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Middle Age Miles

Mattress Run a First Stay for the Marriott Double Take Promotion?

marriott bonvoy double take mattress run first stay double points maximize marriott points rewards

Earlier today, we published an article with details and analysis of the new Marriott “Double Take” promotion that starts today:

In short, the promotion awards double base points on each Marriott stay from now through June 4, starting with your second stay. At most Marriott brands, that’s an extra 10 Marriott points per dollar. There’s also an extra bonus of 500 points if you hold a Marriott co-branded credit card and your stay includes a Friday or Saturday night.

We were thinking about this promotion some more and came up with the following thought experiment/question:

I have a big stay coming up soon at a Marriott-family hotel. Does it make sense for me to mattress-run a first stay in the Double Take promotion period, so that the big stay becomes my second stay and earns double base points?

First, we’re excited about your big upcoming stay! We hope it’s somewhere really nice, like the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui.

Middle Age Miles had a great stay back in October 2015
at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

Ok, now let’s take a look at this interesting question, starting with an example of an upcoming stay where the total room rate will be $1,500.

We can set aside the “noise” of what your other points earning will be, because we know that you’ll earn an extra 10 points per dollar for the promotion, if it’s your second stay (or more). Thus, you’ll earn a total of 15,000 “extra” Marriott points from the Double Take promotion.

At our baseline value of 0.7 cents per Marriott point, the 15,000 extra Marriott points would be worth about $105.

Thus, if we can find a “mattress run” night to constitute our first stay under the promotion for a net cost of less than $105, it’s worth considering.

Given that we’ll have to pay cash for the night of our mattress run and we’ll get points in return (which may be devaluing a bit more sometime later this year when Marriott introduces Peak/Standard/Off-Peak pricing), we’d ideally want to get a bit of a points premium. It’ll also cost us a bit of time and effort to do the mattress run itself. And finally, we’d want to be pretty sure we’ll be able to actually use the Marriott points in the relatively near future.

So, suppose we can find a local Marriott-family hotel with a base rate of $85, which becomes $95 all-in with taxes. We’ll assume that the stay is at one of the Marriott brands where the Platinum welcome gift is 500 points. Let’s also assume that we hold a Marriott co-branded card that we use to pay, and that we book this stay on a weekend so we can score the extra 500 points (which can be earned on our “first” stay). Finally, we’ll also assume that we’re Platinum and would get a 50% points bonus (we’re actually Titanium with a 75% bonus, so we’d earn a few more points than in this example).

Here’s what we’d earn on our “mattress run” night:

  • Base points earning = 10 * 85 = 850
  • Platinum bonus = 850 * 50% = 425
  • Platinum elite welcome gift = 500
  • Weekend stay promo = 500
  • Points earning from card = 6 * 95 = 570
  • TOTAL POINTS EARNING = 2,845 Marriott points
  • Value at 0.7 cents per point = $19.92

So, in this example, we’ve paid $95 for our mattress-run stay, and we’ve earned Marriott points worth about $19.92, making our “net cost” a little over $75. This investment would result in earning 15,000 extra Marriott points on our second/big stay, worth about $105.

Or, probably a better way to look at it is that we’ve spend $95 to earn 17,845 Marriott points. Our acquisition cost for these Marriott points is about 0.53 cents per point, which is 24% less than our baseline value of 0.7 cents per Marriott point.

In this example, it’s a pretty close call whether you’d want to spend the time and effort for a mattress run. The points are “worth” more than you’d pay for them, by enough that it might justify the effort. We’d personally pay $95 for 17,845 Marriott points if we could do it from our laptop. And we’d probably do it under these circumstances too – but we’d partly justify it because it would make for a good article for Middle Age Miles! Others might not find the time and effort necessary to be worth it.

If you adjust the numbers, you can see how things might work in your own personal situation. For instance, if your upcoming big stay is 5 nights at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua at $700 per night, you’d be looking at an extra 35,000 Marriott points for that stay, worth about $245. In that case, I’d pay $95 for a mattress run night in a heartbeat!

You might also come to a different conclusion if your “first” stay wouldn’t totally be a mattress run stay at all. If you can get some use out of the night, perhaps by shifting a stay that’s currently at another chain or maybe even making it a date-night staycation, then even better.

In any event, we hope we’ve given you some additional food for thought on how to maximize the new Double Take promotion if you have a big upcoming Marriott stay!

What do you think? Do you have a big upcoming stay where mattress-running a first stay in the Double Take promotion would help you? Will you do it? Please share your stories with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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