If you are a Starwood Preferred Guest member who now finds that they can convert their points into Marriott Rewards, you might not be aware of the great value deals that Marriott has in Africa. Even some Marriott Rewards members may not know about the excellent value redemptions you can get.
Whilst I admit that Avios redemption flights to South Africa are very hard to get, especially to Cape Town, you will be able to travel around very cheaply if you have a stack of Marriot or Starwood points.
Back in January 2014, Marriott announced that it was acquiring Protea Hotels. The name might not ring a bell, but Protea is the largest hotel group in Africa.
Founded in 1984, at the time of the deal it operated 116 hotels throughout South Africa and six other African countries. These include Zambia, Nigeria, Namibia, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania. The group comprises of two brands, the mid-up market Protea Hotels (including the lifestyle brand Protea Hotel Fire & Ice!) and the deluxe African Pride Hotels, Lodges and Country Houses brand.
The integration process took some time, but late last year all of the Protea properties were integrated into Marriott Rewards.
A huge range of options in Cape Town
For anyone planning a holiday in South Africa, the great news is that TWELVE Cape Town hotels are available for redemption. You can see the full list here.
The even better news is that none of the Cape Town hotels have been placed any higher than Category 5 in the Marriott Rewards system, which now runs up to Category 9 (45,000 points). You will not pay more than 25,000 points per night for any of these hotels. Given that Cape Town hotel rates can get pretty steep at peak periods, there are likely to be some good value redemptions here.
And some very cheap deals elsewhere
If you scroll to the bottom of the right-hand sidebar you will see an option called ‘Hotel Category’. You will note that:
58 hotels are in Category 1, so just 7500 Marriott Rewards points per night
24 hotels are in Category 2, so just 10000 Marriott Rewards points per night
Remember that the conversion rate from Starwood points is 1:3 so these hotels need just 2500 or 3333 SPG points respectively.
The more luxurious African Pride hotels are in Category 3 and Category 4. Even then, you are only looking at 15000 or 20000 Marriott Rewards points per night.
If you have been considering a trip to Africa but have been looking for a good excuse, these Marriott Rewards bargains could be just what you need. I can’t help you with Avios flight availability though …..
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2021)
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 usually 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.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), 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.)