17 Replies Latest reply: Dec 15, 2015 11:58 AM by phctourist RSS

The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points

sewickley Silver
Currently Being Moderated

A few years ago, Rewards Points seemed to have a value of about a penny: for example, if a room cost $100, it would cost about 10,000 points.

 

But the value of Rewards Points seems to have crashed, so now that same room might cost 25K or 30K points. Ouch!

 

Have others noticed the same thing? Has Marriott ever addressed this?

(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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
    vaboywnder Alumni Steward Platinum 21 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Sewickley,

     

    Welcome to Marriott Insiders! I think you will find all hotel chains have devaluation of points.  Marriott bases category levels on reward popularity and announces category changes each year in the spring. If a hotel sees an increase in point stays then there is a chance the following year the category level of the hotel will go up.  According to "The Points Guy", an independent travel blogger, he values Marriott Points at .007 cents a piece.


    Personally I have become conservative when booking award stays and usually am able to get 1 cent or more for my point stays.   I am fortunate however living in Virginia to have access to a lot of properties which are category 4 or less which are usually great ways to get maximum value of points.  


    Utilizing Marriott Travel Packages which include airline miles and 7 Night Hotel Stay are also great ways to maximize value of your points.   In January of this year I cashed in 360k Marriott points for a Travel Package that included 120K Southwest Airline points and a 7 night certificate for a Category 8 Hotel.  By obtaining that many Southwest Airline Points I became eligible for their Companion Pass which allows a companion of my choice to fly with me anytime I fly with Southwest through Dec 2016.  I have plans to use my 7 night certificate for a upcoming stay in Sydney.

     

    So yes point values do decrease over time especially at popular hotel destinations but with a little research and time you can find ways to get maximum value for your points.

    (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      nhtraveler Platinum 3 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Thank you, vaboywnder. I'm sitting on a lot of points and this is a great suggestion. Thank you.

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
    curiousone Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have always seen MR points as a form of currency. Just as my US $s devalue (depreciate) my MR points depreciate. I wish it did not happen, but it does and it will continue. Just as vaboywndr notes, there are some uses that produce better value than others. Right now the best value is a Travel package with 120,000 MR points to SWA, so you can get a SWA Companion Pass. Be sure to do your Travel Package in early January so your Companion pass will be good for 23+ months. Instead of Cat 6 - 9 hotels, I am starting t looking downscale. Happy Holidays!

    (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Yes, Marriott points devalue, so do IHG, SPG, and especially HiltonPesos! The same applies to airline miles too, and supermarket points. Why? Well much of the reason is inflation, government sanctioned devaluation of money, the standard target for most western countries is circa 2% inflation pa. it doesn't sound much but it really improves the affordability of a 25 year mortgage (great!) and reduces the purchasing power over a 25 year fixed pension (bad).

       

      When I first joined Marriott 10 years ago I valued a point at a minimum of 1p, (UK penny) now it's 1c (US cent). A typical night cost £70, now it costs £100. So I used to earn 2,300 points per night and now earn 3,300 (inc arrival and megabonuses). So a cat 4 hotel took 10 nights to earn, now I can earn a cat6/7 hotel in those same 10 nights. Unsurprisingly many hotels in the UK that were cat 4 a decade ago are now cats 5/6/7!

       

      Having said that I recently completed a 4 week USA Roadtrip with 4 teenagers redeeming a mountain of Marriott and IHG points, and the Marriotts redeemed at 0.9p per point. This occurred because I redeemed at costly Cat4s (Ottawa and Albany Airport) and the flagship Marriott Marquis where even though the redemption is 45,000 points per night, the rate was over $550!

       

      Its important to realise currency fluctuations play a big part in this, 10 years ago I was getting $2 (US) to the £. Now I'm getting £1.50. In the past a strong € meant I got great value redeeming in the Eurozone, but a weak $ meant dreadful outomes, now I'm finding good value in the US, although you rarely redeem for low values in London, Paris or Rome, hotel rates being so bouyant in these cities.

       

      Lastly, travel packages, which can represent tremendous value for that trip of a lifetime. I'm taking the wife on our postponed honeymoon to Miami and the Florida Keys on a Marriott travel package. 360,000 points redeemed for £3,000 of First Class return flights and a week at Playa Largo resort worth £2,000, that's 1.5p (2.2UScents) per point. When you consider I'm getting 3,300 points per £100 ($150) night (inc arrival points and average megabonuses) that's £5,000 return for £11,000 of (mostly client) spending, an earn to burn of almost 50%!

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
    jt15550 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I'm quite selective when I use points - I don't accept less than a 1.5 US cents per point, or about 10k-20k per $150-300 night stay.  For stays of several days, I find that playing with the number of days and category of hotel can make the points really stretch.

     

    Earn at JW's, redeem at CY's.  That's my motto.

    (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I can certainly see the sense in that, it's quite easy to find Cat1/2/3/4 at $100, $200 or even $300 per night. Likewise those sought after cat8&9s are often at $500+++, it's the 5,6 & 7s that generally represent poorer options...

