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Friday, June 29, 2018

New Free Night Award Chart for the combined Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG program has been released


Not only did we find out the details of the upcoming changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card yesterday, Marriott released the full free night award chart for all of their 6,500 hotels around the world. This chart will come into effect in August and overall I am quite pleased with it.

Here are highlights from the press release:
·         Nearly 70 percent of all participating hotels can be redeemed for the same or fewer points. (52 percent of hotels will move to a lower redemption rate and only 31 percent will go higher.)
·         6,300 hotels can be redeemed for just 35,000 points or lower.
·         Members can save up to 25,000 points per night by redeeming future Category 8 hotels that are priced at Category 7 rates until early 2019.
·         For the first time, SPG’s all-suite hotels such the W Maldives, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, or the Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club in Scottsdale, are now included in the published award chart. These sought-after properties can be redeemed for 5,000 fewer points. 

Also, please note a number of our most popular redemption hotels are becoming more affordable: 
·         Hotel Talisa in Vail, Le Méridien Barcelona, W Punta de Mita, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali, The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, and Le Méridien San Francisco will redeem for 10,000 fewer points in the new program. 
·         The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel, The St. Regis Princeville Resort, Courtyard New York Manhattan/Midtown East, Autograph Collection’s Hotel Punta Islita, and Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Napa Valley will redeem for 5,000 fewer points in the new program.

Let's start with the good news that nearly 70% of hotels remaining at the same or lower point level and of their 6,500 hotels, 6,300 of them are available at 35,000 points or less. This is great news but it also leaves the door open for adjustments (typically negative) in the near future once the program irons out everything and they go back to its annual hotel category adjustments. Still right now this is encouraging news.

For their Canadian portfolio, 67 hotels are going up in price and some by quite a bit:
  • Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant, Quebec goes up 14,000 points to 50,000 points per night
  • Sheraton on the Falls Hotel goes up 20,000 points 50,000 point per night
  • The Westin Grand, Vancouver goes up 14,000 points to 50,000 points per night
On the other hand 134 Canadian properties are going down in points required. Some of the notable drops:
  • Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Suites Calgary West drops 12,500 points to 17,500 per night
  • W Montréal drops 10,000 points to 50,000 per night
  • Element Vancouver Metrotown drops 12,000 points to 25,000 points per night
Secondly, as we have mentioned in past posts when the new free night award amounts were revealed in April that the new highest Category 8 isn't launching until early in 2019 which means those hotels can be had at some excellent rates until then. For example the St. Regis Bora Bora is only 60,000 points per night (20,000 Starpoints) which seems like an amazing deal but you have to remember these rates are for standard rooms only which means you may not get that overwater bungalow for this amazing rate.

We also know that until that 'sometime early in 2019' the peak and off peak pricing won't be in effect which means for the remainder of this year all hotels will price at the standard rate:
In the news release yesterday Marriott also confirmed they are continuing with their Pointsavers option that discounts the above rates by 20%. Pointsavers properties change every week and is a good option for those who are really flexible with their schedules. Here are the Pointsavers rates
Cash+Points redemption options will continue and here are the rates:

You can check out the new Award Chart here which Marriott has made very user friendly where you can search by country, city, region, hotel name and so on.

Here are our tips that we also recommend following when there are point redemption changes like this! If you have been planning to redeem for stay soon check out the new chart, if the hotel you want is going to go up in price you'll want to book it before August. If it is going down in price and you can wait to book then wait and do so after the new rates take effect so you can pay less points. If you already have a booking don't cancel it yet. Wait until the new rates kick in and then see if there is availability left, if so you can then cancel your old booking and make a new one at the lower rates.

Overall this is good news from Marriott and once again we have to commend them for keeping this program quite strong as well as for the great communication they have had with the integration of the programs ever since they announced they were buying Starwood.

What are all you thoughts on the new award charts?

Here are other posts that you may want to read in regards to the integration of the programs

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