Does the falling £ make Marriott’s flight ticket redemptions a good deal?

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Back in 2013 Rob wrote about SPG Flights, the Starwood Preferred Guest redemption option where you exchange your Starwood points for a flight ticket.

Whilst SPG is now effectively dead, it is still possible to redeem your Marriott Rewards points (which your SPG points have now become) for flight tickets.

Two facts make this offer sound quite attractive.  Marriott is buying you a cash ticket so there is no problem with availability.  And, because it is a cash ticket, you will receive airline miles and tier points back when you fly.

Historically, looking at the cash value of your SPG (now Marriott) points, this deal turned out not to be the best value redemption.  Things have now changed.  The flight booking system is priced in US$ and, with Sterling currently being rather weak, it’s worth taking another look at this redemption because the value has improved.

If you want to book a ticket, you need to go to this page of the Marriott Rewards website and click on ‘Air + Car’.  You are diverted to Switchfly to make your booking.

How to use Marriott Rewards points to book flights

What do I get for my Marriott Rewards points when used to book a flight?

Marriott Rewards has removed the pricing table which Starwood used to publish publicly.

The chart below is ROUGHLY correct but may be a few thousand points too high or too low in some cases.  Based on the cost of your flight, the numbers of Marriott Rewards points you need is approximately:

up to $150 30,000 Marriott Rewards points

$150-$215 45,000

$215-$280 60,000

$280-$345 75,000

$345-$410 90,000

$410-$475 105,000

$475-$540 120,000

$540-$605 135,000

$605-$670 150,000

$670-$735 165,000

$735-$800 180,000

$800-$865 195,000

$865-$930 210,000

$930-$995 225,000

$995-$1060 240,000

etc

Looking at a random example, a $562 ticket came out at 142,500 points (7,500 more than my table suggests, but as I said this is indicative only).  $562 is £440.  This means that you are getting 0.31p per Marriott Rewards point.

Let’s be clear.  0.31p is not great value.  We normally target 0.5p when redeeming Marriott Rewards points.  It isn’t totally terrible, however, and ‘totally terrible’ is what you normally expect when a redemption involves the programme handing over hard cash to a third party company.  If you earn all of your Marriott Rewards points via business travel, which makes them effectively ‘free’, then you might consider this acceptable.

For comparison, remember that Marriott Rewards points convert to Avios at the ratio of 3:1, although this improves to 2.4:1 if you convert in chunks of 60,000 Marriott points.  If you value an Avios point at 1p, then getting 0.33p per Marriott Rewards point by converting to Avios is not a lot better than getting 0.31p by redeeming directly for a flight – and you have zero availability problems and you will earn miles back when you fly!

(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. Benylin says:

    OT: Koh Samui – how did people get around? There doesn’t appear to be Grab and hotel’s are charging 1000/1500 BAHT for one way transfers from airport. Seems a bit excessive.

    Is there any transfer companies anyone can suggest?

    • When we stayed at the Conrad we had to use the hotel taxi on departure as couldn’t get anything else unfortunately. Charged it to the room so at least got Hilton points but it was very expensive.

    • Depends where you are arriving. If you arrive by ferry (Lomprayah) they transfer you to your final destination for THB150 per person.
      You should have a look here (https://www.samuiairportonline.com/transportation/#privatecar). The most expensive is Conrad for THB1000

    • We used samuibus.com for 723 thb, transfer to IC KS, then to Conrad then back to ferry
      Chat online to them and get a discount code too.
      They were very good at accommodating for us, stopping at some local shops for snacks etc.

      I’d also add as soon as you get off the pier there are loads and loads of taxis available too. Not sure of their prices though.

      Hope this helps

    • The Original Nick says:

      Hire a car. Taxi’s can be a rip off nowadays.

      • Who wants to drive in Thailand?

        • I have done this before while staying at the Conrad. It was actually very easy. Hardly any traffic in Samui.

        • The Original Nick says:

          It’s safer than trusting someone who’s bought their driving licence.

        • @The Original Nick – that made me lol! Take your point. Still don’t fancy it.

        • It’s very easy. everytime i’ve been to Thiland, I’ve driven.

        • Waribai says:

          Yes, we stayed at the Conrad and rented. Everything was fine but you do have to watch out for motorbikes as many of them don’t use their lights at night for some reason!

    • bosco79 says:

      rent a mototrbike

      • Benylin says:

        Don’t have a IDP and I’m already in Asia unfortunately, or was planning to get a car upon this advice.

  2. Would this tickets be flexible(with checked bag included),with avios redemptions you get cancellation with instant avios return to your account!

  3. OT: Trying to book Marrakech and only 2 flights per week from LGW showing up on BA. Is this a glitch or have BA stopped flying from LHR?

  4. Chrisasaurus says:

    What fare type do Marriott book into? Are they changeable?

    • They are booking you standard tickets at Expedia prices so the terms are whatever you are willing to pay for.

  5. Lady London says:

    Wasn’t that a bit like a scheme called ‘Thankyou’ that used to be run in America and was apparently quite lucrative? I have Barclay’s or Citibank in my head that offered such a scheme but maybe not them.

  6. RussellH says:

    OT but Marriott:

    There have been any number of complaints recently about the time taken for SPG/Marriott points to transfer from credit cards. I my self am still waiting for the points from my Marriott M/Card to credit, having been awarded on 7 Jan.
    However, today:- about 15 mins ago I checked my SPG Amex after being away for the weekend. Points still showing. Then checked my Marriott a/c, to see if the points from Creation had finally arrived. They have not; BUT the points from my SPG card ARE showing there as well as on my Amex card, dated today. Total points updated, so I could spend them if I wanted. The expiry date of my points has not (yet) updated, though.
    So maybe, Amex-Marriott have now finally got their act together?!

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