Advice needed from Marriott Points Liners :)

So we collect Marriott pts due to hubby’s travel for work - and on the advice of a cpl of ppl from a previous post - currently have a room on hold at the Dolphin for 5 nts next March. We’ve never used pts for this, and I realize that a cpl of things will be different than the usual “bubble” - onsite hotel planning process.

We’re building up points to cover the room, but won’t have enough for a few months yet - what I need to know:

  1. With regards to planning (i.e. ADRs, FPP, etc), when does our booking need to officially be “paid” (either $$ or pts) to be able to do these things? We have a reservation number, of course, through Marriott, but when do we link it up through WDW? (i.e. I assume that until it’s fully paid, it’s not a “real” confirmation…? Does my question make sense?)

  2. Magic Bands: we’re from Canada, so magic bands aren’t shipped to us anyway for other hotels - but am I right in understanding that at either Swan or Dolphin, you pay extra for them upon arrival? Is there a different process to this than usual? b) We have a separate “true” onsite hotel reservation following these nights, thru rented DVC pts, where we will receive MBs upon arrival there,…so I assume we’ll just have 2 sets of bands total for this trip? (again sorry, if the question is confusing). Kind of like 2 trips in one?

If anyone out there has done this in the past - would love to hear your experience! Thx so much!!

Okay! Had success just now linking the Marriott reservation on MDE, which is awesome! Still wondering if there’s something I’m missing doing (still have to buy park tix) - in order to make sure I can do all the regular planning. Thx in advance :slight_smile:

We stayed at the Dolphin in the Fall of 2016, and paid with Marriott Rewards points. It is a “real” reservation and we were able to link it to MDE information but I think I had to call Marriott to get the reservation number that worked with WDW. They were really nice there and even gave us a room upgrade to a mini-suite.

What kind of tickets do you have? What is the first day of the tickets?

With the Dolphin & Swan, you do not get free MB’s since they are not WDW-owned resorts. You can buy MB there at the hotel. We had old MB’s from a prior trip that we just added the Dolphin trip tickets onto them. Don’t really have much benefit for MB’s since they are not used for room key and have no charging privileges. Your tickets should function the same as MB’s. You would only be buying MB’s for the privilege of having a MB.

Could you swap the two stays? If you do the stay with MB’s first, then you can just add the Dolphin stay onto that MB.


Thx for your help! We may still have MBs kicking around from our last trip there (was also in 2016) - if those would still work, I could take them for sure. No way to flip the 2 hotel stays, the DVC points rental is locked in with no changes poss.

As for our park tix, I haven’t bought them yet - still trying to decide if we may also go to Universal for a cpl of days on this trip, so trying to fig it all out. It’s March, so will be busy - and location of Dolphin looks perfect for getting to Epcot & HS :slight_smile: Let the planning begin, lol!!

Cool to hear you received an upgrade, that’s a nice perk for sure! I know the res we have now is as standard as you can get (no view, etc) - but we’re just happy to be heading back, don’t really care if it’s a fancy room or not (but we’d take an upgrade if available!) :smile:

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It is. Stayed there in 2016 and 2018. Just wish they hadn’t raised the points so much to stay. It has practically doubled since 2016.

Be aware that there is a resort fee of about $30/day and if you bring a car, parking is probably another $25/day.

You probably also know that you don’t get airport transportation to the hotel for free, you’ll have to arrange your own.

I know they don’t automatically ship magic bands to Canada for onsite stays, but if you purchase them through the Disney store, will they ship them? That way you can get them linked to your tickets and save yourself some time when you arrive.

I haven’t read all of the replies so forgive me if any of this is duplicative.

  1. We are staying on points in July. You need not have accumulated all points prior to your stay, but you must have them at the time of your stay. If you are paying cash, I think payment is not due until time of stay (or whatever the terms of your booking are). You can still make your ADR and FPP
  2. You do not get MB’s automatically with Swan/Dolphin. I think you have to buy them separately.
  3. Make sure your hotel Ressie is linked in MDE. Mine did not link and I had to call and they did it manually. Even then it took 72 hours to appear, so make sure you leave enough lead time prior to FPP/ADR dates.
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Also when you link, make sure that your kids appear in MDE. For some reason, only the adults appeared. Also watch out for the extra person fee at Marriott even if you don’t have an “extra” person. That got slipped onto mine and I had to spend 30 min on the phone w Marriott getting that removed.

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I haven’t stayed at the Dolphin on points in a long, long time but I am an active Marriott Platinum member. I just wanted to be sure you knew that you get the 5th night free when you use points for the first 4 nights. That means you need 200,000 points for the 5 nights, not 250,000…

People will tell you that it’s not a good use of your points, especially when you can often book the Dolphin for well under $300 a night. 50K points will cover a night at a $500-$600 resort elsewhere. But of course, it still saves you at least $1000 so it may be worth it for your budget.


I use The Points Guy Valuations to compare points cost vs room cost to see if I am getting a good deal. Right now Marriott Bonvoy points are valued at 0.8 cents, so 50,000 points are worth $400. Therefore, a Swolfin room that you can get for $300 might not be the best use of points. However, if you factor in the 5th night free the value analysis gets closer ($1,600 worth of points vs a $1,500 cash reservation).

However, at the end of the day, spending points that you got for free vs actual cash money is always a good thing, unless you know that you are saving up for a destination trip where the room costs are very high. As an example, I have a booking next year for a room at the Mauna Kea Resort on The Big Island, which cost me 200,000 points vs $4,042 at current prices, a much better value than the Swolfin. That being said, I earn a ton of points from business travel and I have yet to be in a situation where I do not have the points to book a stay, so I often just burn the points anyway. :slight_smile:

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Your 2016 bands will still work for anything you tap. They may not get the automatic pics from rides.

Thanks all for the replies!

For sure, there are better “bang for your buck,” points-wise, on the Marriott Bonvoy system worldwide… But, we have our flights booked already & know we’re taking a family vacay to WDW next year…so…any free hotel nights are free hotel nights, IMHO :wink:

We did see how it’s book 4 nts, get 1 free as well, which is a bonus - and hopefully if we get to the 200K in time, it’s just the “resort fee” that we’ll need to pay outright (no car rental, so no extra fee there).

As for the MBs, it seems like if I do find my old ones, it’ll really just be useful for parks entry then (tho I do remember the convenience of them)… Hopefully I won’t have to manage too many cards/passes etc for those few days… But eh, if I do, I do
#momlife #imtheplanner #alreadycountingdown

Thx again!

I haven’t booked since back when it was just spg. Is this new, being able to book a points stay before you have the points and then paying later once you get them? Or did you just book a room and play to switch it to a points stay later? I’m just wondering if it’s possible that points rooms won’t be available later if that’s the case.

This is a Marriott thing - you can make a points booking even if you do not have enough points. You just need to have the points and “complete” the booking eight days before your stay. That being said, it is treated by the system no differently than a fully paid for reservation.