Marriott Bonvoy has made a change to its Points Advance policy without giving notice to customers. One of the perks for joining the Marriott Bonvoy reward program is Points Advance, a policy that allows members to book a hotel stay even without enough points to cover the rate at the time of booking. As long as you earn the required amount of points up to 14 days before your arrival (or purchase points to make up the difference), your rate will be honored.
This is very useful for members who would rather lock in an award stay right away, especially if they know they will earn enough points by the time their trip comes around. Until the recent change, Points Advance was also pretty generous for members who do have the right amount of points to redeem an award redemption. When booking, you were presented with the Points Advance option if you preferred not to use up all your points at once. However, Jeffsetter uncovered a sneaky change – now you can no longer use Points Advance if you already have the required amount of points to redeem. And you have to book no less than 30 days in advance of your arrival date.
Marriott Bonvoy does not have readily available information about Points Advance on their website, but if you do some digging, the Program Terms & Conditions state:
Members who seek to make an Award Redemption with an insufficient Point balance may make the Award Redemption and either (1) purchase Points (as described in Section 2.9) to make a valid Award Redemption, provided that the aggregate amount of Points purchased and/or received as a gift by the Member is less than or equivalent to 50,000 Points per calendar year; or (2) the Member accrues sufficient Points to use Points for payment of the Award Redemption no less than fourteen (14) days prior to Member’s arrival date.
It clearly states that members with an “insufficient Point balance” can book a room and follow option two, which would be to accrue enough points and claim your award up to 14 days before the beginning of your stay.
It’s debatable whether Marriott Bonvoy is simply trying to tie up loose ends by more strictly following their own terms, or cut a perk from some of their loyal customers. Regardless, no notice of this change was given, which seems odd considering their recent policy changes in March that were pretty well advertised.
Marriott Bonvoy’s award chart had 7 price categories that hotels were placed into. Standard prices ranged from 7,500 to 60,000 points. The category pricing makes it super easy for you to find and decide on a great hotel in your destination. On March 5, 2019, Marriott added an eight category and bumped up several hotels into the new category (which is now the most expensive at 85,000 points). Some members were concerned that any booking they made before the change would not be honored, especially if the booking was for a hotel that was now going to cost extra. Points Advance bookings were in even more danger because Marriott does not issue a redemption certificate to your hotel right away for those types of bookings. However, they assured their members that Points Advance rates would indeed be honored, as long as they were booked before the change went into effect on March 5.
Points Advance is a huge perk that is the deciding factor for many reward members. It was also a great way for you to tentatively make a reservation in case you found a better rate later on, or if you were unsure of your travel dates. Unfortunately, now you cannot take advantage of this program unless you are short on points.
It’s not a total loss for most members, but it may be a nuisance for others. Make sure you book wisely and contact Marriott Bonvoy if you have any concerns.
Have you ever used Marriott’s Points Advance policy before?
[Image Source: Shutterstock]