MileagePlus, SkyMiles, Rapid Rewards offering bonuses for buying Marriott gift cards

Both United Airlines and Delta (and Southwest, too!) are offering bonus miles when you purchase Marriott gift cards. Gift cards can be used like cash at more than 3,700 locations in the Marriott family. This promo offers a pretty good way to double dip on collection points in the two programs, though the value is rather markedly different between the two. Definitely look at the details to figure which is best (though no reason you cannot do both if you want).

For United the deal is valid from October 15 – November 26, 2012. It maxes out at 5,000 MileagePlus points earnt and the earn rates are:

  • 500 MileagePlus Miles with a $150 Marriott Gift Card purchase
  • 1,000 MileagePlus Miles with a $250 Marriott Gift Card purchase
  • 2,000 MileagePlus Miles with a $400 Marriott Gift Card purchase

To get the full 5,000 bonus points will require buying $1,050 in cards.

For Delta the deal is valid from October 19 – December 15, 2012. The earning rates are not nearly as good as what United is offering but the max number which can be earnt in 10,000 rather than 5,000. Here’s the earn rates for Delta:

    • 200 Delta SkyMiles with a $100 Marriott Gift Card purchase
    • 500 Delta SkyMiles with a $250 Marriott Gift Card purchase
    • 2,000 Delta SkyMiles with a $1,000 Marriott Gift Card purchase

That’s a $5,000 spend on cards to max out the deal.

For Southwest the deal is valid until November 30, 2012. The earn rates are possibly best here, though it depends on if you have use for the points. Here are the rates:

  • 1,200 Rapid Rewards® Points for each $100 Marriott Gift Card purchase
  • 3,000 Rapid Rewards® Points for each $250 Marriott Gift Card purchase
  • 6,000 Rapid Rewards® Points for each $500 Marriott Gift Card purchase

The maximum earn with Southwest is 12,000 points so that’s $1000 in spending.

Some folks have suggested clicking in through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online mall or other, similar shopping portals to further maximize earning on this deal. When I look it seems to be different sites/links and the promo isn’t available through the online portals so that may or may not work.

    I don’t have any Marriott stays coming up and I don’t anticipate getting much value from the deal personally. That said, it is a pretty good promo if you’re a Marriott person and like the MileagePlus or SkyMiles points, too.

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    Seth Miller

    I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


    1. Are these cards are sold directly by Marriott? Assuming they are, with the Chase Freedom’s quarterly bonus rewards in conjunction with this promo, purchasing a $400 Marriott gift card could equal 4,000 United Miles. Sweet little bonus if you’re planning on a Marriott stay in the near future.

    2. Can you use Marriott gift cards outside the USA? If so, I can blow through this easily. 🙂

    3. Giftcardgranny shows Marriott cards sold for a 5.5-8% discount so weigh the pros and cons of this offer before buying.

      1. Yes, the gift cards are sold from Marriott. That said, I cannot get to the bonus page through any of the online portals rather than clicking directly on the promo links. I have no idea if that will work or not to get the kick-backs but I’m not holding my breath. I’ve also added the Southwest earning details as those could be appealing if that program works for you. On a straight cost:point ratio it is definitely best though it really does depend on how you’d use the points. They wouldn’t be very useful to me given the limited service options in NYC, for example.

    4. You could also use promo code “AMT” to get a bonus 10% added to your gift card. Probably more worthwhile than the equivalent mile/points offers if you’re putting <250$ on the gift card.

    5. I have found that rapid rewards points aren’t all the useful when trying to fly to Australasia or Europe in premium cabins, but maybe some of you have had better luck.

    6. Thanks for the snark, Kris.

      Believe it or not, some folks travel other places and have use for points in ways you might not.

    7. @Seth
      I know, but I was pointing out that, contrary to HikerT, I MP miles are far more valuable than RR points to some (infinitely more valuable in my case).

    8. Any similar promotions for other hotel loyalty programs such as SPG, Hyatt, Hilton, Carlson or IHG for example, or even Accor or Wyndham?

    9. Any discount promo codes that could be combined with this promotion on the back-end, again not just with Marriott, but with any of the major hotel loyalty programs?

    10. Kris, everyone values points differently, but let’s look at your statement that UA miles are infinitely more valuable to you.

      I would say the true value of miles or points is the value at which you are indifferent between using them vs. paying for a ticket.

      I use RR points to lower the cost for relatives who would otherwise pay for Southwest tickets. This is real value to them, at the point they are indifferent between using the points or paying for a ticket. I’d put the upper bound at 1.7 cents (get away fare would be cheaper) with the lower bound at 1.0 cents (saves 40% vs. cheapest fare). Real value is probably somewhere in the middle.

      Compare this to the value of flying internationally in a premium cabin. I really doubt you are indifferent between paying that cost vs. using miles. I would go so far as to say the value of the miles to you is the cost to re-obtain the miles, or equivalent miles.

      With US selling miles at 1.1 cents right now, we can assign an upper bound to the value of UA miles at 2.2 cents, being very generous, assuming the worst case where you had to redeem US for a one way.

      To opt for 1 UA mile vs. 2.6 RR points, you would need to value RR points less than a cent or value UA miles more than 2.6 cents. I think you are probably undervaluing RR points and overvaluing UA, but perhaps you don’t have relatives that live in Southwest’s markets.

    11. I don’t fly SWA, nor do I plan on ever doing so. As far as I’m concerned, they engage in deceptive business practices and I will try my hardest to not give them a cent throughout my life. I understand that other people don’t hold the same views, but I would rather 1 MP mile than 10,000 RR points (although not really rational because I would only be costing SWA money).
      I prefer to use my miles on long haul F, which I probably value at around 2-2.5 cents, but SWA doesn’t do that, so even at a dollar each, RR would have no value to me.

    12. Does anyone know if buying gift cards from this promo qualifies as “travel” category for the 2 pts/$ from Chase Sapphire card? I have a few Marriott stays coming up, and was trying to choose between using Sapphire vs. SPG Amex to buy the gift cards.

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