Best Credit Card to Buy Marriott Points

What's the best credit card to buy Marriott Points? There may be a new answer to this question. I was recently looking at booking a Marriott Award stay and I happened to be quite a few points short for the booking, so I figured I would just do a points advance booking. When I looked at my payment options I found something pretty interesting that I've never seen before. Marriott was offering me the option to purchase the amount of points that I was short for the booking. The other option was a “Points Advance Booking”. Since there was an Amex Offer for Marriott I thought I might as well try it out and see if the purchase coded as a Marriott purchase rather than a Points.com purchase, in which case I was hoping it would hopefully code as travel and/ or trigger the Amex offer. I luckily had added the Marriott offer to my Amex Green card which earns 3x Membership Rewards Points on travel so I was able to test both with one purchase. Here's a referral link to the new 50K Green Card Offer available only through personal referrals.

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Best Credit Card to Buy Marriott Points 

Best Credit Card to Buy Marriott Points 

Buying Points

In order to test out the process, I found a reservation that required me to buy exactly $200 worth of points and completed the transaction. Generally, when you make a qualifying purchase for an Amex Offer you get an email saying you used the offer pretty quickly. Unfortunately I did not get the offer email. When I looked at my Amex Account, the Merchant Showed as Marriott Rewards- so I thought it was a no go on both fronts.

Related: Should you Buy Points or Pay Cash for your Next Hotel Stay?

Here are a few things I discovered from doing several searches:

  • If you need over 50k Bonvoy Points for the booking, there's no offer to buy points, instead the only option is a points advance booking.
  • It only works for the standard booking, if you're wanting to upgrade with points, the option to purchase them doesn't show up.
  • Marriott.com will show that you've purchased the maximum amount of points if you try to go over 20k points but seems to allow you to get around the yearly maximum if you keep each one under 10k.
  • The charge is immediate and when you cancel the reservation you do not receive a refund for the amount paid for the points, instead the points are aded to your balance. (Same way IHG Points Plus Cash Works)

Amex Travel Marriott

Outcome and What's the Best Credit Card to Buy Marriott Points

When I logged into Amex to see how the purchase coded I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had in fact coded as travel. As you can see the merchant shows as Marriott Rewards “Marriott.Com/Rewards” not points.com. I received 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar on the American Express Green Card. 

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I've made a few other purchases with different cards and will update this post as soon as they post to answer the following questions.

  • Will you pay the promotional price during buy points promotions if you purchase points this way?
  • Will there be a limit on how many times you can do this?
  • Will you earn bonus points as Marriott purchases when you pay with the Marriott Co-branded credit cards from Chase or Amex or both?
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