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From August …. a 5-month window to redeem at the best Starwood hotels for 40% off

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We have spent a lot of time this week discussing the new (and still nameless) merged Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty scheme.

If you missed it, this article here is a good place to start.

There is one positive aspect of all this which you may want to start thinking about.  

Gritti Palace Venice

Here is the high end of the new redemption chart, listed in thousand of points per night:

Category 6 – 50 standard / 40 off-peak / 60 peak

Category 7 – 60 standard / 50 off-peak / 70 peak

Category 8 (2019 only) – 85 standard / 70 off-peak / 100 peak

This chart will kick in during August.  However:

Category 8 will not be launched until 2019 – these hotels will be Category 7 from August to December

Only standard pricing will be available from August to December

Let’s be clear about what this means:

From 1st January 2019 the highest possible reward night will cost 100,000 points per night (Cat 8 peak)

BUT …. between August and 31st December 2018 the highest possible reward night will cost 60,000 points per night (Cat 7 standard)

At present, the highest category Starwood hotels – if we convert to ‘new scheme’ points – cost 90,000 to 105,000 points per night.

So …. for a five month period you can book ‘top category’ Starwood hotels for 43% off their current peak price (105,000 points down to 60,000 points) and for 40% less than they will be on 1st January (100,000 points from 60,000 points).

What hotels are we talking about?

This page of the Starwood website (link does not work on mobile unless you use desktop view) lists their current ‘Category 7’ hotels.  These cost 30,000 to 35,000 SPG points per night at present, equivalent to 90,000 to 105,000 points in the new scheme.

Highlights include (click to visit the hotel website):

The St. Regis New York  

The St. Regis Aspen  

The St. Regis Florence  

Hotel Danieli, Venice  

The Gritti Palace, Venice  (pictured above)

The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, reviewed here  

W Verbier  

Al Maha desert resort, Dubai  

The St. Regis Bali Resort  

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort  (pictured below)

You can find a full list of ‘top category’ Starwood hotels here.  The link does not work on a mobile unless you switch to desktop view.

St Regis Maldives Vommuli

There are some astounding – and astoundingly expensive, in peak season – hotels on this list.  Mallorca is £700 per night in the Summer for example – and that is for a non-refundable pre-paid room.  The ability to book them for 60,000 Marriott Rewards points or 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points (both of which will convert to 60,000 ‘new scheme’ points) is a very rare opportunity.

And availability will not be an issue.  The new scheme will have ‘last room availability’.  If a standard room is bookable for cash, it will be bookable for rewards.

They could be even cheaper.  I am assuming – although I don’t think it is confirmed – that the current ‘book five nights, only pay for four’ redemption pricing deal will continue.

You have until August to pick up some Marriott or Starwood points ….

If any of the properties above are on your bucket list then you should be thinking of ways of picking up some points between now and the August to December period.  As you can book a year ahead you will be able to lock in the whole of 2019 for 60,000 points per night.  If ‘book five, pay for four’ continues, as we think it will, your average cost will be just 48,000 points per night on a five night stay.

The obvious way of picking some points is via credit and charge card sign-up bonuses:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (free in Year 1) has a bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points (£2000 spend in 90 days required) which converts into 10,000 Starwood points which converts into 30,000 Marriott points

American Express Platinum has a bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points (£3000 spend in 90 days required) which converts into 15,000 Starwood points which converts into 45,000 Marriott points

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card has a bonus of 10,000 Starwood points (£1000 spend in 90 days required) which converts into 30,000 Marriott points

Remember that you can transfer Starwood and Marriott points for free if you share an address.  If you and your partner took out an Amex Gold and a Starwood Amex and pooled the points, you would have over 120,000 points.  That is enough for a two night break at any of the hotels above, probably £1000 to £1500 of value at peak season, as long as you book between August and December when the hotels will be reduced to 60,000 points.

This is also a potentially valuable use of your existing American Express Membership Rewards points.  40,000 Amex points would get you 20,000 Starwood points which gets you 60,000 Marriott points which gets you a free night at any of the hotels above – plus many more.  You could get close to 2p of value per Amex point on a peak night.

And a good ‘buy points’ bonus …..

You can also currently buy Starwood Preferred Guest points at 35% off in a new offer launched yesterday – the link is here.  This is slightly insane if you work it properly.  30,000 SPG points will cost you $682.50 (£480).  That would convert into 90,000 Marriott points which gets you 1.5 nights at any of the hotels on the list above, which is the equivalent of £320 per night.

Of course, you can’t book at 60,000 points per night until August so you won’t be able to go now, but your mind will hopefully be whirring with ideas ….

The good thing about the ‘60,000 points per night’ redemption rate is that you have three months notice to think about it before it starts, and when it does open the window will last for five months.  That means plenty of time to get a strategy in place if you are keen.

If you want to buy SPG points at 35% off, however, you need to do that via this page by 31st May.

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

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2023)

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 Bonvoy points – and you get a free night voucher too! Apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 bonus points and a free night voucher – only until 30th May! 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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 (84)

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

  • Ziggy says:

    The new award chart doesn’t include the all-suite properties like the St Regis Vommuli, Al Maha etc… so I wouldn’t expect to be able to book those for 60,000 points/night come August.

