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Looking at the details of Marriott’s new ‘cash and points’ rewards

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Marriott Rewards announced four changes to its programme on Monday as I outlined here.  What I didn’t know at the time was how the new ‘cash and points’ option would work.

Marriott has chosen to take the path of Hyatt and Starwood and make ‘cash and points’ redemptions a separate redemption ‘bucket’.

This means two things:

Availability will be worse than for ‘100% points’ redemptions

They are, in some scenarios, a good deal if they are available and increase the value of your Marriott points

Here is the Marriott redemption chart using ‘cash and points which is taken from the Marriott website here:

Marriott cash points

…. and here is the Ritz-Carlton version:

Ritz cash points

If we get the calculator out, you will see that you are, de facto, ‘buying’ the additional points from Marriott at the following rates:

  • Category 1: 1c
  • Category 2: 1c
  • Category 3: 0.79c
  • Category 4: 0.67c
  • Category 5: 0.59c
  • Category 6: 0.6c
  • Category 7: 0.64c
  • Category 8: 0.94c
  • Category 9: 1.29c
  • Tier 1: 0.77c
  • Tier 2: 0.79c
  • Tier 3: 0.71c
  • Tier 4: 0.93c
  • Tier 5: 1.05c

I usually say that I conservatively value a Marriott point at 0.5p, which is around 0.8 cents.

On that basis, I should definitely do ‘cash and points’ for Category 4 to Category 7 redemptions.  Marriott is ‘selling’ me half of the points I need for a redemption for less than my valuation of them.

For the other categories, plus Tier 4 and 5 at Ritz-Carlton, it does not look so attractive.  I am not sure of the logic of this, because ‘cash and points’ is capacity-controlled by each hotel.  If a hotel is worried about getting too many redemption requests, it can simply not participate – you don’t need to use pricing to put people off.

You cannot book ‘cash and points’ rooms yet – we are promised ‘early 2016’.  More details can be found on the Marriott website here.

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

Comments (3)

  • koroleon says:

    Worth mentioning this bit from the FAQ:

    No, the NEW Cash + Points will not count toward “Redeem 4 Nights, Get the 5th Night Free.”

    Also, I imagine the cash portion of a Cash + Points award will be subject to the various taxes and fees hotels charge, which can be as high as 20% in some resorts. These two factors make the value proposition of Cash + Points much lower for me.

    • Rob says:

      Interesting point. Technically, Marriott could take payment upfront for these, treat it as a points purchase and the booking as a full redemption and that would avoid tax. I agree that it probably not how it will be though.

      In the UK it has to include VAT, many other countries have similar rules.

      • koroleon says:

        My experience is based on a SPG Cash+Points redemption in Thailand. It will be interesting to see how Marriott will treat this.