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      jt15550 I also shoot for 1.5 cents per redemption, but I sometimes go as low as 1.25.  I generally redeem in blocks of 5 nights, since the fifth night has been free for several years.  I may have read that the fifth night free may be going away next year.  That would be a disappointment for me.

       

      Nevertheless, shopping for point values always makes sense since prices vary with the season and redemption rates are the same all year..

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      jerryl Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I am going to the Cosmo in January and for three nights with all fees it was $500 . It would have cost me 135K points so like you it was better to pay cash

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
    motiv8r Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    There seems to be a lot of interest and effort in this forum to value points based on a comparison of the points cost versus the cash cost of hotel rooms. But successfully doing so would require some consistency in the points pricing of rooms. Looking to make reservation in New Orleans for next week, I tried it both ways with "flexible dates" at the New Orleans Marriott. The cash rates ranged from $94 to $219 per night depending on the date, while the points required were 40,000 regardless of the date. Thus, the points value ranged from .00235 to .005475. Like the rates, the difference is more than double. Is there any explanation for this? I guess what I'm most curious about is not how much the points are worth, but why the "points" rate never changes.

    (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I can show you even worse value comparisons but I can find ones that are a lot better.  Remember point charges sstay the same year 'round at hotels, other than when their are point savers available but rooms vary in price by a factor of five.

       

      For example the  Vail Marriott ranges in price  from $665 for 5 nights to $3995.  Yet 5 nights is 180,000 points regardless of date.

       

      At $665 a point is worth 3.6 tenths of a cent, yet at $3,998 that same point is worth more than 2 cents.

       

      Perhaps there should be seasonal variations in point costs for rooms.

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      IM not sure how else we are to value them, other than against how we redeem them! It is obviously possible to redeem at very poor values, so I like many have a matrix. I don't redeem below 1UScent per point, am likely to redeem at 1.25UScents and always at 1.5UScents or more. Whether I go for between 1 to 1.25 depends on my travel plans, point pile and personal finances. I seem to remember once someone here found a hotel redemption below 1/10 of a cent!

       

      Hotel rates do vary so it's important to do your sums. I definitely DONT want to see seasonal pricing, which will simply make disguised devaluation way too tempting for corporate

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
    jt15550 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I always thought the point value required for redemption was dictated by the category of the hotel, and not at all the dollar value for a particular night.  So really, the topic of "point devaluation" is really more of a discussion of expanding the hotel categories and reassignment that occurs annually.

     

    I'm sure most everyone has seen this, but here's about the most scientific view of point valuation for comparison purposes, FWIW.  Although like I said before, I usually try to get at least twice of the $0.007 US per point value out of my points.

     

    What Are Points & Miles Worth? December Monthly Valuations

    (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
      brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      The annual point reshuffle reflects 2 priorities...

       

      Firstly... to rebalance demand by relegating low demand hotels downwards making them cheaper hence more attractive for redemptions and high demand properties upwards thus increasing their costs and reducing demand. If done purely as a rebalancing excersise approximately the same number of hotels should go down as up.

       

      Secondly... to devalue points. Making more redemptions costlier enables corporate to write down in real $$$ an element of our point stashes, thus reducing the schemes liabilities to members and decreasing our drag on the corporate balance sheet. Devaluation can be easily seen when many more properties go up than down in category, the greater the difference, the bigger the devaluation. I'm afraid that most years, most hotel groups can't resist raiding this cookie-jar and Marriott has been a particularly egregious offender recently.

      (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
        moonflower Platinum 13 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        You are dead right and I know you have pointed out the possible danger with the Starwood deal. However, I take a little comfort in the fact that (rather like the worry of negative equity) you only suffer if you buy nights at that hotel (or sell in the case of your house). It may not be enough to reverse things with our points spend alone but we can always shop around! Keep up the sound advice to Insiders. 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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
          brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          Awwww, thanks for that moonflower. I'm afraid, like inflation of money, points devaluation is an unavoidable fact, but the worst effects can easily be avoided by burning as you earn. Carrying 1,000,000 points In your account for a "rainy day" is just inviting the corporate beancounters to come along and devalue them.

           

          I think the Starwood deal is likely to be an improvement for Marriott memebrship in terms of property availability, but I really can't see Marriott adopting SPGs "super-consumer" focus, though Marriott should certainly study SPGs figures carefully as its claimed the scheme engenders such strong loyalty that SPG members account for about half Starwoods profits. Marriotts execs may want to ponder on that...

          (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
            jerryl Platinum 2 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            I am surprised that they don't do more seasonal for points. In a way they do since getting a room in phoenix in March on points is tough but you would still think that hotels in seasonal climates would have points based on that. 

            (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: The Vanishing Value of Rewards Points
              phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
              Currently Being Moderated

              I've long wondered the same thing.  I frequently go to Rehoboth Beach, DE and the FFI there ranges in price from under $100 to well over $200 per night.  Yet it is always 30,000 points per night.  Never a good value but an atrocious value in low season.

              (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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