American Express has a new offer that can be found (if you were targeted) by logging into your Amex account and looking under “Amex Offers for You”.
Spend $200 or more at Marriott, get $50 back:
This is exciting because they ran a similar promotion in August with their Courtyard chain in which I found that one could buy gift cards and still get the rebate. That offer was: Spend $100 and get $20 back. During that promotion, I went to a nearby Courtyard hotel and bought $100 gift cards (good at any Marriott property). I paid for each $100 gift card with a separate enrolled Amex card and I got back $20 for each one. In other words, I bought Marriott gift cards for 20% off. Details of my experiment with that prior deal can be found here.
This deal is better. Assuming it works as before, this deal will give you 25% back for each $200 of spend at Marriott. It may be a week or so before I get a chance to test this one out, but I think its very likely to work. If anyone tries it, please comment below with your result. If you get an email from Amex thanking you for using your enrolled card, you can assume that the deal worked.
Here’s a critical part of this deal’s terms and conditions (bolding is mine). Note that most Marriott properties are excluded:
Offer valid only at Marriott® Hotels brand properties. Must book directly with Marriott Hotels. Reservations must be made online at www.marriotthotels.com. Offer valid only for charges to the room, including room rate, in US and Puerto Rico only. Offer not valid in Guam. Offer excludes the following brands: The Ritz-Carlton®, EDITION®, AC Hotels by Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, JW Marriott®, Renaissance Hotels®, MOXY(TM) Hotels, Courtyard®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, Protea Hotels(TM), Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Gaylord Hotels® and Marriott Vacation Club®. Enrollment limited.
My guess is that they have no way of enforcing the terms that say that you must book directly with Marriott Hotels (I think that is there to ensure that payment of your room is charged by Marriott, not by a travel agency). I also doubt they can enforce the part that says the offer is valid only for charges to the room (I think that one is there because credit card charges made in a hotel restaurant, for example, will often not appear to be directly from the hotel itself).
Before you enroll in this offer, make sure to read: Maximizing Amex Sync offers. Part 1: sync multiple cards.
Hat tip: Travel with Grant