brightlybob

The Bonvoy Effect - one year on!

Blog Post created by brightlybob on Sep 9, 2019
As frequently happens when I’m lurking on Insiders I hit upon an old thread which made for interesting reading. It was one of mine entitled “pay or redeem” which you can read here Pay or Redeem? 
 
I set an Insiders Quiz on a series of planned 2016 stays where I listed my forthcoming stays and asked where members would choose to pay and where they would choose to redeem. Although the thread retains its original theme what particularly interested me reading it in 2019 was that I’d unwittingly recorded the category placement and redemption cost of 10 hotels from 2016. A little treasure trove of redemption costs unknowingly frozen in time that begged the question - After all the Bonvoy changes following the takeover 3 years ago and scheme merger last year, how has this list of redemptions changed? So I updated my search on these self same properties, this time not asking which was the best pay or redeem option, but whether 3 years of redemption table convulsions has changed the cost. And here’s the properties in my list, and their 2016 and 2019 redemption rates. 
 

01. Legacy Cat 1 Houston Brookhollow Courtyard ——- 7,500 —New Cat 2—12,500

02. Legacy Cat 2 Brownsville Residence Inn ————- 10,000-—New Cat2—12,500

03. Legacy Cat 2 Hamilton Residence Inn —————- 15,000-—New Cat 3—17,500

04. Legacy Cat 3 Houston North Marriott ——————15,000 —New Cat 2—12,500

05. Legacy Cat 5 Gettysburg Courtyard ———————25,000 —New Cat 4—25,000

06. Legacy Cat 5 Corpus Christi Springhill Suites ——- 25,000 —New Cat 3—17,500
07. Legacy Cat 5 EWR Renaissance ———————— 25,000—New Cat 4—25,000
08. Legacy Cat 6 Richmond Marriott ————————30,000 —New Cat 4—25,000
09. Legacy Cat 7 Houston ICON Autograph ————- 35,000 —New Cat 5—35,000

10. Legacy Cat 9 NYC Times Sq Renaissance ———- 45,000—-New Cat 6—50,000

  
And I found that one night at each in 2016 would have cost a total of 232,500 points and today, right now in 2019... it’s still 232,500 points! 
 
Of course 10 hotels is not 6,500 so hardly a representative sample, but on the other hand definitely not a sample chosen to try and demonstrate some point of view or other, it was simply a list of hotels where I’d stayed and considered redeeming, nothing more nor less. Nonetheless it demonstrated no inflation, but remained a limited sample.
 
Now that got me thinking further. What has been the real effect of the move from Marriott and SPG to Bonvoy - in real figures, using real stays and real choices, how have things changed? Clearly a much bigger task this, since it required me to run through all my stays after the schemes merged on 18 August 2018. I decided to examine my stats for the first full 12 months of the new scheme from 1st September 2018 to 31st August 2019 and apply the earnings to each stay. And to do the same with the years redemptions. So I did it! Prepare for a lot of math!
 
I’ve applied Bonvoy points as I’ve actually earned them, to the very last point and then applied legacy Marriott points and legacy SPG as they would have been earned on that stay according to their scheme, so Marriott points are earned at legacy SPG brands on the same basis as Marriott brands and likewise for SPG, this mainly effects breakfast where Marriott gave both Welcome points and breakfast but SPG gave the amenity choice - breakfast OR points, meaning no amenity points if I chose breakfast at SPG. Importantly here I’ve applied the real choices I made so even though there was a lounge at the London Sheraton Grand, we chose full breakfast-in-bed each morning, so no SPG amenity points. But at the Regents Park Marriott I didn’t have the restaurant breakfast but took breakfasts in the lounge throughout so SPG gets the amenity points, and I chose MAGC, so points reflect that too. Now Courtyards and Aloft in the legacy schemes proved difficult since I took the breakfasts/$10pp instead of the points, but there’s no equivalency between how Bonvoy/Marriott/SPG deal with breakfast here so I’ve simply used the welcome amenity points rather than trying to create false equivalencies. The other big change is Marriott didn’t award points on incidentals at Select service properties whereas Starwood did and Bonvoy does, so I’ve awarded Bonvoy and SPG points for those, and none for Marriott. Finally, for the Fall 2018 megabonus I’ve applied the 2,000 Bonvoy/Marriott points on 2-night stays and 1,000 per brand as per the promo, but for SPG I’ve awarded 1000 Starpoints on 2-night stays and 500 Starpoints per brand rather than the 1/3rd as I don’t think SPG would have run a 666/333 point promo!
 
