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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 (June 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.

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.

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.

  • JohnW says:

    If you want to book a better room i.e suite etc… Can you do a standard points redemption and negotiate an upgrade with the hotel for cash?

    • JamesB says:

      Yes, that options appears online in many cases so not even any need to negotiate.

      • JohnW says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        Does the option appear next to the different room types? I’ve just randomly chosen St Regis Abu Dhabi and I can only see points redemptions available for one room type, Or does the option to pay extra for a suite only appear after you’ve chosen the basic room?

        • New Card says:

          I stayed at St Regis Saadiyat Abu Dhabi on points recently. The website only showed a basic room for 20k points per night. However when asking via SPG Live Chat, I was able to upgrade to a St Regis Suite at a total cost of only 22.5k per night (just 2.5k more). (An Ocean Suite was 40k per night, not sure what the difference is, but the St Regis Suite was lovely).

          Long-winded way of saying: SPG Live Chat might help you access more room types when redeeming, so worth a try.

        • JamesB says:

          If you view rates for a room type it sometimes throws up points and cash upgrade options. I guess it is up to individual hotels if they want to load such options and when.

  • Robin N says:

    If I buy 30k starpoints and my wife also buys 30k starpoints. She can then transfer them from her account to mine. Does the rule that a member can only receive 30k starpoints in a calendar year apply when making a household transfer?

    • Rob says:

      No. I have moved six-figure sums from my wife to me.

      • Roger I* says:

        IIRC my wife can’t transfer Starpoints to me online.

        Do we have to phone? Thanks.

        • Rob says:

          You don’t transfer online. You fill in the form online and then it is manually done over the next 5 days. Addresses must have matched for 30 days.

      • Robin N says:

        Thanks Rob, wish I had the patience to get to six figures. I keep spending them on F1 auctions.

  • Chris says:

    Another OT Sorry
    Sooo, Norwegian have wet leased a Hi-Fly plane to run the LGW-JFK route (one of their two flights a day) – outbound leg is DI7013

    In the last week it’s been cancelled five times and the other delayed by hours.
    Anyone know anything about this? I ask as I’m on it at the weekend!

    • JamesB says:

      HiFly are getting 2 exSQ a380s but I have no idea when or if they have already recrived them.

  • Lee says:

    OT – related to points sale
    Hilton started another round 100%more sale through 7th June

    • Anna says:

      I can’t decide whether it’s good value to buy points. 100,000 points is $500 dollars but a 50,000 point room whenever I’ve looked seems to cost around £150, so even at the 100% bonus I can’t see how this makes sense.

      • FlyingChris says:

        For Hilton it usually only makes sense at the low, or the very high end. Really depends on the property planning on redeeming at if it makes sense. Bought 90k with the 100% bonus last year (for 180k) for the Conrad Koh Samui as the cash price was +£500/night. In combination with 2x Hilton free night certificates was an excellent stay!

  • BlueHorizonUK says:

    I wish they had been clearer about what would happen to these packages as I just don’t know what to do.

    I had a Cat 1-5 that I upgraded to Tier 1-3 (moving up as I get more points) and now have enough points to upgrade again to Tier 4-5 as I ultimately want to stay at the RC Dubai which is Tier 5 but don’t want to upgrade my package again if they convert Tier 1-3 to Cat 7 (which I assume this RC is going to become). But again I don’t want a Tier 1-3 package if they convert a lower package to Cat 7. I mean if this happens are they going to refund everyone that had higher packages? Can we even downgrade our packages?

    They should have just suspended package sales and said everyone that has one already can upgrade/downgrade as this is what will happen and then resume sales on August 1 at the new rates.

    They have left us all in limbo as I dont want to be spending on packages that are going to be worse off on August 1 and was unnecessary.


    • BlueHorizonUK says:

      Sorry talking about the Marriott Travel Packages

      • Jonny says:

        I suspect they’ll simply convert the packages back into points equivalent of booking 7 nights in a hotel of the relevant category. So Cat 1-5 package into 150k points. T1-3 into 300k points (noting you get 1 night free). This is a complete guess though.

        I’m also wondering myself whether to purchase a travel package. and if so which one (will they still be upgradeable?). Or whether I should just sit tight! Probably should have bought in March with the 35% Avios bonus – this won’t return before they’re revamped.

    • will says:

      I think the travel packages are pretty important to existing holders so I’d assume that they’d clarify the situation before August 1st, if there is an arbitrage opportunity they may leave it as late as possible to clarify to prevent excessive amounts of points purchasing or clustered points redemption in the mean time.

  • Kris says:

    What that go to London hotel you mentioned when you have friends & family visit?

    • Chris says:

      Park Plaza Westminster I think (I would assume the big round one?)

    • Rob says:

      Either Park Plaza Westminster Bridge or County Hall, which are actually just 30 feet apart!

      (Other good tips I’ve found where standard rooms sleeping four are often put up for redemption – Holiday Inn Camden, Holiday Inn Mayfair, Hilton Park Lane. There are clearly many others but the five above I have used.)

      • Chris says:

        I can recommend the westminster bridge one by the way (round one) – attend a conference there each year. Hotel facilities/service great and rooms are decent

  • AndyGWP says:

    I know you’re covering the higher end of redemptions, but any ideas how the changes will affect the 3,000 SPG point redemption at the Aloft in Liverpool?

    • Jonny says:

      My guess is that it would be mapped across to new Category 2 (I can’t see it going to Cat 1). So 12.5k “regular” price (and 15k peak) which would still be good value

  • KBuffett says:

    I’m sitting on 500,000 Amex MR points. Have a very flexible lifestyle. Can anyone recommend some awesome redemption ideas to fully avail of this opportunity?

    • Peter K says:

      Depends on what you consider awesome. BA club to Seychelles or Maldives then Hilton or Marriott/SPG hotel?
      I enjoyed Barbados Hilton (flights on BA or Virgin possible).
      If it’s a city break then LA/NYC/Las Vegas in the US or Singapore may be more your thing.
      Or blowing a load on Qatar to Oz and visiting the sights via various hotels?

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