Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Is there any link between Marriott Bonvoy peak and off-peak dates and the hotel cash price?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

When Marriott Bonvoy first announced that it was introducing peak and off-peak pricing, we all assumed that it would look something like the peak and off-peak chart used for British Airways Avios redemptions.  (The 2020 Avios peak and off-peak calendar is here.)

We thought we would see whole months, or at least chunks of weeks, marked as either peak, off-peak or standard.  We were wrong.

What has actually happened is that hotels jump between peak, standard and off-peak reward pricing from day to day.

We touched on this on Sunday in Anika’s review of Marriott Canary Wharf but I wanted to look at it in more detail.  Marriott Canary Wharf is a good example because, as a Central London hotel, there are substantial swings in the cash price from day to day depending on how many events are going on in the city.

Here is the Bonvoy redemption pricing for October 2019 (click to enlarge):

Marriott Bonvoy peak and off-peak chart

Of the 31 days in October, there is redemption availability on 24 of them:

1 night is ‘peak’ at 40,000 Bonvoy points

16 nights are ‘standard’ at 35,000 Bonvoy points

7 nights are ‘off-peak’ at 30,000 Bonvoy points

The distribution is random.  Sundays are most likely to be off-peak, but not always.  The only peak night is a Saturday which is usually low yield.

Let’s compare this to cash pricing though:

Marriott Bonvoy peak and off peak chart

Cash prices go from £105 to a whopping £586.

When you look at the cash prices versus the points prices.

The one ‘peak’ night at 40,000 points is selling for just £177!

The seven ‘off peak’ nights at 30,000 points are selling for (in date order) £361, £161, £228, £105, £262, £216 and £220

The 24 ‘standard’ nights at 35,000 points are selling between £121 and £586

Put another way …..

The average price of an ‘off peak’ night is £221, but 1/3rd of the ‘Standard’ nights are priced at £224 or less.

What can we draw from this?  Marriott Bonvoy, at least on this example, has not moved to a purely revenue-based redemption model.  It is NOT as simple as saying ‘this hotel charges peak points when cash rates are above £xxx and off-peak points when cash rates are below £yyy’.

Is this good or bad?  Is it actually better for members that the allocation is fairly random?  I’m honestly not sure.   The more random it is, the more chance of being able to get ‘outsized’ value on a redemption, but it also means that there will be more occasions when points look like bad value.

In reality, we need to give Bonvoy a bit of time to bed down the peak and off-peak methodology.  For now, though, you need to take extra care to compare points rates and cash rates when planning a redemption to ensure you are getting good value.

Marriott Bonvoy peak and off-peak dates analysed

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

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 Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Marriott Bonvoy points.

Comments (166)

  • Craig says:

    OT: Is anyone having issue with Reward Flight Finder and Safari 13? It keeps freezing.

  • BJ says:

    To analyse the question in a statistically meaningful way is quite straightforward but I cannot be bothered devoting the time to it as I’m not much interested in Marriott stays. There must surely be some stats or business teachers amongst the readership who could suggest this a this as a student project.

    • Lady London says:

      You are right BJ. That might finally tell us whether Marriott does have a strategy behind this.

      • BJ says:

        I am sure they have a strategy Lady London but that does not mean it is rigorous and sound. The big unknown in any analysis is that they (presumably) know the end points on likely sales and ocupancy in a detailed way that any external third party analyst never would so that would ultimately be limiting on such an analysis. My gut feeling though is that their approach is more likely shoddy and amateurish than it could or should be, and that Rob’s analysis might well not be far away from the truth. However, the long delay in launching this would perhaps suggest otherwise.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Marriott’s IT may limit the complexity of the algorithm behind this. It can cope with simple addition and subtraction, but not much else.

        • Lady London says:

          so a bit of regression analysis might throw up an apparently strategy that is really not there 🙂

          Saw some other coverage later today that is hinting it might be % uptake of available reward nights that is causing prices to be adjusted. I just think it’s rooms overall not just rewards rooms sold.

