Marriott published the reward chart for the combined Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest programme yesterday afternoon. I did a short extra article on it but this is a deeper look.
Travel Package pricing has also been released but I will focus on that separately tomorrow.
Overall, it is a wash. Some hotels are up, some are down. Looking across almost 7,000 hotels shows virtually no net change.
Travel Packages are definitely getting worse, although it isn’t yet fully clear by how much because we don’t know how peak pricing will work – details tomorrow
Amazingly, Marriott is putting all the Starwood hotels which were double points because they were ‘all suite’ – some of which were 90,000 SPG points per night (270,000 Marriott points) – in the standard reward pool. These hotels, such as W Maldives and the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, will be capped at 60,000 Marriott points per night for bookings between August and December. If you can get availability, this is a remarkable opportunity to visit some ‘once in a lifetime’ resorts.
Where are the full details?
Full details can be found here on the Marriott / SPG transition website. There is a simple box where you can search for any of the 6,900 hotels involved.
Marriott says that 69% of hotels will cost the same, or fewer, points. The full breakdown is 31% up, 52% down and 17% stay the same. I am guessing this is based on the standard price and not the peak day price.
Here is some sample pricing of hotels we have written about on Head for Points at some point:
Le Meridien Hamburg – up 5,000 points to 35,000 points
Westin Dublin – no change at 60,000 points
Renaissance Paris Republique (where I am typing this) – down 5,000 points to 35,000 points
It is genuinely a mixed bag. Whilst four hotels above have gone up sharply – Domes, Essex House and the two Ras properties – you should remember that we only wrote about those because they were exceptionally cheap. Across the hotels which we have reviewed, there is no trend.
A random big reduction, for example, is St Regis San Francisco which drops from 90,000 to 60,000 points. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, a popular option, goes up from 70,000 points to 85,000 points – but confusingly will be a bargain between August and December when it is capped at 60,000 points! The key London Park Lane hotels go from 45,000 points to 60,000 points.
Remember that the scheme retains ‘five nights for the price of four’ so, on a 5-night holiday, a 60,000 point hotel will only cost you 48,000 points per night.
If you need a summary ….
Someone on Flyertalk has actually crunched every single data point. In general, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Autograph and Tribute go up the most, whilst Element, Aloft, Residence Inn, AC Hotels and Springfield Suites go down the most. Almost all top-tier Marriott properties currently at 45,000 points go up.
It isn’t as simple as ‘posh up, rubbish down’ though, because St Regis and W are, overall, getting cheaper. Westin and The Luxury Collection are flat. It is true to say that no budget brand has – taken as a whole – gone up in price.
Here are the extreme bargains
These are the Starwood properties currently requiring ‘double points’ because they are ‘all suite’. At the most extreme, these hotels drop from 270,000 points per night to 60,000 points per night between August and December. Even when Category 8 launches in January, these hotels remain a bargain at 85,000 points per night off-peak.
There is always a catch, of course. Reward availability is expected to be substantially worse than it is at present.
St. Regis Resort Bora Bora (currently 270,000 points) and Le Méridien Bora Bora (currently 180,000 points)
W Maldives (currently 270,000 points) and St Regis Maldives (currently 270,000 points)
Sunset Key Guest Cottages, Key West
Pine Cliff Residences, Portugal
Cala Di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, and Hotel Romazzino, Porto Cervo, Italy
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai (currently 180,000 points)
W Retreat, Koh Samui (currently 180,000 points) and Vana Belle, Koh Samui (currently 180,000 points)
St Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico (currently 180,000 points)
This list is not comprehensive as the online version is out of date. We may be missing a couple.
Here are the pretty darn good bargains (for August to December bookings)
As a reminder, here is the new redemption chart from August:
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.
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.
The St. Regis Aspen
The St. Regis Florence
The Gritti Palace, Venice (pictured above)
The St. Regis Bali Resort
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.
If you can lock in any of these hotels at 60,000 points for bookings made between August and December, you are getting a steal. I will try to get St Regis New York for a trip I have planned for September.
Want to know more?
Full details can be found here on the Marriott / SPG transition website.
Tomorrow we will look at what is happening to the popular Travel Package redemptions (answer: they are getting worse).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)