Marriott Slashes The Tires On Their Points Advance Booking Program

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Marriott Points Advance Booking

Marriott Points Advance Booking Program: New Terms Make It Less Useful

There isn’t much that I like about the Bonvoy program, RIP SPG, but there are a few nuggets of value left.  That isn’t to say they haven’t been doing their best to close them over the years. First nights and flights was devalued and then the booking a cheap meeting for status went away and now they have their sights set on the Points Advance Booking program.  This was a pretty cool feature where you could book an award stay in the future even if you didn’t have the points.  Then you would have until the stay to accrue what was needed which could be pretty much a year out.

So if you had been searching right and left for pesky award space and finally found some you could lock it down and then get all your ducks in a row. This was perfect if you were working on a new card welcome offer or knew you had some paid stays coming up that would put you over the top etc.  As expected, some people booked stuff just to book stuff and then would cancel days before their trip.  Marriott says this has become a major problem at their most desirable properties.  They claim to the tune of 25% last minute cancellations at some properties.  I call horse bleep on that figure but I could see other members missing out on a chance to book because of speculative bookings. They haven’t completed crushed the program yet though, but they did slash the tires.

Marriott Points Advance Booking

The New Points Advance Booking Terms

Here are the new terms for the program:

  • Your Arrival Date must be 30 or more Days from the Booking Date.
  • Points Advance can only be used for Free Night Award (Certificate) Stays, including Stays with:
  • You cannot make a Points Advance Reservation, if you have enough Points for the Stay.
  • You cannot have more than three Points Advance Reservations at a time. Points Advance reservations in excess of three will be cancelled.
  • You have up to 60 days from the time of booking or 14 days prior to arrival (whichever comes first) to earn enough Points to cover your existing Points Advance reservations.
    • Reservations made using Points Advance will be held for up to 60 days and will only be confirmed once the required Points are earned or purchased.
    • If you do not earn or purchase enough Points to cover the reservation within 60 days, or by 14 days prior to arrival (whichever comes first), the reservation will be cancelled.

Link to Program Terms

Example: 

Booking Date   Arrival Date of Reservation  Automatic Cancellation Date if Insufficient Points in Account for the Stay 
June 1, 2021 July 10, 2021 June 26, 2021
June 1, 2021 June 20, 2021 Cannot Book a Points Advance Reservation; Arrival Date is Less than 30 days
June 1, 2021 March 30, 2022  August 1, 2021
July 10, 2021 May 16, 2022  September 9, 2021

Check Your Previous Reservations

With this change you will want to check all of your previously made Points Advance reservations to see if they meet the criteria.  If not, you will want to see if they are canceled or not and adjust or rebook accordingly.

Final Thoughts

While the program was probably too generous before this is a kick in the teeth devaluation.  I would have rather seen them keep the old terms but limit it to one or two per account at a time etc.  This makes it near useless since it is unlikely that 60 days is enough to make much of a difference.  I guess we can hope this leads to more award space but I figure that to be unlikely.

What do you think about the changes? Did you use this perk of the Bonvoy program often?

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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6 COMMENTS

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Never used it myself because my ocd doesn’t let me make a booking if I don’t have the points but still one less viable option. Bonvoy reminds me of a hilarious Southwest commercial from around a decade ago where a bunch of Southwest employees were getting all misty eyed at seeing all the free bags go away into the cargo hold of a plane and one of them asks why other airlines hate their luggage. I wonder why Marriott hates their customers.

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