Marriott Points - just how much are they worth - an analysis

Discussion created by pingreeman on Dec 9, 2010
Latest reply on Jul 19, 2013 by gemprincess

Ever wonder how much your points are worth? Is it a better choice to take gift points or an actual market item? Here is my analysis:

Assumption: You want a hotel room in Illinois for 5 nights on the following dates: 2011-01-23 through 2011-01-27. Your choice is to:

* use points (category X points/night X 4 nights = total points needed as fifth night is free) -or-
* pay cash (rate/night X 5 nights)
* Taxes are not included in the calculations (potentially 10-15% more cash value for the points)

I created a spreadsheet for all 104 hotels in Illinois:

Cat   #      Points    5 nights    Ave$ Night  Total $     Cents/point
1    15         7500      30000     $91.53    $457.66    1.526
2    38       10000      40000    $109.70    $548.52    1.371
3    30       15000      60000    $137.59    $687.95    1.147
4    10       20000      80000    $172.00    $860.00    1.075
5     7        25000    100000    $133.42    $667.12    0.667
6     4        30000    120000    $191.50    $957.50    0.798
7     0        35000    140000    n/a           n/a           n/a
8     0        40000    160000    n/a           n/a           n/a
All    104    22812.5    91250    $139.29    $696.45   1.097

Members earning Points can receive 200 bonus points at Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott as their arrival gift option. This is worth low/high of $1.33 to $3.05 if Cat5 or Cat1, respectively. On average, $2.19.

The Platinum Arrival Gift 500 bonus points option is available only to Points earning Rewards Program Platinum Members staying at participating JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, EDITION Hotels, Autograph Collection, and Marriott Vacation Club worldwide. This is worth low/high of $3.34 to $7.63 if Cat5 or Cat1, respectively. On average, $5.49.

My son is getting married in November and since I have PP status, I am hoping to get a great deal negotiating a group rate at a nearby JW for out of town guests. I logged in as myself to have the PP status recognized and tested a single room rate for the 2-day weekend (in November) and got a $99 rate; I then used the meeting planner for 15 & 25 rooms and got a $90 rate, or roughly 10% discount. Frankly, I thought I would see better savings with the number of rooms requested.


Anyone out there in MRI-land who has some good tips on negotiating a great rate for a block of rooms? How much of a discount off the rack rate is considered a "great deal" assuming 15-25 rooms?

Per the post, 2011 Annual Hotel Category Changes ~100 hotels will decrease a category and ~350 hotels will increase by a category. Less than 10% of the changes have been made to the Category 5-8 hotels.


If you can overlook some asumptions, then according to my calculations*, this is an equivalent reduction in points value of 2.39% accross the board. Here is what I think will be the new property categories (those in bold are for the 5-8 category changes spelled out in the article) - (see spreadsheet photo attached):


Estimated Loss in Points Value = 2.39%



Lastly, the statement, "Less than 10% of the changes have been made to the Category 5-8 hotels." is true as the number of properties starting out as a cat 5-8 was 508; only 50 changes to these categories were cited, hence <10% were affected. However, 16.19% of all cat 5-8 were affected post-recategorization.



For math enthusiasts: assuming all the cat 5-8 changes were cited, then 450 (100 down + 350 up) changes will happen to the "uncited" cats 1-4. Since cat 1 cannot decrease but only increase, the "going down" is zero. This leaves 100 decreases to spread over cat 2-4. Cat 2 was calculated using a weighted average as follows: 100 X 887/(887 + 1197 + 586) = 33 going down. Similarly, 350 increases to spread over cat 1-4 as follows: 350 X 887/(288 + 887 + 1197 + 586) = 105 going up.

To determine the "New #" value for cat 2 was to take the starting number less the change up and less the change down of Cat 2 plus the Cat 1s moving up plus the Cat 3s moving down or mathematically: 887 - 33 - 105 + 34 + 45 = 828.

To calculate affect on points value lost (assumes every hotel has a one-night stay to generate a statistical "population of means"): take each category's new # of properties X points/night (Tot Pts New in thousands) and starting number of properties X points/night (Tot Pts Old in thousands); tally New and divide by tally Old to yield 2.39% or mathematically: 55198 / 54610 = 102.39.


Pingreeman's "pain" - since I have 1,879,623 points banked, I've seen a loss of approximately 43,962 points, or easily a Cat 8 night or a 5 days' stay at a Cat 2.

According to T&C for Platinum members under the 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability, "Traveling on short notice? We’ll guarantee you’ll always have a room for any paid stay. Just make your reservations 48 hours before arrival at over 3,200 participating Marriott hotels.

Two months ago, I reserved a points-paid 2BR suite at the RI-Fort Myers Sanibel for the week 03/27-04/03. Today, I was curious what the cash-price would be, so  - I logged into reservations using my PP number and password, performed an Advanced Search using the EXACT street address for the property for the same days. Interestingly, this property did NOT appear among the available hotels (it's sold out), the nearest at 4.4 miles from the address.

Here's what bothers me - if I need a hotel close to an address (such as a client of mine) and there is a property literally within or on the same block AND if I am supposed to be guaranteed 48-hour guaranteed availability as a PP, then why does this property NOT show up in the results? What good does a 48-hour guarantee provide if I can't get the "most convenient" hotel?

I'm sure some MRI replies will be to call the PP reservations desk - sure, glad to do so, but how would I know the property even exists if it does not appear in a list? There is a solution - don't start with arrival/departure dates - then all show up in the list!

Being a self-employed consultant and a PP member (7 years now), I can only plan vacations when I am between clients (usually a 2-3 week window, max). My current gig completed on June 17 and I have until July 11 before my next gig.


My 19th anniversary is on July 4 (Independence Day, can you believe it?) and I wanted a very nice stay in Las Vegas (we eloped there). I tried booking the Cosmopoliton using points for 6/26 - 7/05, but only the 3rd-5th allow reward points.


Once again, I cannot use points despite "No Blackout dates" or having over 967 PAID nights from 2005 through 2010 (90 PAID in 2011). Here's my points:

Balance: 2,026,754 points

Marriott - are you listening? Is a PLUTONIUM status the only way to provide real value to uber-Platinums?