Points Advance Policy Tweak by Marriott Bonvoy
by Neil McPherson
29 May 2021
Gritti Palace, Venice - a member of The Luxury Collection
What is the Marriott Points Advance feature?
Marriott Bonvoy has a very Points Advance feature, whereby members can make an award reservation at a hotel even if they don't yet have enough points for the stay.
The way it worked was that you just make a booking and then there's no reward certificate attached to it. As long as you earned or purchased the needed points at least 14 days prior to check-in, you're good to go. If you don't have the points needed 14 days out, then your reservation gets canceled without a fee. For more details on the Points Advance and other features of the Marriott Bonvoy program, refer to our guide.
Now, Marriott is tweaking this policy.
What's changing with Points Advance?
You are now required to have enough points in your account for the award certificate to be issued within 60 days from when the reservation was made OR 14 days before scheduled arrival, whichever is earlier.
Note that this change also applies to existing bookings. You have 60 days from today or 14 days before the check-in date, whichever is sooner, to secure the reservation that will otherwise expire.
Remember that Marriott Bonvoy doesn’t guarantee the number of points required for an award reservation until it has been confirmed by withdrawing the points from your account.
You can only hold up to three Points Advance reservations at any one time.
There have been some popular resort properties where Points Advance reservations have represented 25% of all future reservations, a situation where some times a significant amount of them ended up being canceled at the 14-day mark before arrival due to an insufficient number of points.
Anecdotally, it's possible that some members booked multiple properties for stays and then canceled all but one of them close to the time of the stay. This to me, is an unfair use of what is otherwise an attractive feature, unique to Marriott Bonvoy. The change seeks to reduce the occurrence of this activity.
It should help Marriott manage their inventory and have more rooms available at any time (rather than being "reserved" and later cancelled at the last minute).
This in turn benefits members who now may have less difficulty securing awards due to excessive Points Advance bookings holding up standard room availability.
I have never used this functionality myself, as for longer dated bookings I prefer to "lock in the cost" using the Cash + Points feature instead. But for many members, it could remain a very useful feature, especially now that it is less open to abuse.