For years, Marriott has been referring to its periodic systemwide promotions as MegaBonuses. Early on, when the offer was a free night after two paid stays, the name was apt. But recently, the offers have been much less generous; they were more mini than mega. The offers also became more complicated over the years, resorting to a targeting scheme that generated customized bonuses according to members’ stay histories and other factors known only to Marriott.
The latest version of the promotion carries over the targeting aspect, but also restores some of the generosity of years-ago MegaBonus offers.
Between February 1 and May 15, all Marriott Rewards members can earn a free night at a Category 1 – 5 Marriott after two stays. That’s the base offer.
In addition to the base offer, “some members” will be offered up to 30,000 bonus points for staying various numbers of nights. That targeted offer will be displayed when members sign in to register for the base offer.
But that’s not all. Rewards members can also become eligible for a second targeted offer. However, the details of that bonus won’t be revealed until members have earned the free night for two stays. Per Marriott’s website: “Unlock your new bonus points offer – and register when it appears in your online account.”
Registration is required, by April 15 for the base offer. Separate registration is required for the locked offer, after it appears in a member’s account.
Deal or No Deal
For all its too-clever complexity and lack of transparency, this MegaBonus has the potential to add solid value to Marriott stays. The base offer alone is more lucrative than promotions in effect from other hotel chains. And the targeted offers have the potential to add even more value.
- A free night, if earned for two one-night stays, is high-value offer.
- The promotion is in effect for a full 3.5 months.
- Stays at any of Marriott’s 4,000-plus hotels count.
- Overly complicated.
- Details of “locked” bonus not disclosed until base offer completed.
- The free night may only be earned once.
- The free-night certificate must be used within six months.
- Members must register separately for the base offer and the bonus offer.
- Qualifying stays must be booked direct with Marriott.
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.