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For those of us who enjoy travelling internationally, the value of the pound sterling is… depressing! Your hard-earned £££s (as at publication) will barely get you:
- 1.09 euros per £
- 1.21 US dollars per £
And that assumes that you have a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign exchange commission.
But as I was researching for a separate post on Marriott Bonvoy’s new Cash + Points, I stumbled on something of a sweet spot. Before I continue, here is Marriott’s C+P award chart (you can ignore Off-Peak and Peak for now, since those only apply starting 14 September):
I started making some dummy bookings to see how C+P is being applied in the UK, and here’s what I found…
If you look at the award chart, you’ll see that Cash + Points for a Category 4 hotel should cost 105 USD + 12,000 points. However, at the moment 105 US dollars should cost you £86.42 – yet Marriott is charging £78.89…
Something similar can be found at an award Category 7 hotel:
You ought to be paying 250 US dollars for that Category 7 hotel – which would work out to £206 – but instead you are paying £187.84…
It Gets Better…
Of course, Marriott Bonvoy could update its FX rates at any time. But there’s another advantage to booking a Cash + Points rate. The cash portion is supposed to have VAT and other government taxes added on top. Check out this Category 5 hotel in New York.
Instead of the $140 stated on the Cash + Points award chart, you’re actually going to pay $164.16 once taxes are added.
This means that Marriott’s Cash + Points awards are an even better deal in the United Kingdom. Not only is the exchange rate working substantially in your favour, but there are no additional taxes being added (even though Marriott would be entitled to do so…).
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, Marriott’s Cash + Points awards are capacity controlled. Each individual hotel can decide when, or if, it wants to offer the option of Cash + Points.
But the next time you are thinking about spending points on a Marriott award stay in the UK, you might want to check whether you can book Cash + Points instead. The savings might very well be worth it…