INTRO I maintain this master thread to summarize current Marriott gift card, cash back, and other promotions and offers. This helps us track in one place and avoid redundant discussions. New, temporary, and expiring offers, are highlighted red. Please feel free to post additions, corrections, changes, or relevant commentary. Click here to subscribe to this thread or to receive emailed updates. Where relevant and no negative impact exists, my referral code is included - thanks! Start by purchasing a discounted Marriott Gift Card as described in the Buying Gift Cards section (below), then use that card to pay for hotel stays you book via a cash back or points portal detailed in the Booking Stays section (below). Total savings often exceed 15%. BigCrumbs has a good FAQ explaining how cash back sites work. Then stack other bonus offers, discount codes, status, tricks, and points-earning opportunities detailed in the Other Marriott Promos section (below) to get your effective cost much lower. If you're not staying soon, Gift Card savings are still appealing investments for future stays or to use as birthday, Christmas, or other holiday gifts. BUYING GIFT CARDS : PROMOTIONS & DISCOUNTING METHODS (Gift Cards FAQ is here) Buy through resellers + cash back. Marriott GCs are sold exclusively by Marriott, and cash back is not available on these purchases. However, various non-Marriott sites broker these GCs, often discounted a few %, and cash back is available with some of these brokers. To see the best options, click this link to Gift Card Granny, uncheck the "eBay Auction" option in the filter options on the right, and see what discounts are available. The best options are often to click through Top Cashback for 2% cash back on a card discounted via Cardpool, through BeFrugal for 2% CB on a card discounted via Raise, or through Fatwallet for 1% CB on a card discounted via eBay. Purchases through these third party sites don't qualify as Marriott purchases when posted to a Chase Marriott-branded Visa card, so the 5-points-per-dollar earned by purchasing GCs directly from Marriott will be foregone. Note: Cardpool has a lifetime cap on cash back eligibility at $1,000 worth of GCs, regardless of which cash back sites you use. Buy Gift Cards through MyPoints. MyPoints sells $75 Marriott GCs at face value and awards 750 MyPoints (MYPT) with the purchase. Maximum of 2 x $75 ($150 total for 1,500 MYPT) per transaction. I will update this section soon with more details, but for now, Tomsam provides a good explanation here. Please post if I've missed an offer. Marriott periodically runs Gift Card promos such as 10% off, a 10% bonus, or 10 bonus points per dollar. Subscribe to this thread and check regularly to stay informed. Gift Cards purchased with the Chase Marriott Premier Visa Credit Card (an offer for which is detailed below in the "Other Marriott Promos" section) will earn 5 points per dollar only when placed through a Marriott-owned site. Stays paid with Gift Cards still earn "regular" stay points (10-15/$) and will not affect elite benefits. Gift Cards may complicate checkout ease and/or Megabonus qualification, but there are workarounds such as this one when a Megabonus requires Visa payment, or this one if the front desk is slow processing your GC. When weighing options, value points/miles/certificates by their worth to you, not what others claim. BOOKING STAYS : MARRIOTT CASH BACK & POINTS PORTALS You'll need a credit card to book online and to check-in, but you may pay at check-out with the discounted Gift Card you purchased as described in the previous section. If you settle by credit card instead, you'll still get the points/miles/rebates you'd normally earn for hotel spending on your credit card. The bonuses listed below are all earned in addition to whatever you normally earn for hotel charges to your card. Cash/points back attempts will never invalidate special rates or bonus promotions, but some special rates and bonus promos may prevent cash/points back from posting. For example, some reservation codes and brands, and all non-commissionable and negotiated corporate rates are excluded, though it never hurts to try. AAA and many other popular codes are compatible. Read the T&Cs carefully if it's critical, or just hope for the best. 3% cash back via Mr. Rebates. Most reliable tracking. 3% cash back via Top Cashback. 5% cash back via eBates. Special rate, expires today, April 10th, 2015. 2.5% cash back via FatWallet. Credit card portal options (require ownership of the credit card tied to the portal): 3 points per dollar via the Citi Thank You Portal. 