A Tip for Triggering Stay-Based Bonuses

One of the nice things about promotions such as the Marriott Rewards Megabonus is that they are easy to understand. Stay 2 times and receive a free night at a lower category hotel is pretty typical. Hopefully you are interested in one of those potentially free hotels and don’t end up disappointed because you expected to stay for free in a Ritz-Carlton somewhere…

hotel sign

Having just returned from Easter weekend away, spent at a Courtyard hotel (part of Marriott Rewards), I thought I would share a little tip that beginners to this hobby might not have thought of.

Most travellers would probably just book a single stay for the duration of your holiday, in the name of the head of the family or the more frequent traveller. My girlfriend and I did something different…

  • Night 1 – booked in her name
  • Night 2 – booked in my name
  • Night 3 – booked in her name
  • Night 4 – booked in my name

Why do we have to pack up every morning and check-out? A predictable moan…  that turns into a smile when I explain that, instead of getting no bonus from a single 4-night stay, we would both pick up 2 Megabonus qualifying stays at a Marriott property, which means 2 free nights somewhere else (within a year). Since each morning we would check out, leave our luggage with the staff, visit the sights of town and return in the afternoon / evening to check in again, we hardly missed having the room during the day.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The bookings must be alternated between two different people. Checking in and out repeatedly with the same name will simply be treated as one stay.
  • Front desk staff might raise an eyebrow, but usually aren’t particularly bothered, especially if you explain your chase of Megabonus free nights. In fact, if you’re feeling particularly bold, you can always check-out and ask to be immediately checked back in to the exact same room without even bothering to pack up.
  • Don’t use the same credit card for all nights. The more you make it appear to the central computer systems that you are unconnected individuals, the better. So have your partner pay for their nights, while you pay for yours…
  • Don’t try this if you are travelling alone. As with the above point, if you are suspected of operating more than 1 account, you may get audited and potentially lose your points / free nights. (move to a different hotel instead if you want to do this sort of thing alone…)

Does this work for everybody? Certainly not for families where packing up every day is not convenient… Probably not for people who need to access a room during the day… But for the rest of us, who don’t mind a little inconvenience, it can be a simple way of triggering stay-based bonuses with only a slight bending of the rules…

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