After back-to-back years of 210+ nights at Marriott and Hilton, I now have reasonable data to compare the two programs in terms of "points-earning" power. Below is comparison of nights and dollars spent:
|Program||Dates||Total Nights||Total Spend||Difference|
|Marriott Rewards||2012-03-04 thru 2013-01-30||212||$26,673.00||Delta $|
Below are the points earned under each program; Marriott offers a Megabonus and Hilton has their equivalent "Daily Grand Offer", both compared under the Megabonus heading.
|Program||Points - TOTAL||Base Points||Bonus on Stay||Credit Card||Megabonus||Arrival||Status Bonus||Misc|
At the end of a year, Hilton earns points at approximately 122% the rate of Marriott if you do NOT count the credit card points. My CC points are not a fair comparison since I do nearly all of my personal spending on my Marriott Visa Premier (HH card is only for room payment). However, including CC points and the ratio goes to 134%.
shoeman1000 - the easiest value calculation is on gift cards, so I am opting for that. A $100 Best Buy gift card costs HH 50,000 and MR 27,500 or 182% more for HH. Thus, even though I can earn HH points at a 134% pace, at the end of the day my MR points above (though less quantity) are worth $2,474.84 versus $1,817.91. But I do not vacation at Best Buy, so to me, it's moot.
I can certainly understand your position on this and respect it as well. However, it is my opinion that 'real cost' must be evaluated just as 'real benefit'. the way I read it, I will be sticking with Marriott and feeling food about it. Thanks for showing me my position is just. For me, anyway.
Thanks for sharing your analysis. It should also be noted that Hilton Honor Points are worth less than Marriott Points. A very well known Travel Blogger known as "The Points Guy" estimates the value of a Hilton Point at .005 cents each and a Marriott Point at .007 cents each. You can see his estimated values for these points and other travel points here: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/02/introducing-the-tpg-maximizer-tool-to-help-you-choose-the-right-credit-cards/
Using the estimated values from "The Points Guy" the value of your Marriott Points total (680580) is $4,764.06 and the value of your Hilton Points (908954) is $4,544.77. Even though you spent $1469 more at Hilton the overall estimated value of your Marriott Points is worth $219.29 more than your Hilton Points.
shoeman1000 & vaboywnder - both of you have excellent replies to infer "what are the points worth?" Remember my biggest grief is to vacation with family on points and upgrade to a suite by using points only. Having said that for the 100th time on MRI, let's think about that in more detail:
I began building a spreadsheet of top-20 destinations (as noted by US News & TripAdvisor), best hotel rankings (as per TripAdvisor), cost per night, and points per stay comparison between Marriott and Hilton. But then I began noticing a pattern - many of the top-rated Marriott venues were unavailable for cash and even more were unavailable for points. So in lieu of calculating point value, I opted for point availability (date of travel 07/15/2014 - 07/25/2014).
The spreadsheet is interpreted as follows: Total is # of hotels listed per city, Cash is # of hotels available for $, and Points is # of hotels available on points. % Pts calculates Points/Total to yield a percentage of all hotels where points can be used to book the venue for the week cited:
|Top 20 Rankings for Summer||Total||Cash||Points||% Pts||Total||Cash||Points||% Pts|
|Buenos Aires, Argentina||1||1||1||100.00%||1||1||1||100.00%|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||19||19||19||100.00%||20||20||20||100.00%|
|London, United Kingdom||26||26||21||80.77%||37||35||35||94.59%|
|Los Angeles, California||100||95||90||90.00%||78||78||78||100.00%|
|New York City, New York||121||119||120||99.17%||105||105||105||100.00%|
|Prague, Czech Republic||5||5||4||80.00%||2||2||2||100.00%|
|San Francisco, California||77||75||72||93.51%||51||49||49||96.08%|
IN CONCLUSION - even though many can argue that MR points are worth more per point than HH points, what good are points if you cannot use them at the best hotels, during high season, for a family vacation, to apply to a suite upgrade? It should be noted that ALL of the Hilton hotels allow for suite upgrades on points guaranteed. I should also note that when Hilton has a room for cash, it also has it for points; Marriott cannot claim the same (blackout T&Cs rule).
