INCREDIBLE Marriott Points Redemption Opportunities Coming Soon

Yesterday we learned the full details of Marriott’s new loyalty program, launching in August. There are so many aspects of this program that I find interesting, so I’m tackling them one-by-one in a series of posts.

In this post I wanted to look at Marriott’s future award chart, and the really, really, really lucrative award redemptions that will be available between August and the end of the year.

The basics of Marriott’s new award chart

In August Marriott will introduce a new award chart valid for members of all three programs. At that point Starwood Preferred Guest points will be converted into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, so all stays will follow this pricing. Here’s the chart:

This compares very favorably to Starwood Preferred Guest’s award chart, though in some cases pricing may be higher than what Marriott Rewards used to charge. The other big unknown here is which hotels will be in which category. One way to quietly devalue a program is to simply increase the number of hotels in the higher categories, and that’s a distinct possibility here. However, Marriott does say that more hotels are going down in category than up, though it’s hard to decipher exactly what that means, since all three programs have been using different categories.

However, there are a couple of things that are potentially especially interesting here:

  • Marriott won’t introduce Category 8 hotels until 2019, meaning that stays booked between August and December of 2018 (even if stays are on subsequent dates) will cap at Category 7
  • Marriott will only use “standard” award pricing for 2018, and then in 2019 “peak” and “off-peak” pricing will be introduced

My guess is that they’re taking this approach so they have time to work out arrangements with individual hotels, figure out what dates should and shouldn’t be peak, etc.

The HUGE opportunity Marriott’s interim award pricing presents

That means for awards booked between August and December, the most expensive redemption will be 60,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, which is the equivalent of 20,000 Starpoints per night in today’s currency. You also get a fifth night free on redemptions, so that brings down the average cost for a five night stay to 16,000 Starpoints per night (in today’s currency).

Currently Starwood’s top hotels cost 35,000 Starpoints per night, so that’s the same as getting over 40% off!

Previously in peak season a redemption at the St. Regis Aspen or St. Regis Deer Valley cost 140,000 Starpoints for five nights (with the fifth night free). Starting in August that redemption would cost just 240,000 Marriott Rewards points, which is the equivalent of 80,000 Starpoints.

That’s a huge discount. If you want to redeem for one of the top Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood properties in the world, then between August and December of this year is the time to book.

We don’t know exactly when Marriott’s new “peak” and “off-peak” pricing will kick in, or when Category 8 properties will be introduced, but it will presumably me somewhere towards the beginning of 2019.

Here’s a list of Starwood’s current Category 7 hotels (the most expensive in the system), where you’d get the biggest savings during this period, since those hotels currently cost the most points. Note that this only applies for hotels with standard rooms.


Soon you’ll be able to book the St. Regis Deer Valley for 60,000 Marriott points per night

Bottom line

Between August and December (at a minimum), virtually all Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood Preferred Guest properties will be bookable for at most 60,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, with the opportunity to get a fifth night free. That brings down the cost to an average of 48,000 points per night, or 16,000 Starpoints per night.

This is the best deal we’ve ever seen for redemptions at many Starwood hotels, like many of the world’s top St. Regis properties. Category 7 properties will be offering a discount of over 40% compared to their current rates.

Get ready, and start saving up your Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest points for August!

Comments

  1. “Marriott won’t introduce Category 9 hotels until 2019”

    Assuming you mean Category 8? Other than that it all makes sense – a good opportunity.

  2. Any idea whether there will be club access at RC for Platinums come August? This would finally make RC redemptions sensible….

  3. Hum. I’ve never been much into resorts, but maybe it’s time to take a look into it. Thanks for the heads up 🙂

  4. David Flueck told me when I asked that all suite properties that are double the cost in the SPG chart will cost more than the Marriott chart pricing as well.

    https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2018/04/16/heres-full-details-new-combined-marriott-program-end-spg/

    “He also let me know that these charts do not account for pricing at premium all suite properties.

    Starwood has charged double for their top category hotels where all rooms are suites, something I’ve complained about for years — their room rates are high because of the accommodations, so they’re in a high category, but because of the accommodations we get charged double points in the high category. We’ll have to see how pricing for these properties shake out once released.”

