Why You Should Pay Attention to Terms and Conditions of Offers

You might have noticed that whenever I post an article which refers to an offer or a sweepstakes, I take the time to post the pertinent terms and conditions associated with it — along with a link to its actual terms and conditions when available.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Terms and Conditions of Offers

The reason why I do so is because I want to ensure that you benefit from the offer or sweepstakes; and that you have enough information to decide in an informed manner as to whether or not you should participate in the offer or sweepstakes.

The latest MegaBonus promotion — which is the first of the combined entity since the Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards frequent guest loyalty programs have been combined into Marriott Rewards — appears to be one of the more contentious examples. “Nowhere does this offer say that it is targeted”, according to this article written by Gary Leff of View From The Wing. “In order to be eligible you just have to be a loyalty program member.”

Actually, the terms and conditions of the MegaBonus offer does indeed clearly state that “The member receiving this offer has been targeted and the offer is not transferable.”

MegaBonus Autumn 2018

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: Marriott Rewards.

The size of the type in the terms and conditions are not exactly microscopic; and the lone paragraph is not composed in unintelligible legalese. You will find the sentence on the seventh line of the paragraph of 13 lines in total.

When I pointed out the aforementioned information in the Comments section of his article, he responded “@Brian – Marriott promoted this as a global offer for all members. You probably received the same email from their communications team that I did?”

The only e-mail message I received from Marriott Rewards on Saturday, September 15, 2018 was titled 6 Countries. 6 Resorts.; and information pertaining to the latest MegaBonus promotion was buried far down in the e-mail message:

MegaBonus in More Places

Earn bonus points everywhere.

Stay and earn 2,000 bonus points on stays of 2+ nights at 29 brands.

Register Now.


This is not a knock against Gary Leff. In fact, he correctly called Marriott Rewards out in his article on the obfuscation of information that the latest MegaBonus offer is actually targeted: “Marriott creates a ‘control group’ of members ineligible for their major promotion because they want to compare the stay patterns of those that are excluded from the offer with the rest of the membership. This data helps to demonstrate that promotions move the needle on consumer behavior.”

He continued that “If promotions didn’t encourage more stay activity, Marriott would be spending marketing dollars (rewarding customers) unnecessarily. So a control makes sense.” Marriott Rewards appears to be promoting the latest MegaBonus promotion as one which is available to all.

That may be true; but it also alienates people such as Sandy, who is a reader of The Gate and posted this comment: “Yes, this is targeted. I tried enrolling and I’m not eligible. As a lifetime premier plat, I find the fact that I’m not targeted annoying. Guess they don’t want my business in the 4th quarter.”

Targeting what may be the best customers of a promotion is certainly the right of those who administer frequent travel loyalty programs — but when a major promotion is announced and in effect, all members of those programs should be eligible, in my opinion. For example, the current major quarterly promotion in effect from Hilton Honors does not exclude or alienate anyone who is not a member of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program.

Then again, Sandy, as I opined: you are not missing much by being excluded from this promotion — but you should have the option of refusing to participate in it.

Regardless, you should pay attention to the terms and conditions associated with offers and sweepstakes to ensure that you agree with them before becoming a participant.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

3 thoughts on “Why You Should Pay Attention to Terms and Conditions of Offers”

  1. Sandy says:

    I would honestly be less annoyed if I hadn’t gotten an email inviting me to the promotion, which I wasn’t eligible for, and if it wasn’t showing up on the Marriott splash page of the website and app. If I can’t get the promotion, at least don’t keep reminding me of it. Shouldn’t be a hard thing to change the settings for those that aren’t targeted.

  2. r m h says:

    thanks for the post.

    correction needed here :

    “You will find the on the seventh line of the paragraph of 13 lines in total.”

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Got it, r m h.

      Thank you, as always.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.