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Marriott released the full details yesterday about which hotels will be in which Categories when the joint SPG/Marriott Rewards programme is launched in August. You may remember that one of the odd things about the new award chart is that although Marriott will be introducing a new Category 8 (requiring 85,000 Points per night) in 2019, in the period between August 2018 and 2019, it will be possible to book Category 8 hotels at Category 7 prices – just 60,000 Marriott Points per night.
Given that you can transfer SPG Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, 60,000 Marriott Points is just 20,000 Starpoints – and you can currently buy 20,000 Starpoints for about £350. This means that if you stocked up on Starpoints now, you could effectively book ANY SPG/Marriott hotel for £350 per night.
Obviously, for most people £350 is a huge amount of money for 1 night in a hotel (and certainly outside my price range!), but we are talking about some truly special hotels, where the normal cash price can be £1000+. For a honeymoon or big anniversary trip, you might decide that splashing out the big bucks is something you want to do.
If £350 is still a bit too rich for you though, the good news is that Marriott is keeping the ‘5th night free’ on redemptions – meaning that if you booked 5 nights, you’d only need enough Points to pay for 4. In other words, you’d need 80,000 Starpoints rather than 100,000 and that would mean that your cost per night (if buying all the Points) would be about £280.
You can only buy 30,000 Starpoints per account each year, but combining Points is easy.
Below is a list of all the hotels which will be Category 8 from 2019. It’s important to note though that you would be better off booking many of the Marriott ones before August because they currently require fewer Points. The big savings are for the top SPG hotels (listed here), which currently require astronomical amounts of Points.
These sort of ‘ultra lux’ redemptions aren’t really my thing, but for a special occasion I can see the attraction. If you’ve always had your eye on one of the top SPG properties, but haven’t been able to justify the cost, this is likely going to be the best opportunity you’ll have to make that trip a reality without remortgaging!