Always Compare SPG vs. Marriott Rewards Redemption Values – You Might Be Surprised!

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I’m going to stay a few nights in Doha next week and decided to go for a points redemption this time as the rates in Qatar are really quite high and found huge discrepancies between SPG & Marriott Rewards.

As we’ve covered multiple times already you can interchange both currencies in real time as well as match your status so you can always pick the best redemption value.

Doha, Qatar must have some of the most expensive hotel rates in the Middle East with almost all chain hotels hovering around US$200 a night at the moment which enticed me to look into a points redemption with either SPG or Marriott during this stay.

It’s well known that SPG has a horrible value for most Four Star and above hotels and so it came to no surprise that once again it made zero sense to redeem SPG points for this stay.

As you can see these redemption rates make no sense whatsoever. Especially the Sheraton and the W are horrible value. And what’s up with the cash and points? The paid rate is about the same as the cash portion of the Cash & Points plus an additional 10k points. Crazy!

So let’s have a look over at Marriott Rewards what they offer. Keep in mind you can exchange SPG to Marriott Rewards in a 1:3 ration to have a feel for the rate value:

It almost blew my mind that Marriott Rewards offers such great rates and even has a sale promotion  for the Marriott Marquis City Center. Only 10,000 MR (equals 3,333 SPG) for one night that has a tag price of ~$180 is fantastic value.

If you like it a bit more upscale then the Ritz Carlton can be a decent choice as well with 30k points per night. I don’t see though how I can justify spending three times as many points and receive less benefits than as a Platinum at a regular Marriott Hotel.

Now in all fair comparison I don’t want to exclude that the Marriott properties are run of the mill business hotels while the Westin or W are more leisure and resort style but this time I don’t really have to stay somewhere fancy.

Conclusion

The way that Marriott and SPG handle their merger leaves ample room for customers to take advantage of different pricing between the two chains. At least for the time being. I find that Marriott award charts are more reasonable even though I can see Marriott Rewards becoming leaner once the merger has completed sometime next year.

There are certain generous aspects to the Marriott Rewards program such as the very low awards for upscale properties as well as travel packages that might go away some time in the future. As far as SPG is concerned, apart from some key properties where redemption can make sense I think the best value is to transfer the points to airline miles.

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  • Neal

    I think it really goes both ways, and that is actually a great thing right now is the ability to transfer points between to take advantage of good redemption opportunities. I wish it would stay this way, but fear everything will be merged into one program with horrible values and the boring/anti-innovation Marriott people in charge.

  • Pam

    I have been learning the Marriott redemption system since their SPG takeover. I DO appreciate the 7 nt vacay + airline mile pkg offers they have that SPG doesn’t. And some of the (translates to) 20k SPG Ritz Carlton redemptions (instead of 30k St Regis) are sweet.

    I would caution that when you do a preliminary search for a room for a Marriott room that you immediately then click on that offer & find out if Marriott then requires extra $ per night (in addtn to the “e-certificate”). I have been misled on more than one occasion at first thinking Marriott was the better deal over Starwood but actually wasn’t! At least what SPG posts as the cost really is, rather than needing to consult a second screen like Marriott.

    • FLL

      @Pam

      Marriott offers both the basic redemption AND upgraded room redemption which is the basic points + $.

      I have never encountered a situation that only the upgraded redemption is offered but no basic redemption.

      The basic redemption is always at the bottom while the one with $ at the top – you may just have overlooked the basic redemption availability.

      For SPG they do have upgraded redemption but you CANNOT see them online – must call to find out on both availability and extra points – that to me is much less convenient.

      There is no question that for a mere 15K SPG pts you could redeem the highest Cat 9 Marriott properties in the most expensive cities in the world.

      Take a recent redemption we did – SPG offers W at Hong Kong for 20K pts the W is in a much less desired location with nothing around it – the only selling points seem to be the quirky design and the fact it is atop the airport express.
      Yet the higher class JWM above Admiralty MTR station is 45K Marriott pts or 15K SPG pts.

      All you need to see is how much JWM cash rate is higher than the W hotel rate.
      Same can be said in London and other European cities,

      Enjoy the arbitration value as much as you can for come 2018 this value would be gone.

  • kazuwox

    It is vice versa, though. I tried point redemption in L.A. late August, and found that SPG was a lot much nicer in terms of points required for award night. Yes, I hope this tentative situation remains as longer time as possible 🙂