    • Sam G says:

      Yes – fully expect some exclusions from this list unfortunately for this reason or by some other trickery – so I am in two minds whether to buy starpoints or not!

    • Johan says:

      indeed, even now SPG charges double or triple points to redeem at these properties. (so one night cost now 60-90 K SPG rather then 30K although there is an annual promotion to book at 40% off)

      • Rob says:

        Fixed, thank you.

        • Henrik says:

          I’m still confused as to which ones are suites only, perhaps because of post editing. Article still talks about bora bora at 30k and comment above suggests vommuli as suites only but not the article.

  • Josh says:

    Any idea how this will work with the Marriott travel packages?
    We the new categories match up against the current tiers or will a new service/redemption table be launched?

  • Pascal says:

    Do Gold benefits count on Reward stays? 😉

    The last room availability could be very interesting for NYE too I guess…

  • Adam says:

    I’m in Tokyo on holiday in Oct ? Are there any too level SPG / Marriot hotels to consider booking using this promo ?

    • Rob says:

      Yes – The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel

  • Roger says:


    Rob, can you enable any link posted here in comments to open in new tab as opposed to current webpage changing to it?

    • Rob says:

      Annoyingly not.

      • Pangolin says:

        Rob, give us an EDIT button before you attempt anything else! 🙂

    • JK says:

      You can make your browser do that. Right click, if you are on a device with mouse. Or on iPhone you can hold the finger on the link rather than a quick click, then it shows the new tab option.

      • AndyGWP says:

        I think the issue is that you go through the article clicking links, and it opens in a new window, but when you hit the comments, the behaviour changes and you just ‘forget’.

        It’s just a bit annoying (and a trap I always fall into as well)

        • Roger says:

          Exactly that. Sometimes you forget to right click and select new open in new tab

  • Sididdly says:

    Slightly OT as it is not about luxury redemptions. I am currently Marriott/SPG gold which I acquired via a Marriott Status challenge. I’m looking at booking a 2 night stay in Le Meridien Ho Chi Minh City in October. Will I get llounge/breakfast as a Platinum under the new scheme levels?

    • Pangolin says:

      If you got Marriott Gold via a Marriott status challenge you should be fine. There is still some confusing and contradictory coming out of Marriott about the status of SPG Golds who matched to Marriott Gold (e.g. Amex Plat holders). I think it’s pointing strongly towards matched SPG Golds getting Platinum also (as Rob stated in his article yesterday) but I don’t think Marriott has yet given us a categorical answer that erases any doubt.

      Anyway, you completed a Marriott Gold challenge, so there should not be any issues.
      I expect Rob might issue another update, once all the horrible confusion over status conversions on August 1st has been properly cleared up. That’s the kind of mess that happens when you launch a new loyalty programme in the middle of the year!

  • Roger says:

    Any Alaska miles user here?
    Any best way of using Alaska miles for UK_USA trip?

    • Roger says:

      Or to use 132K UA miles under current Marriott Travel Package before August 1st.

    • Lyn says:

      I have heard that it is quite difficult to find Cathay availability through Alaska, compared to through Cathay or American (no direct experience though).

      Good point about the free stopover. I think this even works on one-way awards, so it can be a good way to see other places while you are in America.

      • Scallder says:

        Lyn indeed it can be done on one-way redemptions – should have emphasised that better in my reply!

        Haven’t looked into Cathay redemptions myself (yet) given the need to call, but have read it can be ok if you have the normal flexibility (and out of Europe often better out of France/Germany

    • Lyn says:

      You don’t need to do a stopover just to get connecting flights of course. Some of the connecting flights will be on Alaska rather than American.

      Roger, if you aren’t already familiar with Alaska award availability I suggest you try some dummy bookings with the kind of trip you’d like to take before you commit to a travel package with Alaska. You don’t have to be an Alaska FF to try this. Their award calendar is useful, so click this as well as use miles. Some awards (Cathay?) have to be booked by phone though. Alaska customer service is generally helpful.

      • Roger says:

        Thanks all for replies.

        I fondly remember a great travel hack article posted by Rob here (contribution from one of HFP reader) about UA miles with some great UA redemption. Will have to search it and decide.

        Likely that UA-132K travel package may disappear. Some of the blogs even speculating that they may even out all airline transfer very soon too

  • JamesB says:

    I hope you are right Rob but I suspect they will bring you down to earth with a bump by August. I could see them allowing this for bookings up to the end of this year for stays up to the end of this year but not for stays all the way through 2019. The top end hotels will be up in arms about it and something will have to give and it probably will.

    • Rob says:

      Hotels get fixed reimbursement, they do not care.

      • JamesB says:

        I understand that but it is highly unlikely that will compensate for loss of £700+ rooms. With a few rooms here and there I agree they will not mind but most 8bloggers will be all over this so it has the potential to open the flood gates and then I think they will care. Still, I am happy to bet on your views and I will save my MR points through July with a view to transferring to SPG so I hope you are right and I’m wrong. In a sense it is a no lose situation for me (and probably many others) as I don’t have a pressing need for miles so Marriott points will be useful regardless of how I end up using them.

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

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