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Marriott has released a new promotion called “Week of Wonders” with a number of separate aspects running from October 8th to 15th. The most intriguing of the offers is probably the ability to earn a free night certificate with a Marriott Homes & Villas booking, but even that offer is lukewarm at best in my opinion. I’ll summarize the four main promotions in the next section and then offer a little analysis on each below.
Week of Wonder: an assortment of promotions
Marriott is billing this as a week of promotions for members, but I have to say that it’s a bit confusing looking at the site and making sense of the “Wonders of Rejuvenation” versus “Wonders of Comfort” or “Wonders of Discovery”. The press release indicates that “Each day this week will feature a different Wonder with themes such as inspiration, comfort, discovery, rejuvenation and delight”, but it looks like the deals are almost all running concurrently and are live now.
Here are the key new promotions:
- 30% off at Marriott Boutiques (online stores where you can buy sheets, pillows, etc). Click here for this deal.
- Up to 25% off at select hotels with “Marriott Escapes”. These rates are prepaid (though it says they can be changed or canceled 24 hours or more in advance). Click here for this deal.
- Free nights for “up to 33% less” points. Click here for this deal.
- Get a Marriott 35K free night certificate with a completed Homes & Villas booking. Click here for this deal.
30% off at Marriott Boutiques
This deal might be interesting if you really want a pillow or some sheets, though 30% off isn’t an amazing promotion for these stores. Given Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming soon, I don’t think I’d be in any rush as I doubt those sales will be any less than 30% off.
Up to 25% off with Marriott Escapes
Marriott Escapes are typically reduced rates for last-minute bookings, but given my lack of travel this year I haven’t even paid attention to notice whether Marriott has continued to offer “Escapes” through the pandemic. I rarely find the “Escapes” rates to truly be 25% off of the best rate I could otherwise book, so they are rarely enough savings to cause me to book a trip that I wasn’t already considering. Still, I took a few minutes to check rates for a couple of destinations and dates where I may travel just in case I found a deal. I didn’t.
Note that the press release indicates that this will be live for “Marriott Escapes” from October 8-11th and “Escape to Luxury with Marriott Bonvoy” from October 14-15 (presumably the discounts will be on luxury hotels and resorts on those days?).
Free nights for “up to 33% less”
I expected to find an award sale here, but it isn’t necessarily quite that exciting. Through November 30th, all participating hotels will be priced at off-peak only. The only category in which this means 33% less is Category 1 given that standard pricing is 7500 and off-peak is 5000 points per night. There are 43 of those hotels in the United States where you’ll see that 33% discount. As a reminder, here’s the Marriott Bonvoy Award Chart:
That’s not to say that there might not be some deals here: off-peak award pricing could still yield a deal in some instances, though with paid rates still fairly low in many areas I’m not sure this will yield many outstanding deals for travel by November 30th.
The promotion landing page is merely a page that shows the range of price levels for select properties in your chosen destination (i.e. it shows you the off-peak, standard, and peak redemption levels) and then brings you directly to the flexible date search that you could otherwise find from the home page. Again, there isn’t any special discount here but rather just a shortcut to the flexible date search and off-peak pricing through 11/30.
Free night cert with Homes & Villas booking
This one initially sounded the most interesting to me, but I found it disappointing after seeing the full terms. Marriott is advertising this as “book and stay with Homes & Villas by Marriott International between Oct. 8th, 2020 and December 31st, 2020 will earn a free night award for future use at one of Marriott’s hotels”. That sounds like it could be pretty good. However, here are the things you need to know:
- A minimum 3-night stay is required for Marriott Homes & Villas
- You can only earn a free night on the first stay you book and complete during the promo period
- The free night certificate earned is capped at use on a night up to 35K points
- The free night certificate expires in 6 months and specifically says that it can not be extended
I wasn’t particularly excited when I found that the free night certificate was capped at 35K points and expires so quickly. While I think there are definitely some nice properties where you can use a 35K cert, I expected a better certificate based on how the advertising materials referred to it as simply a “free night award for use at one of Marriott’s hotels”. I initially wondered if it may be uncapped based on that broad wording, but it definitely isn’t.
