Jan272011

Marriott Elites Tip: Real Value of $1,000 Marriott Cheques

I learn new hotel travel strategies all the time. Thanks to Kevin at Upgrd.com for clearly explaining this tip on his blog. Recently I was upgraded to Marriott Rewards Gold elite status thanks to the promotion offer for Air China PhoenixMiles members. Now that I am elite, I have become aware of this elite-only opportunity with Marriott Rewards to buy $1,000 in Marriott Cheques for 135,000 points.

The $1,000 Marriott Cheques offer is only available to Silver, Gold, Platinum and other elites in Marriott Rewards. The special rate of 135,000 points apparently is a 25% discount on the normal cost at 180,000 points. The website currently states this offer expired on December 31, 2010. Marriott Rewards told me today this offer is still available for 2011 and there is no offer expiration date listed at present. 2011 availability is also mentioned by Marriott Concierge in this FlyerTalk thread.

To redeem points for $1,000 Marriott Cheques (20 x $50 cheques): Contact 1-800-321-7396 or online https://www.marriott.com/rewards/moreRewardDetail.mi?marrRewardCode=E195&points=135,000

The $1,000 Marriott Cheques offer is a valuable strategy to know when it comes time to spend your Marriott points for your free hotel stay.

Marriott Cheques for Marriott Rewards elite members: $1000 = 135,000 points

Terms of Cheques:

  • No change is given so need to pay within $50 of total bill and settle the balance with cash or credit card to avoid losing cheque value .
  • May be used for publicly listed room rates and packages. [LT note: no AAA, AARP, corporate rates, although some members report being able to use Marriott Cheques on these rates. Breakfast, free night packages, spa, dining packages are eligible rates.]
  • Marriott Cheques expire after one year from issuance.

Loyalty Traveler Analysis:

Kevin shows a breakdown on his blog where he stayed at Renaissance Eden Roc Miami Beach for two nights and paid with $400 in Marriott Cheques (8 x $50 cheque). He spent 54,000 points for the $400 in cheques (40% of 135,000 points). He earned 6,320 points as a Marriott Rewards Platinum member on his $435 paid stay, charging just $35 of the total to his credit card. He also earned two elite qualification nights.

The bottom line is the Renaissance Eden Roc is a category 6 hotel that would have required 60,000 points for a two-night stay and he would not have earned elite credit on a reward stay. Kevin used his points to stay at the hotel and earn elite credit for less than the points cost to redeem points for two free nights.

Marriott cheques also covered his parking charges ($60) which would not have been paid for with a reward stay.

Points Analysis Summary

  • 54,000 points = $400 gift cheques used for two paid nights at Renaissance Eden Roc
  • 6,320 points earned for paid hotel stay with base earning on $388.
  • Net cost of two nights in points = 47,680 points.
  • Kevin saved 12,320 points on this stay while earning 2 elite credit nights.
  • Marriott Cheques total: $400 =  47,680 points net redeemed
  • Marriott Cheques Value of points = $8.39 per 1,000

If Kevin had spent 60,000 points he would have saved room and tax with the reward, but he would have needed to pay the full parking charge of $60.

  • $370 room rate + tax = 60,000 points net redeemed
  • Reward nights Value of Points = $6.17 per 1,000

In this example Kevin ultimately received higher value ($8.39 vs. $6.17 per 1,000 points or about an extra $120 in value for 50,000 points).

Kevin also earned elite credit for a hotel stay using his Marriott Rewards points by redeeming points for Marriott cheques and paying for a stay with cheques rather than redeeming points for a free stay.

When to use Marriott Cheques strategy

This is a particularly valuable strategy when staying at hotels where the rates are relatively low compared to the hotel reward category. Fixed price rewards common in hotel loyalty programs means there is often a disconnect in the room rate and the reward category. 

For example, many hotels in central business districts run $200 to $300 a night on weekdays and then drop to under $150 on weekends when the business travelers are scarce. These hotels typically have a high category reward, let’s say Marriott Rewards category 6, and the fixed price means that a $300 weekday night will cost 30,000 points or a $130 Friday night will still cost 30,000 points.