Comparing the respective 75-night levels 2018-2019
Bonvoy Titanium -v- Starwood Platinum 75 -v- Marriott Platinum
Points earned are: Base+Elite+Amenity+AMEX+MAGC+Promo
 
Sep 12 & 13 & 14 London Regents Marriott  £470 ($511 inc incidentals) MAGC 
1st. BT 5106+3830+1000+3066+1000=                   14,002 (SPG+3%;MR+40%)
2nd. SP 1022+1022+500+1022+1000 = 4566 x 3 = 13,698
3rd. MP 5106+2553+500+1022+1000=                    10,181
 
Oct 20. LHR Moxy £50 MR ($55) - fallow first brand for Promo
1st. BT 554+415+500+330=                    1799 (SPG+3%;MR+50%)
2nd. SP 110+110+250+110= 580 x 3 =  1740
3rd. MP 554+277+250+110=                  1191
 
Nov 04. Leicester Marriott £81 ($110 inc incidentals) next brand promo
1st. SP 220+220+500+220+500= 1660 x 3 = 4980 (BP+10%;MR+50%)
2nd. BT 1101+826+1000+660+1000=            4587
3rd. MP 1101+550+500+220+1000=              3371
 
Nov 07. Leeds Marriott redemption £15 parking ($16)
1st. SP 32+32+500+32= 596 x 3 = 1788 (BP+30%;MR+130%)
2nd. BT 158+119+1000+96=          1373
3rd. MP 158+79+500+32=                769
 
Nov 18. Leicester Marriott £95 ($101 inc incidentals)
1st. BT 1014+761+1000+606=                 3381 (SPG+5%;MR+50%)
2nd. SP 202+202+500+202= 1106 x 3 = 3318
3rd. MP 1014+507+500+202=                 2223
 
Nov 25. Birmingham AC £74 ($95) next brand promo
1st. SP 191+191+250+191+500= 1323 x 3 =  3969 (BP+5%;MR+40%)
2nd. BT 956+717+500+573+1000=                 3746
3rd. MP 956+478+250+191+1000=                 2875
 
Nov 30. Worsley Marriott 2/rm £110 ($329 inc incidentals)
1st. BT 3289+2467+1000+1974=                 8730 (MR+40%;SPG+40%)
2nd. MP 3289+1645+500+658=                   6092
3rd. SP 658+658+Brekky+658= 1974 x 3 = 5922
 
Dec 21 & 22 Leeds Marriott 3/rm £600 ($885 inc incidentals) 2k promo
1st. BT 8856+6642+1000+5310+2000=                       23,808 (SPG+30%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 1770+1770+brekky+1770+1000= 6310 x 3 = 18,930
3rd. MP 8856+4428+500+1770+2000=                        17,554
 
Jan 04 & 05 Worsley Marriott 2/rm £200 ($435 inc incidentals) 2k promo
1st. BT 4357+3268+1000+2610+2000=                 13,335 (SPG+20%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 870+870+Brekky+870+1000= 3610 x 3 = 10,830
3rd. MP 4357+2178+500+870+2000=                      9,905
 
Jan 10. BexleyHeath Marriott £85 ($111 inc incidentals)
1st. BT 1116+837+1000+660=                   3613 (MR+50%;SPG+80%)
2nd. MP 1116+558+500+222=                   2396
3rd. SP 222+222+Brekky+222= 666 x 3 = 1998
 
Jan 11. LHR Renaissance £67 ($86 inc parking) - next brand promo
1st. SP 172+172+500+172+500= 1516 x 3 = 4560 (BP+10%;MR+50%)
2nd. BT 861+646+1000+516+1000=              4023
3rd. MP 861+430+500+172+1000=                2963
 