The hard expiration date of six months is also a bummer. With travel in flux and highly unpredictable at the moment, a certificate that’s only valid for six months isn’t much of a draw for me because I just son’t know whether or not I’ll be able to use it in the next six months.
If you have a nice 35K property in your backyard where you’d be happy using your certificate, I could see this having some appeal. Further, if you were already looking at booking a property from the Marriott Homes & Villas, you might as well get a free night certificate; even if you only value the certificate at $95 (the price of the annual fee on some credit cards that offer 35K certificates), that may still be a good rebate, particularly if you’re able to find a less expensive homes and villas stay (I did see some properties from under $80 per night – though I’d say that Marriott Homes & Villas skew toward the upscale end in most places where I’ve searched).
Here are the terms of this particular offer:
- Marriott Bonvoy Members who participate in this promotion will earn one (1) Free Night Award (“Promotional Free Night Award”) for use at select Marriott Bonvoy Participating Properties (see details and exclusions below) after their first qualifying stay purchased on http://homesandvillasbymarriott.com/ (“HVMI Platform”), and personally utilized by the Member at Homes & Villas by Marriott International (“HVMI”) properties, during the promotion earning period (“Earning Period”).
- The Earning Period is between October 8, 2020, and December 31, 2020, at HVMI properties.
- No registration is required to participate in this promotion.
- Any qualifying stay completed during the Earning Period will qualify towards the promotion.
- A “qualifying stay” is defined as a minimum of three (3) consecutive nights spent at the same HVMI property during the Earning Period, regardless of check-in/checkout activity, and booked through the HVMI Platform.
- The Promotional Free Night Award will be credited to the Member’s Account within 3 to 6 weeks after the first qualifying stay occurs in the Earning Period.
- The Promotional Free Night Award is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance and cannot be extended. Members should check their Member Account to confirm the expiration date of the Promotional Free Night Award. Any unused Promotional Free Night Award will be forfeited.
- The Promotional Free Night Award can be redeemed for one night in a standard room inclusive of room rate and applicable taxes at available Marriott Bonvoy Participating Properties with a redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points. The Promotional Free Night Award cannot be used for stays at HVMI properties, ExecuStay®, Marriott Executive Apartments®, or for owner-occupied weeks at Marriott Vacation Club®, Marriott Grand Residence Club®, Vistana Signature Network, and Vistana Residence Network.
- The Member may be responsible for payment of additional mandatory resort fees at Participating Properties where resort fees are applicable.
- The Promotional Free Night Award night will count towards earning Elite Member Status or Lifetime Elite Status.
- A Promotional Free Night Award may be used to pay for the expense of the Member’s room and related room taxes only, but may not be used to pay for food, beverages, service charges, other taxes, fees or other incidental expenses.
- Members will not receive Points for the Award Redemption Stay portion of their stay.
- Members can use the Promotional Free Night Award while booking an eligible Award Redemption Stay on Marriott Websites or they may call the Customer Engagement Center and mention they wish to use the Promotional Free Night Award.
- The Promotional Free Night Award is combinable and may be added to existing paid or other Free Night Award redemption stays.
- The Promotional Free Night Award is valid only in connection with individual travel and is not applicable to group travel, package tours, conventions or other special rates and/or package programs.
- The Promotional Free Night Award is not transferable and may not be redeemed for cash or converted into Points.
- All Marriott Bonvoy Loyalty Program Rules apply. See marriott.com/loyalty/terms/default.mi for more information.
Unlike Hyatt’s most recent promotion that has me contemplating a 30-night mattress run, this latest promotion from Marriott doesn’t have me looking at any speculative bookings. Still, they are worth a look if you’re planning travel in case they offer an opportunity for savings.