You can book cruises with Marriott points. You must call the Marriott cruises website to use the points to book a cruise. You can also choose to get Marriott Rewards points when you book online through the Marriott cruises website or by phone with a representative.
The Marriott Cruises Portal
The portal for Marriott Cruises is http://mr.cruisesonly.com/ and it is another one of those World Travel Holdings sites that I have discussed several times on this blog. Your cruises are booked by Cruises Only. Prices quoted do not include the $24.99 booking fee. If you want to make a booking using points you must call a CSR. You cannot book cruises online with points. You will see a link for “redeem points” and it brings you to a page that gives you information on both receiving points for cruises AND using points to pay for cruises.
Paying For Cruises With Marriott Points
You must call to redeem Marriott points for cruises. You will get “certificates” for your points that you can use as a discount when booking cruises. The certificates must be used when you make the booking and can not be used for final payment. They can be used for prepaid expenses on your cruise, except for prepaying gratuities. You are limited to using chunks of points for the certificates.
Each Marriott point is therefore worth about 0.4 cents each when you redeem for a cruise. This may or may not be a good value depending on 1) how easy it is to earn Marriott Rewards points, and 2) what else you could use the points for.
Ways to Earn Marriott Rewards Points
Book a Cruise with Marriott Rewards Cruises
Normally you would get three Marriott Rewards points per dollar you spend on cruises that you are booking with this portal. Between now and the end of the year you would get double points on cruise bookings.
Marriott Hotel Stays
I’ve never done a paid Marriott stay so I’m not very knowledgeable about this, but I do know that you earn Marriott Rewards points on your paid stays. The current earning rate is 10 points per dollar spent.
Chase Visa Marriott Hotel Credit Card
I always go to the FlyerTalk credit card forum to get the current credit card offers. There is a personal card offer for 85,000 points and a business card offer for 100,000 points for these cards which are VISA cards issued by Chase. Each card has an annual fee of $99 that is NOT waived in the first year. Minimum spend is $3000 in 3 month to earn the bonuses. If you use a Marriott Visa to pay for your stays, you’ll also earn an extra 5 points per dollar spent.
Is It Worth It To Pay For Cruises With Marriott Points?
You get a value of about 0.4 cents per reward point when you use them to pay for cruises. When I’ve used my Marriott points to pay for hotel rooms, I usually get about 0.8- 1.0 cent per point value from them. For example, you can get rooms that would cost you $80-$125 per night with 7500-15,000 rewards points. Marriott points can also be used for vacation packages that combine flights with hotel stays. If you know that you won’t be using the points for vacation packages or hotel stays, then it may be a good idea to use them to pay for cruises.
Not only is the point valuation rather low, but the fact that you have to redeem in units of 63,000 really reduces the flexibility of this program. Perhaps if I had a lot of Marriott Rewards from paid stays on business trips I might be more interested in the program. We’ve still got about 35K points from a personal card sign on bonus that one of us got a couple of years ago, and I think we’ll save these to use for hotel stays.