Marriott Rewards has published its new Cash + Points Guide with reward night cost tables. This new redemption option is set to launch in early 2016 at a specific date not yet announced.
My first impression is I am excited at the new opportunity to save points and cash on Marriott brand hotel room rates. Even before getting into a detailed breakdown of the cash and points components, I can see there will be some good deals available.
Marriott Rewards 2016 Cash + Points Table
Ritz-Carlton Rewards 2016 Cash + Points Table
Loyalty Traveler Analysis
Different models among hotel loyalty programs for Cash and Points
The good news is the Marriott Rewards Cash + Points tables are fixed amounts. This is the cash and points model used by Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood. This means there are leverage opportunities where some hotels will have a great redemption value using Cash + Points in lieu of using more points for a standard reward. Conserving hotel points is always a good strategy when you are a traveler who wants to spend more points than you typically earn from hotel stays.
Choice Privileges and IHG Rewards Club do not discount the points required for a hotel night in their models. Members simply have the opportunity to buy points at a reduced rate at the time of booking a cash and points reward night. Club Carlson uses a model of cash and points where the cash portion is 60% of the Best Flexible Rate. Considering advance purchase and frequent sales often reduce the room rate by 15% to 30%, Club Carlson cash and points rates are frequently not a good deal.
Analysis of Marriott Rewards Cash + Points Table
The basic breakdown I examine in the table is what percentage of points are required compared to a standard reward. This is not a set proportion among the different hotel categories. The lower the percentage the better. The second part of the analysis examines the cash portion in respect to the cost per 1,000 points saved to book a Cash + Points reward night.
Percentage of Marriott Rewards points needed for Cash + Points compared to Standard Reward
Category 1 = 3,000 points (40% of 7,500 points standard reward)
Category 2 = 5,000 points (50% of 10,000 points standard reward)
Category 3 = 8,000 points (53.3% of 15,000 points standard reward)
Category 4 = 11,000 points (55% of 20,000 points standard reward)
Category 5 = 14,000 points (56% of 25,000 points standard reward)
Category 6 = 17,500 points (58.3% of 30,000 points standard reward)
Category 7 = 21,000 points (60% of 35,000 points standard reward)
Category 8 = 24,500 points (61.25% of 40,000 points standard reward)
Category 9 = 28,000 points (62.22% of 45,000 points standard reward).
Tier 1 = 15,000 points (50% of 30,000 points standard reward)
Tier 2 = 20,500 points (51.3% of 40,000 points standard reward)
Tier 3 = 26,000 points (52% of 50,000 points standard reward)
Tier 4 = 32,000 points (53.3% of 60,000 points standard reward)
Tier 5 = 38,000 points (54.3% of 70,000 points standard reward)
Analysis of Cash Component for Marriott Rewards Cash + Points
The other side of the equation is the cash component required for each hotel category. This is essentially the rate per 1,000 points a member pays to buy the points saved by redeeming a Cash + Points reward rather than a Standard Night Reward.
For example: a category 4 hotel Cash + Points reward night is $60 + 11,000 points. This is like buying 9,000 points for $60, which is a discount on the normal purchase price of Marriott Rewards points at $12.50 per 1,000 points. The discount rate is different depending on the Cash + Points hotel category, but certainly a big discount on the normal purchase price for most rewards (Marriott category 9 hotels are the exception). There is still a use for buying the 50,000 points annual purchase limit when redeeming Cash + Points rewards for category 9 hotels.
Category 1 = $45 saves 4,500 points ($10 per 1,000 points)
Category 2 = $50 saves 5,000 points ($10 per 1,000 points)
Category 3 = $55 saves 7,000 points ($7.86 per 1,000 points)
Category 4 = $60 saves 9,000 points ($6.67 per 1,000 points)
Category 5 = $65 saves 11,000 points ($5.91 per 1,000 points)
Category 6 = $75 saves 12,500 points ($6.00 per 1,000 points)
Category 7 = $90 saves 14,000 points ($6.43 per 1,000 points)
Category 8 = $145 saves 15,500 points ($9.36 per 1,000 points)
Category 9 = $220 saves 17,000 points ($12.95 per 1,000 points)
Tier 1 = $115 saves 15,000 points ($7.67 per 1,000 points)
Tier 2 = $145 saves 19,500 points ($7.44 per 1,000 points)
Tier 3 = $170 saves 24,000 points ($7.08 per 1,000 points)
Tier 4 = $260 saves 28,000 points ($9.29 per 1,000 points)
Tier 5 = $335 saves 32,000 points ($10.47 per 1,000 points)
Important to note that Standard Reward redemptions offer 5th night free, but there is no 5th Night free when redeeming Cash + Points for a 5-night or longer extended stay.
Bottom Line on Marriott Rewards Cash + Points:
These Cash + Points tables look to me to be reasonable valuations for Marriott Rewards members. There should be some great deals with Marriott Rewards category 4-7 hotels using Cash + Points. Ritz-Carlton will offer some great savings at Tiers 1-3.
I might be tempted to try a Ritz-Carlton Tier 1 for $115, but I am certain I’ll find great value in Cash + Points at Marriott Category 4-7 hotels to eat up all my points.
Best of all is this addition of a true Cash + Points reward in 2016 will also mean these reward stays count for elite status with Marriott Rewards with the change to count reward nights as elite qualifying beginning November 1, 2015. Silver elite with 10 nights in a calendar year really means something with Marriott Rewards besides a few more bonus points. I received upgrades on most of my hotel stays in 2014 as a Marriott Silver elite member.
Loyalty Traveler – Marriott Rewards counts reward nights on points and certificates for elite nights starting Nov 1, 2015 (Oct 12, 2015)
Marriott Rewards New Cash + Points FAQ
Using Cash + Points
- How is Cash + Points changing in 2016?
In early 2016, the NEW Cash + Points will give Rewards members the flexibility to use a mix of cash and points within a single night on redemption reservations.
- When will the NEW Cash + Points be available for booking?
The launch date will be announced soon, and the NEW Cash + Points will be available for booking in early 2016.
- Will the NEW Cash + Points be available for members of both Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®?
Yes, both Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards will offer the NEW Cash + Points. Participation will vary by hotel.
- Will the NEW Cash + Points follow No Blackout Dates?
No, members will be able to redeem their points for the NEW Cash + Points at participating Marriott brand hotels and The Ritz-Carlton hotels when available. Participation will vary by hotel.
- Will I earn Elite night credits with the NEW Cash + Points?
Yes, you will earn one Elite night credit for every night redeemed and stayed using the NEW Cash + Points.
- Will I earn points on the cash portion of the NEW Cash + Points?
No, members will not earn points on the cash portion of the NEW Cash + Points.
- Will the NEW Cash + Points count toward “Redeem 4 Nights, Get the 5th Night Free”?
No, the NEW Cash + Points will not count toward “Redeem 4 Nights, Get the 5th Night Free.”
- Will the NEW Cash + Points amounts fluctuate?
No, the NEW Cash + Points amounts will remain the same within each hotel category. Please refer to the chart below for further details.