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The good and bad of the new Marriott / SPG reward chart, now revealed

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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.

In summary:

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.

New Marriott and Starwood reward chart released

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:

Sheraton Grand Park Lane London (review) – remains at 60,000 points

Le Meridien Hamburg – up 5,000 points to 35,000 points

Domes of Elounda, Crete (article) – up a whopping 40,000 points to 85,000 points! (but capped at 60,000 points for bookings made between August and December 2018)

JW Marriott Essex House, New York (article) – up 15,000 points to 60,000 points

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach (article) – up 10,000 points to 60,000 points

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert (review) – up 10,000 points to 60,000 points

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport (review) – down 5,000 points to 25,000 points

Marriott Manchester Airport (review) – down 5,000 points to 25,000 points

Aloft Liverpool (review) – up 5,500 points to 17,500 points

Aloft London Excel (review) – down 5,000 points to 25,000 points

MOXY London Excel (review) – down 5,000 points to 25,000 points

St Regis Istanbul (review) – down 1,000 points to 35,000 points

Westin Dublin – no change at 60,000 points

Marriott Berlin (review) – down 5,000 points to 35,000 points

Element Frankfurt Airport (review) – up 5,500 points to 17,500 points

Element Amsterdam (review) – up 5,000 points to 35,000 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

Mystique, Santorini

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.

Gritti Palace Venice

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.

Highlights include:

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  

W Verbier  

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.)

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Comments

  1. Jonny says:

    As feared, the “sweet spot” for me of the high-end Marriott hotels for 45k points is disappearing.

    The travel package of 7 nights at Domes + 162k Avios (during 35% bonus period) for 390k Marriott was a bit too good to be true. Next year will still be reasonable value if booked this year, but then at 100k/night peak pricing less so…

    Question is whether its worth buying a travel package now. My guess is that as soon as they announce what’s happening to old certificates, they will prevent the purchase of travel packages until the new pricing kicks in, to stop any potential arbitrage. but not sure if its worth the risk getting a travel package now.

  2. Is there a cutoff date after which Starpoints will be automatically be converted into Marriott Reward points? Apologies if this is in a previous article.

    • From August the new reward currency will be in use and any remaining SPG points will be converted over. Whilst SPG and Marriott Rewards sites will keep running you will only have 1 account number and 1 balance from August.

      • Thanks! So given the SPG -> Avios conversion rate is better than MR -> Avios rate I assume if we dont think we will use SPG points for a hotel redemption we should be converting to Avios before August to lock in the better conversion rate?

        • vlcnc says:

          From SPG site about merger…

          “In a one-time conversion in August, Starpoints® will automatically become points and your Starpoints balance will be multiplied by three.”

          I take from this, this means it shouldn’t matter? Rob can you shed more light on this?

        • vlcnc says:

          Also what does mean for the SPG Amex bonus? I have just applied for this following a referral from Rob!

          • If you trigger it now you’ll get 11k SPG, if you trigger it in August you’ll get 33k in the new scheme. The SPG Amex moves to 3 points per £1 from August.

        • Alex W says:

          If coming from MR then you’re better off converting direct to Avios because MR to SPG is 1:2. Unless you redeem for a marriott travel package as these are better value (until August it seems).

          If you already have the SPG points it makes no difference as the conversion rate to miles will be effectively the same both before and after August. After August it will be via the new Marriott scheme with a factor of 3 involved on both sides of the equation which cancels out.

        • vlcnc says:

          Thanks Rob for clearing this up! I thought I had mad pointless application for measly points but that actually sounds surprisingly straightforward!

        • Genghis says:

          Yep. Announced to SPG card holders in recent statements:

          SPG has announced changes to its loyalty programme and how its members will earn Starpoints. As a result of this, we are making changes to the Starpoints Terms and Conditions. We’re making the Terms and Conditions clearer by changing the title to “Starwood Preferred Guest Points Terms and Conditions”, by substituting the term “Starpoints” with “points” throughout and by referring to your “American Express Starpoints balance” as your “American Express Starwood points balance”.

          We’re also amending the section called “How do you earn Starpoints?” by:
          – changing the rate at which you will earn points. From 1 August 2018, you will earn 3 points for every £1 you spend on purchases on your Card Account and 3 Points for every £2 you spend on purchases at warehouse retailers in the UK;
          – amending the example in this section to read as follows: “For example, if you make a purchase of £25.99 and, if points are earned at the rate of 3 points per £1, you will accrue 75 points (i.e. £25.99 rounded down to £25.00 x 3
          points)”.

