See why Marriott points are extremely versatile and valuable.
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In fact, there is good news for Starwood and Marriott members alike: Marriott points are more valuable than ever. Though they don’t have as high a redemption value as Starwood’s famous Starpoints, you can collect Marriott points at a much faster rate and – since Marriott has incorporated Starwood’s point transfer options (you can now transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer partners) – Marriott points are extremely versatile.
A great introduction to Marriott Rewards
Why should you get it?
With 6 points per dollar on Marriott hotel purchases, 2 points per dollar on other purchases and a free night certificate on your card anniversary, you can easily score a few free hotel nights with the card in the first year.
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Marriott points value
As you can see from our chart below, Marriott points are a bit inflated. While the average rewards program points is worth around 1 cent, we estimate that Marriott points are worth only 0.8 cent apiece. Still, this is a pretty good value for a hotel program, especially one that offers such generous sign-up promotions and is so flexible on redeeming points.
Marriott outmatches many other hotel loyalty programs, including its closest competitor, Hilton, whose points are worth only 0.5 cent each:
How we value Marriott points
Our value of Marriott points comes from comparing the number of points to the price of a standard room over a range of dates and locations. While the redemption value can vary quite a bit by location and tends to increase for each location during peak travel times due to the rise in room rates, we find that the value averages to 0.8 cent per point.
How to value your Marriott points
We’ve told you how we value Marriott points, but, actually, the value of points is subjective and ultimately depends on how you choose to redeem them. Here are a few things you should consider in deciding what Marriott points are worth to you:
- What redemption option do you prefer? Are you planning to use your points for standard room nights or a room upgrade? Do you want to transfer them to another loyalty program? (Specifically, which program do you intend to transfer them to?) Or, are you thinking of redeeming points for something besides travel, such as a purchase through the Marriott MORE portal? (Note, we don’t recommend redeeming points for merchandise, since the value is low). Each of these options can result in vastly different point values.
- What level of hotel do you want to stay at? Do you want to stretch your points by redeeming them at a lower tier Marriott hotel, or are you aiming for a stay at a luxury resort? Our research indicates you may find better point values with Marriott hotels in the lower tiers.
- Where do you want to travel? If you are traveling to a pricier locale, you may get a better value on your points due to the higher cost of the hotels there.
- When do you want to travel? If you plan to stay with Marriott during a peak travel time, you may get a better value on your points due to the higher cost of rooms (provided you can find availability).
- How far in advance do you tend to book? If you tend to book rooms closer to your travel date, you also may net a better value with your points due to higher room costs (but, you may run into availability issues).
- How far off is your travel date? If your intended travel date is far in the future, you’ll need to contend with the fact that Marriott is updating its award chart in 2019. If you’re planning to book a room during peak season or at one of Marriott’s highest end resorts, your redemption value may end up being lower following this transition.
In addition, you need to consider whether the points are flexible enough for your needs, since points are worthless if you can’t redeem them. Fortunately, Marriott points are fairly flexible (more on that below).
How to calculate the value of Marriott points
While there are varying philosophies on valuing reward points, the calculation boils down to figuring out the cost of your intended redemption option (subtracting out any taxes or fees that you still have to pay when redeeming with points) and dividing that value by the number of points:
Point Value = Rewards Value (in dollars) / Number of Points
There are countless other factors that can affect your rewards value, such as points that you’re losing out on by not paying for a room with cash, the lowest possible price you could find on a room by monitoring the site over time (which depends on how diligent you are in checking back with the site), the lowest possible price you could get by booking a room with any hotel in your intended destination, and so on. But, for a simple comparison between redemption options, a rough estimate should do the trick.
How flexible are Marriott points?
Overall, Marriott points are pretty flexible. Thanks to Marriott’s vast worldwide hotel network and its generous transfer options, you should find it easy to redeem points, though you may have to deal with a few quirks along the way:
Pros of Marriott points:
- Marriott points don’t expire as long as you have activity in your account at least every 24 months.
- Marriott has the largest network of hotels in the world. With more than 7,000 properties in more than 130 countries, including the Starwood, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotel brands, you should be able to find redemption options for most places you want to travel to and at most price points.
- Award rooms are not restricted for the most part – Marriott has a no-blackout-date guarantee for standard rooms – so you should be able to find availability at most properties for most dates if you look far enough in advance.
- You can get a good value on upgraded rooms, in case you want to book something nicer than a standard room.
- Marriott allows you to transfer points to more than 40 frequent flyer partners at a good value, giving you a plethora of other redemption options besides Marriott hotel stays.
- Marriott uses a fixed awards chart, which means you can maximize the value of your points by booking rooms for places and times in high demand.
Cons of Marriott points:
- Some properties may restrict the number of award rooms by reclassifying their rooms.
- You need at least 7,500 to book an award night, and there are few good options to redeem a lower number of points than that. Though Marriott gives you the option to pay with points and cash, the number of points required is generally high and the value is poor.
- You may find that many of Marriott’s high end luxury resorts have a poor redemption value.
- Marriott recently transitioned to an award chart that offers peak and off-peak pricing for award rooms, as well as an eighth tier for its top tier resorts. In other words, it’s become more expensive to book award rooms during peak travel times and at Marriott’s most luxurious properties (but you should also be able to find bargains during off-peak times).
Are Marriott points worth it?
Despite their inflated value, Marriott points are so versatile and flexible and give you access to such a large hotel network that they’re almost certainly worth your while, especially if you’re looking at collecting a large number of them through a sign-up bonus. Whether you are a fan of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton or Starwood hotels, or you are looking for points that can take you many places, Marriott points are a great way to go.