This article is my analysis of the new Marriott Rewards charts coming August 2018 and another change to the charts launching in 2019 for hotel reward nights using points. My general assessment is most hotels will cost more points and more cash in one year’s time.
Buy Marriott Rewards points for $7.5833 per 1,000 points through July 20.
This article focuses on the cost of reward nights using the new August 2018 Standard Rewards and Cash&Points Reward chart with a fixed point value for Marriott Rewards points of $7.5833 per 1,000 points, based on the promotion through July 20, 2018 to buy Starpoints for $22.75 per 1,000 points.
Starwood Preferred Guest is currently selling points through July 20 for $22.75 per 1,000 points. Members can buy up to 30,000 Starpoints in the calendar year. This allows a member to potentially acquire 90,000 Marriott Rewards points before August 2018 changes.
Starpoints transfer to Marriott Rewards points at 1:3 ratio, so a purchase of 30,000 Starpoints = 90,000 Marriott Rewards points in the new August 2018 program.
Marriott Rewards members who earn points primarily from hotel stays and credit card spend may have other point value preferences than $7.58/1,000 points. My general rule of thumb is I value hotel points at the lowest price I see them sold for during the year. The current SPG Starpoints 35% off drops the purchase rate of 1,000 Starpoints for $22.75 to a rate $7.5833 per 1,000 Marriott Rewards points. This sale qualifies for cheapest Starpoints in 2018.
Is it worth buying Starpoints for reward nights in new Marriott Rewards program?
Cost of Marriott Rewards points = $7.5833 per 1,000 points.
August 2018 Marriott Rewards hotel nightly rates using purchased points
- Category 1 = 7,500 points = $57 room night.
- Category 2 = 12,500 points = $95 room night.
- Category 3 = 17,500 points = $133 room night
- Category 4 = 25,000 points = $190 room night.
- Category 5 = 35,000 points = $266 room night.
- Category 6 = 50,000 points = $379 room night.
- Category 7 = 60,000 points = $455.00 room night.
August 2018 Reward Chart Observations:
Cash&Points reward nights in Marriott Rewards August 2018 reward chart tend to cost more than standard rewards when using a fixed value for Marriott Rewards points.
Whether you value your Marriott Rewards points at $4 per 1,000 or $8 per 1,000 points, Cash&Points tend to be worse value than standard rewards.
New Rule: Marriott Rewards Cash&Points reward nights are only better value than Standard Rewards if you need to conserve points.
Category 6 hotels are the only close Cash&Points value similar to a category 6 Standard Reward night at 50,000 points.
Category 6 Cash&Points reward night = $190 + 25,000 points. The cost to buy 25,000 Marriott Rewards points through Starpoints at $7.58/1,000 is $189.58.
$380 hotel nights are way out of my travel league.
Big League Marriott Rewards members should redeem in August for high category hotel reward stays.
There is a limited time opportunity to take advantage of some of the top hotels in the world in Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood for 60,000 points per night or 240,000 points for a 5th night free reward.
In 2019, there will be peak season rates pushing new category 8 hotels to 100,000 points per night and 400,000 points for 5th night free.
Time to book Costa Smeralda and Venice in August 2018 for 2019 summer travel if that is your thing and you got the points to burn now.
Observations on 2019 changes – Value in low category hotels
I look at the cost of rooms for category 5, 6, 7 and 8 hotels in peak season ($222-$758) and write-off that whole scenario.
Unless there is a free night promotion for higher category rooms, I doubt I will see the inside of many category 5-8 hotels in the new Marriott/Starwood/Ritz Rewards.
The long bet for me where I see value in Marriott Rewards are category 1, category 2 and category 3 Off-Peak standard rewards. These are potential low room rate opportunities where buying Starpoints might make sense for a good value rate savings.
I spend about 5 to 6 weeks in Europe in off-season October to April months. At least I hope those months fall into off peak season for many hotels.
Marriott Rewards OffPeak Reward Nights (coming in 2019)
- Category 1 = 5,000 points = $38 room nights offpeak.
- Category 2 = 10,000 points = $76 room nights offpeak.
- Category 2 = 15,000 points = $114 room nights offpeak.
But are there any decent category 1 hotels?
USA has over 160 category 1 hotels. They are probably not aspirational, but might prove damn convenient when you need a room and don’t want to pay out for an overpriced bed.
