Marriott Rewards rolls out its twice yearly MegaBonus for stays from February 1 through April 30, 2011 with no Visa card payment tied to this early 2011 promotion. Marriott Rewards marketing department does not have to work too hard to roll out essentially the same promotional offer every year.
Registration is required and available from December 16, 2010 through March 31, 2011.
Various targeted offers reported on FlyerTalk:
- 2 stays = 1 free night for a category 1 to 4 hotel. Limit of two free nights earned during the promotion. Free night credit must be redeemed by September 30, 2011. (This is the most prevalent offer.)
- 20 nights = 35,000 points; 25 nights earns additional 15,000 for 50,000 points total.
- 15 nights = 25,000 points; 20 nights earns additional 15,000 for 40,000 points total.
The primary offer is one free night after every two stays with an earning limit of two free nights during the promotion period. Free nights are restricted to Marriott Rewards category 1 to 4 hotels. The positive slant on the restricted hotel categories is the vast majority of Marriott hotels are in categories 1 to 4 with over 2,800 hotel options for free nights around the world.
The major drawback of the free nights promotion is the two night limit and the fact that many major cities like San Francisco start at the category 5 level for any downtown hotels. New York takes a category 6 reward for any Manhattan property. There are plenty of properties, particularly major airports, where you can redeem a category 4 hotel night, however, you may find your options limited to the suburbs if you are planning free nights restricted to a category 4 hotel reward for a major city trip.
Loyalty Traveler MegaBonus 2011 Analysis
15 nights = 25,000 points works out to 1,667 bonus points per night. Stay 20 nights and the promotion value increases to 2,000 bonus points per night.
20 nights for 35,000 points works out to 1,750 bonus points per night. Stay 25 nights and the promotion value increases to 2,000 bonus points per night.
These two night-based MegaBonus offers are similar. The more difficult analysis is the value of one free night after two stays. A hotel stay can be one night or an extended stay of multiple nights.
Two 1-night stays at Marriott brand hotels earn one free night for a category 4 Marriott Rewards hotel. The value of the free night is 20,000 points.
The cost to earn the free night is two paid stays which in this example is considered the minimum of two paid 1-night stays.
Two stays (two nights) = 20,000 points free night value.
Marriott Rewards MegaBonus promotion value = 10,000 points per stay (night). The free night offer has the potential to be 10,000 bonus points per paid night value compared to just 2,000 bonus points per paid night value on the 20 or 25 night MegaBonus offers.
This value decreases when you have extended paid stays to qualify for the free night. Assume you stay 4 nights for one paid stay and three nights for the second paid stay to earn one free night.
- Two stays = 7 nights = one free reward night.
- 7 nights = 20,000 points free night value.
The MegaBonus promotion value is now only 2,857 bonus points per night. This is still higher than the per night bonus for 20 or 25 nights offers, but far less than the 10,000 bonus points value per night offer when earning a free night through two 1-night stays.
MegaBonus is a high value offer for two free nights for Marriott Rewards members who do not use Marriott as their primary hotel program. 2,000 bonus points per night is a decent return if you are a loyal Marriott Rewards member, although 20 to 25 nights in a three month period is a high threshold geared for the Marriott Platinum member staying 80 to 100 nights a year.
Most Marriott Rewards members will likely get better value from the two free nights offer. And unlike Priority Club’s free night offers, you still earn Marriott Rewards base and elite points while earning free nights with Marriott MegaBonus.
Related Loyalty Traveler Post: Instant Marriott Gold Elite Air China offer (Nov 22, 2010)
Note: Air China instant Marriott Rewards Gold offer requires 12 nights between Dec 27 and March 31, 2011 to maintain Gold elite through February 2012.
There is also an HSBC credit card offer that requires just 8 nights to retain Gold elite, however, the terms for the HSBC offer have been amended since this offer was widely reported on a variety of blogs and now includes the terms:
“Offer is valid for HSBC Premier China customers with a China residential / business address.”
The Air China fast-track for Marriott Rewards Gold elite still appears available to any Air China Phoenix Miles member regardless of location and may be the more reliable offer for someone truly interested in maintaining Marriott Rewards Gold elite through 2011.
Related Loyalty Traveler post: Marriott MegaMiles Feb 1 – April 30, 2011 (Triple miles)