This is not the typical points valuation post, but one that attempts to look at the comparison between programs in a new way.
AGREED - THERE ARE MAJOR ASSUMPTIONS HERE BUT THE OBJECTIVE IS TO LOOK AT POINT VALUE IN A NON-TRADITIONAL WAY. Please, before arguing the specifics of point values, look at the overall theme.
Assuming top-tier status in both programs, bonus points earned on stays, branded credit cards, etc., for sake of argument, let's assume the dollars spent equate to the same number of points under both programs - an assumption I feel is very close to reality with the primary difference between programs of mega-bonus offers via Marriott - perhaps up to 100K points per year. Lastly, the point-value assumption - based on analysis I've done in the past and those of other MRI postings, let's make one final assumption - point values: MR at 10 = $0.02; HH at 10 = $0.175, i.e., MR points are worth slightly more than HH for redemption.
Using a $200 stay, both programs result in 5000 points or $10 MR and $8.75 HH equivalents. EVEN IF I GROSSLY UNDERESTIMATE the values of points in each program, the difference is in the single dollars.
Assuming the above, at the Marriott venue there is likely no free breakfast and the concierge lounge likely charges for beer/wine. At the Hilton venue, breakfast is most often free and beer/wine is always free in the lounge. Breakfast equivalent: $15.00 (and that is a cheap price). Beer/wine equivalent (2 drinks): $8.00 (likewise, that is a cheap price).
UPDATE (corrections to these calculations follow in a subsequent post):
A one-night stay where the guest uses the breakfast and drink options at Hilton saves the member $23.00 on food/drink while the opportunity cost of points is only $1.25 for that same stay. Net advantage of Hilton stay of one night: $21.75.
Final calculations: assume 100 paid nights per year; HH member net advantage: $2175.00 (food/drink savings) less mega-bonus $200, or $1975.00.
MR offers one cat1-5 free night per year, HH does not; assume that is worth $200; new net for HH is $1775.00.
Seems to be a mostly valuation based mostly on domestic hotels, which isn't a bad idea, as many people travel domestically more than internationally. I definitely understand where pingreeman is coming from.
However one benefit to hilton is that it offers credit cards from 2 different banks, allowing for twice the signup bonus (and churning potential). The Citi hilton reserve card DOES offer a free night each year with 10k spend.
I'm also confused about the 5000 points for a $200 stay
@ 10 points/dollar, that is 2000 points, plus the 50% bonus, 1000 points, plus then if you use the credit card that is another 1000 points = 4000 points with marriott, unless I'm missing something.
Same earning structure for hilton, except with the credit card you can earn an additional 2400 points (12x/dollar on hilton purchases) so you're looking at 5400 points (10/dollar = 2000 + 50% bonus = 1000, plus 2400 for credit card)
I'm not including the myway benefits, or platinum arrival gifts as they can vary by brand, but based on your valuations marriott (at 4000 points, correct me if i'm wrong please, i may be) would be worth $8, and hilton (at 5400 points) would be $9.45.
Still very close, but thrown the other way.
I also made a math mistake in points - you are absolutely correct that the $200 stay yields 4000 MR and 5400 HH. As such, the substance of my "non-traditional view" of point values swings all the more in favor of HH. So my final valuations/conclusions should have been as follows:
A one-night stay where the guest uses the breakfast and drink options at Hilton saves the member $23.00 on food/drink while the opportunity cost of points is only $1.25 actually a net gain of $1.45 for that same stay. Net advantage of Hilton stay of one night: $21.75 $24.45.
Final calculations: assume 100 paid nights per year; HH member net advantage: $2175.00 $2445.00 (food/drink savings/net gain) less mega-bonus $200, or $1975.00 $2245.00.
MR offers one cat1-5 free night per year, HH Citi Hilton Reserve CC does too does not; assume that is worth $200; new net for HH is $1775.00 making this comparison irrelevant.
Sorry, pingreeman I'm not with you (and knowing your prowess on this subject I hesitate to disagree, but as a know-all lawyer, can't resist) on the difference in value between MR and HH points. Not for nothing are HiltonPesos known as, um, HiltonPesos. The redemption values between MR and HH points are nowhere near similar.
Looking at the markets I know well, in London next month it is possible to redeem at FS Hilton's as follows
Park Lane 80k
Hyde Park 70k
All London Marriotts are better hotels, some far better and all are 45k/night.
Further out we have:
Canary Wharf, HH 70k; MR 35k
Heathrow HH 60k; MR 35k
Leicester HH 20k; MR 15k
Manchester HH 50k; MR 30k
Glasgow HH40k; MR 30k
Edinburgh HH 50k; MR 40k
Hilton redemptions cost anything between 30% (Waldorf, Leicester and Glasgow) to 100% (Canary Wharf) more than Marriotts. And all these are comparable hotels, in fact I would say the Marriotts all have the edge over the Hilton's.
