Marriott No Longer Allows “Points Advance” If You Have Enough Points

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One of the more attractive elements of Marriott Bonvoy is called “Points Advance”. Points Advance recognises that many members don’t have enough points on hand TODAY, but expect to earn enough by the time of their holiday award stay. As a result, Points Advance allows you to confirm your award reservation even though you might not have enough points on hand.

Until recently, Points Advance was available for most, if not all, award reservations. You would have seen something like this:

Unfortunately Marriott Bonvoy has taken away the possibility of using Points Advance if you have enough points on hand. My account has just over 25,000 points in it, so if I try to book a 25,000 point hotel I now see this…

No option of Points Advance

However if I try to book a 35,000 point hotel, I am offered Points Advance…

Why Might You Want Points Advance When You Have the Points on Hand

Points Advance is very useful for making speculative reservations. Perhaps you want to grab award nights at a popular hotel, but you aren’t quite sure when you will be able to take time off of work. Points Advance works great for this.

You might also want to apply a Travel Package certificate to a hotel stay. It is FAR easier to book your desired stay online using Points Advance, and then call Marriott Bonvoy to apply your certificate to the already-existing, but points-free reservation.

And finally…  Marriott’s IT situation is improving, but it is still not perfect.  I would much rather cancel a Points Advance booking than cancel a standard award booking and hope that the points are immediately refunded to my account. (Hilton Honors is notoriously bad at this!)

A Simple Trick…

If you want to use “Points Advance” but have a healthy balance of points, you’ll have to spend them!  You don’t really have to spend them though, but simply allocate them to an award stay. So make yourself a dummy booking well into the future – double and triple check to make sure that the reservation is completely refundable (i.e. no special events, etc.) – and reduce your points balance accordingly.  Then you’ll be free to use Points Advance again…

The Bottom Line

I don’t mind this change. Points Advance remains an extremely useful tool, and if its restriction limits some of the speculative booking of more popular hotels, I’m all in favour…  What do you think? Have you ever used Points Advance?


  1. Laura says

    Well geez, I didn’t even know you could do that in the first place… So I guess this isn’t much of a big deal for me 😛

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