5% cash back via the ShopDiscover Cashback Portal. Valid stays aren't payable for up to 10 weeks after completion, so be patient. Cash/points back users report variable results, but reliability isn't usually related to the portal; user errors such as improper cookie handling and transaction errors such as affiliate reporting are factors. Award stays don't qualify, and changes to a reservation will usually disable tracking (reports are that LNF adjustments don't alter the confirmation number, and therefore are compatible). To bolster your odds if you need to appeal, always document your tracking ID and all details of your transaction, and be sure it qualifies. If you believe the portal you used is to blame, try an alternative next time. OTHER MARRIOTT PROMOS, OFFERS, TRICKS, & TIPS Refer a friend to Marriott Rewards and both of you earn 2,000 bonus points per stay. Maximums of 5 stays per referral (10,000 points) and 5 referrals (50,000 points) per year. The intro page to the offer is here, the T&C's for the offer are here, and the actual referral form is here. If you need a current member to refer you, feel free to PM me or see and post in this thread to find many others who are willing. Note: the offer is valid only for new members. Free Category 1-5 Night For New Members. Instead of being referred, new members may also join using this promotional link to earn a free Category 1-5 award night by completing two paid stays within 120 days of joining. If you're already a member and signed into your account, it will show an error, as you can't join twice. This offer is for new members to join. Earn 5 points per dollar on all Marriott spending with the Chase Marriott Premier Visa Credit Card. This includes gift cards, stays, points, merchandise, etc., and still applies when promos or cash back or points portals are used, as long as you are buying via a Marriott-owned site. You also earn one Elite Qualifying Night (EQN) towards status for every $3,000 you spend (on anything) and receive a 15,000 point rebate on any Category 7, 8, or 9 redemption of seven or more nights (Travel Packages excluded). This thread details the current status of an on-and-off 70,000 bonus point offer, and if you can't get it to work using the latest information in that thread, you can try this link or these instructions. It comes with a free night certificate, the first year's fee waived, 15 EQNs (automatic Silver status+), and more. A more consistent 50,000 point offer adds a $75 statement credit. Regardless of which offer you use, be sure to take a screen shot of the offer landing page in case needed later. If you apply using the 50K offer, send Chase a Secure Message requesting a 20K bump to match the 70K offer - you might get lucky. Jump to Gold or Platinum status with the Visa Ritz Carlton Rewards Card. This credit card provides Gold status with $10K annual spending and Platinum status with $75K spent annually. More details to be added soon. Travel Package redemptions. An ongoing reward, detailed here, that represents perhaps the best, yet often overlooked, redemption value for MRPs. For example, you can use 270K MRPs to reserve seven nights at a Category 5 resort and receive 120K airline miles of your choice. If you would have otherwise paid $1,750 for the stay and $2,300 for the flights, you are achieving 1.5 cents per point (CPP) - far greater than what most people milk from them. If transferring to United miles and you're a RewardsPlus member (see section below), you'll get an additional 10% bonus (up to 12K) on your Travel Package UA miles. Even better: Delta, United, and USAirways have, several times in recent years, offered 25%-75% transfer bonus promotions that were stackable with Travel Package redemptions. This increased the 120K airline miles portion of the offer to as much as 210K miles, enhancing the value immensely. If you are short of the points required, remember that it might make sense to purchase or gift (up to 50K MRPs/year for 1.25 CPP) or transfer (free from a spouse, unlimited quantity) to make it happen. PointSavers Reward Redemptions. Marriott periodically updates this list of properties that allow you to redeem up to 33% fewer points for free nights by discounting the Category cost by one level for certain dates. This FAQ explains more. It is always worth checking PointSavers, especially if you have some flexibility. Don't forget that Travel Packages (detailed above) and five-night awards for the price of four are ongoing offers that typically provide the best values for a broader array of properties. Seasonal Awards. These discounted awards offer a 25%+ savings on the points required for a free night during certain times of the year. Even better, you may combine this discount with the standard "redeem four nights, get the fifth night free" offer, meaning that five nights can be had for the price of three. Elite Membership Benefits. Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite Status yield many perks. This page summarizes them, this page expounds upon them, and this page details specific guarantees. There are too many nuances to enumerate here, but you should learn how to qualify and what you get at each level, as bonus points, arrival gifts, various guarantees, free internet access, food, and other services all kick in progressively. There's also a newly published Lifetime Elite Status, discussed here. Instant Silver Status For New Accounts. Marriott offers Silver status and other bonuses to employees of some large corporations who sign up for new Marriott accounts using a dedicated link. The link ends with = followed by the company name. For example, this is IBM's link. Cisco, Accenture, Verizon, and many others participate. If you happen