Jan 31. York Marriott £77 ($104 inc incidentals)
1st. BT 1034+776+1000+624=                   3434 (MR+50%;SPG+90%)
2nd. MP 1034+517+500+208=                   2260
3rd. SP 208+208+Brekky+208= 624 x 3 = 1872
 
Feb 17. Cardiff Marriott £77 ($84)
1st. BT 841+631+1000+540=                     3012 (MR+50%;SPG+90%)
2nd. MP 841+420+500+180=                     1941
3rd. SP 180+180+Brekky+180= 528 x 3 = 1584
 
Mar 19. Canary Wharf Marriott £110 ($119) fallow night of 2x promo
1st. BT 1192+894+1000+714=                3800 (SPG+5%;MR+50%)
2nd. SP 238+238+500+238= 1214 x 3 = 3642
3rd. MP 1192+596+500+238=                 2526
 
Mar 23. London Autograph Dixon £120 ($142) - First earning stay of 2x promo
1st. BT 1427+1070+1000+852+1427=                 5776 (MR+30%;SPG+70%)
2nd. MP 1427+713+500+284+1400=                   4224
3rd. SP 284+284+Brekky+284+284= 1136 x 3 = 3408
 
Mar 30. Preston Marriott 2/rm £135 ($338 inc incidentals) 2x promo
1st. BT 3389+2542+1000+2034+3389=           12,356 (MR+30%;SPG+50%)
2nd. MP 3389+1694+500+678+3389=                9650
3rd. SP 678+678+Brekky+678+678= 2712 x 3 = 8136
 
Apr 26. LHR Renaissance £66 ($78) 2x promo
1st. BT 786+590+1000+474+786=                  3636 (SPG+10%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 158+158+500+158+158= 1132 x 3 = 3396
3rd. MP 786+393+500+158+786=                   2623
 
Apr 27. London Excel Aloft £140 ($152) 2x promo
1st. BT 1521+1141+500+912+1521=               5595 (SPG+20%;MR+20%)
2nd. SP 304+304+250+304+304= 1466 x 3 = 4398
3rd. MP 1521+760+250+304+1521=               4356
 
Apr 28. London Excel Moxy £75 ($80) 2x promo
1st. BT 808+606+500+486+808=                   3208 (SPG+20%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 162+162+250+162+162= 898 x 3 =  2696
3rd. MP 808+404+250+162+808=                   2432
 
Apr 29. Leeds Marriott £85 ($109 inc parking) 2x promo
1st. BT 1087+815+1000+654+1087=                4643 (SPG+10%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 218+218+500+218+218= 1372 x 3 =   4116
3rd. MP 1087+544+500+218+1087=                 3436
 
May 03 & 04 Canary Wharf Marriott £245 ($263) 2x promo
1st. BT 2635+1976+1000+1578+2635=          9823 (SPG+20%;MR+20%)
2nd. SP 526+526+500+526+526= 2604 x 3 = 7812
3rd. MP 2635+1317+500+526+2635=             7653
 
May 24 & 25 Sheraton Grand Park Lane £360 ($397) - MAGC. 2x promo
1st. BT 3970+2978+Brekky+2382+3970+500=            13,800 (SPG+20%;MR+20%)
2nd. SP 794+794+Brekky+794+794+500= 3776 x 3 = 11,328
3rd. MP 3970+1985+500+794+3970+500=                   10,821
 
May 29. Budapest Courtyard £100 ($106) - Last stay of 2x promo
1st. BT 1067+800+500+636+1067=                 4070 (SPG+20%;MR+20%)
2nd. SP 212+212+250+212+212= 1098 x 3 =  3294
3rd. MP 1067+533+250+212+1067=                3129
 
Jun 07. Preston Marriott £85 ($128 inc incidentals)
1st. BT 1289+967+1000+768=                  4024 (MR+50%;SPG+90%)
2nd. MP 1289+645+500+256=                  2690
3rd. SP 256+256+Brekky+256= 768 x 3 = 2040
 
Jul 05. LHR Sheraton £75 ($88 inc incidentals)
1st. SP 176+176+500+176= 1028 x 3 = 3084 (BP+1%;MR+50%)
2nd. BT 881+661+1000+528=                3070
3rd. MP 881+440+500+176=                  1997
 
