10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 7, 2013 11:34 PM by vaboywnder RSS

Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG

toader Platinum 2 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

I posted my previous chart right before the announcement by the major chains regarding changes to their reward/loyalty programs.  There have been many posts relating to switching and trying out other programs, especially those of us that may be Platinum lifers where the switching costs of maintaining status is very low.  Some of you might not agree with this analytic approach to comparing, but it does provide me with a "price basis" of the reward program.

 

This analysis looks at the points needed to redeem per category based on the various number of nights.  It then translates that into "how much would I need to spend at this chain to get enough points to redeem" the given reward. For instance, under the new 2013 changes a Cat 1 one-night reward at Marriott runs 7,500 points.  For Hilton, it is now 5,000 (down from 7,500 in 2012  and from 10,000 in 2007).  A Marriott platinum would earn 15 points for every dollar, as well as a Hilton diamond.  Therefore, it would cost the Marriott platinum $500 in room charges versus the Hilton diamond $333 in room charges to receive the same category reward.  A SPG platinum would need to spend $1,000 for the same entry level reward.  So for this reward, Marriott has a $167 premium spend and SPG has a $667 premium spend for the same reward.  At the top category for each program, a Marriott platinum needs to spend $3,000 for one night in a category 9 while a Hilton diamond would need to spend up to $6,333 (or as little as $4,667) for the same one night.

 

Granted, categories across chains as well as within chains have no real standard of comparison,  This does translate the rewards programs into a dollar comparison for a level of reward.  Then you throw in promotions such as MegaBonus and other free night/point boosting carrots, and it makes it harder to compare programs (intentionally).  It is interesting to note that Marriott has kept the same point level separation between levels over the past 10 years while only adding three levels and increasing the point ceiling for top properties by 15,000 points/night. Hilton has reduced their lowest category point redemption requirements of its lowest three levels over the past decade, have added FOUR new levels, and increased the point ceiling for the top properties by as much as 55,000 points/night (40,000 to 95,000).  Starwood has only added one level and added 5,000 point/night to its top level.

 

In the end, you still need to spend a lot more money at either Hilton or Starwood to get similar reward nights at Marriott. 

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
    kharada46 Alumni Steward Gold 10 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Toader,

     

    Thank you once again for the excellent analysis!  It's good to know we're still getting a better value than two of Marriott's largest competitors, and I'm sure management already knows this... unfortunately, the fact that those other two did a devaluation doesn't help us any, but there are others out there that look promising! 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
    howieg Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I appreciate your analysis, but, it does not consider in the case of Hilton the option of double dipping and getting airline miles, but, more importantly, by-passing the airline miles and taking the "plus points" option, meaning that each dollar spent gets 15 points, and, if diamond, another 5 so you have 20 points to the dollar, whereas, at Marriott only 15.  Your chart does not recognize the "plus points" Hilton option.  Further, with the AmexHHonors credit card, you earn 12 points for each dollar spent at a Hilton property; whereas, the Chase Marriott Visa awards only 5 points for each dollar spent at a Marriott property.   So, a Marriott Platinum member spending $1 at Marriott property using a Chase Marriott card gets 10 + 5 + 5 points = 20 points for each dollar spent; whereas, a Hilton Diamond with the "plus points" option spending $1 at a Hilton property using an AmexHHonors Card gets 10 + 5 + 5 +12 = 32 points for each dollar spent.  That changes the analyis of your PDF file considerably if you adjust for these options.

     

    It would be good to see Marriott coming up with a higher bonus point reward for charges on its Marriott Chase Card, to match what HHonors does with the Amex card.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
      toader Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Granted on the double dip - definitely a plus on the Hilton side.  The intent was to give a base analysis to compare programs.  Each program adds various promotions to differentiate and make it more difficult to drop this down to a "by the numbers" analysis. 

       

      At the 20 point level for Diamond, we get the following one-night adjustments on the Hilton Diamond Premium line:

      Cat 1: $(250)

      Cat 2: $(167)

      Cat 3: $---

      Cat 4: $167

      Cat 5: $333

      Cat 6: $500

      Cat 7: $667

      Cat 8: $833

      Cat 9: $1,000

      Cat 10: $1,750


      Once we throw in all the other side promotions, including credit card, the variations become too great to start making an apples to apples comparison.  Starwood, for example, is now doing a miles program with Delta that now adds value for those with loyalty to both programs.  I guess the guidance would be to use this as a base and then consider the add-ons that you can personally use.

       

      Using the Hilton AMEX vs the Marriott Chase gives you a net 7 points on hotel spending above the "plus points" options.  This nets out to Hilton's benefit through category 4, equals out on category 5, and gives Marriott the advantage from categories 6 and above (Hilton premium on one night: Cat 6: $63, Cat 7: $125, Cat 8: $188, Cat 9: 250, and Cat 10: $719 - at Hilton's high season reward rates).  You also pay foreign transaction fees on the AMEX card, which are hard dollars when using international properties (which I primarily do).

       

      In the end, Hilton does still charge a premium for the upper level if you are paying the high-season reward rates.  In most cases, it may mean the difference of staying 1-3 extra nights for each reward night to account for the extra spend.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
        howieg Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        You've done a great analysis.  Kudos!

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
    pingreeman Platinum 1 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I did a very similar analysis about 18 months ago (when I was a regular poster). Marriott points were the better deal. However, with both programs having changed up there points earning process and changing their categories, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this post in 2013. However, for those who are interested, please see the "conclusion" post at Marriott vs Hilton Point Value - Conclusions (Part 4) and the related posts at:

    Three previous a analyses were used to drive to the final conclusion:

    1. A comparison of point values for buying gift cards and merchandise: Marriott vs Hilton Point Value
    2. A comparison of hotel room purchasing power of points: Marriott vs Hilton Point Value - Part 2
    3. A comparison of how quickly points are earned for hotel stays: Marriott vs Hilton Point Value - Part 3

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
      toader Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      These are great, especially for us quants!  It just validates that the different perspective based on room costs, gift cards, and other promotions still tilt toward Marriott.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
      tryt53 Alumni Steward Platinum 5 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I remember that analysis, like many of the others you did, and it was excellent.  I'm so glad you're back, at least for a while.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
    californian Platinum 37 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    When I consider the cost in points per night, I don't compare the category of the hotel, I look at the price that I would have to pay compared to the points needed to pay for it.  I have found that the hotels in the categories vary even within one hotel brand.  Then I consider the cost of earning those points.  I usually get a better deal with Hilton or Starwood.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
    Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Excellent and thanks

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Cost of a free night - Marriott/Hilton/SPG
    vaboywnder Alumni Steward Platinum 21 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    toader,

     

    Thanks for your hard work on putting this analysis together.  It is extremely helpful to all Insiders who wants to compare the value of Marriott Points to other Hotel brands.  The grass is definitely not greener on the other side.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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