Marriott gift card triple dip

Three stackable deals for buying Marriott gift cards come to an end on December 31st 2012. 

Sometimes hotel gift cards are better than points.  With gift cards you can take advantage of discount codes and hotel sales (except for prepaid rates).  With gift cards, you can earn points and progress towards elite qualification with each stay.  With gift cards, you never have to worry about seeing that the hotel where you want to stay has no rooms available for point redemptions.  And, gift cards are gift-able. 

Currently, there are three stackable deals that can be used to save money and earn points when buying Marriott gift cards.  In total, you can save over 17%!

Step 1: TopCashBack

Just until the end of this year, TopCashBack is offering 5% cash back when you click through their site to Marriott to buy gift cards.

  1. Sign up for TopCashBack (if you use this link, I’ll earn a small referral bonus)
  2. Go to TopCashBack.com and search for Marriott
  3. Click through the button that says Marriott Gift Card 5% Cashback (as shown below)

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Step 2: Amtrak Bonus

Until the end of the year, you can get 10% more value added to any Marriott gift card you buy simply by entering the Amtrak promotion code AMT.  Terms & Conditions can be found here.

  1. Select a gift card.  After going through the TopCashBack steps listed above, you will end up at the Marriott gift card site where you can pick out the gift card you want to buy.  For this promotion, gift cards with value between $25 and $1500 are eligible.
  2. Check out.  Enter code AMT in the box titled “APPLY PROMOTION CODE“.  Loyalty Lobby shows the steps here.

 

Step 3: Pay with Freedom or Discover

This quarter’s Chase Freedom 5X category includes “hotels”.  Since the gift card purchase is processed by Marriott.com, it counts towards the 5X category.

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If you don’t have the Freedom card, or you’ve already maxed out the category bonus, another great option is to use a Discover card which offers 5% cash back for Online merchants this quarter.

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Pay with either of the cards listed above to get 5X points or 5% cash back.  Both cards cap the quarterly bonus at $1500 in spend, so make sure you do not go over that amount.

Add it up

Suppose you buy a $1000 Marriott gift card.  Here is how the costs and rebates add up:

  • Cost: $1008.50 (Marriott charges $8.50 for express shipping or $1 for regular shipping with smaller orders).
  • TopCashBack rebate: $50
  • Freedom / Discover card rebate: $50
    • Note: If you have the Freedom card and an Ultimate Rewards card that allows transfers to loyalty programs then you can transfer the points to the other card and then use those points to transfer to airline miles, hotel points, or Amtrak points, all of which can be more valuable than straight up cash back.  Good examples of cards with this capability include: Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus.
  • Amtrak bonus increases card value to: $1100
  • Total cost after rebates: $908.50
  • Total card value: $1100
  • Total discount as % of card value: 17.4%

 

Additional Points

I went through the steps listed above and was pleased to receive confirmation of pending cash back from TopCashBack within a few hours.  Nice!  Of course, I’m not done earning points, free nights, & cash back from Marriott.  When using Marriott gift cards, you can stack promotions too…

  • Make sure to sign up for the latest Marriott promotions.  Marriott regularly runs MegaBonus promotions.  For most people, this means that for every two Marriott stays, you’ll receive a free night certificate for a category 1 through 4 hotel.  Some people get a different offer: after 3 stays, receive a 1 night certificate for a category 1 through 5 hotel.  Either way, make sure to sign up!
  • If you plan to stay at several Marriott properties within a few months of each other, consider going for their Gold or Platinum challenge.  See “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott.”  This way you’ll be treated better as an elite and you’ll earn more points with each stay!
  • When booking your stay, make sure to start in a point earning or cash back portal.  I use CashBackHolic to find the best option since it consistently delivers the most accurate results (see “Portal finder fight! Round 2“).
  • When comparing rates, make sure to look at AAA and other rates you may qualify for.  In my experience, stays booked with AAA discounts do still earn portal points / cash, but stays booked on a government rate do not.  Your mileage may vary.  FYI, thanks to my wife’s job at a public University, we do qualify for government rates. 
  • If you have some time on your hands, use Kayak or other aggregators to search for a site that offers a better rate than Marriott does directly.  If you find a price discrepancy, you can take advantage of Marriott’s “Look No Further Room Rate Guarantee” to save 25% off the lower rate.  Loyalty Traveler offers details here.
  • When you check-out of your hotel, don’t forget to pay with your Marriott gift card!


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Comments

  1. DealsMommy – The T&C of FHR require you to pay in full with an American Express card in your name (need not be plat/cent, but must be Amex). Many hotels will enforce that rule.

    Was this recent? I wonder if Amex travel will contact you.

    You could get essentially the same benefits booking via a Ritz Stars agent and not have the Amex requirement.

