TPG special analysis: What impact did Marriott’s changes really have on the value of Bonvoy points?

Apr 19, 2022

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Well, it finally happened: Marriott switched to dynamic pricing late last month.

Gone are the days of predictable award prices with the program. The hotel giant removed award charts from its website, and the price of award nights may now vary from night to night.

Thankfully, Marriott opted to keep 97% of hotels within their previous off-peak to peak pricing bands through the end of the year. But the 3% of hotels that now price outside of these bands can be significantly more expensive.

In some cases, this can be 30,000 more points per night compared to the previous award chart prices. And as you’d expect, many of the hotels that are now pricing outside of bands are aspirational redemptions, including many Ritz-Carlton, Edition and JW Marriott properties around the globe.

But how significantly does Marriott’s dynamic pricing affect the value of your points?

Marriott didn’t provide a detailed breakdown for a large share of its 8,000-plus hotels. While a few examples were provided, we wanted to conduct our own analysis on a cross-section of the portfolio we believe represents a wide range of properties across the 30 Marriott brands in countries around the world.

This includes the 20 most redeemed Marriott properties in the world, 11 TPG favourites and 22 properties in other destinations open for American tourists at varying price points — giving you a realistic look at how much value you’ll get from your points and miles at this moment in time.

Here, we’ll break down the data and show you how much your points are worth in different regions and at different price points, and then give you an overall value for your Marriott Bonvoy points.

But first, let’s look at our methodology.

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In This Post

The methodology

The Bodrum Edition
The Bodrum Edition. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

We started our quest to value Marriott Bonvoy points by selecting properties to search for both after-tax cash and award rates.

As discussed, 20 of the properties searched here are straight from Marriott’s list of its most popular properties for points redemption worldwide. This includes many well-known Marriott properties, like the Wailea Beach Resort in Maui and the Walt Disney World Swan in Orlando. Then, we added in a few staff favourites, like the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa and The Bodrum Edition.

But it’s not all luxury hotels. To round out the list, we also added some modest properties like the Moxy Paris Bastille, SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion National Park and the Courtyard Agra in India. Much to our surprise, many budget-friendly hotels were on Marriott’s list of most redeemed properties, too.

Once we had a list of properties, we pulled cash and award rates for all available dates in May, June, November, December, and January to find points value during some of the most high-demand travel times. This meant over 150 dates were searched for each property — more than 15,000 data points in all.

By no means is this a comprehensive analysis, but it gives us a first taste of the impact of dynamic pricing. Pulling this relatively broad range of dates also helps us find an average value for different seasons.

We used this data to calculate an “average” award rate for each individual property we priced out. And from there, we calculated the overall average value for each region, type of hotel and season. We also calculated an overall value of Marriott Bonvoy points, which we will share with you later in the article.

Again, this methodology doesn’t capture all dates and properties, but it does help us calculate the initial impact of Marriott dynamic pricing — and find a rough value of Marriott Bonvoy points.

US mainland hotels and resorts

Camelback Inn
View from the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Starting at home, we searched 20 hotels in the continental U.S., spanning a number of states and cities.

Here’s a look at the properties we searched and their average cents-per-point redemption values:

  • JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona — 0.84p per point.
  • The West Hollywood Edition in Hollywood, California — 0.44p per point.
  • The Westin Denver International Airport in Denver — 0.50p per point.
  • Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater, Florida — 0.51p per point.
  • Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida — 0.84p per point.
  • JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in Marco Island, Florida — 0.49p per point.
  • Moxy South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida — 0.47p per point.
  • Walt Disney World Swan in Orlando — 0.47p per point.
  • Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando — 0.63p per point.
  • Courtyard Atlanta Downtown in Atlanta — 0.84p per point
  • Residence Inn Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois — 0.92p per point.
  • New York Marriott Marquis in New York City — 0.63p per point.
  • Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York City — 0.50p per point.
  • JW Marriott Essex House New York in New York City – 0.50p per point.
  • The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Autograph Collection in Las Vegas — 0.32p per point.
  • TownPlace Suites Portland Beaverton in Beaverton, Oregon — 0.77p per point
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville — 0.56p per point.
  • SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah – 0.57p per point.
  • Sheraton Grand Seattle in Seattle — 0.37p per point.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Tulsa Downtown Arts District in Tulsa, Oklahoma — 0.70p per point.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile in Chicago — 0.53p per point.
  • Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh in Dallas — 0.74p per point.
  • Four Points by Sheraton Anaheim in Anaheim, California — 0.40p per point.

Overall, our average value for U.S. properties is 0.59p per point, which is under our current valuation of 0.7 pence for Marriott Bonvoy points. That said, there are some standout values here. For example, the JW Marriott Camelback and Gaylord Palms Resort can get you just around 0.84p per point in value, which is solid for Marriott redemptions.

On the flip side, you may want to avoid using your Marriott Bonvoy points in Orlando, as both the Walt Disney World Swan and Orlando World Center will get you under the average valuation. Of course, this might not be the case for all dates, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Hawaiian hotels and resorts

Ritz-Carlton Waikiki Residences
You can get a good value when redeeming Marriott points in Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

We also searched for four properties in Hawaii, including:

  • Wailea Beach Resort Marriott on Maui — 0.92p per point.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach on Oahu — 0.56p per point.
  • Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on Oahu — 0.60p per point.
  • Residence Inn Oahu Kapolei on Oahu — 0.47p per point.

While not as broad of a set of data, you’ll get an average of 0.64 pence per point when redeeming for hotels in Hawaii. This is slightly less than our current Marriott valuation.

It can be hard to find availability at these properties during peak travel times, so you’ll want to start planning your trip well in advance.

