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 $0.0028/pt. Relative to other redemption methods, this is a horrible choice. Do not use your Marriott points to exchange for miles.
|Airline||Miles to Acquire||$ value/mile||Value of the reward||Marriott Pts Req’d||$ value/Marriott Pt|
|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 $0.0083 when redeemed for free hotel stays.
|Hotel Category||Standard Pts Req’d||PointSavers Pts Req’d||Hotel Market Price||$ val/standard pt||$ val/PointSavers pt||% allocby hotel cateogry||% PointSavers||Blended $ val/pt|
|Post free night adj||$0.0088|
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 $0.0104 per point.
|Category||Mkt price of hotel stay||Airline||Miles incl. in package||$ val/mile||$ Value of miles||Combined package value||Marriott Pts Req’d||$ val/Marriott pt|
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.
|Reward Redemption Method||% Points Used||Avg $ val/Pt||Final $ Value|
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.