How To Maximize Marriott’s MegaBonus Promo – Earn Free Nights And Free Flights!

Have you heard? There are some great stackable promos going on at Marriott right now! Why am I so excited? Because it’s a great way to build a free little trip.

While I am not generally a huge Marriott fan, I have definitely stayed at some nice Marriott properties. The Renaissance Arts is always my choice when Ginger and I visit New Orleans, which just goes to show that sometimes a hotel chain can surprise you (in a good way) if you just give them a chance. Kind of like getting a really nice piece of jewelry from your husband.


As you all know, I love it when I’m able to stack savings with promos, cash back, points, and deals to the point where I get a lot of travel for not a lot of cash. I love it. However, the details on how to do this are definitely confusing for some people, so I decided to put together a little guide.

1. Earn Free Hotel Nights At Marriott

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The current MegaBonus promo by itself is a pretty solid one:

  • Register by November 15, 2013
  • Stay between September 15, 2013 and January 15, 2014
  • Earn a free night at a category 1-5 hotel, up to two free nights, for every second paid stay

This means that even if you’ve got only a handful of nights planned over the next few months, you could still earn two free nights from this promo. Great, right?

2. Earn A Free Flight, Or At Least A Bunch Of Miles

There are two miles-earning promos going on right now with Marriott, one with Southwest and one with United, so you’ve got your pick. You can do one or both!

With the Southwest promotion, you’ll earn:

  • 1,200 points with a $100 Marriott gift card purchase
  • 3,000 points with a $250 Marriott gift card purchase
  • 6,000 points with a $500 Marriott gift card purchase

Note that the maximum number of Rapid Rewards points you can earn per account is 12,000 (in other words, you can purchase up to $1000 of Marriott gift cards per Southwest account with this promotion). 12,000 Southwest points are worth $200 when you redeem them for “Wanna Get Away” fares – definitely enough for at least one flight!

With the United promotion, you’ll earn:

  • 500 United miles with a $100 Marriott gift card purchase
  • 1000 United miles with a $250 Marriott gift card purchase
  • 2,500 United miles with a $500 Marriott gift card purchase

Note that the maximum number of United miles you can earn per account is 7,500 (in other words, you can purchase up to $1,500 of Marriott gift cards per United account with this promotion). The lowest award fare available on United is the “Saver” fare, which costs 12,500 miles. So while this promotion will not earn you a free flight, if you aren’t a fan of Southwest and would prefer to rack up United miles instead, this is an option for you.

3. Find A Great Rate – And Marriott Will Beat It

When you are ready to book your Marriott stay, spend some time shopping for the lowest rate possible. A good site to check is What you are looking for is a rate that is lower than Marriott’s advertised rate for the exact same room on the same night(s). When you find one, you can then submit a “Look No Further” best rate guarantee form online. This is Marriott’s promise that you won’t be able to find a better rate than the one they’ve got on their site; if you do, they will match it, plus give you an additional 25% off. Pretty good!

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The process takes 5 minutes and could potentially save you hundreds of dollars. You can read about my last “Look No Further” rate success story here (I chopped my rate in half!)

4. Get Cash Back

If you are unable to find a rate that is eligible for the “Look No Further” guarantee, don’t fret. You can still go through a shopping portal such as TopCashBack (my link) to earn a rebate on your purchase (your “purchase” being your hotel booking). Currently the rebate amount at TopCash Back is 3%. Definitely shop around to find the best current deal (Cashbackholic is also a good spot to check).

5. Earn Marriott Points

You will earn Marriott points for each of your stays. Since I don’t have any status with Marriott, my points don’t add up very quickly. However, if you are a Silver, Gold, or Platinum member, you will earn an additional 20-50% bonus on all the points you earn during each stay. This can definitely boost your points balance significantly.

So there you have it – a few ways to earn more points and cash out of an already sweet deal. Are you inspired to go for it?


  1. I already have two fall trips lined up and some Marriott cards to use up. I will definitely use each one of your tips to stretch this out. Sometimes the offers are a bit overwhelming to sort so I’m so glad you spell things out for us rank amateurs.

    Also, I have a question. Sometimes when points are transferred from one program to another, according to travel bloggers, there seems to be a bonus or increase in the transfer percentage. Am I imaging this is there sometimes a special deal to be had on a transfer?

