Are the Best Marriott Bonvoy Redemptions Worth All Those Points?

Aug 31, 2019

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Marriott’s Bonvoy programme is the largest hotel loyalty programme in the world. As such, there are thousands of properties at which you can choose to redeem your points. You can read an introduction to the programme here, but the basics of redemptions are that each property in the programme is given an award Category from 1 to 8. The cheapest properties have the lowest categories, while the most expensive have the highest.

Category 8 properties currently cost 85,000 Marriott points per night. From 14 September, Marriott is moving to a peak and off-peak pricing model, which will see off-peak dates reduce to 70,000 and peak dates increase to 100,000 Bonvoy points. There are around 50 Category 8 properties (full list here), which include:

  • Al Maha Dubai
  • Gramercy Park Hotel, New York
  • W Hong Kong
  • St. Regis Rome
  • Mystique, Santorini
  • The Miami Beach EDITION
  • St. Regis Bora Bora
  • W Maldives
  • St. Regis Maldives Vommuli
Miami Beach Edition Hotel, which participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. (Photo courtesy Editions Hotel)
Miami Beach Edition Hotel. (Photo courtesy Editions Hotel)

Working with the current 85,000 points level, based on TPG UK’s current valuation of Bonvoy points of 0.7p, this means you would be redeeming approximately £600 worth of Bonvoy points per night for the best properties in the programme. That’s a LOT of points, even though Bonvoy points are worth less than most airline miles.

Bonvoy points can earned by transferring Membership Rewards at a rate of 2:3 (MR:Bonvoy), so you would need 56,667 Membership Rewards points for a single night in a Category 8 property. That’s larger than any welcome bonus of any Amex card available in the UK right now.

St. Regis Hong Kong. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

So, is it worth it?

Let’s compare that £600 value to the cash prices of some of the best Bonvoy properties for a Saturday night stay in a month’s time.

The Al Maha Dubai is £762 pounds a night.

The St. Regis Rome is £655 per night.

The W Hong Kong is £232 per night.

The St Regis Bora Bora is £914 per night.

The Miami Beach EDITION is £328 per night.

The St. Regis Maldives is £1,310 per night.

So as you can see, the cash prices for all these Category 8 properties vary enormously. It wouldn’t make sense to use £600 worth of Bonvoy points for the W Hong Kong on that date with cash rates less than half of that amount. Other properties are around the £600 mark for cash fares, so using your points will give you about the rate we think they are worth.

Where it really does make sense to use Bonvoy points for are those aspirational properties where cash rates are sky-high. These are primarily in the Maldives and Bora Bora. So if you have ever dreamt of five-star luxury in these places, you should consider using points. For other Category 8 destinations, always check and compare the price of a cash rate. Depending on the time of year, you may be surprised at just how cheap some of the programme’s best properties are.

Do note that Bonvoy can — and does — restrict standard rooms from redemptions, meaning there may be dates where rooms are available for cash but not points redemptions.

Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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