!
That's great info, thanks. If I do have to purchase points, I anticipate it being less than 10,000. I know I'll be around 170,000 based on my currently scheduled February and March travel, and I've been using my Marriott Visa instead of my debit card for all of my purchases lately, so it's gonna be close. Either way, filling the gap by purchasing points seems like the way to go and I shouldn't need to purchase all that many.
An additional thought. As NUHusker notes, Redeem 4 Get the 5th Night Free should apply. Although you have booked the reservation, keep checking for PointSavers. PointSavers Awards are generally 5,000 points less; so if a Category 6 normally requires 30,000 points per night for a Hotel Reward; the PointSavers is 25,000 points. In this scenario, if 2 nights are rebooked as PointSavers, the 10K gap zeroes out.
Btw, unless otherwise stipulated at reservations or on your e-mail confirmation, cancellation or modification of a reservation on-demand w/o penalty up until 4 pm or 6 pm on day of arrival is one of the benefits we enjoy as loyal Marriott Rewards Elite. Marriott rates vary and great deals come along. From that perspective, it's not 'shady' to pursue or realize the best value via a paid stay or point redemption or any combination, thereof.
I doubt it was intended, but 'shady' implies some level of cheating the system. To the contrary, as JC's post(s) clearly illustrates, one has to plan, budget and work VERY HARD while using multiple strategies to get the points required. Marriott knows that, (that's why they introduced purchasing points to close the gap). It's also why Marriott developed Insiders so Elite can seek peer advice.
Thank you JC for posting your question and this topic.