    If this is true, how do you know where there is a promo going on as this is one kind of deal I never hear about?

  2. Points Pixie says:

    Anne – Glad my outline was helpful.

    Yes, sometimes when you transfer points from one program to another, you do get a bonus. This happens a lot with Amex Membership Rewards points. For example, Amex recently ran a promotion where you could get a 35% bonus when you transferred MR points to Avios – so for every 1,000 MR points you transferred, you would get 1,350 Avios.

    Another example of a bonus opportunity is when you transfer points from one program to the next in order to take advantage of a better exchange rate. The classic example of this is Virgin Atlantic or Hawaiian Airlines to Hilton, because they transfer at a 1:2 ratio. So if you started out with 10,000 VA or HA miles, you would end up with 20,000 Hilton miles. (This is no longer a great redemption because of the Hilton devaluation, but you get the idea – or, if you have random VA or HA miles lying around and you need to top off your Hilton account, it could be worth it to you).

    Hope that helps!

    • Can I ask how you heard about the Amex MR to Avios transfer bonus? Did you get a targeted email about it?

      • Points Pixie says:

        Anne – No, I just keep my ear to the ground. Next time I hear about a transfer bonus, I will write about it so you all know, too!

  3. pinkisnice says:

    I’m not a Marriott fan either, but this might make it worth it. Thank you for laying it all out so clearly – as always!

  4. THANK YOU!! I love these kind of posts because I’m trying to get better with the whole points &miles program. I am making progress!

    The timing on this post is perfect because just yesterday I was looking at hotel options for a trip to WA in late Sept. I was going to stay at Hyatt to work on building my status there, but their prices are super high during my stay. I like Westin too but their rate was just as high. Marriot does show good rates the week I’m going and sounds like there is incentive to book there to get 2 free rooms for use on another trip so I think problem has been solved!

    The only thing I’m bummed about is I can’t earn the free United miles w/Marriot gift card purchases since I have to use my corp amex for the hotel. Ah well, I’m still happily looking forward to 2 free Marriot nights to use somewhere! Category 1-5, hmmm I wonder what category Kailua-Kona’s Marriot is.

    • argh I can’t get the promotion to load 🙁 Keep getting an error msg. I will keep trying!

      A Note About This Promotion
      We’re sorry, but there was an error in directing you to this promotion.
      The reason for this error could be:
      •You’re trying to access a miles promotion and are a points-earner, or vice versa
      •You are not eligible for this promotion
      •This promotion has expired

      • I have a dilemma. Maybe you can help! If I stay7 more nights with Hyatt, I’ll be Platinum. With my upcoming trip to Seattle along with a race hotel reservation, that will give me exactly 7 more nights. Or I could do the Marriott special and get 2 nights free. I am thinking I might want to try Hyatt for status. What would you do?

        • Points Pixie says:

          Rebecca – Hmmm. Lots to consider. While Platinum status with Hyatt is nothing to sneeze at, the benefits that you would get from being Platinum might not be worth the cost of 2 free hotel nights at a Marriott. On the other hand, do you have any stays planned where you could actually use the free Marriott nights? Or are you planning more Hyatt stays in the future? If you can use the 2 free Marriott nights, I would go that route. However, if you would only be getting them just to have them in your back pocket for a “just in case” situation, I would go for the Hyatt status. Just my opinion of course, but since you asked…;)

          • I decided to go for Platinum status, and to go for the Marriott nights for another biz trip that I need to travel for since it looks like the promo goes for awhile. Here’s hoping I made the right choice!!

      • Rebecca,

        We had the same problem, so we finally called them, they took the info by phone. They said the promo just came out so circuits might be a bit overloaded.

  5. Points Pixie says:

    pinkisnice – You’re welcome!

    Rebecca – Yay!

    Another thing to consider (if you’ve got the patience for this, some people don’t) is “hotel hopping”: book a night at Marriott, then move to a different hotel for your second night, then check back into the Marriott for your third night. That way, your Marriott nights will count as 2 stays and you will be able to earn a free night certificate.

  6. ya know, I was just thinking. I really need to get my manager on board with hotel programs. He travels a ton and doesn’t belong to any hotel programs. I would know, I manage and book all his trips! I think that he will be the next p&m recruit.teehee He really should get on board and his wife will love it too.

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