Marriott Rewards has an upgrade program for reward nights which is one of the best offers for room category upgrades in hotel loyalty programs. You don’t have to pay 3x or 4x points for a room upgrade like with Hilton and even suites will often be less than double points at Marriott resort properties.
Marriott room upgrades are two types with points upgrades and cash & points upgrade awards.
St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino
St. Kitts Marriott offers the opportunity to see how two discount rates work in Marriott Rewards with this hotel during the month of October offering both PointSavers Reward nights and Seasonal Awards (25% discount). PointSavers offer hotel reward nights at the points rate for one category lower hotel. This means a category 6 hotel like Marriott St. Kitts, normally 30,000 points per night is only 25,000 points per night during PointSavers dates.
5th Night Free applies to 5-night and longer stays using PointSavers and Seasonal Awards.
Marriott’s Caribbean resort on St. Kitts is available from September 23 through November 23 on Seasonal Awards at a 25% discount on the standard reward night at 30,000 points. Fifth night free also applies to Seasonal Awards meaning the normal rate of 120,000 points for a 5th night free award is 25% less, only 90,000 points during the Seasonal Award period.
And on top of the discount using points is the opportunity to upgrade with a cash supplement for better rooms at St. Kitts Marriott.
October 14-19, 2013 St. Kitts Marriott, Marriott Rewards Category 6 hotel.
- 90,000 points for 5 night Seasonal Award stay is 30,000 points discount for garden view standard room.
- 125,000 points for 5 night PointSavers stay is 100,000 points for resort view standard room combined with five upgrade room nights at 5,000 points per night using eCertificate (25,000 points).
PointSavers allow stays at the price for one category lower, so St. Kitts Marriott is normally 30,000 points per night, but only 25,000 points per night during PointSavers. Therefore the 5th night free rate is 4 x 25,000 points = 100,000 points for 5 nights. And then an upgrade with points is 5,000 points additional per night for 5 nights.
Upgrading with Points vs. Cash
Marriott Rewards allows the option to upgrade using a designated number of 5,000 points eCertificates for each night of the stay on points.
Alternatively, Marriott Rewards also offers the option of cash upgrades on stays using points. The advantage of cash upgrades is the ability to conserve points while paying a cash component per night that can be a great savings to the published rates for the room category.
Comparative rate samples for different room types at St. Kitts Marriott available for a Seasonal Award stay October 14-19, 2013.
Cash Upgrade: 90,000 points (Seasonal Award)+ $25 per night = Standard Room with Resort View
This is the same room category that requires one 5,000 points e-Certificate per night with the other upgrade option.
Points Upgrade: 125,000 points = 100,000 points (PointSavers) + 25,000 points (5 eCertificates at 5,000 points per night) = Standard Room with Resort View.
I would spend $125 for this hotel reward stay instead of spending 35,000 additional points for the Cash Upgrade option. ($3.57 per 1,000 points is low value for points redemption.)
Points Upgrades with 5,000 point eCertificates
200,000 points = One Bedroom Suite, King or Two Double Beds, Sofabed, Resort View, Garden Houses, Whirlpool, balcony.
This upgrade to one bedroom suite requires four 5,000 points eCertificates per night, or 20,000 additional points per night on top of the PointSavers rate of 100,000 points for 5 nights. This is 100,000 points for the regular PointSavers 5th night free award plus 100,000 points more for five nights of points upgrade to suite.
Marriott Rewards Redemption with Cash Upgrade
100,000 points + $100 per night = One Bedroom Suite, King or Two Double Beds, Sofabed, Resort View, Garden Houses, Whirlpool, balcony.
Personally I would opt to pay $500 for the 5-night stay rather than 100,000 points for this upgrade.
Don’t forget the All Cash option
St. Kitts Marriott is a good hotel to illustrate the difference between Seasonal Awards and PointSavers and upgrade options using points or cash for higher category rooms. This is the one hotel offering an overlap of both Seasonal Award and PointSavers rates and makes a good case study in the difference between these two discount award types.
After all is said and done though, St. Kitts Marriott for October 14-19, 2013 probably offers the best value simply paying for the hotel room outright and saving points for another time.
St. Kitts Marriott Beach Resort October 14-19, 2013 room rates
- $129 Best Available Rate (CX: 3-day before arrival penalty free cancellation) = Standard Room Garden view.
- $149 ($200 stay credit and 3-day CX policy) = Standard Room Resort View.
- $199 ($200 stay credit and 3-day CX policy) = One Bedroom Suite Room 750 sqft. Garden View.
- $219 ($200 stay credit and 3-day CX policy) = One Bedroom Suite Room Ocean View.
- $219 ($200 stay credit and 3-day CX policy) = One Bedroom Villa, sleeps 4, 900 sqft. Resort View.
- $239 Royal Ocean Suite ($200 stay credit and 3-day CX policy) = One Bedroom Villa, sleeps 4, 1,000 sqft. Ocean View, 1.5 baths.
Options for St. Kitts Marriott basic room, garden view, 5-night stay.
- 90,000 points Seasonal Award (Oct 14-19, 2013). No additional charges. CX = 7-nights before arrival. Garden view room.
St. Kitts Marriott basic room, resort view, 5-night stay.
- 90,000 points + $125 (Seasonal Award with cash upgrade for Resort View).
- 125,000 points (PointSavers award 100,000 points + 5 nights at 1 eCertificate upgrade per night; 5 x 5,000 points).
- $928 ($149/night) with $200 stay credit ($50 per day, max $200 per stay).
- All cash with stay credit is best deal.
St. Kitts Marriott basic room, ocean view, balcony, 5-night stay.
- 100,000 points + $280 ($45 per night for 5 nights)
- 175,000 points (100,000 PointSavers + 5 nights at 3 eCertificates per night; 5 nights x 15,000 points).
- $1,239 ($199/night) with $200 stay credit ($50 per day, max $200 per stay).
Options for basic One Bedroom Suite Garden Houses Resort View:
- 100,000 points + $373.50
- 200,000 points (100,000 PointSavers + 5 nights at 4 eCertificates per night; 5 nights x 20,000 points).
- $1,239 for One Bedroom Suite, Resort View ($199 per night) with $200 credit.
St. Kitts Marriott one bedroom suite, ocean view, balcony, 5-night stay.
- 90,000 points + $467 (Seasonal Award with cash upgrade for Ocean View).
- 215,000 points (Seasonal Award 90,000 points + 5 nights at 5 eCertificate upgrades per night; 5 nights x 25,000 points).
- $1,488 total after tax and fees for five nights at Royal Ocean Suite with $200 stay credit ($50 per day, max $200 per stay).
Some of the points + cash room upgrade rates give good return on value of Marriott Rewards points. Considering the relatively low rates at St. Kitts Marriott Resort, there are some luxury market segments resort where your points make a place affordable that might not be affordable on your cash budget.
Marriott St. Kitts ranks high on TripAdvisor with 80% favorable reviews.
While my sister has lucked out on repeat vacations to Cancun in September, I have also had a friend who was in Montego Bay for Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.
Trip insurance might be a good idea.
My friend’s vacation hotel provided a great feast hours prior to the storm’s arrival when chefs cooked the best of the best perishable food before electricity was lost. During the storm there was great damage and water flooding inside the hotel while evacuees, some injured from other collapsed and flooded buildings arrived to their hotel during the hurricane. They lived several days in a disaster zone waiting to be evacuated by U.S. Coast Guard.
No big hurricanes yet this season in the Caribbean.
Marriott Seasonal Awards (Caribbean Resorts 25% off awards September 23 – November 23, 2013. Aruba resorts available until December 15, 2013.