Update January 31, 2012: Marriott extended the elite member $1,000 in gift cheques for 135,000 points on December 30, 2011 for the 2012 year. Sorry I neglected to correct this post with the news.
On December 30 Marriott extended the offer through 2012.
Here is the news about the offer extension on Marriott Rewards Insiders:
Here was the announcement on FlyerTalk:
I reported it in my Jan 6 thread on Marriott Elite Rollover Nights, but failed to update this post.
“Another piece of Marriott Rewards news is a reversal on the decision to discontinue $1,000 Marriott Gift Cheques December 31, 2011 as reported in this Loyalty Traveler thread from December 29, 2011. Marriott Rewards changed their minds and these Gift Cheques will continue for 2012 as reported on FlyerTalk by Marriott Concierge on Dec 30, 2011.”
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A current FlyerTalk thread indicates Marriott Rewards will no longer offer Gift Cheques in 2012 when they are replaced with gift cards. Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum elite members currently can buy $1,000 of Marriott gift cheques for 135,000 points while other Marriott Rewards members must pay 190,000 points. There is uncertainty for Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum members as to whether the elimination of $1,000 Marriott gift cheques for 135,000 points is a discount redemption benefit being eliminated or just a change to the equivalent discount for a $1,000 Marriott gift card in 2012.
Update December 29, 2011 5:10pm Pacific time: Marriott Concierge, the company representative on FlyerTalk, confirmed a few hours ago that Marriott Gift Cheques will retire December 31, 2011. There is no word whether the points discount will be applied to Marriott Gift Cards in 2012.
This is all the more reason to jump on this option if the certificates are a good value for you.
The FlyerTalk thread has been going since December 19, 2011 with no official response from Marriott to clarify if the discount for Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum members will still be available on the redemption of $1,000 gift cards for 135,000 points when the Gift Cheques redemption option is discontinued next week. The upper elite member 28% discount has been in place for several years when purchasing Marriott Rewards gift cheques. Hopefully this discount will now apply to gift cards redeemed with Marriott Rewards points.
Apparently some Marriott Rewards members are not so certain the benefit will be applied in 2012 and they are jumping on the opportunity to redeem 135,000 points for $1,000 gift cheques before the option ends December 31, 2011.
The advantage of a Marriott Gift Cheque is the ability to spend points for $1,000 in cash credit and pay for hotels with Marriott Gift Cheques while earning hotel nights for elite credit and earning base and elite points and promotion credit from paid stays. This works out to be a better deal at some hotels where spending 135,000 points for $1,000 in Marriott Gift Cheques is a better value than spending points for reward nights.
Marriott Gift Cheques come as twenty $50 cheques. No change is given for cheques used to settle charges for a Marriott stay, so you will likely pay a small portion (less than $50) for each hotel stay with a credit card.
On MilePoint.com there is a thread on how to use Big Crumbs for a 4% discount on the purchase price of Marriott Gift Cards and an additional 4% back booking hotel stays through Big Crumbs.