  2. You dont get cashback from discover card sice you are goig thru topcashback. Inorder to get cashback from discover, you need to use their shopping portal

  3. Hi Frequent Miler…CodeAdam10’s question would help me, too, for a family stay at the Hilton Homewood Suites…any guidance is greatly appreciated! thanks, mbt

    • Romsdeals: Thanks

      Kalboz: Thanks for the Hilton gift card info!

      DBest: Yes, the Marriott card will also earn 5X. Yes, you will earn cashback when buying a gift card regardless of what rate you pay, but you won’t get cashback a second time when paying for the government rate stay. In other words, it is usually possible to get cashback twice: once for buying the gift card and once for booking your stay (for the latter, cash back isn’t credited until after your stay). With the govt rate, in my experience, you won’t get the second cashback.

  4. If you use the Chase Marriott card, will you still get their 5x for Marriott purchases? Also, if you’re successfully getting the cash back on the GC purchase, can’t you then use the GC to pay the govt rate and that way still have gotten the cash back?

  5. Great info FM. About getting a Status Challenge, I did this when we went to Thailand this year.

    Is this a once in a lifetime deal or have people had multiple challenges?

  6. Still waiting for a payout from TCB that’s been listed as “confirmed” for over a month. I know others are having similar problems. So I’d certainly be wary of using them until they demonstrate that they are going to continue paying out.

    • Danny: Last summer there were numerous issues with Radisson / TopCashBack, but other than that, anytime I’ve had money pending it has eventually been paid.

      David F: No problem in Europe. I used them in London last month.

  7. Having just done something like this I’d add a couple of points.
    .
    When checking in ask them to swipe your GC for the amount of your stay. They will also need a regular CC for the ‘deposit’. Otherwise with auto checkout or if you are rushed your CC will be charged and not the GC.
    .
    This offer is even better as Marriott is offering 10 points per $1 for gift cards. See from the T/C below. It is not clear if topcashback would be considered 3rd party.:
    .
    Offer valid on purchases of GiftCards made online at gifts.marriott.com November 19 – December 31, 2012. Offer not valid on Marriott GiftCards purchased via Marriott properties, 3rd parties or 1 800 813 GIFT and cannot be combined with any other offer/promotion. Marriott Rewards members earn 10 bonus points per dollar for each GiftCard purchase made online at gifts.marriott.com and by entering their valid Marriott Rewards number in the Promotion Code field at checkout. A maximum of 20,000 Marriott Rewards points may be earned per member.

  8. Just bought a Marriott giftcard with my Freedom card. I see the purchase in my pending transaction as “Marriott giftcard”. Will this description prevent me from getting x5?

  9. I successfully received the 5X on my Freedom for a Marriott GC.

    @russel Thanks for the heads up on using the GC at check-in!
    @russel I’m not sure if you can get the 10 Marriott pts/$1 AND get the 10% Amtrak bonus applied to the GC. If you can, please let me know. Thanks!

  10. @FM Any idea when the new MegaBonus will be released for January 15th onward? The current one ends Jan 15th, but my stay is after that.

  11. @Russel–The website only let you add one promo code per purchase. I tried using the AMT code and then adding my Marriott number for the 10 points/dollar, but it did not allow the second promo code.

    On a side note, this could also be used for meeting minimum spend on credit cards. If you work the numbers, you can generate spend, and even generate a small profit-just over 1% so nothing major, by selling these through CardPool and going through TopCashBack.

    For most meeting minimum spend isn’t a problem with BlueBird anymore, but this is another alternative.

  12. I bought some Marriott gift cards the other day. When I received them last night, the promotional 10% was not on the cards when I checked the balance. However, the pieces of paper associated with each gift card showed the 10% bonus on it. (I bought a $300 gift card, value shows it should be $330. When I check the balance it’s $300) I called the gift card company and they said to give it a couple business days. This is despite the T&C will be available once I receive it.

  13. Trevor: Be careful with Cardpool. Once you’ve reached $1000 in transactions with them you will no longer get cash back from any portal. At that point you’re better off with PlasticJungle (2.5% cash back)

  14. I just looked at my Discover statement on line, and I did not receive the 5% bonus for using this. Before I call, has anyone else had this problem?

  15. I havent received my confirmation from topcashback yet. I made the purchase on thursday. Has anyone had this experience before?

  16. Any suggestions on the best way to earn points for stays when using the giftcard? Don’t you often have to use credit cards to get credit with reward portals?

  17. Thanks for spreading valuable information!!! I found this short article and I absolutrly like it. Please write a lot more articles defintely looking towards seeing your post in the furture.

  18. Noticed that staples.com sells Marriott gift cards. If I purchased thru the ultimate rewards shopping portal using a Chase Ink card, would I receive 5% + 2% from the shopping portal? Also,do you know if I get UR points points when booking on Marriot.com (via UR portal) when using a gift card? If all went through, that would be 9% in pts.

  19. ajshin27: Yes, that would work, but Staples charges a hefty shipping fee for gift cards which takes away most of the advantage. Yes, you will get UR mall points for the stay even if you pay with a gift card.

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