Estimating the Value of Marriott Rewards Points

For those of you contemplating getting a hotel loyalty credit card in order to eventually pursue some tropical booty surfing at a distant resort, PlasticIQ takes you one step closer to your dream by helping you answer the question: “So how much are Marriott Rewards Points really worth?”  (for the impatient types, we have determined the value to be $0.0088 per point, but strongly encourage you to read the remainder of the post to understand why.)

If you’d rather just find the best Marriott card, have a look at PlasticIQ’s review of the Chase Marriott Rewards and Rewards Premier Cards–the Premier version consistently appears near the top of the PIQ Ranking Engine.

Points from Marriott’s hotel loyalty program are earned through stays at various Marriott-owned properties, including: TownePlace Suites, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Renaissance Hotels, SpringHill Suites, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and the Marriott Vacation Club. Of course, points can also be earned through the use of the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa credit card.

Marriott Hotel Categories and the PointSavers Program

Marriott categorizes their hotels into 8 different levels, with level 8 being the most expensive (and, not surprisingly, requiring the most points to obtain free stays at). Like many other air and hotel loyalty programs, Marriott also offers opportunities to obtain free stays at reduced pricing through their PointSavers program, which does have limited availability. The average discount across all 8 categories if you use PointSavers awards is about 21%, with category 3 hotels offering the highest discount of 33%.

Various Ways to Redeem Your Marriott Points

Awards can be realized in a variety of manners, including: hotel stays, travel packages, air mileage, car rentals, hotel services, sports and leisure activities, and more. PlasticIQ focuses our analysis on hotel stays and travel packages, as these seem to hold the highest potential value. We also analyze air mileage since this benefit, if it were priced right, would have wide appeal to our readership.

Key Assumptions in Estimating the Value of Marriott Rewards Points

  • We assume that 80% of stays are at mid-level hotels (categories 3 to 6, 20% per category), and the remaining 20% of stays are divided evenly between categories 1-2 and 7-8.
  • PlasticIQ assumes that 25% of hotel stays are with PointSavers rates.
  • PIQ assumes that the average stay is 3 nights, but that 1 out of every 5 trips has a stay of 5 days (which earns a free night). This benefit results in a 6.25% increase in the value of Marriott points. (the math is simple: 4 stays at 3 nights per stay, plus 1 stay at 5 nights equals a total of 17 nights, but one of these nights is free, so you get 17 nights for the price of 16, a savings of 6.25%).
  • We further assume that 75% of the value of your points will be derived from basic hotel stays, and the remaining 25% will be derived from Rewards Packages.

Value of Marriott Points when Redeemed for Air Mileage

Let’s get the low value option out of the way first. While Marriott enables you to purchase miles on dozens of airlines with your points, PlasticIQ has analyzed 9 of the largest carriers in the group to provide a directional assessment of the value of this benefit. As the table below shows, this method values your rewards, on average, at about $0.0022 per point, with even the best airline exchange rate only yielding $0.0028/pt. Relative to other redemption methods, this is a horrible choice. Do not use your Marriott points to exchange for miles.

Value of Marriott Points when Redeemed for Air Miles
Airline Miles to Acquire $ value/mile Value of the reward Marriott Pts Req’d $ value/Marriott Pt
American Airlines 2,000 $0.0121 $24.19 10,000 $0.0024
Continental 2,000 $0.0119 $23.89 10,000 $0.0024
Delta/NWA 2,000 $0.0097 $19.48 10,000 $0.0019
United 2,000 $0.0105 $21.07 10,000 $0.0021
US Air 2,000 $0.0102 $20.32 10,000 $0.0020
Virgin Atlantic 2,000 $0.0111 $22.19 10,000 $0.0022
Southwest 2,400 $0.0123 $30.04 10,000 $0.0029
ANA 1,500 $0.0126 $18.87 10,000 $0.0019
Highest Value $0.0029
Value post penalty $0.0028

Value of Marriott Points when Redeemed for Hotel Stays

As the table below illustrates, we estimate the value of a Marriott point at $0.0083 when redeemed for free hotel stays.

Value of Marriott Points when Redeemed for Hotel Stays
Hotel Category Standard Pts Req’d PointSavers Pts Req’d Hotel Market Price $ val/standard pt $ val/PointSavers pt % allocby hotel cateogry % PointSavers Blended $ val/pt
1 7,500 6,000 $77 $0.0102 $0.0128 5% 25% $0.0005
2 10,00 7,500 $81 $0.0082 $0.0109 5% 25% $0.0004
3 15,000 10,000 $110 $0.0073 $0.0110 20% 25% $0.0017
4 20,000 15,000 $118 $0.0059 $0.0079 20% 25% $0.0013
5 25,000 20,000 $166 $0.0067 $0.0083 20% 25% $0.0014
6 30,000 25,000 $268 $0.0090 $0.0107 20% 25% $0.0019
7 35,000 30,000 $364 $0.0090 $0.0107 5% 25% $0.0005
8 40,000 35,000 $376 $0.0094 $0.0107 5% 25% $0.0005
Total Pre-Penalty $0.0082
Post free night adj $0.0088
Post-Penalty $0.0083

Value of Marriott Points when Redeemed for Travel Packages

Marriott offers you the ability to redeem your points for travel packages, which include both air miles and hotel stays. These reward packages require 7 night stays, but actually offer roughly 20% better value than just using your points for hotel stays. PlasticIQ assumes that 25% of your points will be used towards these higher value packages.

