Considering a bizarro mattress run

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Marriott Double Take Double Points

Marriott’s Double Take promo offers double base points on any stays between March 19 and June 4 2019, but only after the first stay.  As luck would have it (bad luck), I just completed one stay one day too soon to trigger the offer (my stay was March 18th for one night).  My next stay is the one where I’d want to earn double points.  It’s expensive (so lots of points are on the table) and it’s coming up soon (so I won’t have any other real stays between now and then).

Usually I treat hotel promotions as a happy bonus if I happen to make use of them, but I rarely change my hotel habits for them.  In this case, I’m considering making an exception.  I’m considering booking a cheap paid one night stay just so that my more expensive stay will earn double points.

On my upcoming stay, I expect to pay about $1100.  As a Marriott Titanium Elite, I’ll earn 10 base points + 7.5 bonus points per dollar.  In other words, without the promotion, I expect to earn about 19,250 points for this stay.  If the bonus were in effect, I’d expect to earn another 10 points per dollar.  That comes to 11,000 additional points.

In order to earn those 11,000 extra points, I would need to first complete a different stay in the next few days.  So now I’m wondering if I should check into a cheap Marriott just to trigger the promo.  Is it worth it?

Lately I’ve been getting between 1 and 1.5 cents per point value from my Marriott points.  That said, I wouldn’t pay that much to buy Marriott points.  The only reason to buy points is if you can get much more value than you paid.  In general, unless I had an immediate high value need for more points, I wouldn’t spend more than about 0.7 cents per point.

So, if I’m willing to pay 0.7 cents per Marriott point, and if a cheap paid stay will result in an additional 11,000 points, then I need to find a hotel that costs $0.0070 * 11,000 = $77, or less.

As luck would have it, a nearby Fairfield Inn is available for $75 on the night I need it:

After taxes & fees, the hotel will actually cost $83.25.  But, I’ll earn points on the stay to make up for the extra cost.  As a Bonvoy Titanium Elite I’ll get 500 points as a welcome gift and I’ll earn 17.5 points per dollar on the $75 portion of the room.  And if I pay with a Marriott card, I’ll earn 6 points per dollar on the whole thing.  So, in total, for this first stay, I should earn 500 + 17.5 x 75 + 6 x 83.25 = 2,312 points.  This is what makes this mattress run bizarre.  Approximately 2K points is nowhere near enough to justify making this unneeded one night stay.  The bonus points earned on my next stay is where the value comes in.

I can also save a little bit of money by clicking through a portal to Marriott when booking this stay, but at the moment the portal rates aren’t very high (4% cash back via Top Cash Back, for example).  Still, I should get at least $75 x 4% = $3 back.

The Math

If I complete the stay as described above, my final cost after portal rebate will be: $83.25 – $3 = $80.25.

And, the extra points I should earn by adding this stay will be: 11,000 (by forcing my big stay to be the second promo stay) + 2,312 = 13,312 points.

Total cost per point = $80.25 / 13,312 = 0.6 cents per point.

Elite Status Re-qualification

Every little bit helps.  This year, I’ll easily earn Marriott Platinum status with 50 nights, so I certainly don’t need this extra night for that.  But, there’s a reasonably good chance that I’ll get close enough to Titanium status, which requires 75 nights, such that this one extra night would help.  I find it very hard to assign value to this, though, since I don’t know if I’ll need that night at all.

Decision

The math favors this mattress run, but not by a huge margin.  That is, I’m happy to pay 0.6 cents per point and to get an elite night out of the deal, but I wouldn’t go far out of my way to do so.  Still, the cheap hotel I found isn’t far out of the way at all, so I think I’ll do it.

What do you think?

Details about the double take promo can be found here: Marriott Promo For Q1/Q2 2019: Double Take – Double Points From Second Stay.  And, everything you ever wanted to know about Marriott’s rewards program can be found here.

Update 3/26 2019: I did it

Last week I did check into the cheap hotel in order to trigger this promo.  My account now shows that one stay was completed towards the promo and the remaining requirement is listed as “1 STAYS NEEDED”.

This is a bit confusing in that one could interpret “1 stays needed” as requiring 1 more stay before I’ll get double points.  But, based on my reading of the promo terms, I believe this to mean that I will receive double points on my next stay.  It usually takes several days for a completed stay to post to my account, so it may not be until next week that I’ll know for sure.

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