Here’s how Marriott is different (and significantly ahead of the competition). If you don’t have enough points in your account, you can still make an award reservation. The only stipulation is that you do one of two things:
- Purchase the additional points (at a less terrible rate of $12.50 for every 1,000 points) when you make the reservation;
- Earn the additional points prior to check-in.
Generally speaking, purchasing points directly from a program is a relatively poor value, though if you’re just a few thousand short of a redemption, it can make sense.
Let’s say you want to book a two-night stay for next month in Bangalore for the only Ritz Carlton in India yet. So the hotel is costing Rs 13200 + and punitive 28% GST for the most basic room. You want to search for available rooms and click the “View Rates” icon. That will take you to the room selection page:
The yellow box indicates that you can still book this room; you just need to earn (or purchase) additional points prior to check-in. I have an option of transferring my Credit card reward points, or converting my SPG points or outright purchase the balance.
When you make any Marriott Rewards reservation, the program generates e-certificates that are sent directly to the hotel. In this case, you don’t have enough points to create an e-certificate. However, you can still book the room by redeeming 3,000 points and earning another 57,000 points prior to your stay. You can go ahead and confirm your reservation before the amount changes or rooms get sold out.
Few Important things about using this feature :-
- You can only purchase 50,000 points in a year. You would have to earn rest of them.
- Once you earn/buy those points. You require ordering your e-certificate so that your booking doesn’t get canceled 8 days prior to not accumulating enough points to go towards the hotel.
- If there are more than 50,000 points required for redemption, buying points option won’t even appear.
- You should have those points 7 days before you check-in your account of that reservation would automatically be canceled.
A couple of other things to keep in mind:
- This works in tandem with the “fifth-night free” benefit. Marriott Rewards automatically gives you the fifth night free on all award reservations of five nights or longer. If you don’t have the necessary points, you can still book these rooms and earn (or purchase) additional points prior to check-in.