Considering a bizarro mattress run

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.

Last updated on March 26th, 2019

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Garth
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Garth

You may want to discount the payouts by a Bonvoyed factor – the probability any of these points or nights aren’t awarded correctly.

Jim
Guest
Jim

I think (a) do it. Why not? And (b) this kind of post is why your blog remains the best in the biz. Interesting, somewhat esoteric, very detailed and ultimately more broadly relevant to the big picture of what we do. Good stuff. Keep it up.

DaninMCI
Guest
DaninMCI

Agree on the bongos factor 🙂 but in addition you’re taking about spending $75 or so to get 11k which would get you a $75 level award room plus your time to do all that. So it simply comes down the EQDs and night credit.

boogen
Guest
boogen

The AA estore has 6x points for Marriott today, so you would get another 6000 plus AAdvantage miles.

Bevky
Guest
Bevky

Can you find someone who could actually use the hotel room (to bump the “karma factor”?). A friend who could use a night off from home or something?

I think another deciding point would be how large your current balance is. If you already have a million points, the bonus miles won’t make a difference in the larger picture.

Ron Ramus
Guest
Ron Ramus

I guess great minds think alike?! We are spending spring break at a Ritz Carlton and using club level upgrades from the RC credit card. It will be our most expensive hotel trip of the year. So tonight, I’m staying at a nearby Fairfield Inn so that our Ritz stay is the second one. Hopefully will get double elite nights also, as I’m registered for both promos.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

I’m in the same boat as you, Greg. Expensive stay coming up and no nights during the promotion period, although I’m only platinum. The promo also gives 500 bonus for weekend stays even for the first stay so you’d earn a few more points at 0.6 cents.

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

You seem to be discounting the savings you’re going to be getting by stuffing your face at breakfast so that you don’t have to eat the rest of the day 🙂

Brian C
Guest
Brian C

According to my ambassador who i spoke to last night specifically about this promotion, it only counts as a “stay” for this promotion, if it is at least 2 nights. She double checked even though i am still skeptical of believing she is right, i don’t think it is worth a 1 night mattress run to risk getting nothing (i also have an expensive, $1500+ stay coming up so am in the same boat).

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

It wouldn’t surprise me from Marriott as the terms do say “A “stay” is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity. Remember to book direct to earn points.”

They could argue it says you have to stay consecutive nights to qualify which would mean more than one.

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

When I read the rules for the promo, it does say that a “stay” is considered consecutive nights at the same property. Bummer.

Nick Reyes
Editor

@Audrey – I think that’s standard terms for any stay-based promotion. I think you’ll find the same wording from just about every chain these days (used to make it clear that checking out every day and back in to the same hotel won’t count as multiple stays).

It’s not impossible that Marriott will interpret a stay as 2 nights I guess, and far from impossible that the stays won’t post in the proper order for Greg to get double credit for the more expensive stay (this is what I’d be worried about) though I’m sure that latter problem could probably get worked out with a phone call or three after the fact. Of course, the more time spent on the phone straightening it out afterwards, the less beneficial the mattress run seems.

But I’d be really, really surprised if a stay is defined as 2 nights for this promotion and the “consecutive nights” phrase in that term is the only indication for the half a bajillion Marriott members who don’t have an ambassador.

But I guess we ought to know for sure one way or the other soon enough :-).

miafll
Guest
miafll

This to make sure people would not book multiple one night
to make a consecutive nights stay being multiple stays. It has always been like that, a stay is defined as check in and check out whether it is just one night or multiple nights on multiple reservations – unless the languages specifically say 2 nights minimum, like IHG promo often have 2 nights minimum, sometimes Marriott as well.
A stay is defined by check in and check out – but if the check in and check out are done on CONSECUTIVE fashion, it is still one stay.

mark
Guest
mark

Call the hotel’s manager and ask if they will take $10 or $20 off if you check-in but don’t actually stay in the room.