And when it comes to point value I profoundly disagree with your value of 10MR = 2UScents. I've redeemed 2 million points and according to my records the average has been at 1.4UScents, and that's excluding my travel package redemptions where the 1:1 transfer to airline miles can give fabulous returns. My US/Canadian road-trip earlier this year incorporated 14 Marriott room nights redeeming at 1.2UScents per point, that's 10MR=12UScents.
However I do see your broad thrust here, even if I say spending at the hotels garners more value than you attach it's still the case that a $100 night at a Marriott would probably garner 2000 points worth about $25 with Marriott, and though you do get the extra double dip points with Hilton, they'll still be worth a lot less, around $20. So the difference is only $5, the cost of a beer. However Hiltons points value strongly depends where you redeem, if redeeming in season at Hiltons US Resorts, where Hilton's horrific seasonal pricing hits hardest, US resorts cost 70k-90k per night. That's DOUBLE Marriotts typical US resort redemptions at 35k-45k. So redeeming at Hiltons US resorts effectively halves your earn rate. So that reduces Hilton's earn rate for the night down to only $12.50, meaning Marriott gains double the value, though those extra points are still only worth $12, the price of a couple of beers, and Hilton offers them free in its US exec lounges.
SO YOU HAVE A POINT AT USA LOUNGES (those Hilton's that serve free alcohol)
Now I see where you're going here when it comes to US lounges, some (many?) Hilton's have free wine and beer, Marriotts stick to soft drinks only. A beer or wine drinker quaffing a few glasses/bottles can easily drink more than the points earned on a $100 night. I know, because here in the EU all Marriott lounges serve free alcohol and I always consume at least a couple of beers, and if making "new friends" much more
AND YOU DEFINITELY WIN WITH YOUR ALTERNATE VIEW AT RESORTS
And especially at resorts where Hilton offers free breakfast and lounge access, and Marriott offerings for their most valued members at resorts, um, yes, well, you can have breakfast if you pay and lounge access too, again at Marriott resorts their best customers have to pay. Rightly looking at IN-STAY benefits at Resorts, Hilton beats Marriott VERY SOUNDLY on value, since the breakfast alone is worth about $25pp and let's face it when you're staying at a resort for leisure you'll be with your "significant other" so that's doubled to $50/nt and on a $200 resort night stay that extra alone will always be worth much more than the points awarded, bag lounge access with the free beer/wine and the value difference can be huge.
So, whilst I disagree with you on point values and the differentials between the 2 schemes I can easily see that Hilton's in-stay benefits, especially at Resorts *can* make them well worth considering, though again you do have to be very careful as this really only applies if you're paying at Hilton resorts as with Hilton's variable redemption table it's not easy to find a US Hilton Resort thats less than 70k in season, and some are 90k whereas all US Marriott resorts are in the 35k-45k region, half the redemption cost. Takng that into account, those "free" Hilton breakfasts still seem expensive!
Nonetheless if you're paying to stay at Hilton resorts there's no question that your view on the comparative value of the total benefits, points, breakfast, lounge access means Hilton is much better value. Just don't redeem there!!
I have to give you kudos - you took an even deeper look into the numbers and variables than did I. My hope of this post was to show that "it's not always about points and what the points are worth" as there is a lot more involved in determining how to put a value on points when viewing opportunity costs of earning said points.
More importantly, if all the Hiltons in the world were refuge camps, what would those points be worth? In addition, if you cannot spend your points at the venue you desire on the days you wish (blackouts and other policies), what are the value of those points other than shopping the the rewards mall?
Ironically, I still have close to 800K MR points (without a stay since 2013) and 1.7M HH points (up from 200K in 2013) which just shows I earn them faster than I can burn them up. "Real value" for mega-earners, IMO, is almost a wash when earning 100s of 1,000s of points annually.
Everyone has different ways of valuing points - this was just one more way to ponder valuation.
Wow, those are some numbers to accumulate and do show the difficulty you "big dogs" encounter when trying to redeem. Luckily I don't find myself in such inflexible positions and don't stay so often they bore me, so I am probably in a better position to wring out a better $$$ outcome. I really do earn as I burn, which as I think we all know is the best way to run these schemes. My current MR balance is 17,000 points and my secondary scheme, IHG, where I've earned about 1mill points stands at a balance of 22,000!
I should of course add that if the Hilton equivalent to Courtyard serves up a free breakfast to elites each day, that would really defeat the Courtyard value proposition to Marriott elites, if it ever had one!
I must admit, my opposition to Hilton in the UK is its poor and battered inventory! Hilton has a sad history here. UK Marriotts are usually in far better condition and serve free alcohol in the exec lounge (well in fact everywhere outside US/Canada does - Even supposedly "dry" UAE) and with Marriott FS offering full daily breakfast the only venues around UK where the value matrix shifts Hiltons way is Aberdeen and Gatwick Airports, which are the UKs only Courtyards.
Germany has a lot of Courtyards, Spain a lot of ACs and the Moxy brand is slowly on the march around the EU, none of which offer elites much by way of in-stay benefits, so I may be tempted to give Hilton another go next year, then again I've retained Marriott Plat, so maybe not