This product was going to be discontinued back in 2011, but this time it is happening for good. The elite only Marriott Gift Cheques will be discontinued as of December 31, 2012. You can exchange 135K Marriott Rewards point for $1000 in Marriott cheques that you can almost use like cash. These come in $50 cheques.
In a true Marriott fashion, there is no other public announcement made about this change than a small footnote on the award web page and a note from a Marriott employee on their Rewards Insiders forum buried under some other announcements. Apparently, they are contemplating bringing back some sort of elite discount for buying gift cards using points, but it won’t be a year-round.
We’ll see if these are going to come back as soon as the promised new BOGO (Buy One Get One) certificates for weekend use in the United States that never materialized despite numerous promises.
These gift cheques definitely work for some. You could exchange 135K Marriott Rewards points for $1000 dollars in $50 Marriott gift cheques that you could then use to pay for almost any expense like room rate and wining & dining. If you pay your room charges using these gift cheques, it counts as a regular paid stay. You will get points, any possible bonus points, and a night credit.
Urban properties are often cheaper during the weekends, yet they still require often an inflated number of points per night compared to a paid rate. If one is inclined to use points on a situation like this, it is often better to use points to get the gift cheques and pay the room using them.
At least the Marriott put a footnote to the award page and had the information buried on at thread on the Marriott Insiders forum, rather than just wiping them off on January 1, 2013. I would just hope that Marriott would has more communication about these program changes.