Kathleen
Guest
Kathleen

I’m doing this exact same thing with the Hyatt promotion for status and a few extra points. I get huge value from Hyatt Globalist status and I booked a bunch of nights at category 1 before the hotels went to category 2. I also booked speculative for December to use if I need a few more nights to get me over the hump. It’s worth it for me.

toomanybooks
Guest
toomanybooks

Me, too. Chicagoland has several cat 1s. Most convenient.

Sam ross
Guest
Sam ross

Greg How do I contact you about something? I have ambassador status with Marriott. My ambassador gave me her phone number to call if I needed assistance. I recently received my Sprint Bill for my cell phone and it was about $10 more. I called Sprint and discovered that the calls to my ambassador were “long Distance” and “outside of the US” as she and a number of Ambassadors live in Canada and they charged me for them. I did talk to Marriot Ambassador line but thought I would clue you in to a possible issue for Marriott elite.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

Love your blog. Thanks for all of the great content.

I do really think you should consider the value of your time in any of these deals. Particularly when you have smaller deals like 11,000 Marriott points. If you were going after some thing where you were getting 100,000 points than the value of your time would be amortized over that. But when you have such a small deal I think the value of your time to find another hotel go and book it and then go there to check in I think it’s not worth it.

MSer
Guest
MSer

Nobody in their right mind would pay 0.6cpp for Marriott points. But I’ll sell you 600K at that price – don’t even to leave home.

P T
Guest
P T

Go for it

Bill
Guest
Bill

It all goes back to trust, … can you really trust Marriott to honor the T&Cs of their program; and even if you can trust them, how much pain are you willing to incur to get them to do it (2 calls, 4 calls 10 calls). Until Marriott gets their stuff straightened out, I’m not investing anymore in their program. Now, if the math looked better, I’d be willing to risk getting bonvoyed.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

@Bill Good post as in How much is ur Time Worth ??
CHEERS

Pam
Guest
Pam

The most value you get from 11,000 bonus points is $165. You’ll earn $38 back on your $83 “investment,” leaving you out of pocket $45 for a net overall gain of $120. Every little bit does help; you wouldn’t earn it otherwise; and it is a cheap way to springboard the promo for all your future stays til June..

Tony
Guest
Tony

Jewell is offering 9% cash back. I just made two reservations today. Also don’t forget about the other promotion that’s still running where you get double elite nights for a stay.

Silverspringer
Guest
Silverspringer

What is the Jewell that offers 9% cash back on Marriott stays? Thx.

Tony
Guest
Tony

http://www.usejewel.com

They market themselves as a high end cash back site. Sometimes the rates are better than other cash back sites.

Karim
Guest
Karim

If I wanted those extra Hilton points, I would just use my Amex Hilton Honors Ascend card to buy $2,000 of Visa cards at the supermarket for a total of $2,023.80 and then liquidate them at a Walmart or supermarket for a another $1.76 in fees. You will end up with 12,143 points for a total cost of $25.56. That’s a cost of .0021 per point. So unless you need the night stay towards your elite credit to keep or earn status, I would not bother.

char
Guest
char

Hi Greg,

I’m sort of in the same boat, but with IHG promo – Earn double points on every stay, starting with your second stay, up to 40,000 bonus points.

Have an upcoming week-long stay which will cost $2000+ but nothing in between now and then.

Would you recommend a mattress run?

I could earn extra 30,000+ points with double points.

veeRob
Guest
veeRob

Did you end up doing it?

I had a similar debate, just completed a 7 night stay at a Fairfield for around $2k. I didn’t end up booking the cheaper 1 night stay to get double points mainly because my Fairfield stay was booked through hotels.com and I figured somehow in the process the points wouldn’t post because of this. But it looks like the points posted just fine, so I should have done the 1 night stay.

Another thought, did you actually need to check in in person for the stay to post? I imagine you could pre-pay online and call the manager to make sure he marks you as checked in. Could get a cheaper night not in your area. I see $59/night at Courtyard Dallas Richardson.

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[…] is a quick followup to my previous post: Considering a bizarro mattress run.  In that post I wrote that I was considering booking a cheap one night Marriott stay for the sole […]