How I Snagged the St. Regis Bora Bora on Points
Think it's impossible to book one of Marriott Bonvoy's most spectacular properties on points? Think again.
St. Regis Bora Bora - Photo Credit: suwalls.com
So you’ve hoarding points for months—maybe even years—and have racked up a half a million Marriott Bonvoy points. Lucky you! You pat yourself on the back and sigh with relief, telling yourself, “I’m finally going to book that dream vacation to Bora Bora.” So now you sit down in front of your computer, cup of coffee (or maybe even a cocktail) in hand, and you head to the Marriott website to book your stay on points. You choose your dates for a seven night stay, and to your surprise… nothing comes up! Frantically, you choose “flexible stay” and look through the calendar for other months, and… still nothing. You search and search for months, with the calendar still saying it’s fully booked. Sound familiar?
Well, if you’ve ever tried to book the St. Regis Bora Bora (or any of Marriott’s other prestigious hotels, like the Al Maha Dubai, the St. Regis Maldives or the Mystique Santorini) on points, you’ve probably had a similar experience. And you’re not alone: this is such a common occurrence that others have even written about it (read The Points Guy’s article: Marriott Category 7 Properties Behaving Badly).
But don’t fret—I have a solution for you.
There’s a trick to finding rooms on points at the St. Regis in Bora Bora. Chances are, if you plug in a week stay into the Marriott Bonvoy site and choose “use Rewards points”, no matter how far out you look, there’s a high likelihood that all the rooms will show up as being booked. I’ve had this experience several times when attempting to book for this property, as well as the St. Regis Maldives. And this is something I’ve done over the years, always thinking—up until now—that the fully booked rewards calendar meant that the property was, in fact, fully booked. Well, I’m happy to report that is not really the case…
I don’t know if this is a trick or something that’s commonly known, but there IS a way around the issue. First, the best way to find real availability is to use the “flexible dates” calendar and choose only a 1 night stay. That way, you can look through the calendar to see if any dates are showing up as available. Most of the time, you will find scattered availability, sometimes in clusters and sometimes only in one night-availability. That’s obviously the easiest way to snag availability. But what if you want to stay for more than one night? Well, most of the time you can.
Note: this does not ALWAYS work. I've tried it a few times in a few different scenarios and while I've gotten it to work 3 or 4 times when the calendar was showing as full, it's not guaranteed.
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When I booked recently, I searched in this way and found only scattered dates for the months of October through December. When I found two available dates together in October, I went to book them—with the intention to book the two nights on points and then make a separate reservation to pay cash for the rest of my stay. But when I went to book them I figured out a trick: Find a day that you want, and try to book only one night (based on the calendar availability). Then, once you find a date that’s available, choose that night to book.
Another Note: Sometimes the site gets glitchy and will tell you—even just a few seconds after making the same search—that nothing is available. Rather than searching in the same way as beofre, you can often find availability by searching for the specific day you want—again, choosing only one night—and then going from there.
Once you get to the page where you see the options to book specific types of rooms, go up to the top left corner and add additional nights by using the right arrow next to the checkout night. Add the additional nights you need (NOTE: sometimes you may need to go in smaller increments and make separate reservations. This is because while they may have availability, they might not have the same room available for all the nights). Then choose “View Rates” again.
As you can see from the photo below, I now have the option to book 7 nights on points. While the screen automatically gives you the cash rates, you can see below that all you have to do is switch tabs and get the points rate.
As you can see from the screen recording below, when I switched it to 7 nights, they DID have availability, but only the higher tiered rooms. So because the base rate room (the garden rooms, not overwater) was booked on Wednesday and Thursday of the dates I was looking for, it only gives you the option to book the higher tiered room for cash and points. But as you can see, they DO have availability for the entire seven days.
If you don’t want to spend too much money doing the cash and points rate for an entire week, do what I did and book the base rate room on points only for the first three nights (when it was available), then book the overwater room for cash and points for the next two, and then book the garden room again for another two nights. Yes, this means you’ll have to move around, but who cares? You’ll be at the same resort and get to see different rooms, which I actually like. And most of the time, once you get there, the resort can often figure out a way to keep you in the same room if that’s something you prefer. As long as they’re not fully committed, that is often something the resort will do, free of charge.
And there you have it! Next time you go to book that seven day stay at your dream destination on points, don’t get discouraged when you see the calendar showing it’s fully booked. Just use the tricks I listed above to get around it and book a full week’s stay.
GOOD LUCK! Be sure to let me know in the comments if this helped or not. If it didn't, that's okay too!
Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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