When we were down in Dubai last week, I noticed that there is a new Marriott Rewards redemption option. Having a collection of Marriott Rewards points did not previously serve you well in Dubai if you wanted a beach resort. There is, of course, the amazing JW Marriott Marquis (which I believe is the tallest ‘all hotel’ building on the planet) but that is not on the beach.
The Ritz-Carlton IS on the beach but comes at a very high price – 70,000 points per night.
There is now another option. The Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa pictured below has joined the Marriott ‘Autograph’ collection. ‘Autograph’ is a group of independent hotels which retain their own branding but which allow guests to earn and spend Marriott Rewards points and respect Marriott status privileges.
At 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, this is not a bad deal. You should get my oft-quoted 0.5p of value per point and at peak times you will do a lot better. Last week, for example, Habtoor was asking £270 including tax for a Tower Room but still had reward availability.
‘The Autograph Collection’ may make Marriott Rewards relevant again
Autograph is turning out to be a clever move by Marriott. What they are doing is approaching independent five-star hotels and offering them a loose marketing arrangement. They can appear on the Marriott booking system and they will be bookable by companies who have corporate deals with Marriott. All Marriott Rewards benefits (status, earning, redeeming) are honoured.
Apart from this, though, the hotels all retain their individual names and identities and can continue to operate in their own way without reference to Marriott standards.
The UK properties are all very well regarded hotels – St Ermin’s in London, Threadneedles in The City and The Glasshouse in Edinburgh. The Atlantis resort in The Bahamas is included and other Atlantis properties, including Dubai, are expected to follow. In New York it has venerable names such as the Alonquin and The Lexington.
If you have been looking to use a pile of Marriott Rewards points, you could do a lot worse than taking a look at what The Autograph Collection has to offer.
Hilton liked the idea so much that they have started a clone called Curio Collection. There are only nine properties so far and not all of those are open. The first European site will be a new opening, Reichshof Hamburg, due to open next month. It looks like a stunning refurbishment of a historic art deco property.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (June 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)