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.
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.)