Marriott Really Disappoints With Their New MegaBonus Promotion

Yesterday I wrote that Marriott’s perennial MegaBonus promotion would be back.

Based on past experience, here’s what I expected:

This is usually, for most members, ‘two stays earns a free night’ which:

  • Can be earned up to two times

  • And redeemed for stays at any participating Marriott property up to category 4.

Some people get targeted for redemptions up to category 5. Others get targeted for bonus point offers.

Bonus point offers may be something like:

  • Stay 25 nights during the promotion period and earn 45,000 points
  • Stay 20 nights during the promotion period and earn 35,000 points
  • Earn double points after your second stay up to 25,000 points

Only MegaBonus is here and it’s worse than usual.

Here’s the offer, or at least the default offer shown without logging in:

To earn up to 25,000 bonus points:

  • Register by November 15, 2014
  • Stay at participating properties between September 15, 2014 and January 15, 2015
  • Earn double points with every paid stay*, starting with your second stay, up to 25,000 bonus points

In other words, the standard offer is not ‘stay twice and get a free night’. Just double points, only starting with your second stay, and capped at 25,000 points.

This means the most bonus points you can earn gets you a free night at a category 5 hotel after $2500 in spend after spending on a first night, instead of earning a category 4 or 5 night after two one-night stays at any Marriott and being able to earn two of those.

Bottom-line: this isn’t even a mediocre double points promotion – it’s a double points promotion that requires you to spend first and where your earning is capped.

This is how to take one of the better hotel promotions, ruin it, but hope customers don’t notice because you’re using the same name.

Now, as is generally the case with MegaBonus offers, there are targeted variants that may be more valuable. Some I’ve heard about:L

  • 25,000 points after 12 nights plus 5,000 bonus points after 18 nights
  • 25,000 points after 15 nights plus 15,000 bonus points after 20 nights
  • 35,000 points after 20 nights plus 15,000 bonus points after 25 nights
  • 35,000 points after 20 nights plus 2,000 points for each of the next 10 nights

If you’re a Marriott regular, think you can hit a particular higher bonus level, and weren’t targeted for it you might ask if they’ll switch you. Your mileage may vary, but Marriott Rewards has been open to this frequently in the past.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Am currently Platinum and got this one:

    Imagination can only get you so far; let MegaBonus take you the rest of the way.
    To earn up to 25,000 bonus points:
    Register by November 15, 2014
    Stay at participating properties between September 15, 2014 and January 15, 2015
    Earn 25,000 bonus points after 15 paid nights, plus an additional 15,000 points after 20 paid nights, up to 40,000 bonus points

  2. I got the 55k offer (35k after 20 then 2k for every night up to 30). Should be doable. Given the regular earnings, I should hit 125,000 points total for that time frame. That’s 55k + 10k for every 4 nights. Marriott loyalists don’t care about “stays”. It’s all nights.

  3. I looked at my account, and I don’t have any Megabonus offer in the “Promotion Central” area. Maybe it’s because I was targeted for an “August Points” promotion that I haven’t seen mentioned on any other blog. It seems better than the Megabonus offers if you can do short, cheap stays. Here are the details:

    Another exclusive offer: Earn up to 50,000 bonus points

    As part of a special group, we’re excited to tell you that your next exclusive earning opportunity is here.
    To earn up to 50,000 bonus points:
    Register by September 30, 2014
    Stay at participating hotels between August 15 and November 15, 2014
    Earn 5,000 bonus points with every second paid stay*, starting with your second stay, up to 50,000 bonus points
    * A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.

  4. Mine:

    Get a new perspective: Earn up to 50,000 bonus points

    See Details
    Imagination can only get you so far; let MegaBonus take you the rest of the way.
    To earn up to 25,000 bonus points:
    Register by November 15, 2014
    Stay at participating properties between September 15, 2014 and January 15, 2015
    Earn 35,000 bonus points after 20 paid nights, plus an additional 15,000 points after 25 paid nights, up to 50,000 bonus points

  5. One more variation. Slightly better for me than standard:
    2500 bonus points per stay after first stay, up to 25000 points.

  6. The most frustrating thing about Marriott’s promotions is that they always have gaps between the promotions.

    Most major hotel chain run promotions for a full quarter, but not Marriott, there promotions usually only runs for less than 2 months.

    I have rarely been able to enjoy bonus miles or participate in mega bonus, because a lot of my stays occur during the gaps. I have 4 nights with Marriott coming up (2 stays; 4 nights) totalling $840 and none of those stays will count in a promotion because they will take place between Aug 30-Sept 7.

    Aggravating.

  7. I don’t think it’s fair to say Marriott “really disappoints” with this promotion. I’m a PP and I received a 50k offer identical to many I’ve had in the past. Your headline implies that the offer is newly crappy, but it looks like the usual (which may or may not be crappy, depending on your perspective). The funny thing is that the graphic on the website is the same 25k bonus you show, but my actual offer is 50k.

  8. Hey Marriott,
    I noticed & I booked elsewhere. Last year I drove 15-20 mins out of my way to stay at Marriotts for this week trip, this year I wont.

  9. Personally I prefer the 2x points as the Cat4 and Cat5 nights are completely useless due to the continuous devaluations. By contrast the 25k bonus points amount to roughly 60% of a free night at a Cat8 property, even more if you leverage the 4+1 redemption.

    Also I like that the bonus kicks in quickly. The promos that require 20 nights don’t work for me as I rarely have that many nights at a particular chain in a short timespan.

    Really what we miss are Hyatt FFNs and the SPG buy 2 nights get a resort night free – both relegated to history until the next big recession.

  10. Got the 50k for 25 stays. Not nearly as good as two cat. 5 certs after four stays, but still better than the summer promo of 45k for 25 stays. If I wasn’t going to easily hit the mark, I’d call and get it converted.

  11. I max out at 55k points: Earn 35,000 bonus points after 20 paid nights, plus an additional 2,000 for every additional paid night, up to 55,000 bonus points

  12. I just stayed at a Marriott 5 nights. After checkout my trip got extended…I booked 3 additional nights. For 8 nights I received a measly 664 points. What a rip-off!!! This is the “highest-valued hotel rewards club”? Holycrap, I’ve received 8000 from Choice Hotels sometimes for ONE night!!! I consider Marriott rewards a worthless club. Yes, I mean absolutely WORTHLESS as a rewards club. I do have the Marriott credit card, so I get 1 free hotel-night per year, which equals the annual fee. Without that perk, I would cancel the Marriott card in a heartbeat. Being a Marriott rewards member is worthless. I dare ANYONE to tell my why the heck Marriott would rank #1 in rewards clubs. Then, prove to me you aren’t on Marriott’s payroll…

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