        • Apologies just realised I used MR but meant to abbreviate Marriott Reward Points not Membership Rewards( Doh!). If the Marriott Reward points conversion rate doesn’t change post merger (5 Marriott points per avios) letting your SPG points convert at a rate of 1 to 3 and then moving to avios is a worse deal than converting today at a rate of 1-1 (plus the bonus for converting more than 20,000)…is my understanding correct? If so people sitting on SPG points with no intention of using them for hotels should probably convert before August to avoid a devaluation.

        • Genghis says:

          @Mark No devaluation re avios. x3 when transfer Marriott to SPG and avios transfers also x3

    • Mark, that doesn’t sound right. I think I have read that from August 60K Marriott points will convert to 25K Avios (20K + 5K bonus), just like 20K SPG would today. Not accounting for any occasional Avios conversion bonuses.

      So no devaluation. Travel packages are a different matter.

  3. OT, has anyone got the gold charge card to Platinum upgrade link or has it gone. Cheers.

  4. Faithy says:

    OT. Looking to transfer MR points for hotel stay for next week. I am not currently signed up for any schemes. How long would it take to sign up and then transfer MR points? ie, what is the soonest I could use MR points for hotel stay, factoring in the need to get on hotel scheme.
    TY

    • Genghis says:

      Which scheme? For SPG / Marriott, I reckon you could set up and be able to use by Monday PM.

      • Faithy says:

        Thanks Big G

        • Stu N says:

          My Amex-SPG with accounts linked took less than 24h. Sent 2200 last night, arrived when I checked early afternoon today.

          Parnter’s Amex-SPG with accounts not linked haven’t appeared yet.

        • Stu N says:

          You could link accounts now then send points once confirmed and hope it takes <24 hours?

    • Note Radisson transfers are very slow if not already signed up – it says 10 days and, having done simultaneous transfers last month for me and my wife, can confirm that is in the ballpark.

      Hers took almost 20 days – 10 days to link the accounts (the same time my points took to move as my account was already linked) then another 7-10 for the transfer itself.

      Hilton is very fast by comparison.

    • If you have the Amex platinum card, you may want to sign up for the corresponding elite status as well, e.g. SPG Gold (currently Marriott Gold). Not sure what the others are.

  5. I was told by SPG that members will have their points tripled to make up for the changes, can anyone else verify this?

  6. Mike Hunt says:

    OT: 81,000 Avios points have just hit my Iberia account. So only 9,000 missing. They are there as a set of 9x 9k vouchers, which can be used only on one flight each. So 4,000 Avios flight: one of the 9k vouchers. 60,000 Avios flight: one of the 9k vouchers etc etc.

    • Whoa. Wasn’t expecting that. Interesting …

      • long hours of meetings at IB HQ helped them figure out a way of getting outta this one! haha.
        anyway, time to book flights as soon as the points post I suppose.I went all in. it was too cheap to ignore. worst case should still not lose money – fingers crossed.

        • the real harry1 says:

          On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of bad PR, the Tel Aviv/ ME mess would rank about 1 whereas this – if true – will rank a stinking great 10 out of 10 🙂

    • Matthew says:

      If that’s the case then there are going to be some rather angry people over the next few days…

      • I thought there would be something like this, I just couldn’t get excited about it which is not like me!

        • +1
          If this is true and one voucher can be used per hotel booking all is not lost. If flights only it is a disaster. I had objections to this promotion on moral grounds as ultimately it meanr fewer seats and higher fares, particularly for people in Spain. Admitedly, I wavered towards the end but resisted. Now I am glad I did.

      • the real harry1 says:

        very angry indeed! 🙂

        does a careful reading of the promo T&Cs even hint at this? I doubt it

        • the real harry1 says:

          Amex chargeback could be in order – IB selling flights under false pretences ie not honouring promotion T&Cs

        • the real harry1 says:

          nope, no sign of this condition:

          On-line purchases must be made through Iberia’s website
          Purchase date must be between June 21st and June 24th, 2018.
          9,000 Avios will be credited per ticket ONLY under the name of the Iberia Plus cardholder within 10 days after purchasing.
          Promotion is valid up to a maximum of 10 tickets per person (Maximum 90,000 Avios bonus per customer).
          Your Iberia Plus number MUST be included during the booking process and before the purchase is completed and tickets are issued.
          All flights must be operated by airlines within the Iberia Group (Iberia, Iberia Express or Air Nostrum).
          No time limit for your departure date, one way and round trip tickets allowed (No Avios redemption fares).
          Avios earned with this promotion will expire on December 1st, 2018. If Avios collected from this promotion are not redeemed before that date, they will be deducted from the account.
          If any of the tickets gets REFUNDED, the corresponding 9,000 bonus will be automatically CANCELLED.

