Black Friday and Cyber Monday are traditionally a good time to find travel deals. In fact, we dedicated an entire discussion just to this year’s deals, both travel and otherwise. I’ll admit, I was a bit surprised that this year’s deal’s haven’t been much better so far. The one exception has been the unbelievable Virgin Atlantic 50% off award sale. With the impact COVID-19 has had on travel brands, I would have expected them to dig deep in an effort to attract customers. We may see some incredible deals today, but I suspect we would have seen them already. One of the best deals we should expect today is from Marriott.
Marriott Offering 15% Discount on Gift Cards
Marriott will be selling gift cards at a 15% discount today (November 30) and tomorrow (December 1st).
It’s worth noting that Marriott sold gift cards earlier this year at a 20% discount (near the beginning of the pandemic). With the exception of extremely limited flash sales, I don’t recall a 20% discount anytime in the past few years. In fact, I don’t see 15% discounts pop up that often.
These cards have a few restrictions. The most important one is that they have generally not been usable in conjunction with prepaid rates.
Why You Should Buy Marriott Gift Cards at 15% Off
You should absolutely consider buying Marriott gift cards if you plan to travel in 2021 and Marriott hotels are a likely stop for you. If you’re comfortable traveling while the pandemic is likely ramping down.
These are also a great deal if you have elite status with Marriott, so you can combine this discount with benefits like free breakfast. And, if you think a resort stay is in your future, Marriott gift cards can generally be used for dining and spa services that you charge to your room during a stay.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy Marriott Gift Cards at 15% Off
While a 15% discount is nice to have, it’s not life-changing. Marriott gift cards typically cannot be used with prepaid hotel rates. If you typically book prepaid hotel rates to save money, then I’d definitely avoid this gift card deal. Side note: I’ve seen the gap between prepaid and non-prepaid rates close considerably during the pandemic.
If you’re someone who’s waiting on the sidelines for the pandemic to fully subside, a decent chunk of 2021 could be off the table for you. If you don’t have reasonably firm plans to travel in 2021 to a Marriott property, I would definitely hold off on purchasing gift cards via this deal. We’re still deep enough in the pandemic that I wouldn’t purchase gift cards speculatively right now.
Additional Marriott Cyber Monday Deals
Marriott is also offering a discount of up to 25% off at many of their hotels for short-term stays (essentially through the end of 2020). These deals are definitely of the “your mileage may vary” type. Prices are low everywhere right now, so I’d be shocked if many of these were 25% off the current lowest rate.
Marriott is also offering 10% off on home rentals when you book through the Marriott Homes & Villas program. Some of these houses are surprisingly awesome. We did a detailed review of one of their rental homes a few months ago.
The Final Two Pennies
This Marriott gift card deal falls firmly in the “very good, but not great” category for me. It’s a firm no for people who generally book prepaid rates, though I’d be avoiding prepaid rates right now in favor of flexible cancellation. There’s generally not as much of a rate difference right now as there has been historically.
I like the 10% discount on Homes & Villas stay, but it’s important to note that you won’t be able to stack that with the discounted gift cards.
When the dust settles on Cyber Monday, I’m expecting this to be the best deal we see on Cyber Monday. Other than the incredible Virgin Atlantic deal and a 20% discount on Fairmont hotel gift cards (that one is already dead) I didn’t see a ton I’ve been excited by. Here’s hoping I feel differently by the end of the day.
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