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.
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 (August 2022)
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.
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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(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.)