          As other clever people on here have pointed out, if you can be bothered with Marriott at all after they’re doing everything they can to make what you will have to pay for a reward night totally unpredictable, actually there might be some very good arbitrage opportunities to be snapped up where the reward points are a lot cheaper than the cash price for the night.

          • Roy says:

            If that’s the case then we should presumably see off-peak redemptions repricing as standard or even peak as more rooms are sold. So will presumably become obvious over time.

  • Steve says:

    OT – Silver flying out of Rio (GIG) later. Any thoughts on lounge options, or is there just the one (option)?

    Cheers

  • Matt says:

    Does Plat Amex still provide Marriot Gold? My Marriot statuis has dropped to Silver!

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      I’m sure the article will be in our inboxes tomorrow

      • Rob says:

        No it won’t! Amex has booked some ads for next week and it will all run together.

        • Freddy says:

          Trying to drum up business after the churning apocalypse eh

          • Lady London says:

            I’ll be interested to see the difference between the BA Amex business and the regular Amex Plat Business.

          • Polly says:

            LL, not a great bonus, think plat and gold biz much better.

          • Rob says:

            I was told – not that I necessarily believe them – that if you apply you are GUARANTEED to get an OnBusiness account. This is great for anyone not registered for VAT. I am not 100% sure that Amex knew what it was talking about though.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    OT Was trying to find the PP lounge in T1 Frankfurt without luck. A quick search revealed that I can access with Amex Plat. A nice lounge it is too. Guessing much nicer than the PP one. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/campaigns/lufthansa/

  • Benilyn says:

    OT: Which cc lets you pay your bill with Revolut?

  • Simon D says:

    Apologies o/t but may be of interest to some… The Eurostar Carte Blanche threshold is rising to 2400 points or 32 journeys from 24th October.

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      Think bob may of covered this

    • Lady London says:

      Covered, I think., 4-6 weeks ago here by Rob.

      At Rob’s coverage there was much mirth by posters that the excuse given by Eurostar is “for the comfort of passengers in the Eurostar lounge and…. bla bla”. Quick to spot was that the actual overcrowding of the Eurostar lounges, is not by Eurostar’s Carte Blanche (the level that has been hit by this change) customers, but all the Amex cardholders.

      Yet for some reason Eurostar, who say they care so much for the comfort of passengers that they had to vastly increase the spend required with Eurostar to achieve Carte Blanche status, did not do the obvious and just stop accepting Amex cardholders (that don’;t have the required Eurostar status) into the Eurostar lounges.

      I know this point of view may upset a lot of Amex cardholders here, however 🙂

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        Is the amex plat/eurostar tie up a bit of a cash cow then?

        • Rob says:

          It’s “free money”, put it that way. Let’s imagine that Amex pays £500,000 per year (I figure I completely made up – but let’s assume 100 users per day across all the lounges of which Eurostar wants £15 per person) for the rights to let Plats use the lounge. It takes someone very sure of their job security to wave goodbye to that.

          • Lady London says:

            No problem with that.
            It’s just that Eurostar takes their customers for fools. they are trying to say they raised the bar for entry to Carte Blanche at least partly because the Eurostar lounges got overcrowded – whereas the true Carte Blanche customers are, in fact, being squeezed out by the paying Amex customers.

            I call it lying on the part of Eurostar and actually, making life worse for their best customers whilst lying about it.

            The only thing that would have ****ed me off more about this is, if Eurostar had somehow used hte words “carefully curated” on this announcement. 🙂

          • Mark2 says:

            What about ‘carelessly curated’?

      • Roy says:

        Carte Blanche gives you fast track check-in (open until 10 minutes before departure), leading (in theory) to a fast track security/passport control lane, and IIRC allows you to bring a guest into the lounge.

        Amex Plat gives you lounge access for yourself only, and none of the other benefits.

        So the benefits are not really comparable. Granted, the fast track security/passport control experience isn’t always great (probably part of what they’re trying to fix) but the check-in queues at peak times are a huge difference.