    • Genghis says:

      So no transfer to hotels? Not having much luck this week.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      LOL. So if they had been honest and said that’s how people are meant to redeem them, how many seats would they have sold?

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      I predict a riot…

      • Mark2 says:

        people could use their vouchers to book flights to Madrid? to picket Iberia HQ.

      • the real harry1 says:

        news doesn’t seem to have hit the IB threads on FT yet…

        yet another coup for HFP comments scribblers! 🙂

    • marcw says:

      any other reports? Seems a little bit strange… only one (so far).

    • Mike Hunt says:

      JUST KIDDING!!!!!!! he he he he he he… although maybe Iberia could give me a job. 1% of the amount I could save them would do nicely… 🙂

    • the_real_a says:

      I’m grabbing the popcorn to see how this one pans out..!

  7. Graham Walsh says:

    OT – Fairmount Presidents Club (think I stayed at one once)

    We wish to inform you that effective 2 July 2018, Fairmont President’s Club will be integrated with the award-winning loyalty program, Le Club AccorHotels. As you may know, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts was acquired by AccorHotels in 2016, a global travel and lifestyle group based in Paris, France.

    • Mark2 says:

      My favourite hotel chain (former CP hotels in Canada at least).
      A big downgrade joining Accor!

  8. just did a search for free nights for st regis rome and florence. NONE available until end of the year. They have a message saying if lowest not available, call to book.. what will happen to this come aug? I am a bit concerned about the actual award nights availability.

    also looked at maldives:
    st regis maldives has limited participation at present. is that confirmed to change? cause there are no free nights online anyway – need to call I suppose?

    W maldives – doesn’t even have an option to select free nights in online search.

    what have I missed?

    OT: bummer about the avios. dunno what to do now. I am sure someone will figure out a smart way of optimising for hotels. I hope! It was a gamble after all.

    • What you missed is that, for the Maldives hotels which are double points, you CAN’T book online. You need to call SPG for a chat – not sure if they specifically ask the hotel to release space or not.

      Not sure about Rome, assuming it has reopened, or Florence.

      SPG has ‘last room availability’ for all hotels except those in ‘double points’ world – if there is a standard room (and how they define that is of course questionable) for cash then you can book it on points. Call SPG if that does not appear to be true and they can force it.

      • thanks. so im going to wait for marriott to announce how the travel packs will transfer across. cause then I may need to buy a few starpoints in the sale to get the best category pack depending upon how they will transfer across. Otherwise I will just use what I have for expensive hotels. We have a few holidays that we need to take with flexible dates – nothing booked as yet.
        waiting for the iberia mess to clear up!

  9. Graham Walsh says:

    OT Anyone been to Cairo? Got to head there for a work trip next month. Never been so will add on a day or two to explore. Typical BA prices are crazy now as I go just as school finishes.

    • Genghis says:

      Take a face mask. The dust in the air is dried up shit.

    • Clive says:

      Many times. LM at the Airport is great. Also liked the Conrad

    • Allow plenty of time for the Egyptian museum, if you have any interest. When you go to the pyramids, haggle for a camel trip, and then get them to take you for a long walk on the other side of the pyramids, so that you can’t see all the tour buses – they mar the view somewhat.
      Eat foul (pronounced fool), it’s better than it sounds, or is spelt.

    • Awesome city, if possible then try to stay three days at least. If you plan on using points you cannot really go wrong with any of the major chains in Cairo. However, if you are happy to pay then I recommend the Kempinski. Also recommend finding a local private guide, they will make everything so much easier and remove any anxiety. Despite it’s reputation there is a lot of great food in Cairo, a local guide can help you access that too. Just be wary of salad and other uncooked foods, even in the well known fast food chains.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Thanks all for the tips. I’ll probaby do 2-3 days once my work is done. Hotel wise will probably look for IHG or Hilton due to status.

        Thanks for the mask tip G.

  10. Roger says:

    I have a MTP booking at JMW Singapore later in the year.
    Price has gone up from 40K to 50K points per night.
    So good for that.

    MTP going forward is a huge devaluation.

  11. Yorkieflyer says:

    Just jumped in in and booked a Towers room at the Sheraton Hong Kong for 14.5k points . Shocking increase here.

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