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.
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.
|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.
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?