Marriott Points Expiration Policy Being Updated

For a while, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Rewards have been outliers by not having a points expiration policy. Meanwhile Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Starwood Preferred Guest, and many other hotel loyalty programs do have points expire after a certain period of inactivity.

Well, Marriott has finally updated their points expiration policy. If you ask me, they use a rather appropriate image for the change, of two people driving down a hill on a motorcycle without helmets. ­čśë

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As of January 1, 2016, Marriott Rewards points will expire after 24 months without qualifying activity.

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The following are considered qualifying activity:

  • Make a paid (or redemption) stay at any of our 3,800+ participating hotels worldwide
  • Redeem points
  • Make a purchase using a Marriott Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn points with one of our program partners
  • Purchase points
  • Hold a qualifying meeting or event, including earning points through the Rewarding Events Program
Meanwhile the following do not count as qualifying activity:
  • Gifting or transferring points
  • Receiving points as a gift or transfer
  • Earning points through social media programs, such as #MRPoints

Bottom line

I know I’m probably in the minority, but I’m not actually opposed to loyalty programs having points expire after a certain period of inactivity. Outstanding points are a liability, and if you don’t have at least some activity every couple of years, you’re not really that loyal.

I’d rather programs focus on benefits for loyal customers. Then again, I realize this isn’t a “give and take,” but rather just a “take” in this case.

My only frustration with points expiration policies is when points expire after a certain amount of time regardless of whether you have any activity or not (like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, which expire after three years no matter what). But that really just happens with airline programs, and not hotel programs.

Anyone else not have an issue with loyalty program points expiring after a certain period of inactivity?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. I’ve got no issue at all with what Marriott’s doing. Very easy to keep an account active.

  2. My parents on one big trip a year, spending 14 nights at fancy hotels in Europe. For their $3,500 in spend, I would probably direct them away from Marriott as a result of this. IHG set it and forget it for the win. For very passive players this matters. Passive players still spend big bucks too.

  3. stvr, since Marriott’s change doesn’t effect your parents based on what you outline, why would you direct them away?

  4. @stvr – Passive players probably aren’t all that interested in miles & points to begin with.

  5. Maybe the people forgot their helmets because they were in such a hurry to flee the program. As to the expiration, it’s annoying, but not nearly as bad as the ongoing devaluations they keep doing by hotel category changes.

  6. Agree with Lucky on the programs that delete points after a period despite activity. Lucky references Singapore Airlines. I use MRP to transfer to ANA so my wife and I can visit her family in Tokyo every year or two, but I don’t always fly ANA. Like Singapore, they expire after three years despite activity, unless you are diamond or something like that, which I am not. No problem with Marriott’s policy though.

  7. I agree with @ Lucky on this. Anyone who does nothing with their points for 24 months, especially considering the hyperventilating that goes on after every “devaluation”, deserves to lose them. For crying out loud, just go to your neighborhood Duane Reade and make a single needed purchase with a co-branded CC, or just buy a few points with another CC if — horror! — you do not have a co-branded CC, and the expiration date resets!

  8. Yup, I have no problem with points expiring. In fact, I prefer it. HOWEVER, I strongly wish Marriott chose a period longer than 24 months. Picking 24 months was a total “follow the crowd of lemmings” move by Marriott.

    Still, it is a lot better than the old days, when programs had points that expired no matter what. I can still remember seeing statements with things like:

    ##,### expiring Jan. 1, 1999,
    ##,### expiring Jan. 1, 2000,
    etc

  9. I have enough rewards it says for one night free. I never traveled till lately and try to stay at Marriott. Will be traveling in a few months and booking in at a Marriott, how do I use my one night free room? Will be booking my room for 4 nights it is also in a group rate.Help. Thank you.

  10. This change in policy is a big ripoff, I stayed at Marriott for years and accumulated over 300000 points. I also stayed with Holiday Inn during the same period of time and also accumulated many points. Unfortunately I lost my job and the travel came to an end, needless to say I could not travel for vacation and use my points either. Marriott has taken all my points away based on the inactivity on my account. This is WRONG, I have earned my points by spending thousands of dollars at their hotels!. I did not use my account because I was not traveling and also because I should not be having to keep track or buy stupid crap just to keep them happy…. loyalty works both ways, and to me it sounds like the here is a one way street.
    Holiday Inn points never expire, I had them for years and use them while in vacation still, that’s their loyalty to me as a valued costumer who spent thousands of dollars on their hotels. I did not stop being loyal to Holiday Inn, I just stopped traveling.

  11. I feel the same way. First they say they don’t expire, and then they take it back! I agree with Giovanni. Big rip off

  12. Gio, it sounds to me like an unfortunate set of circumstances has effected your perspective on this loyalty program. The points don’t expire for two years, in that time you weren’t able to make on qualifying purchase? Also, I would venture to say that it wasn’t your hard earned cash paying for your hotel stays, but rather your company, which most likely dictates which hotels you use.

    Your company likely put up the money for the stays, you reaped the benefits by accruing points, and after 24 months of inactivity, you lost them. Loyalty, like beauty I suppose, is unique to the individual, so you have every right to disagree with Marriott’s policy, but I have a strong suspicion that you’re being dramatic because you didn’t take advantage of the points in time. Competing reward programs may not have an expiration on their points, but those programs are not used by nearly as many people and are available at a fraction of the locations available to Marriott Rewards members.

    Loyalty does work both ways sir, and it sounds to me like your expectations need to be managed; though I would imagine based on your rant that you are no longer a member. Thank you for that gesture, I’m sure you were a nightmare to hotel staff and caused more problems than your 300,000 points were worth.

  13. Got lucky on the points expiration. Traveled for years ending in 2013. Had a decent point balance well into the 150K+ range and used it for personal travel with family. I always checked the actual cost vs. the points needed and few times used my CC…..keeping my points once the 1/2016 expiration came up.

    In my travel days, living in hotels, I used Marriott specifically because of the points not expiring. Was once upon a time a Platinum/Diamond member at IHC and Hilton and killed the Hilton days when I learned they expired. Marriott, when going to a new location (consultant) I had no issues switching to with no expiration. When you do business travel, it isn’t that unusual to switch to a location where the new hotel YOU NEED TO USE is not part of your typical loyalty program….so have to switch.

    As for this being a bonus you lucky to get from travel, “lucky” I don’t agree with. You are on the road constantly and this is a perk I think makes it more tolerable. Anyone that is on the road all the time knows it isn’t fun (unless this is your first few trips), so getting some free hotel or plane tickets is a nice to have. Honestly, I’d gladly pay over being in a hotel all the time.

    Once I kill my last 50K in points with Marriott, will pick whatever loyalty program works best. I preferred Marriott because the points didn’t expire. Since that is gone…..I will probably be also.

  14. As someone whose working life is now at an end, I am looking forward to being able to take full advantage of what I feel is a very generous program. I am thrilled that all I have to do to protect my points is to use points from time to time for the travel I expect to make in retirement. I have accumulated more than 2 million points and had never really looked at the expiry rules. It is ridiculously easy to maintain your account, either with a Marriott Rewards credit card or simply by booking hotel space using points. It doesn’t look like a penalty to me at all.

  15. They took my points I had 500k! I’m freaking out! I had no idea, was saving for a big trip and nite this. Devastated.

  16. I switched from Hilton to Marriott and saved for 10 years my points. Now they told me they’re gone. I was saving them for a trip. I am lost, frustrated, devastated. I had 500k. The last time I talked to any Marriott associate they told me the miles were good forever.

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