Reader Question: Can we talk about the elephant in Marriott Rewards rooms?


A LoyaltyLobby reader asked us about the valuation of a Marriott Bonvoy point and how difficult it is to get “value” from the program.

Remember to send us your questions and comments by email, and FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. We’ll try to cover them here several times a week.

You can access Marriott Bonvoy here.

READ MORE: Marriott Bonvoy Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

The email from the reader:

I have yet to see an article about it (granted I don’t keep up with ALL the sites), but Marriott articles continue to value points at .008 per point. Based on my personal observation over the last several months, it is nearly impossible to achieve that in America.

Full disclosure: you * can* find that or even greater value at some of the 5* through diligent searching. And I have not explored much outside of America given the current travel hurdles.  But, on a Marriott property 4* or less, it is nearly impossible to extract a value of .008 per point.

I really think someone needs to write about it and call it to attention while coming up with a more realistic valuation.

We partially covered this issue recently when we wrote about Marriott’s plan, at least pre-pandemic, to move entirely dynamically priced award rooms like what Accor has always had, what IHG rolled out last year, and how Hilton prices its premium awards.

Here are the articles:

Marriott Has Considered Moving To Dynamically Priced Awards

How Dynamically Could Priced Marriott Bonvoy Awards Work?

The reader must be referring to websites that push credit card sign-ups. To get their readers to sign up to drive their affiliate revenue (read more cash), they use imaginary and inflated values when assessing points values across various programs, including Marriott Bonvoy.

Here was one similar question when another reader asked if buying points make sense:

Readers Comment: Do Buying Points Make Sense & Valuation Of Them?

Pros and Cons of Dynamically Price Awards:

Pros & Cons Of Dynamically Priced Hotel Awards

How Accor, Hilton & IHG Handle Them:

How Dynamic Hotel Awards Work With Accor, Hilton & IHG?


Here’s how you can derive “fantasy” value for any hotel program loyalty program point value: pick up a costly destination (Maldives, French Polynesia, etc.) around the holidays and choose one of the luxury brands.

Your points then appear to be highly valuable if you compare the paid prices versus the number of points required with programs that have fixed award charts for standard rooms.

However, you should not base your point valuation based on this UNLESS you are willing to pay for the stay in cash outright.

It seems that the websites that push credit card sign-ups are now using the word “value” that you derive from these stays. You cannot value something at $10K if you are unwilling to pay that price even when someone else does.

The fair value, IMHO, of a Marriott Bonvoy point is somewhere between 0.4 to 0.7 cents each.

I use my airline miles and hotel points when prices are high or at/to/from expensive destinations. However, I don’t fool myself that the one-way first-class airplane ticket is worth $10K to me when I could have flown the very same flight in the economy for $500.

I have been debating this a bit lately because I have a nice award redemption for a ten-night stay in the Maldives this coming October, and I am not 100% sure if I really want to do it or not. I have been to the Maldives perhaps half a dozen times, and, although I do like some properties (W Maldives), not all the luxury hotels have been to my liking, and I don’t consider the destination to be that great.

My “free” ten-night stay would probably cost $3K to $5K in additional expenses such as the infra-Maldives air transfers plus F&B expenses at the resort, not including the flights to/from the Maldives.

Some other time, it would have been an easy hop from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore, or even Malaysia. But not right now when most of these countries are closed for non-resident arrivals, and there is very little connectivity, if any, from, for example, Thailand.