Travel tip: book Marriott’s most exclusive hotels with a huge points discount

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel contests, tips, series, or news.

Today (September 21, 2018): Book Marriott’s top hotel with a huge points discount.

I recently posted an overview (with pros & cons) of the new combined loyalty program of Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton, which you can read here. With 110 million members, the new loyalty program is one of the largest in the world, and has more than 6000 hotels in its portfolio, including some of the world’s most exclusive and southt-after properties, belong to iconic brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Bvlgari, St Regis, and The Luxury Collection. The essence of the program is that you collect points when staying at Marriott operated hotels and later use them for a free stay at any of the Marriott hotels and resorts worldwide, with no blackout dates. Every property under the combined Marriott Rewards umbrella falls into one of seven categories, depending on the hotel brand, location and type. If you are planning on using your points for a free stay in one of Marriott’s top hotels, I recommend to make the booking asap (by the end of December 2018) and here’s why.

BOOK A STAY AT W KOH SAMUI, FOR FEWER POINTS
BOOK A STAY AT W KOH SAMUI, THAILAND, FOR FEWER POINTS

For the remainder of 2017, there are only seven hotel categories in the Marriott Rewards program, starting at just 7500 Marriott Rewards points for a free night at a category 1 hotel to 60,000 points for a category 7 hotel. However, in January 2019, a new award chart kicks in, which will see two major changes:

  • First, Marriott Rewards will add a new category 8 to their current reward chart. This means that the brand’s most exclusive hotels will move up from category 7 to 8, resulting in a shocking 42% increase in the number of points you need to book these hotels as they rise from 60,000 points per night to 85,000 points per night.
  • Second, Marriott Rewards will add on- and off-peak redemption rates, with category 8 hotels costing 70,000 points in the off-peak season and 100,000 points in peak season (a 66% increase as compared to now).

Since Marriott’s hotels slated for category 8 are temporarily placed in category 7 for the remainder of 2018, it’s time to book them now using your points since this means a savings of 25,000 points (or 40,000 point for certain dates) per night. Your stay can be for any date up to 12 months ahead, so you can make a booking until late December 2018 for a holiday until late December 2019. In addition, Marriott Rewards provides the 5fth night of every award booking free, so you only pay for 4 nights when booking a 5-night award stay. This means that booking a 5 night stay before the end of the year will cost you 240,000 points at a top Marriott hotel while the same journey may set you back 400,000 points in 2019.

Below, you find an overview of all category 8 hotels. The (updated) list is also found on this page of Marriott website (sort the chart by ‘points required’).


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