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This week, Marriott has answered many of the questions that had remained open. It also released an award chart for Cash + Points. But will it make sense for members?
Here’s what the new chart will look like…
I tend to analyse Points & Cash opportunities by looking at the cost in cash of not spending points, and deciding whether that is a good price to “buy points”. It’s also worth remembering that the cash portion will probably attract local taxes, VAT, etc.
- Category 1 – Spend $55 to save 4,000 points –> 1.38 cents per point
- Category 2 – Spend $65 to save 6,500 points –> 1 cent per point
- Category 3 – Spend $80 to save 9,000 points –> 0.89 cents per point
- Category 4 – Spend $105 to save 13,000 points –> 0.81 cents per point
- Category 5 – Spend $140 to save 18,000 points –> 0.77 cents per point
- Category 6 – Spend $190 to save 25,000 points –> 0.76 cents per point
- Category 7 – Spend $250 to save 30,000 points –> 0.83 cents per point
- Category 8 – Spend $440 to save 42,500 points –> 1.04 cents per point
This is a poor deal. I am certainly more comfortable with the valuation of Starpoints, since you can buy them (still) for 2.28 cents per Starpoint (details here).
But if you multiply 0.77 cents by 3, in order to arrive at a Starpoint equivalent, you would be paying at least 2.3 cents to “save points” by using Cash + Points. And that’s before any additional taxes on top.
So you should definitely just buy Starpoints today and spend them on a standard award night in the new combined Marriott programme.
Besides that… regular award bookings benefit from the fifth night free. I would be surprised if Cash + Points had a similar benefit. So C+P would be even less attractive for longer stays.
Of course, there’s no way to know whether Marriott will continue to sell points at a price broadly similar to the 35%-discount offered by Starwood Preferred Guest. But unless you find yourself truly short of Marriott points under the new system, you should avoid the new Cash + Points redemption option.
What do you think of this reward option?