Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Dana Point, California is on the current PointSavers list for discount award nights using points from March 1 through April 30, 2009. That property caught my eye.
Marriott PointSavers are discount hotel stay awards where the limited time special offer is one redemption category reduction in the cost of points for a free night.
Laguna Cliffs Marriott is a Marriott Rewards Category 6 and regularly 30,000 points per night. For the upcoming two months the nightly PointSavers rate is the regular rate for a Category 5 hotel or 25,000 points per night. Even Ritz Carlton hotels participate in PointSavers.
The new 2009 Marriott Rewards redemption chart has the feature of a 5th night free. The Rewards member only pays points for 4 nights on hotel stays of 5 nights. Fifth night free also applies to PointSaver hotel rewards.
Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort is only 100,000 points for 5 nights during the March-April PointSaver Reward period. A Marriott Rewards Category 6 property for 20,000 points per night is even lower than the regular 2008 redemption rate.
The 2008 rate would have been 110,000 points for a 5 night stay at the Category 6 Laguna Cliffs Marriott during regular redemption periods or 95,000 points during a PointSavers period. The 2009 redemption changes are not bad for this particular example of a Category 6 hotel for five nights on a PointSaver rate.
Although for a reality check, consider a four night stay at a Category 6 hotel on a PointSavers will cost 100,000 points now and would have only been 80,000 points in 2008. A 25% increase in points hurts.
Redemption Castles in the Sand
Last month Marriott Rewards introduced its new redemption chart for free hotel nights using points. The change eliminated, from a consumer viewpoint, the strong competitive advantage Marriott Rewards had over Hilton, IHG, and Starwood for discounted multi-night hotel stays at high end hotels.
In 2008 the high Category 7 hotels were 35,000 points for one free night using points. Discounts on multi-night stays using points reduced the rate for a 7 night stay to 150,000 points. Marriott Rewards was the bastion of the great one week bargain vacation when you could get a hotel stay redemption for a top category hotel vacation at 150,000 points.
The drawback to Rewards members’ dream getaways was capacity controls for hotel redemptions at the lower points rates and the possibility of needing double points for a StayAnytime Reward – a whopping 300,000 points for a 7 night stay at a Category 7 resort — was a real obstacle at times to getting your hotel reservation.
A Category 7 Marriott brand hotel at 35,000 points per night is now 140,000 points for 5 nights in 2009 and 210,000 points for a 7 night stay. 60,000 additional points, a 40% increase in the cost of a one week award at a Marriott Hotel, is a real hit in the account balance of Marriott Rewards members.
And if your dream getaway was one of the 14 hotels to move up to the newly established Category 8 level, then a 5 night stay will now be 160,000 points. The Marriott Rewards member will pay 10,000 more points than required for a 7-night stay in 2008 for two fewer nights in 2009.
That beach resort vacation may take several more thousands of dollars in hotel spending in 2009. The consumer takes another one on the chin in 2009.
The bright side for 2009 is beach resort rates are plummeting. This may be the year to concentrate points spending on the low tier properties which are holding average room rates much better than resorts.
You might be surprised at some of the incredible room rate bargains in 2009 where spending a large amount of points on a high category hotel could provide a relatively low value.
Marriott Rewards says your consumer advantage for the 2009 changes is greater access to those hotel rooms in the Marriott system. When so many hotels are at 50% occupancy I really wonder how much of a concession “No Blackouts” is in these economic times.
Related link: Marriott Rewards Analysis of 2009 Program Changes
This report has a modified chart showing both 2008 redemption points and 2009 redemption points.