Are you planning to buy Marriott gift cards on Monday for 20% off?

As you’ve probably heard, the Daily Getaways start tomorrow with the best deal of the week: Marriott gift cards are 20% off if you pay with an American Express card.  Mommy Points has the scoop here.

I still have gift card credit from prior deals, so I plan to sit this one out, but if you do pickup some, here are some pointers for using Marriott gift cards effectively…

When using Marriott gift cards, you can stack promotions as follows…

  • 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 are offered certificates 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. 
  • 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!  Alternatively, ask to pay in advance with the gift card when you check in so that you don’t risk it.
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Mark (@palmerlaw)
Guest

Last time I used this deal to pay for my stay at Cosmo in Vegas. Since you can charge their quality restaurants to your room, the 20% off food (after room comps) was a nice bonus.

MSPDeltaDude
Guest
MSPDeltaDude

I’m in for 1K!

Andy
Guest
Andy

@FM,
Are you sure we can still eanr Marriott elite night credit and marriott rewards points (for regular rates) if we book marriott room via a cash back portal or a third party? I know some other hotels do not allow 3rd party reservation (e.g., Priority Club) to earn any credit or points.
Thanks,
Andy

FrequentMiler
Guest

Andy: yes, there’s a big difference between going through a cash back portal to Marriott.com vs going to an online travel agency like Expedia or orbitz. In the latter case you often won’t get stay credit, but as long as you ultimately book on Marriott.com you’ll be fine

ABC
Guest
ABC

Are these GCs only valid in the US?

FrequentMiler
Guest

ABC: the gift cards work worldwide

Grant
Guest

I bought a $500 Marriott card last year for this promo and still have some balance on it. I’m sitting this one out too.
.
Some gift card reseller sites are offering 86% face value for Marriott cards, but don’t count on that lasting long after tomorrow. http://www.giftcardgranny.com/sell-a-gift-card/#marriott

XW
Guest
XW

Can the GCs work online, since you mentioned using them during check-in or check-out? Thanks!

FrequentMiler
Guest

Grant: Good point
XW: I assume you mean to ask if you can use the gift cards online to pay for prepaid rates? I believe the answer is no.

Andy
Guest
Andy

@FM,
Thanks for advice on reservation through cash-portal. I will try next week. I have stayed about 400 nights at marriott and have never used portal. If I knew it earlier, I could have earned many refund?!

@XW:
“XW: I assume you mean to ask if you can use the gift cards online to pay for prepaid rates? I believe the answer is no.”
You need a credit card to book online as a guarantee and then you can use GC to pay at check-in or check-out. The restriction is, you can not book pre-paid rate in order to use GC.

You can use GC worldwide. Marriott converts the local currrency into USD to charge on your GC. Last year I stayed at Toronto and I found their conversion rate was very reasonable (no surcharge) — compard to credit card: some cards charge foreign fees plus a above-normal conversion rate. So, at least b/t CAD and USD, using Marriott GC does not hurt you anything.

XW
Guest
XW

Andy, many thanks for the reply. That is exactly what I am asking about. Excellent answer!

MJM
Guest
MJM

I always get credit for government as well as AAA rates but then I don’t do anything fancy and book directly on the hotel chain website.

Marie
Guest
Marie

@FM
Is Daily Getaways a web site? What is the web address to purchase the gift card? Thank you for helping.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Marie: Yes, Daily Getaways is available through a website. I’ve added the link above and here: https://dailygetaways.ustravel.org/Default.aspx

Marie
Guest
Marie

@FM #12
Thank you for the link. If I use SPG by American Express credit card, Will I still get the additional 10% off? Thanks for helping.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Marie: Yes, any Amex card will work including the SPG card.
Vincente: Last year (if I remember correctly), they had a special early-bird thing where some packages were offered at noon instead of at 1. They’re not repeating that this year.

romsdeals
Guest

Was thinking about buying some to churn, but not worth the effort and the rate will def change.

Vicente
Guest
Vicente

Yes! I got the $500 card last year and used it all within about 3 months for family travel. I am on a Taste of Gold Challenge right now, hopefully my last 2 stays to complete the Challenge could be paid for with this Gift Card. The official sale time is 1PM Eastern, but I think last year there were some for sale an hour before the official opening? Anyone?

NYBanker
Guest
NYBanker

Will these work at RC properties too?

FrequentMiler
Guest

NYBanker: Yes, the gift cards should work at Ritz-Carlton properties.
mrredskin: I didn’t mean to suggest that you wouldn’t get hotel points or stay credit with the government rate. I know from experience that you do. I meant that if you book the hotel via a points-earning portal, in my experience, you won’t get points from the portal when paying with a government rate.

mrredskin
Guest
mrredskin

i’ve never had an issue getting points/creds while on govt rate.

PhatMiles
Guest
PhatMiles

I will try all denominations. Hope I will get at least one.

Vinay
Guest
Vinay

QQ…will bluebird get me the AMEX discount?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Vinay: Yep

JP Traveler
Guest
JP Traveler

Just purchased 2 $500 cards … exactly what I needed. Took a lot of trying to finally get availability (about 10 minutes after they went on sale), but my fast fingers paid off.

Andy
Guest
Andy

this website reaqlly like a scam. i waited by 1pm and when the “buy now” appeared a few minutes later, all GCs are not available. after 2o minutes, $500 and $1000 are sold out.

This is my first time to try to buy from US Travel Association website. It really gives me a terrible impression!!!

Deborah B
Guest
Deborah B

Was on right at 1pm and scored 4 $100 cards for upcoming trip to Munich. You have to be fast and diligent to get the deals.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Definitely not a scam, Andy. Deborah is right. You must be diligent. I got a $1000 card at what I figure to be 1:00:15 pm and then about 8 minutes later was able to grab a $500 card. They didn’t indicate sold out until about 1:20