You can now earn Marriott points for shopping online (but I probably won’t)

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Marriott Rewards has announced Marriott Rewards MORE, which resembles a shopping portal, though it’s actually a browser toolbar, and for that reason I probably won’t be using it. There is an app, too — but there’s some bad news with that also. On the bright side, Marriott is offering 1,000 bonus points for signing up and using this new program to make a first purchase of $25 or more. More on what it is and where and how it works (and why I don’t see myself using it much) below.

The Deal

  • Earn 1,000 bonus points when you complete your first purchase of $25 or more through Marriott Rewards MORE
  • Direct link to this program

Quick Thoughts

My initial reaction was that this sounded decent enough — I’ve long earned the majority of my points through shopping portals and as such I’m always happy to add another portal to the pile. Payouts aren’t amazing, but it’s nice to see a flat payout that’s valid across Amazon.com.

To my knowledge, JetBlue is the only other portal offering a payout across the board on Amazon purchases. While I’d say that 3x JetBlue points is certainly more “valuable” than 1x Marriott Rewards, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. According to Doctor of Credit, some users are actually seeing 2x at Amazon — which still isn’t worth as much as 3x JetBlue points, but it’s closer to earning 1x Starpoints across the board at Amazon, which might sway my Amazon purchases this way if I had that rate.

Additionally, as you can see in the image above, Marriott card holders earn a 25% bonus. Great!

However, I was immediately soured when I found that you have to install a browser toolbar in order to shop from a desktop/laptop.

That was almost instantly a dealbreaker for me. The reason for that is that toolbars like this have the potential to “steal” your click from another portal. That is to say that you might click through Ebates to earn 15% cash back on Store Y only to have the Marriott toolbar steal the click and have you earn 3 Marriott points per dollar instead. I thought that would be it for me — I’m not interested in installing something that might interfere with my intended portal rewards.

However, I then saw that there is also an app. That was much more promising as I knew that wouldn’t interfere with my normal portal shopping. The app is available for iOS (iPhone) and Android. Sorry, Windows Phone: as usual, you’re left out in the cold on this one. Here are the download links:

I downloaded the Android app and it prompted me to choose my country and log in (just like the website).

Once I signed in, I could see the list of stores again.

And clicking on one of them simply brings me to that retailer’s website within the app itself. That’s perfect as far as I’m concerned — no need to mess with my other clicks from my phone web browser or interfere with other apps. I thought this looked like a clean solution that would still allow me to use the Marriott portal when I want to without losing out on any other rewards that I want. And that’s true, really.

But…..

But, oddly, not all of the same stores are available across the different platforms….and it’s not just a few. For example, these are the retailers I see listed on Marriott’s website:

According to Doctor of Credit, that’s not the entire list — there are a lot more stores that show up in the toolbar but are absent from that list of “all retailers” above. Curiously, not all of the stores in the picture above are available in the app — and while some of those in the toolbar are available in the app, many aren’t. For example, Best Buy doesn’t show up in the app. At 1 point per $2 spent, I don’t think I’d use Best Buy anyway — but the fact is that the store isn’t an option at all in the Android app. And that is far from the only one….

Doctor of Credit reports this to be the list of retailers available via the toolbar. I’ve noted which ones don’t show up in the app.

  • Elle (not in the Android app)
  • Amazon
  • Ann Taylor
  • Anthropologie
  • Apple
  • Best Buy (not in the Android app)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Converse (not in the Android app)
  • FTD (not in the Android app)
  • Gap (not available in the Android app)
  • Joma Shop
  • Land’s End (not available in the Android app)
  • Liftopia (not available in the Android app)
  • Loft
  • Macy’s (not available in the Android app)
  • Mr. Porter (not available in the Android app)
  • Net-A-Porter
  • Nike (not available in the Android app)
  • Nordstrom (not available in the Android app)
  • The Outnet (not available in the Android app)
  • Petco
  • QVC
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Saks Fifth Avenue (not available in the Android app)
  • Sephora
  • Shop Marriott
  • Sunglass Hut
  • Walgreens (not available in the Android app)
  • Wayfair

For those counting at home, the Android app has 14 of the 29 stores available in the toolbar. Ugh.

As noted above, I still prefer the app to the toolbar, but not seeing all of the stores is a bummer.

A solution I don’t like

There is a solution to the problem — I could just install the toolbar in a browser dedicated to Marriott shopping and not use that browser for any other portal shopping. Or I could install the toolbar and uninstall it every time I want to shop through Marriott. Neither of those solutions sound good to me. I don’t like slowing down my browser (or computer) with unnecessary toolbars nor do I want to have to remember which browser to use for Marriott shopping specifically.

Of course, you might feel entirely different. And perhaps I’m wrong about the toolbar, but I don’t see any payouts that are so valuable as to risk it.

Bottom line

Marriott’s new shopping portal-type effort here will certainly be welcomed by some. Indeed, I generally welcome more portal options and generally love the idea of the chance to earn extra Marriott Rewards — especially at Amazon. While the value isn’t amazing, I don’t fly JetBlue often and would probably rather earn Marriott Rewards there. And I may well use the app for my Amazon purchases — but I’ll use the app knowing that I’m missing many of the stores available on the website. Maybe that will change over time. Ideally, I’d love to see the list of stores match in all three places (or see a more traditional website-based portal from Marriott). I doubt we’ll see the traditional-style portal, but I hope that we’ll see more overlap in the available stores across platforms.

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