Marriott Cheques allow the Marriott Rewards elite member frequent guest to leverage the value of points by spending cheques when rates are low relative to the Marriott Rewards hotel category and spending points when rates are high and make the cheques lesser value than a direct free night redemption.

Of course this deal means you need 135,000 Marriott Rewards points to redeem for $1,000 in Marriott Cheques. There is also the $100 Marriott Cheque for 25,000 points ($4/1,000 points), but that is a much lower value than $1,000 Marriott Cheques for 135,000 points ($7.40/1,000 points).  

This might be a good time to consider a Marriott Rewards Visa if you do not spend more than $5,000 a year on Marriott stays.

Certainly Marriott Cheques are not a strategy for everyone, but they are a useful option for the Marriott Rewards frequent guest with a big account balance.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Pingbacks

  1. […] Marriott Points Redemption Strategy using $1,000 in Marriott Cheques. This post explains how Marriott elite members may buy $1,000 Marriott Cheques for 135,000 points. You can then pay for hotel stays and earn points and elite credit on paid stays you actually purchased indirectly with points. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 27, 2011. […]

  2. […] Marriott Points Redemption Strategy using $1,000 in Marriott Cheques. This post explains how Marriott elite members may buy $1,000 Marriott Cheques for 135,000 points. You can then pay for hotel stays and earn points and elite credit on paid stays you actually purchased indirectly with points. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 27, 2011. […]

Comments

  1. Great post – many thanks. Can these cheques be used at a Ritz Carlton or does that defeat the purpose of finding a high category hotel with a cheap weekend rate aka a business hotel?

  2. I’m not so sure that I see the value here, for me anyway. I think that using Marriott points for “stay 4 nights and get the 5th night free” or for a travel package that includes a 5 night stay and a bunch of ff miles would be better usage choices, but I guess the gift cheques is an option for some.

  3. Justin – Marriott Rewards customer service told me Marriott Cheques are not valid for Ritz-Carlton stays. The terms also state Cheques not valid at Marriott Execustay and Marriott Executive Apartments.

  4. Marriott also gives rebates or MyPoints for online bookings, I have found MyPoints to be more reliable at posting the cashback options so just stick with them. I then redeem the MyPoints for the $75 Marriott prepaid card.

  5. The Marriott cheques can now be used at Ritz Carlton. In fact, the recent batch of cheques I received today came with a cover letter on Ritz Carlton letterhead.

    I’ve used the cheques for trips to Europe the past two years and have found them to be of great value, versus using the points to book the room, especially at the discounted rate for Elite members when redeeming the 135,000 points. I especially appreciate that it covers other incidentals, including meals, laundry, etc.

    Last year at the Marriott in Budapest, I used the cheques to pay for the majority of my bill and the front desk manager waived the remaining charges. I can’t wait to go back there (and not just because of the great treatment we had at the hotel)!

  6. Thanks for the information. Can Marriott cheques be used for the stays during which RC Club Level Upgrade e-Certificates will be used? Thanks!

  7. @Jade – RC Club Level Upgrade certificates received with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card are good on paid rates. Seems to me the Marriott gift certificates would be valid for hotel payment.

    Best to call Marriott customer service on that question or ask the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

    I think I have only looked at the benefits of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card in this one Loyalty Traveler post from June 13, 2011.

  8. I am a Marriott Rewards member and I purchased two 50 dollar marriott cheques one we were able to use at the Marriott in Honolulu at the restaurant…we later tried to use the other 50 dollar cheque at another restaurant in the hotel and they were unable to accept it…now the date on the cheque has expired is there someway to get this reissued ….

    Thanks

    Barry Leslie

  9. @Barry – That is a Marriott customer service issue you need to discuss with Marriott.

    There is the issue that some hotels have independent restaurants operating on their premises. I do not know about this specific property.

Comments are closed.