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

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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.

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.”

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (February 2024)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy 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.)

Comments (3)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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.

    • Dave says:

      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.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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