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. You may 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. Even if you're not planning a stay soon, the Gift Card savings make them 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 discounted Gift Cards + cash back. Various non-Marriott sites sell Marriott Gift Cards at a discount, typically 6% to 10%. Though Marriott no longer offers cash back on its direct Gift Card sales, cash back is available with these third-party sites. The best option is to click through this Top Cashback link for 2% cash back on top of a card discounted 6-10% via Cardpool (search for 'Marriott' on Cardpool). When out of stock, eBay will usually still list some discounted cards, though you won't earn cash back. Note: Cardpool has a lifetime cap on cash back eligibility of $1,000 worth of Marriott GCs, regardless of which cash back sites you use. Also, purchases through these third party sites don't qualify as Marriott purchases when posted to a Chase Marriott-branded Visa card, so the 5-points-per-dollar earned by purchasing GCs directly from Marriott will be foregone. Buy at office supply stores using Chase Ink credit card. If you have a Chase Ink credit card, you earn 5 points per dollar for purchases at office supply stores. As Staples and Office Depot sell Marriott Gift Cards, you can earn that category bonus on them. Like the discounted GC purchase method mentioned above, this means you forgo the 5 MRPs/$ you'd earn by purchasing directly from Marriott using a Chase Marriott card, but if you value your Ink points enough so that the return surpasses both the total discount available via the discounted card + cash back method and the savings you'd get from any current Marriott bonus offers stacked with the 5 points earned on the Marriott branded CC, then it's an appealing approach. Please post if I've missed an offer. Gift Card promos such as 10% off, the AMT 10% bonus, or 10 bonus points per dollar are common late in the year, but may go live at any time. Subscribe to this thread and check regularly to stay informed. Purchases will earn an additional 5 points per dollar when using the Chase Marriott Premier Visa Credit Card (an offer for which is detailed below in the "Other Marriott Promos" section) 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 the one detailed here when a past Megabonus required payment by Visa, or the one I suggest here 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. 5% cash back via Top Cashback. 4% cash back via Mr. Rebates. Special rate through May 26, 2013! 3.5% cash back via Big Crumbs. 3 points per dollar via the Citi Thank You Portal. 2 points per dollar via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall. 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. Details and referral form are here. If you need a current member to refer you, feel free to PM me or see this thread for many others who are willing. Note: the offer is valid *only* for new members. 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 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. 5% OPEN Savings discount via Amex Business Cards. This benefit is scheduled to end July 1st, 2013. Paying with an Amex Business Card may be an appealing alternative to the Chase Marriott Visa for stays at Fairfield Inns, Residence Inns, Springhill Suites, Towneplace Suites, and Courtyards because you'll receive 5% back. This is particularly useful if your company requires the use of an Amex for business travel, if you value Marriott Rewards Points at less than a cent each, or if you need to meet an Amex spending threshold. Travel Package redemptions. An ongoing reward, detailed here, that represents perhaps the best, yet often overlooked, redemption value for Marriott Reward Points (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, say $250/night for the stay and $2300 for the flights, you are achieving 1.5 cents per point (CPP) - far greater than what most people milk from them. 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 us 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. Accelerated Status Challenge. If you don't have status, or are Silver and want to enhance your mojo, Marriott offers a Gold/Platinum status challenge. Simply call or email Marriott's Rewards department and request one. They will temporarily upgrade you with a promise to extend it into the following year if you stay at least 12 (Gold) or 18 (Platinum) paid nights within 90 days. This is more cumbersome than the traditional status matches some other programs offer, but still an appealing shortcut to the good life. See this thread for more details and discussion. Instant Silver Status For Some Corporate Employees. 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. 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. 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 5% via Top CashBack 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 include the ability 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 into your account and check the Promotions section to 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. This can provide you with a status boost while benefiting the property by yielding revenue they wouldn't have otherwise. Marriott provides details on this web page and in this short brochure. 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.