Today (and apparently for today only), United MileagePlus Shopping is offering a great return of 10 United miles per dollar for reservations made at Marriott hotels. At our baseline value of 1.4 cents per United mile, this is an excellent 14% return on your Marriott hotel spend if you make your reservation today through the MileagePlus Shopping portal.
Here’s a link to the United MileagePlus Shopping portal, where you can then search for Marriott to access the 10x rate:
And for those not familiar with shopping portals, here is our step-by-step guide:
Details of the Deal
It’s pretty simple – Go to the MileagePlus Shopping portal, log in, then click through to Marriott. On the Marriott page, search for your hotel and make your reservation.
The terms and conditions for this deal do not contain any exceptions for certain brands of hotels or Marriott properties. We do wonder about this, as recent Marriott promotions through other shopping portals have contained exceptions; for instance, a recent Ebates promotion for Marriott excluded Bulgari, Design Hotels, and W Hotels.
In fact, the terms and conditions on the MileagePlus Shopping site for Marriott are very simple and straightforward:
The only exclusionary term for room rates seems to be that you can’t use a coupon or discount code not found on the MileagePlus Shopping portal.
Despite its simplicity, we’re not quite sure what this term means:
- If you use a Marriott Member Rate, will that qualify?
- Our guess is yes, as this doesn’t require a special code. That said, it is a discount predicated on the condition that you’re a member, so we’re not 100% sure.
- If you book a AAA rate, will that qualify?
- Again, not sure at all on this. It is a special discounted rate, but you don’t have to enter a code. But you do have to select AAA from the “Special Rates” menu, which seems like it could be disqualifying. Our experience with Ebates has been that AAA rates do qualify for portal rebates there. We don’t even want to hazard a guess at this.
- If you book a corporate rate, will that qualify?
- Our guess is no. These rates require you to enter a specific corporate code in order to access the discounted rate. When you book using a corporate code, it expressly shows up as a non-commissionable rate, which seems to almost uniformly negate portal rebates. And our experience with Ebates has been that corporate rates do not qualify for portal rebates there.
There are certain codes expressly listed on the MileagePlus Shopping website that you should be able to use and still qualify to receive the 10x United miles. Here they are:
As you can see, these are pretty limited. Note that, on the “ADP” discount code for US hotels, it applies to only a small subset of Marriott hotels – so don’t expect to be able to use this code to get 25% off any US Marriott hotel!
Our Situation and Experiment
We need to book a 2-nght stay in April at a Marriott property. The various per-night rates available to us for a fully cancellable reservation are:
- Corporate rate: $177 (very likely not eligible to earn 10x United miles)
- AAA rate: $188 (may or may not be eligible to earn miles)
- Member rate: $198 (probably eligible to earn miles)
- Regular rate: $209 (definitely eligible to earn miles)
There’s a case to be made for booking the Member rate through the MileagePlus portal. We would earn 1,980 United miles, worth about $27.72 at our baseline rate of 1.4 cents per United mile. The difference in the room rate is $21, which becomes $24.28 all-in with tax. Would we pay $24.28 for 1,980 United miles (1.23 cents per mile)? For us, even though our baseline value of the United miles is a little higher than their actual cost, the answer is No. We’d rather save the cash, thank you.
Also note that with when you go through a shopping portal to book hotel reservations, there’s an inherent risk that the purchase will not track correctly at all. In that situation, you’ll have to chase down the miles with the shopping portal’s customer support. This will take effort, and you may or may not ultimately receive the miles at all. It’s difficult to quantify this risk, so at the moment we’re influenced by the fact that we’re having to jump through hoops to get our AA miles from a similar Marriott 10x promotion on the AAdvantage eShopping portal (see Will I Ever Receive My AA Miles from AAdvantage eShopping for My Marriott Stay? [Update from Article on 2/15]).
We decided to book the corporate rate to save the cash. We went ahead and went through the portal, as an experiment to see whether the corporate rate might qualify given the simple-but-vague terms and conditions of the MileagePlus Shopping portal rate for Marriott. We don’t expect success, but it’s certainly a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” situation that’s worth a shot.
Will you use this MileagePlus Shopping promotion for Marriott to earn extra United miles? Do you have any additional information or data points on exactly which types of rates qualify for United miles earning through the portal? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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