Over 900 hotels in the USA will be category 2 reward nights come August 2018 at 12,500 points. Many of these hotels will be a good deal at $95 per night. you can buy seven category-2 reward nights with a 30,000 Starpoints purchase.
Fairfield Inn Tehachapi, California was one of my favorite Marriott Rewards category 1 hotels 5 years ago for its location in the mountains mid-way on the 525 miles of road from Monterey and Las Vegas. That hotel is now category 3 at 17,500 points in 2018, then in 2019 prices at 15,000 offpeak and 20,000 peak season. That hotel has priced out of my view.
Courtyard Pilsen, Czech Republic remains a category 1 reward night in the August 2018 reward category update. Plzeň is the home of Pilsner Urquell, the original lager beer from 1842. The brewery is 10 minutes walk from the hotel and there are frequent tours offered at the brewery. Pilsen Beer Museum is across the street from the hotel. Old Town is out the front door with a lovely square, shops, restaurants and lots of pubs.
South Africa has 40 hotels at Category 1 in Marriott’s Protea brands and a dozen more Protea category 1 hotels are in several other African countries. Traveling around Africa with Marriott at $38 per night is a bargain vacation. 30,000 Starpoints for $682.50 would buy 18 hotel nights in 2019 at Category 1 hotels offering offpeak rates of 5,000 points per night.
Spain is another place loaded with category 1 hotels.
Italy has 4 AC Hotels dropping from their current category 3 rate at 15,000 points to category 2 at 12,500 points.
Courtyard Belgrade catches my eye dropping from its current Category 4 reward at 20,000 points to a Category 2 at 12,500 points in August. Hyatt Regency Belgrade at 8,000 points for a standard reward, makes two good points options in this city.
Malaysia has several beach hotels in category 2 at 12,500 points per night in 2018.
Cash&Points peak season rates for category 4 and category 6 hotels are slightly lower than Standard Reward rates at these hotels.
- Category 4 Cash & Points Peak Season = $120 + 13,500 points for $222.38 room night.
- Category 4 Standard Reward Peak Season = 30,000 points for a $227.50 room night.
- Category 6 Cash & Points Peak Season = $225 + 27,500 points for $433.55 room night.
- Category 6 Standard Reward Peak Season = 30,000 points for a $455.00 room night.
All other peak season Cash&Points rates are lower value than booking Standard Reward nights.
Most Marriott hotels still too expensive
I have a bias against Marriott and Starwood from several years of these two hotel chains raising reward rates for more hotels than lowering rates. Over a few years the distribution of hotels in reward categories skewed the distribution to make most hotels more costly in points.
I gave up SPG Platinum elite in 2012 after 9 years watching waves of hotels shift from lower category to higher category reward nights. In my hotel loyalty comparative analysis there were fewer and fewer Starwood and Marriott hotels each year with good reward rate value for my travels based on my ability to earn points in these programs. Hyatt went through a similar change. Since I pay for all my own rooms, I look for a high return on investment when I pay for hotel rooms. I do not find high value returns too often with Marriott and Starwood.
This look at the cost of reward nights buying Starpoints by July 20 has me looking more closely at where I find value in the reward chart. Courtyard Pilsen for $38 to $57 per night is fantastic value. I can see spending 4 nights in Pilsen.
Marriott Rewards New Award Charts and Hotels to Book Before August Series
This is a series of posts on the new Marriott Rewards program launching August 2018 for 6,864 hotels worldwide. This article covers Marriott Rewards new Category 7 hotels at 60,000 points per night with a list of hotels increasing in reward cost Aug 2018. These are hotels you should consider booking at their lower rates in July 2018 for stays into June 2019.
Marriott Rewards New Award Charts and Hotels to Book Before August Series
- Marriott Rewards new award charts Aug 2018 and early 2019
- Aug 2018 Marriott Rewards finding value in Category 1-3 hotel rewards
- New Marriott Rewards Category 2 hotels to book before August increase
- New Marriott/SPG Category 3 hotels to book before August changes
- New Marriott Rewards category 4 hotels to book before August increase
- New Marriott Rewards category 5 hotels to book before August increase
- New Marriott Rewards category 6 hotels to book before August increase
- New Marriott Rewards category 7 hotels to book before August increase and 2019 category
- List of 61 Marriott Category 8 hotels coming in 2019