  5. I have a cat 1-5 free night certificate. I think I will wait until after August to use it :).

  6. I noticed that during the announcement and was pretty excited as well. Particularly bc we have a family trip to Japan booked on points in November. 5 nights at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo cost me 280,000 points (70k per night with the 5th night free) and the same for another 5 nights at the Ritz Carlton Kyoto. When I saw the announcement I thought…hmmm I wonder if I could cancel and rebook at 240k for each and get 80k points back? My guess is yes as long as they aren’t sold out.

  7. Meh, I’m not holding my breath. That FM article states that they ‘cornered’ him and it was just one guy, off the record. If the W Maldives, St. Regis Maldives, and other high end properties (St. Regis New York, Al Maha, St. Regis Bora Bora) are all only 20k (current) SPG points for 4 months, Marriott will be losing TONS of revenue.

    We can dream, but I just really don’t see that happening…

  8. @lucky
    I will have enough points for the travel package by July .
    Which category will I have the most bang? Unfortunately I only have enough point for Category 7 as of today’s pricing which I believe is 330k .

    What will happen if I book the SPG category 1 before August 1, 2018 for next year?

    I am Marriott gold which will change to Marriott Platinum on August 1, 2018. I have a Marriot credit card. Does this mean I will need to have 35 nights , awards or paid nights either SPG or Marriot by December 2018 to qualify for next year Plat?

  9. How does it work for the annual free night for the current spg amex credit card. If I got the credit card last July will i get an annual night this year or no? Or do I have to wait till next year?

  10. @Sunny, I didn’t know the current spg amex credit card gave any annual free night. Is it for some spend threshold?

  11. So if on August 1st I book a Cat 7 SPG hotel for 5 nights sometime in March or April of 2019 will I be paying 80k or 140k SPG points for the 5 nights (240k or 420k Marriott points)

  12. Thanks Lucky,

    What about bookings made before August with the current Gold Marriott status Matched from SPG Gold for stays in the next year? Do you have an idea how these would be treated at the time of check-in? Many Thanks

  13. You don’t need to wait until August for most Ritz properties – this has always been available. 16K SPG points per night is equivalent to 240K Marriott points, which will get you 5 nights at any Tier 6 Ritz or lower.

  14. That’s great for those who have a zillion Starpoints, but I’d love to see some info about how all of this will affect we bottom feeders who redeem for the lowest level hotels.

  15. Lucky, with this devaluation (a la Hilton Honors a few years back) and the Marriott cards earning 2 points base spend, do you think we’ll see the transfer rate for UR go to 1 UR = 2 Marriott Points?

  16. It seems cheap at first if you’re looking at a 1:3 conversion of Starpoihts, but this is actually going to be a devaluation of the award chart if you consider that you’re no longer going to be able to earn 3 Marriott Rewards points per dollar anymore, it’s going down to 2. If you divide the future award chart by 2 and compare to current SPG awards you can see that category 2, 3, and 5 are going up and 1, 4, 6, and 7 stay at current prices for off-peak and get more expensive for peak. If you’re looking at standard pricing then everything goes up. It’s a good deal if you have a lot of Starpoints, but that’s not the right way to think of it because Starpoints won’t exist after August. Only Marriott Rewards will exist and you’ll no longer be able to earn 3 MR per dollar.

    An analogy for those that can’t see that this is a devaluation is this: it’s kind of like everyone getting a 33% pay cut at work but prices drop 10% temporarily before going back to normal/getting more expensive. It looks like everything got cheaper, but since everyone got a 33% pay cut, everything is actually more expensive. People that have a lot of savings on hand aren’t benefitting in the short run unless they don’t have much time left on this world and are looking to use up all their savings. Everyone else gets a devaluation.

  17. @ Ray — That’s certainly true for those primarily earning points through credit card spend, though for those earning points through hotel stays, earning rates are largely going up.

  18. @ Nick — I definitely don’t think so, unfortunately. All UR transfers are 1:1, and I suspect it will stay that way.