Thanks for your destination analysis and like Shoeman I also understand your position and point of view. Personally I havn't had any difficulty using Marriott Points for redemption but I also do very little international traveling as you listed in your examples above. Unless Hilton increases the value of their points I see no reason for me to give additional business to Hilton over Marriott. I am glad to hear though you are finding value with the Hilton Honors program and able to utilize the points in a manner which you desire.
I'm confused by the very first line. Just looking at Maui, Marriott has 3 hotels. I enter 2 adults flexible dates for July and I get:
The Courtyard is available for redemption every single night in July.
The Ritz Carlton is available every night except 4 (16,17,18,19)
The Marriott is available every night.
3 hotels x 31 nights = 93 nights, with 89 of them available = 95.7% redemption availability. At standard rates.
I do the same at Hilton and I get one property
Grand Wailea- no availability on points
What am I doing wrong at Hilton?
vickisocal - It is important to do the searches for my exact dates of 07/15/2014 through 07/25/2014 and assure the following are set:
Show has All Hotels (system defaults "Available Hotels"), Check-In and Check-out have correct dates, Guests/Room is 2, and Use Reward Points is unchecked (returns 5 hotels across 4 brands):
After this search is done, then choose Available Hotels instead of All Hotels (returns 3 hotels across 3 brands).
Finally, choose the Use Rewards Points and select FIND (2 hotels across 2 brands).
Hilton is similar:
Put in correct dates and search (12 matching hotels):
Then select Available Hotels Only (12 matching hotels):
Finally, choose Use HHonors Points (12 matching hotels):
"Marriott only has 3 hotels on Maui. With 95.7% availability on points for the month of July. I think that's pretty good this far out."
Five hotels on Maui - two unavailable which likely did not appear in your search because you did not do the "Show All Hotels" (top red circle) as described in prior post. See results here:
Edinburgh MR availability for redemption in July 2014
Residence Inn- 22/31
Hilton points redemption in July 2014-
Waldorf Astoria- 27/31
Double Tree- 27/31 (some of the "available nights" are for suites only at 200K points a night!!!)
Hilton Grosvenor- 31/31
Hilton Airport- 31/31
vickisocal - When you use "Flexible dates" and count the number of open dates, these are one-nighter availability, so it is important you attempt to book for the 10 day range as did my example, 07/15/14 - 07/25/14. So for Edinburgh:
MARRIOTT (no distance filter unless you use "near an address" in advanced search)
Using the same search parameters for Edinburgh:
5 hotels across 3 brands (All hotels, no points)
4 hotels across 3 brands (Available no points)
2 hotels across 2 brands (Available with points)
HILTON (make sure your radius is set to 40 miles):
7 hotels (All hotels, no points)
5 hotels (Available no points)
5 hotels (Available with points)
What are the 5 Marriotts in Edinburgh? The website only lists the 4 in my post. Searching for a hotel available for 10 nights on points is a terrible way to search. Search for one night on points but click "dates flexible" this will show you availability for the entire month on a calendar.
vickisocal - Please keep in context that the purpose of this post was to show a trend - not an exact science, so there may be differences in what you find versus what I posted. My data was retrieved consistently according to my screen shots in my other post, so I am confident of the results.
As a self-employed consultant (read between the lines - I am not paid vacation time), I am on engagements for 6-24 months, non-stop. I do not vacation during this time as I can never be certain what the schedule will be at my client and if I can risk not being there for 10 days. Consequently, I schedule vacation between gigs which can fall any time of the year. I purposely take two weeks off and will not begin a new engagement until I have had my family vacation. Under such constraints, I cannot use flexible dates. "Searching for a hotel available for 10 nights on points is a terrible way to search. Search for one night on points but click "dates flexible" this will show you availability for the entire month on a calendar." Great idea, but this will not work for my needs.