High-end international resorts

A meal at Al Maha Resort
Breakfast at the Al Maha Resort in Dubai. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

One popular way to redeem Marriot points is on high-end resorts abroad. These redemptions have historically provided outsize redemption value and thus were some of the hotels we feared would be significantly affected by dynamic pricing. Here’s what we found:

  • Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in Palm Beach, Aruba — 0.77p per point.
  • Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad, Aruba — 0.70p per point.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands — 0.68p per point.
  • Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay in Nadi, Fiji — 0.39p per point.
  • The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort in the Maldives — 1.38p per point.
  • Bodrum Edition in Bodrum, Turkey — 0.60p per point.
  • Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai — 0.92p per point.

This shows that you can still get excellent value from your Marriott points at high-end resorts abroad, with these properties getting an average of 78p per point in value, with the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort providing especially great returns on your Bonvoy points. But like Hawaii, you might run into trouble actually finding award space at some of these properties during peak seasons.

If you want to get really granular and see the average redemption values for all resorts we tested — including resorts in the mainland U.S. and Hawaii — we end up with an average of 0.70p per point redeemed, further showing that resorts are a great way to get value from your Marriott points in a post-dynamic pricing world.

European hotels

exterior of large and palatial hotel
The Madrid Edition. (Image courtesy of Marriott)

Marriott has a large footprint in Europe, with most major cities having at least one property. We pulled pricing for 11 European hotels, and here’s what we found.

  • Moxy Vienna Airport in Vienna — 0.92p per point.
  • Courtyard Brno in Brno, Czech Republic — 0.92p per point.
  • Moxy Paris Bastille in Paris — 0.31p per point.
  • Residence Inn Frankfurt in Frankfurt — 0.67p per point.
  • St. Regis Rome in Rome — 0.92p per point.
  • W Amsterdam in Amsterdam — 0.62p per point.
  • AC Hotel Krakow in Krakow, Poland — 0.34p per point.
  • Bodrum Edition in Bodrum, Turkey — 0.60p per point
  • London Marriott Hotel County Hall in London — 0.47p per point.
  • London Edition in London — 0.92p per point.
  • Madrid Edition in Madrid — 0.72p per point.

Based on our sample searches, you can expect to get 0.67p per point in value. This is a relatively small data set, but we made an effort to include a mix of high-end and mid-tier Marriotts to give a leveled average value.

Asian hotels

The Westin Singapore pool
The pool at The Westin Singapore. (Photo by Ravi Ghelani/The Points Guy)

Moving our focus to Asia, we searched prices for eight hotels in Asia. This limited subset is in large part because most of the region is still closed to American tourists. Like Europe, we searched for a mixture of high-end and mid-tier hotels.

  • Courtyard Agra in Agra, India — 0.65p per point.
  • Element Bali Ubud in Bali, Indonesia — 0.59p per point.
  • St. Regis Bali in Bali, Indonesia — 0.77 per point
  • The Westin Tokyo in Tokyo — 0.40p per point.
  • Courtyard Iloilo in Iloilo, Philippines — 0.68p per point.
  • The Westin Singapore in Singapore — 0.92p per point.
  • Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 in Bangkok — 0.47p per point.
  • W Koh Samui in Surat Thani, Thailand — 0.51p per point.

While these eight hotels can’t provide a comprehensive figure for the precise valuation of all hotels throughout Asia, our Asia hotel searches revealed an average of 0.62p per point in value. This figure is roughly on par with our current valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 pence per point.

How much are Marriott Bonvoy points worth in 2022?

So … when all 15,000-plus of these individual data points are combined, how much are your Marriott points worth?

When we average all properties together, we’re left with an average value of 0.64p per point.

This is actually slightly below our current valuation of 0.7 pence per point. But the rates above show that, based on these 50-plus properties, there’s still value to be had.

That said, it’s important to note that many properties fall below this average. Specifically, mid-tier properties in Europe and some high-end properties in the U.S. had lower average values than the overall average.

Further, there are more changes on the horizon for Marriott in January 2023. So while our initial test shows a slightly higher valuation, we are putting a big asterisk next to it and will continue to run more tests in the coming months.

It’s important to note there was a wide range in the values we found. For example, the top European property had a three times higher value than the lowest.

In addition, there are still sweet spots in the Bonvoy program. Based on our tests, luxury resorts are showing a better-than-average return in many cases. And while some of these might not be as good of a deal as they were in the pre-dynamic era, they still represent a chance to get solid value from your points.

But remember, our testing isn’t the be-all and end-all. We couldn’t test every date across every property. Your best bet is to search for those properties at which you want to redeem your points — and if you have flexibility in your travel dates or destinations, you’ll have a greater chance of finding a good redemption.

For example, look for high-end properties during low seasons or book weekday nights instead of weekend nights if your schedule allows.

Regardless, one thing is for sure: Marriott award pricing is now more variable than in the past, and we don’t know the extent to which this will change even further when pricing bands go away entirely next year.

Bottom line

Losing a published award chart can make it more challenging to plan toward a specific redemption goal, and there was fear that Marriott’s shift to dynamic pricing would represent a significant devaluation. Per our data, that fear has not been realized at this time, as on average, we saw a value of 0.64p per point across the 15,000-plus data points we analyzed. This is slightly below our previous valuation of 0.7p apiece.

Of course, this sample doesn’t mean that Marriott points are unchanged. Dynamic pricing means that award rates across the Marriott portfolio can vary from night to night. And while just 3% of participating properties can price outside of the old categories as of now, all Marriott locations will have this possibility in 2023.

Only time will tell whether that next development will further affect the value of Marriott points.

Featured photo by Kyle Olsen/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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