  19. @ T. — They say no blackout dates, so as long as a standard room is available, it should be possible.

  20. I have 1 Marriott card and 2 SPG cards. Are the annual bonus nights stackable? If so, then the 3 cards would equal 25 nights.

  21. Lucky,
    Do you think you could ask if reservations already made could be changed to the new rates? Doesn’t make any sense to punish people who have already made bookings. It would only make sense that they would correct and refund the points as that is the new rate. Can you point this out to them? And see what they say.

  22. @ Robert — The anniversary free night certificates are stackable, but free nights towards elite status aren’t stackable. You can get at most 15 nights towards status per account (this doesn’t include the ability to earn Gold or Platinum directly through spend).

  23. @Kumar they are changing the current amex spg with annual free night sometime soon. and no there’s no spend threshold it’s just like current Marriott card

  24. @lucky … can’t we also just book now and ask for the points difference after Aug 1? I read they will be giving refunds if your reservation is cheaper come Aug 1.

  25. Any idea what will happen with existing e-certificates? For example, if I book a fly and stay package for Category 7 now, will I be able to use that at any Category 7 hotel come August?

  26. @lucky…I think I understand…RC Hong Kong will cost only 60k Marriott points? You need an article of top Marriott/SPG/RC’s hotels that YOU would book for!!!

  27. Strange, we haven’t been hearing this at all for the all-suites properties. And confirmed with David a few times that it’s not the case. All-suites properties will be priced higher, kicking in with the rest of the program in August.

  28. Lucky : Just the point I’ve been making forever. It’s not incredible. It’s always been this way if you compare SPG to Marriott. The SPG warm and burn is pitiful. It always has been. So when you compare the cost of burning Marriott points after they are converted from SPG, it looks good. SPG just plain sucks. Glad to see it go and that Marriott won out.

    SPG is a credit card loyalty program, not so much one to reward those who actually spend $$ at hotels.

    I will say the 4pm checkout is no end. Glad we stole that !

  29. I’m also curious how the 7 night fly and stay package will net out. I currently have a cat 1-5 cert, and I had asked to get it extended a year. This was year 3 of having the cert extended, and they basically said this was my last opportunity to extend it because of the merger.

    It’d cost me another 60k Marriott points to upgrade to a cat 7 cert, which would be a steal.

  30. Oh sure, they’re idiots, and they’ll completely overlook this, so they won’t bother to plug this hole. Everyone’s gonna party in Bora Bora for free! YOU get an over-water bungalow and YOU get an over-water bungalow and YOU do and so do YOU!!!

    Suuuuuure…

  31. @lucky the link to current category 7 hotels does not appear to be working…would this apply the the W or St Regis in Maldives?

  32. 60,000 Marriott points by most people’s valuation(.8c a point) is $480 worth of points. I don’t think $480 for a night in a St. Regis is a particular bargain , but each to their own. Maybe on a special occasion like NYE but overall, not something that excites me…

  33. I’m a little curious about this aspect of the new program. On one hand, I can certainly see some rates at SPG going down like some of the rundown Westins and Ws that require 20,000 starpoints. I fell like thats highway robbery since you could have booked something better at Marriott like a tier 4 Ritz for the same price or a great category 8/9 JW or Autograph collection hotel for much less. I can however see those rates skyrocketing. I’ve seen some properties where the cash rate is $500-$700 dollars that still charges 45,000-60,000 points. I’m sure those are going up. I booked the Ritz in Boston for 5 nights in July at 60,000 a night…I’m sure it will be more night when you factor in peak season rates…

  34. @ RK — Fair enough, but with fifth night free that brings it down to $384 per night. That’s still a lot, but much less than the $1,000+ per night rates we see at many properties you can redeem at.

  35. The real question becomes: When are they going to publish new Category charts for the various properties?

    I’m sure we’re going to see plenty of devaluations happening when they do.

  36. How come no blogger is saying Marriott’s will incur a 15-25% devaluation for 2019 for most desirable rental periods if every property would stay in the same category, which they wont?

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