As of Monday, March 22 you have the opportunity to redeem your Marriott Rewards points at all participating Marriott rewards hotels in the U.S. and Canada (except Hawaii) for horrible value to pay for things like your hotel room, spa treatments, bar tabs, activity fees, and whatever else you can find at the hotel to spend your points rather than your cash.
To be fair to instant redemption awards, the value is more acceptable once you get into the 100,000 points for $500 credit, but this program might not be much use to you unless you have more points than you can possibly use or you are reimbursed entirely for your hotel stays and have no need of hotel free nights on points.
The exchange table tells the real story.
Marriott’s Instant Redemption Awards at the worst exchange value gives you just $2.00 cash credit per 1,000 points. Two drinks at the bar will run 9,000 points right out of your account.
You will be hard pressed to find a hotel award value that poor. An equivalent hotel award value would mean a hotel room rate of $22 after tax if you used points for a category 2 hotel award at 10,000 points per night.
A category 6 hotel award covers some very nice locations around the U.S. and Canada for 30,000 points. Most of them will cost well over $100 per night which is all the credit you get from 35,000 points used for a Marriott instant redemption award.
But since you feel like throwing points away, how much do you think is the going room rate for a luxury end Marriott category 8 hotel for the New York Marriott Marquis? An award night is 40,000 points.
For April 6 I see an award night for 40,000 points available. The room rate is $381 after tax. The award exchange value for this room is USD$9.52 per 1,000 Marriott Rewards points.
Dante’s Inferno Vacation
So you wake up and realize you’d rather spend points because $381 is way over your credit card limit that suddenly evaporated when the waiter at the riverside Italian restaurant last night sold your card information to the local gang and all your card credit is gone at check-out time!
“Nessun problema”— The $400 in Marriott Instant Redemption award credit will actually cost 118,000 points so you might as well party on your points. Just pay 100,000 points at check out to walk away from the $381 hotel tab and go blow another $119 at the hotel before leaving. Get a 20 minute massage or a few drinks and a meal before you deal with the credit card phone rep.
100,000 points with an instant redemption award or 40,000 points for a category 8 free night award at the New York Marriott Marquis?
After all, they are your Marriott Rewards points.