One of the biggest ask I keep getting from readers across India is for a hotel co-branded credit card. Unfortunately, no one is picking up the gauntlet to launch one in India so far, and neither are the banks getting warm about this nor are the programmes. So, the next best thing you can do is to pick a card which gets you the relevant hotel points. That leaves you with only three banks, essentially, two cards from Citibank, one from HDFC Bank Diners Club, and only one true blue bank which can get you all sorts of hotel loyalty points: American Express. Here is a great way to buy Marriott Points cheap, below.
American Express’ Membership Rewards currency, which is awarded across American Express corporate cards and personal charge and credit cards, is essentially, then, the only card issuer in India which has not one, but two major global hotel chains as a part of their programme: Hilton Hotels and Marriott. These are two of the biggest hotel chains in the world, and these hotel points come pretty handy in any corner of the world.
Marriott, for instance, has 118 hotels around India. It is India’s largest hotel chain by the network. Domestically, you can find hotels from Category 1 to Category 7.
And globally, of course, there are over 7400 properties to choose from, for instance, top-end properties like the Al Maha Dubai, which is an all-inclusive resort in the desert. But, again, for all of these properties, one needs a perpetual supply of Marriott points. At the moment, if you wanted to buy points from Marriott, you have to pay US$ 625 to buy 50,000 Marriott points, which is about INR 44,000, which means the price of each point comes to INR 0.88.
Given Marriott is only partners with American Express in India, this is a great opportunity to sign up for an Amex card to get Membership Rewards points. Specifically, the American Express Platinum Charge Card. The new, shiny, metallic card now comes for a fee of INR 60,000 per annum and offers 100,000 Membership Rewards points for signup. And subsequently, you can earn one Membership Rewards point for every INR 40 you spend on the card.
The card comes with its own set of benefits, with unlimited lounge access for two using Priority Pass , travel insurance, access to the American Express lounges around the globe (Mumbai & Delhi included) and so on. However, if you consider applying for the card with this link, you get another bonus 10,000 points on top of the usual points, which means a total of 110,000 Membership Rewards points to start your account. All you have to do is spend INR 5,000 on the card. That is one way to buy Marriott Points cheap.
If one looked at it this way, you get a tonne of Marriott points, and the benefits that come with American Express Platinum Charge card are coming free. These include the Marriott Gold Elite status which gets you a 25% bonus every time you make a paid stay at a Marriott hotel, Shangri-La Jade status, which gets you Taj Gold, as well as Hilton Honors Gold status.
How to spend those 110,000 Membership Rewards Point? You can use them for Category 1 Marriott Hotels, where the room rates are high enough for about 1 INR value per point (by transferring to Marriott Rewards). Very handy for the entrepreneur who travels places and will basically be able to get benefits and perks over and above the cost of the card.
Or such as these where Category 2 gets you a 5-star hotel in the heart of Lucknow.
Or in Navi Mumbai.
Remember, redemptions don’t attract the 18% GST, which the regular room rates attract.
Or if you are a lifestyle connoisseur or travel geek like me, you have the opportunity to use these points at global Marriott hotels. Remember, the 5th night comes free on redemptions.
For instance, look at this fabulous JW Marriott hotel in Cannes, which is retailing for 460 Euro per night, or 200,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per 5 nights, in peak Europe Summer season!
INR 180,000 for 200,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points. Nice!
The transfer is seamless, and you will get your points in your Marriott Account usually within less than 3 days.
So, if you are planning to get the American Express Platinum Charge Card, this might be a great time to get one, given American Express has some great offers lined up for American Express card holders, and with a lot more to come in the days ahead I hope. Some of the big ones in the recent past have been:
- INR 4000 Hyatt Statement Credit on American Express Cards
- Marriott F&B Dining on American Express
- Double Points Promotion on Educational Spends
- American Express Centurion / Platinum members, get your Marriott vouchers!
- Amex Insurance Offer: 10X Membership Rewards points [Expired/April 2019]
- New American Express Spend Offer for vouchers worth INR 30,000 [Expired/April 2019]
- 6X Membership Rewards on American Express International Spends
- Amex Future Group Offers get you up to 20% discount through 2021
- Starbucks American Express promotion: 20% off for Amex Card members [Expired/April 2019]
So, there is a great value at this point of time to sign up for the American Express Platinum Charge Card, with this special offer, which gets you 110,000 Membership Rewards, equivalent to 110,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for 55 paise per point.