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Marriott Bonvoy has one of the most diverse point currencies in the travel loyalty community, but one of the most valuable ways to use Bonvoy points is for “Marriott Bonvoy Moments” and not on hotel stays.
What Are Marriott Bonvoy Moments?
Years ago, Marriott International and Starwood Preferred Guest merged hotel chains to create one of the world’s largest chains. Aspects of each program were considered to form the new Bonvoy program from SPG and Marriott Rewards. One such program was SPG Moments which thankfully made the cut to the new combined program.
Moments are auctions or fixed price access to exclusive or hard-to-get events. For example, years ago a lifetime Cleveland Indians fan had a chance to throw the first pitch in Game 7 of the World Series with his team playing for the title. He spent more than a million points for the once-in-a-lifetime chance, but it was well worth it.
Other moments have been exclusive concerts, cooking lessons and dinner with a celebrity chef or a practice with ten of your closest friends at Wrigley Field.
Everything you want to know about Marriott Bonvoy
Marriott Bonvoy is relatively new as a combined program, an amalgamation of Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Marriott Rewards. See our complete guide…
How Do The Auctions Work?
Moments sometimes have fixed prices but for the very best, the price is auctioned off with the highest bidder winning. Auctions typically take place weeks in advance of the event and work similarly to eBay in that the lowest amount of your maximum bid it takes to win will be the final price.
For example, let’s assume an incredibly exclusive night with Paul Simon at the Ritz-Carlton in New York city is available. The package will include not only concert tickets to the intimate show, but also a free night in the hotel. The bidding started at 20,000 points, but the current bid is 60,000 points and there are five packages left. If your maximum bid was 100,000 points, but no one else bids more than 69,000 then you would win the auction with 70,000 points (the next increment of 1,000 it would take to secure it.)
Unlike the auction portion of Marriott Bonvoy Moments, some Moments are offered for a listed price without an auction necessary. Often these are for concert tickets or event passes without a backstage or “exclusive element” to them. In years past these have included lawn section seats at outdoor summer concert venues for a nominal rate.
However, while the fixed-price Moments are sometimes more generic than auctioned Moments, they still offer value to Bonvoy members. These moments offer spontaneity and value. The Bonvoy points earned from a couple of hotel stays for a convention can be spent securing last minute tickets to a show, or give them as a gift to friends and family.
Types of Moments
While categories are always subject to change or expansion, in the past there have been five: Culinary, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Sports, and Partners. Each aims to offer value for members to create unique, memorable experiences that may not have otherwise been possible. Marriott balances every day conveniences with once-in-a-lifetime experiences so that almost every member can connect with a unique experience.
Culinary experiences may be something epic (more on this below) or something more pedestrian like a wine-tasting with an expert sommelier. Entertainment Moments may be tickets to a concert that a guest wasn’t sure they would be in town to see, or extremely limited access. Lifestyle events run the gambit of ultra-exclusive to better seating at Fashion Week New York. All categories deliver on providing some breadth to their offering which make this such an amazing aspect of the program.
What Are Some of the Best Marriott Bonvoy Moments?
In our Everything You Wanted to Know About Marriott Bonvoy post, Suites and Lobbies indicated that some of the best opportunities to redeem your points are for things other than Marriott hotel stays. In that point we highlighted how converting your Bonvoy points to airline miles is one of the best redemptions, but these moments might be better.
World-famous chef, Daniel Boulud, cooked a custom dinner in London for Moments auction winners from the US that included a behind-the-scenes introduction to the chef. Luckily a camera crew followed that journey when it was part of the SPG Moments program.
Tickets to Coachella are one thing, but a tent that comes with a butler, or a Safari-themed Yurt with backstage passes – that’s next level.
The couple bid just over 300,000 points on VIP festival passes with exclusive access to the Marriott Bonvoy Bungalow, a curated space within the Bonvoy Lounge that included individual butler service, a fully stocked bar and snacks, and amenities including a glam squad and masseuse.https://bitly.com/2IFqUxC
Events in the art and fashion world can be the toughest ticket in town. In this creative, invitation-only event (and bargain at 2,500 points) just ten Marriott Bonvoy Members will join Shanghai’s fashion elite at an art event for Valentino. The event includes a private guided tour, exclusive Valentino gifts to take home, and rubbing shoulders at one of the hottest events in China this winter.
Perhaps the most legendary use of Marriott Bonvoy moments points -ever- was when deal blogger Dan Eleff of DansDeals.com spent 1,060,500 SPG points (the equivalent of 3,181,500 Marriott Bonvoy points after conversion) to throw the first pitch in Game 7 of the World Series. But it wasn’t just any World Series. He justified his expenditure after backlash flooded his website. His explanation is perhaps why this is the greatest redemption of points there has ever been:
“There have only been 38 Game 7s in history. How many people have thrown out a first pitch at Game 7 of the World Series? How many of those people threw it out while watching their favorite team playing at home?
I’d venture to say that’s a very, very low number. Probably in the single digits and way less than the hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of people who have stepped foot on Antarctica. Fans just aren’t given opportunities like that, it goes to former players and celebrities who may not even care about the team.”https://bit.ly/2JJqmr9
I couldn’t have said it better myself. To be able to redeem for something truly invaluable, un-buy-able, unattainable is the ultimate reward in the loyalty game.
For avid frequent flyers, one of the most tempting Marriott Bonvoy Moments has to be time in a real airline flight simulator with training pilot. One of my favorites was a partnership with Egypt Air in its 777 simulator in Cairo. Included with the package are two nights at the Le Meridien Cairo Airport in a club level room and access to the Le Meridien club inside the airport as well. Packages like these are worth flying for, and as a bonus, you can see some pyramids too.
How To Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points for Moments
The easiest way to quickly earn points and miles is often through credit card offers. As with other products in the space, the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offer bonus points for completing spending targets at sign-up. These range from 50,000 to more than 125,000 bonus points depending on the card. Here’s more on the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “points guy” (or gal) Marriott Bonvoy has one of the most flexible loyalty currencies. Successful applicants will receive a lump sum upon completing the spending target and then a number of points per dollar spent with multipliers for the spending category. Simply put, Marriott credit cards earn more on Marriott purchases per dollar than other category.
Some of the best opportunities to utilize Marriott Bonvoy moments and points remain outside of booking hotel rooms. Moments are just such a case whereby members can make lasting, once-in-a-lifetime memories with their points. In many ways, the experiences provided are literally priceless, as money can’t buy the chance to participate. Whether it’s impossible-to-get tickets to sporting events, intimate concerts, celebrity encounters, or exclusive memorabilia, Bonvoy Moments are some of the best ways to spend loyalty points in the world.
What do you think? What are the best Marriott Bonvoy Moments you have found?
Disclaimer: This post is our opinion only, we are not financial advisors. Neither Marriott nor card providers Chase, and American Express, have reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed this assessment of their products. If you choose to apply for a card, terms apply.