Jul 08 & 09 Gydnia Courtyard £160 ($214 inc incidentals) 1500 promo
1st. BT 2143+1607+500+1274+1500=             7024 (SPG+10%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 428+428+250+428+500= 2034 x 3 =  6102
3rd. MP 2000+1000+250+428+1500=              5178 (no incidentals points)
 
Jul 10-17 Sopot Sheraton TP 150k Redemption ($85 incidentals)
1st. SP 171+171+500+171= 1013 x 3 = 3039 (BP+1%;MR+50%)
2nd. BT 855+641+1000+513=                3009
3rd. MP 855+427+500+171=                  1953
 
Jul 26. Leicester Marriott £67 ($76)
1st. SP 152+152+500+152= 956 x 3 = 2868 (BP+3%;MR+60%)
2nd. BT 758+569+1000+456=              2783
3rd. MP 758+379+500+152=                1789
 
Jul 31 to Aug 02 Windsor Marriott 2/rm £340 ($467 inc incidentals) 1500 promo
1st. BT 4670+3503+1000+2802+1500=            13,475 (MR+30%;SPG+30%)
2nd. MP 4670+2335+500+934+1500=                9,939
3rd. SP 934+934+Brekky+934+500= 3302 x 3 = 9,906
 
Aug 02 to Aug 04 Windsor Marriott 2/rm £310 ($414 inc incidentals) 1500 promo
1st. BT 4147+3110+1000+2484+1500=             12,248 (MR+30%;SPG+30%)
2nd. MP 4147+2074+500+828+1500=                 9,049
3rd. SP 828+828+Brekky+828+500= 2984 x 3 = 8,952
 
Aug 04 Luxury Collection Langley 2/rm 70k redemption ($330 incidentals)
1st. BT 3300+2475+Brekky+1980=             7755 (MR+20%;SPG+30%)
2nd. MP 3300+1650+500+660=                  6110
3rd. SP 660+660+Brekky+660= 1980 x 3 = 5940
 
Aug 15 & 16 Barcelona AC Gava Mar 3/rm 150k redemption ($239 incidentals)
1st. BT 2389+1792+500+1432=              6113 (SPG+10%;MR+600%)
2nd. SP 478+478+250+478= 1684 x 3 = 5052
3rd. MP nil+nil+250+478=                          728 (no incidental points)
 
Aug 17 18 & 19 Barcelona Ren Fira 3/rm €970 ($1,264 inc incidentals) 1500 promo
1st. BT 12642+9482+1000+7542+1500=                   32,264 (SPG+30%;MR+30%)
2nd. SP 2528+2528+Brekky+2528+500= 8084 x 3 = 24,252
3rd. MP 12642+6321+500+2528+1500=                    23,491
 
Aug 22. Liverpool Aloft £79 ($113 inc incidentals) 
1st. BT 1130+848+500+678=                3156 (SPG+10%;MR+80%)
2nd. SP 226+226+250+226= 928 x 3 = 2784
3rd. MP 800+400+250+226=                 1676 (no incidental points)
 
Aug 26-31 Oxford Courtyard 50k redemption ($60 incidentals)
1st. SP 120+120+250+120= 610 x 3 = 1830 (BP+6%;MR+600%)
2nd. BT 602+452+500+180=                1734
3rd. MP nil+nil+250+60=                        310 (no incidental points)
 
GRAND TOTAL ON 80 room-nights over 35 stays at $8,000 qualifying charges
Bonvoy       250,000
Starwood   203,000
Marriott      180,000
 
The first thing this shows is that although the maths would suggest that SPG-75 Plats earning only 4 StarPoints per $ which translates to 12 BonPoints should be earning less than Marriotteers earning 15, SPG in fact earned more. This outcome is strongly effected by the vast difference between the two British credit card offerings where the British SPG AMEX paid 2 Starpoints per £ spent at hotels (worth 6 BonPoints) whilst the British Marriott Mastercard paid only 2 Marriott points, worth just 2 BonPoints! That meant that against net spending SPG was paying 6 Starpoints per $ spent - 18 Bonpoints whilst Marriott was just 17! It is worth remembering American Marriotteers would have held the legacy Chase card that paid 5 points per $ making the comparison 23.5 Bonpoints/20 MRpoints/6 Starpoints (equivalent to 18) per $. Now much was made of the larger earning capacity of the SPG scheme by taking the amenity and MAGC points that were paid in more valuable Starpoints, and that’s certainly true, but taking the actual reality of my stays and the reality of my choices they really would have done no more than equal up the final totals between the 2 legacy schemes. In USA/Canada with Marriotteers using the using the Chase card and SPGers the AMEX it and would have been a dead heat on 203k each for the year! 
 
