Last week I broke the news that Marriott would be introducing four new benefits. Perhaps as a result Marriott decided to tease those benefits a couple of days later.
SkyCity Marriott, Hong Kong Airport
Those new benefits:
- Points advance book award nights before you have all the points in your account, as long as you’ll have the points by the time of the stay. This benefit already existed but was unpublicized.
- Points sharing between accounts, for free for Golds and above and at a fee for lower tier members.
- Award nights count towards status
- Cash and points awards
Marriott has now come out with the full details.
Reward Nights Count Towards Status
This benefit begins November 1. Marriott joins Starwood, IHG, and Hilton counting the nights stayed when redeeming points towards qualifying for elite status. Hyatt counts only their cash and points nights towards status and not full points awards (although Hyatt is unique in counting cash and points nights towards promotion-earning as well).
You can combing up to 50,000 points a year. Last week I wrote that it will cost $10 for base members and silvers, and will be free for Gold and Platinum members although I do not yet see reference to this on the website. This benefit is available now.
Since this isn’t a new benefit, it’s already in place, they’re just admitting in print — you can make an award reservation without having all the points in your account. You just need to earn the points prior to the stay in order to issue the reward certificate against the reservation.
Cash & Points Awards
This doesn’t start until ‘early’ 2016 and the specific date hasn’t been announced, so I imagine there’s still some IT work to do so they want to give themselves wiggle room with launch.
Cash and points has its own page of details on the Marriott Rewards site.
Here’s the Marriott cash and points award chart:
And here’s the Ritz-Carlton cash and points award chart:
Cash and points awards do not come with ‘5th night free’ so for five night stays you’re generally better off redeeming straight points. For shorter stays, here’s the calculation. With cash and points you’re essentially buying points at a discount along with your redemption. These are the prices:
For Marriott properties, category 4 through 7 hotels are a good value on cash and points in my opinion. Lower and top tier properties are more marginal. The top Ritz-Carlton properties are not obviously a better deal on cash and points than they are just on points.
Even so, cash and points can still be a better deal than paid rates (depending on the rates a hotel is charging on a given night!) and stretches your points farther so may still be advantageous even in those relatively lower value cases.