Marriott Rewards launches ‘The Experiences Marketplace’ – and it’s rubbish

As part of its acquisition of Starwood Hotels, Marriott Rewards rushed out a series of announcements.  These were designed to persuade Starwood loyalists not to walk away immediately, by promising them that the (fairly rubbish) Marriott Rewards scheme would become more like Starwood Preferred Guest.

Unfortunately, Marriott messed it up on Day 1.  It announced ‘4pm late check-out’ for elite members, only to admit that this was the latest possible and not a guarantee.  Hotels could, in theory, offer you 10.30am instead of 10am and still be compliant.  After a major push-back via social media, Marriott backtracked and announced that 4pm would really be 4pm except at resorts.

The 2nd new benefit was to be ‘The Experiences Marketplace’. This was to be a clone of SPG Moments and Hilton @Play, offering interesting days and nights out in return for your points.

Surely Marriott would try harder this time to get it right?  Er, no.


Take a look at ‘The Experiences Marketplace’ home page here.

There are no events in the UK listed, but the UK is not the centre of the world so we shouldn’t begrudge them that!  What is shocking is the pricing.

I value a Marriott Rewards point at 0.5p when redeemed for hotels and you can do better.  Let’s look at the prices Marriott is putting on its events:

Attend illy Università del Caffè in New York – 150,000 points (ie £750 of free nights)

90 minute wine tasting evening in New York – 37,500 points (ie £187 of free nights)

Watch the US Women’s football team play Japan – 50,000 points for 2 standard tickets (ie £250 of free nights)

Meet Ronaldo and watch a Real Madrid game – 5,000,000 points! (ie £25,000 of free nights)

Marriott needs to try harder here.  It looks as if they are trying to run ‘The Experiences Marketplace’ as a profit centre rather than offering genuinely good deals as a reward to loyal members.

Yet again, the omens are not good for the integration of Starwood Preferred Guest.

PS.  The interesting tit-bit is in the FAQ:  “As an SPG member can I use Starpoints to redeem for experiences?  Only Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards points can be used to purchase experiences. We do not anticipate launching a newly combined program until 2018.”

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Bits: new BA Holidays booking system, Best Western exclusive discounts, £30 off Air New Zealand to Auckland
HFP READER EXCLUSIVE - Earn double IHG Rewards Club base points on ALL of your bookings!
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Andreas says:

    I would like to ask for an advice, if any of you might help. I have one night stay coming up at Marriott Courtyard and would like to know where should I credit my points to – Marriott or Avios. I do not travel much and have only a small number of points in Hilton and SPG (I credited directly into the programmes because there were some double points promotions, so it seemed more viable than Avios). Also, as a side note, thanks a promotion, I have Marriott Silver Elite status, so apparently I would get 20% more points. Can anyone suggest please? Thank you.

    • Avios. Unless you’re going to collect a lot, Marriott points aren’t very helpful, and I think the minimum to convert to Avios afterwards is 10k Marriott points. I opt for Avios directly since I only do a couple of Marriott nights a year.

      • Raffles says:

        Agreed, no point having orphan Marriott points. The only reason not to would be if you wanted to wait until 2018 and then merge them with your SPG balance, but that seems a lot of bother for a handful of points.