The rewards packages are available for category 5-8 hotels, although due to the large number of tables we would need to include, PlasticIQ only shows the 3 airlines with the best value (although we did analyze 7 major carriers). The estimated value of Marriott points when redeemed towards travel packages is $0.0104 per point.

Value of Marriott Points when Redeemed for Travel Packages
Category Mkt price of hotel stay Airline Miles incl. in package $ val/mile $ Value of miles Combined package value Marriott Pts Req’d $ val/Marriott pt
5 $1,164 AA 120,000 $0.0121 $1,451 $2,615 270,000 $0.0097
6 $1,880 AA 120,000 $0.0121 $1,451 $3,331 300,000 $0.0111
7 $2,548 AA 120,000 $0.0121 $1,451 $3,999 330,000 $0.0121
8 $2,632 AA 120,000 $0.0121 $1,451 $4,083 360,000 $0.0113
5 $1,164 Continental 120,000 $0.0119 $1,434 $2,598 270,000 $0.0096
6 $1,880 Continental 120,000 $0.0119 $1,434 $3,313 300,000 $0.0110
7 $2,548 Continental 120,000 $0.0119 $1,434 $3,982 330,000 $0.0121
8 $2,632 Continental 120,000 $0.0119 $1,433 $4,066 360,000 $0.0113
5 $1,164 Virgin Atlantic 120,000 $0.0111 $1,332 $2,596 270,000 $0.0092
6 $1,880 Virgin Atlantic 120,000 $0.0111 $1,332 $3,211 300,000 $0.0107
7 $2,548 Virgin Atlantic 120,000 $0.0111 $1,332 $3,880 330,000 $0.0118
8 $2,632 Virgin Atlantic 120,000 $0.0111 $1,332 $3,964 360,000 $0.0110
Avg Pre-Penalty $0.0109
Avg Post-Penalty $0.0104

PlasticIQ’s Final Word on the Value of Marriott Rewards Points

In summary, by combining the value of points when used for free nights (again, we assume you use 75% of your rewards towards this), and for free vacation packages (25% of your rewards), we arrive at a blended Marriott point value of $0.0088.

PlasticIQ’s Final Estimate of the Value of Marriott Rewards Points
Reward Redemption Method % Points Used Avg $ val/Pt Final $ Value
Hotel Stays 75% $0.0083 $0.0062
Rewards Packages 25% $0.0104 $0.0026
Mileage 0% $0.0028 $0.000
Total $0.0088

However, as with all such complex analyses, you should take into account your own likely usage patterns, and adjust the value of our estimate appropriately.

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  • Dennis Jenkins

    What is the value for 5,000 award point for hotel stays?

    Thanks!

  • admin

    Well, based on our own estimates, I’d say 5,000 Marriott points could be valued at ~$44.00. The value will vary, though, on many factors, including the level/quality of hotel you book, the type of package, etc.

  • Gabe

    I am debating buying a coffe maker with 50,000 points that sells for around $220. based on your analysis of the point value it seems like I should simply buy the coffe maker outright and save my 50,000 points for a 3 – 5 night hotel stay with point savers. Does it make sense to buy the coffee maker with cash instead?

  • admin

    Gabe, thanks for your question. Spending 50K points for a coffee maker valued at $220 would be a bad move, effectively valuing your Marriott Rewards at only $0.0044 per point, almost exactly half the value you could get if you applied these same points towards hotel stays. Spend cash for the coffee maker.

  • John

    It seems like not only has Marriott Rewards increased the card annual fee by 50% from $30.00 to $45.00 but also tripled the amount of points needed for an hotel stay. For example, the Fairfield Inn & Suites at Mt Laurel in NJ was 7500 points per night last year, but is now 20,000 points for one night stay. This surely make the point value in $ decrease drastically.

  • http://www.plasticiq.com Marc

    John, thanks for your questions and concerns. So firstly, the annual fee of a card technically doesn’t impact the value of the points earned. In fact, remember its possible to earn Marriott hotel points without having a Marriott credit card at all. Where the annual fee does come into play is in the calculation (and subsequent ranking) of the credit cards in the PIQ ranking engine. The formula is basic: Value of Card = Value of rewards earned – annual and other card fees – any interest payments.

    Regarding the change in the # of points required for the specific hotel you mention, I did quickly shoot over to the Marriott website’s reward chart to make sure it’s the same as the data in this post, and there don’t seem to be any changes. It’s possible that the specific hotel you reference has somehow moved up from Category 1 to Category 4.

    In general though, I don’t see any new information here which would lead me to believe Marriott points need to be re-valued. Again, thanks for taking the time to read PIQ and for your question:)