For me as a Brit, legacy Marriott would have earned 180,000 Bonpoints, legacy SPG 203,000 Bonpoints and the current Bonvoy scheme actually did earn 250,000, a considerable improvement in earnings against both legacy programs!
 
Next up - Redemptions - again not theoretical, but real.
 
Between 01/09/18 and 31/08/19 I’ve redeemed at the following properties:
 
Nov 07 2018 Leeds Marriott was 30k, now 25k 1rm/1nt saved 5,000
Jul 10-17 2019 Sheraton Sopot was 30k (SPG 10k) now 25k 1rm/7nt saved 30,000
Aug 04 2019 Lux Coll Langley* was 36k (SPG 12k) now 35k 2rm/1nt saved 2,000
Aug 15 & 16 2019 AC Gava Mar was 30k, now 25k 3rm/2nt saved saved 30,000
Aug 26-31 2019 Oxford Courtyard* was 20k, now 12.5k 1rm/5nt saved 30,000
 
*Neither of these two properties existed before the merger but I’m placing the Luxury Collection Langley at the same 12,000 StarPoint level as the Luxury Collection Turnberry and the Oxford Courtyard at the very lowest English category in place before the merger which was Cat4 at 20,000 points - legacy Marriott had no Cat 1, 2 or 3 properties in England, indeed there were only two Cat 3s in Scotland, both in the remote “Oil City” of Aberdeen.
  
A total of 445,000 points (saving £4,500/$5,500) spent over 21 room-nights that would, before the merger, have cost 542,000 points, a net reduction of 97,000 points - and as Benjamin Franklin would no doubt have it “a point saved is a point earned” - now to be added to the extra 70,000 points earned from my stays. 
 
Finally, I’ve received the 50 and 75 night milestone choices and need to value those. Again my value is informed by real life outcomes. So firstly there’s the 5 SNAs I chose at 50 nights. These are a straight added improvement to us Marriotteers and I’ve successfully used them here in the UK at my first choice each time. Now Marriott did provide a points upgrade route at 5,000 points per night per room category. Against the actual suites I used the SNAs this would value the SNAs at ~100,000 points but notably I only once ever used Marriotts points-upgrade option - it was always way too costly for me! Of course Marriotts version, whilst pricey, did lock in the suite from reservation and SNAs don’t do that. On the other hand these SNAs are in monetary terms valuable - the cost of the upgrade on each stay was worth considerably more than the price I paid for my room! Overall I’m going to value these at 10,000 points each SNA as that is easily what I would have paid in points for each nights upgrade! Here it is definitely a case of YMMV - those that are finding their requests returned, or only usable on small value upgrades will feel they’re worth less, but I’m using my actual outcomes over the last year for this entire post and continue that here. These are my actual real outcomes, no theory, no bull! The second milestone choice at 75 nights I chose the 40k certificate which is easy to value as I actually used it on a 35k redemption so that’s the value I give it!
 
So, to the conclusion - well as a former Marriotteer, Bonvoy has improved my “earn and burn” this past year as follows:
 
Extra points earned over legacy Marriott ————————————70,000
Points saved on redemption’s over legacy Marriott————————97,000
Value of 50-night choice 5 SNAs @10,000 points each—————— 50,000
Value of 75-night cert redeemed at Luxury Collection Langley———35,000
 
TOTAL IMPROVEMENT TO EARN AND BURN—————————250,000 points
 
That means the new Bonvoy scheme has way more than doubled its Rewards value against the legacy Marriott scheme - no wonder I was celebrating last year at the prospect, here New Program - Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!! - It has all come to pass!

Outcomes