Marriott Rewards Cash + Points Details

Last week I wrote about the preview that Marriott Rewards provided of the four new program benefits being rolled out this week, which they’re calling “The Fab Four.”

Marriott-Changes

Here’s a summary of the changes:

Marriott-Rewards-Changes

As a reminder, Marriott Rewards is introducing the following four new features:

  • Cash + Points
  • Redemption Stay Credit
  • Points Sharing
  • Points Advance

So let’s dig a bit deeper into the changes:

Cash + Points

Perhaps the most exciting change for members is the introduction of Cash + Points, which is really Marriott playing catch up with Club Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, SPG, etc.

Marriott has now unveiled all the details of the Cash + Points program, including the redemption chart. It’s worth noting that Cash and Points will only be available starting in early 2016.

Cash + Points will be available at both Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties. Here’s the Cash + Points chart for Marriott:

Marriott-Cash-Points

And here’s the Cash + Points chart for Ritz-Carlton:

Ritz-Cash-Points

To provide a bit more analysis, below I’ve made some charts which organize hotels by category, Cash + Points cost, and basically the rate at which you’re indirectly “purchasing” points when using the Cash and Points option (in other words, you want that number to be as low as possible).

Here’s the chart for Marriott Cash and Points:

CategoryPoints RequiredCashPointsCost Per Point
17,500$453,0001.00
210,000$505,0001.00
315,000$558,0000.79
420,000$6011,0000.67
525,000$6514,0000.59
630,000$7517,5000.60
735,000$9021,0000.64
840,000$14524,5000.94
945,000$22028,0001.29

And here’s the chart for Ritz-Carlton Cash and Points:

CategoryPoints RequiredCashPointsCost Per Point
130,000$11515,0000.77
240,000$14520,5000.74
350,000$17026,0000.71
460,000$26032,0000.93
570,000$33538,0001.05

It seems like Cash + Points availability will be capacity controlled, much like is the case at Hyatt and Starwood. But that’s good news, because it means you can get disproportionate value when it is available (unlike IHG, where you basically simply get a flat 0.7 cents per point when using that option).

As you can see, the values here range hugely:

  • At a Category 9 Marriott property you can save 17,000 points by paying $220, which means you’re basically buying Marriott Rewards points for 1.29 cents each — that’s a terrible value
  • At a Category 5 Marriott property you can save 11,000 points by paying $65, which means you’re basically buying Marriott Rewards points for 0.59 cents each — that’s an excellent value

As is the norm with just about all the chains offering this option, the value tends to be best at mid-range properties. I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, so the values at Category 4-7 properties are especially good.

Marriott-GRU-Airport

Redemption Stay Credit

This is pretty straightforward, and fantastic news. Starting November 1, 2015, Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will earn elite night credits on redemption nights paid with points. This is simply Marriott playing catch up, as virtually all major chains award elite night credits on award stays at this point. And it’s about time, given that they have among the highest elite qualification tiers.

Points Sharing

Members of both Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards now have the ability to share up to 50,000 points per year with friends and family. This is great for when you have smaller accounts you want to combine so you have enough for a “real” redemption.

Points Advance

Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members are able to book redemption stays before having sufficient points to cover the cost of that stay. This is something they’ve unofficially been allowing for a while, though I guess they’re publishing this as an official perk.

Bottom line

These are definitely positive changes, in particular the introduction of Cash + Points as well as the introduction of elite qualifying nights on award stays. Much like with Hyatt and Starwood, the introduction of Cash + Points really lets you stretch your points further, in particular for mid-range hotels.

While I’m still a Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest guy, this certainly makes the Marriott Rewards program slightly more attractive.

What do you make of these Marriott changes? Will this change your loyalty to Marriott Rewards?

Comments

  1. As a Marriott devotee (partly because we own timeshares), I am glad to see these changes. The points advance has been available for as long as I can remember. You’ve also been able to share points, but only to get enough to complete a reward. One thing that works nicely for timeshare owners is timeshare stays earn elite night credits.

  2. @Stvr – no, it is never going to make sense to transfer UR points to Marriott, except if you’re a small number of points short of an award, you’re transferring points to keep your account open, or you are doing the flight + Hotel package for United miles.

    https://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi

    Say you have the points to do a 7 night stay + 55k UnitedMiles. (200K Marriott points).

    You can transfer 70k UR points -> Marriott, and now get the package with 132K miles. So you turned 70k UR points into 77k UA miles by going through Marriott.

  3. @Lucky This would be huge if it allowed us to use cash + points and then a Club level upgrade from the Chase Ritz card. What do you think?

  4. Any word yet on whether the cash and points will qualify as a paid rate, so that we can earn points on the cash portion and use the club level upgrades and other benefits from the RC card?

  5. Strange how a Cat 1/Cat 2 Ritz would require the same number of points as a Cat 6/Cat 8 Marriott if booked purely with points, but with cash and points, a Cat 1 Ritz would require less outlay than a Cat 6 Marriott and a Cat 2 Ritz would require less outlay than a Cat 8 Marriott.

    The figures that the cash and points amounts were arrived at just seem haphazardly put together…

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