I should also emphasize that I want suites for vacation (almost everyone here on MRI knows this is my biggest gripe against MR), so your comment "The biggest problem with this analysis is that Hilton's availability includes nights in upgraded rooms and suites that would eat up my points balance in one night." is 180-degrees opposite my family's needs. I WANT to burn points to earn suites as I earn points faster than I can use them.
The Edinburgh hotels on Hilton were searched using: Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, United Kingdom · 15 Jul 2014 - 25 Jul 2014 · 1 room for 2 adults with 40 miles set for distance. I did NOT log in so the results were not related to my Diamond status. The hotels returned are as follows:
The biggest problem with this analysis is that Hilton's availability includes nights in upgraded rooms and suites that would eat up my points balance in one night. If you look for only standard room availability it is much much worse.
In 7 years we have NEVER not been able to get an award room at a Marriott when and where we wanted it. Planning ahead, doing our research, from Hong Kong, to Sydney, London, to Zurich, to the Caribbean, to Hawaii. Usually limited to peak times because of the kids' school schedule. We've always gotten what we wanted.
vickisocal - My favorite comment from you, "In 7 years we have NEVER not been able to get an award room at a Marriott when and where we wanted it." My point EXACTLY - which relates to my other comment, "what good are points if you cannot use them at the best hotels, during high season, for a family vacation, to apply to a suite upgrade?" I even lined-out the latter suite upgrade to even more prove my point with your comment.
Enough for now....
You are not listening to what I am saying. We earn a ton of points. The husband is already at 53 nights for the year (some rollover, some credit card the rest BIB) The reason we don't have a ton of points in the bank (About 300K right now) is because we use them. And we are able to use them because I am smart in how I search for rooms and use them. In the last year we've used them in Hawaii, New York and Spain to name a few. All for standard point rates, not inflated Hilton rates. What I'm saying is:
Searching for a hotel having 10 straight nights of points availability and comparing Hilton and Marriott only on whether all 10 nights are available is not a valid comparison because Hilton will almost always say they are available, then when you dig deeper, 8 nights might be at 40K/night and 2 nights are a suite at 200K/night. Whereas I can use the calendar method at Marriott, book available nights on points, maybe have to fill in one or two nights at reasonable $ rates and get a much, much better value out of my points.
Also- expecting MVC properties to be available on points in high season is not realistic. It's not the business model of those properties, I would not include their availability in any comparison.
The husband has been plat at Marriott for 7 straight years and usually around gold at Hilton. I think I have a pretty good handle on which program has best overall return on our investment. Or rather my husband's employer's investment!
vickisocal - I don't want this post to turn into a series of useless banter or disagreements, so I am making one final comment.
I do not believe you are listening to my key points -
SUMMARY - this post was to generate discussion. It was not created so it could be dissected as to the approach, the sample selection methodology, that the 10-days is unrealistic, etc. It is simply a quick-and-dirty standardized data collection and analysis of a simple idea - availability of rooms on cash or points as compared to number of rooms listed per web site. Simple as that.
Good stuff as always pingreeman. Man, you financial types have a strange sense of fun times (maybe you should slide over more toward the Wolf of Wall Street....naah, he went to jail).
Here's my takeaway from the analysis; you spent $26k (plat. premier - top 3% of all of Marriott's millions of individual customers) went to Hilton, and Marriott didn't bat an eye; setting revpar, earnings, and stock price records. Let this be a lesson to all of us, but especially anyone coming onto Insiders beating their chests and saying, "if Marriott doesn't, blah, blah, blah I'm leaving".
It's one thing to point out the perceived and actual deficiencies of Marriott's one way street toward loyalty like you, stelzer, and other big time players legitimately have, but I move that we pass Insider Resolution #624 - no more threatened departures, it just shows an ignorance of the situation and dilutes the credibility of some very legitimate issues. Thank you very much, I now must head off to my fundraiser (don't be a jerk, vote with erc )