to be an employee of a participating company and don't already have a Marriott account, you should consider the offer. The form is simple and they don't even hassle you for proof of employment. Accelerated Gold/Platinum Status Challenge. Do you lack status, or are Silver and want to enhance your mojo? Marriott offers a status challenge. Just call or email Marriott's Rewards department and request one. If you complete 6 paid stays or 12 nights (Gold) or 9 stays/18 nights (Platinum) within 90 days, they'll give you status through Feb of the following year. Doing this early in the calendar year will maximize the life of your status, and if your stays coincide with a Megabonus offer that earns free nights or bonus points, even better. Consider cheap one-night stays and paying with Gift Card credit you acquire at a discount, then use your new status to get free United Silver Premier status (Platinum only, detailed in the section below) to really play the game! See this thread for more details and discussion. RewardsPlus Reciprocal Benefits Partnership With United. This program awards UA Gold, Platinum, and 1K Premier members with complimentary Marriott Gold Elite status and Marriott Platinum Elite and Platinum Premier members with complimentary UA Silver Premier status. There are also several point-to-mile conversion bonuses. UA elites can transfer miles to MRPs at a 1:1 ratio (50K max). All UA members can convert Marriott Rewards points to MileagePlus miles at a 20% discount. All Marriott members can receive 10% more UA miles when redeeming a Travel Package. UA members should register and read details here, and Marriott members should register and read details here. Discussion from the UA perspective is here, and here from the Marriott perspective. Platinum Arrival Gift. When you earn Platinum Elite status, this incremental perk guarantees you will be offered your choice of an "arrival gift" upon check-in - food, beverage, or bonus points (200-500 at most properties). If you value MRPs at 1 CPP or more, requesting the points is generally the best value. However, if you don't value the points much or if you are in particular need of food or drink, the gift may be preferable. Sometimes you can succeed in politely requesting a room service item or other credit, but don't count on it. If you aren't offered a selection at check-in, notify the desk before you check out and the Platinum Arrival Gift Guarantee will kick in and you may receive compensation up to $100. See this page for details. AAA & other special reservation codes. Always check at least the AAA rate before you book. It will often provide a rate as cheap or cheaper than a pre-paid one, but without the cancellation restrictions. While the terms state you must be an AAA member and other restrictions apply, you rarely are asked for proof and the restrictions are usually inconsequential. This thread details many other publicly available promotion codes, albeit some are much more restrictive and complex and should be used with care. Book stays using cash back links. You can earn 3% via Mr. Rebates when you book a room at any Marriott property. You don't even have to be the one staying (book rooms for friends/work and earn!) Clicking through the portals will not affect the price you pay nor any special offers or points earning. Megabonus & targeted offers. Marriott provides periodic bonus offers that typically allow you to earn free nights or bonus points as you accumulate qualifying nights. Some are targeted and won't appear in all accounts. This thread details the latest ones available and compares the options. Platinum members are auto-registered for some offers, but you should always log in, go to My Account>Promotion Central>Go to Promo Central and register. Sometimes concurrent, stackable promotions run. Though not official, Platinum and Gold Elites can often call and politely convince a rep to change them to a different offer if a preferable one is known. Look No Further (LNF) rate guarantee. If within 24 hours you find a lower rate elsewhere for the same room you've booked directly with Marriott, they'll adjust your rate to be 25% less than the lower one. This page provides the T&Cs and the forms you'll need. This thread is the place to request help from others, this thread is ideal for sharing your successful implementations, and this guy maintains a private list of obscure sites that might help. Rewarding Events. Marriott offers 10 Elite Qualifying Nights (EQNs) when you book a meeting at participating properties. There are ways to do this cheaply, as discussed in this thread, and sometimes you don't even need to show up (though you should always get a contract). This can provide you with a status boost while benefiting the property by yielding additional revenue. Marriott provides details in this FAQ, this T&C page (point #6), this short brochure, and this one as well. Additional details are on this web page. Special Deals & Elite Exclusive Offers (EEOs). This page provides a summary of various deals offered to general and elite members. This sub-page lists special member offers that become increasingly appealing for higher status levels.