It would be a good time to look at your Marriott Bonvoy point balance and what aspirational awards you have been considering and book them; TODAY, before everyone does theirs in about two months, drying up all availability.
Marriott announced in October (read more here) that they would start rolling out dynamic awards from March this year and thoroughly implement them from 2023. This means that the most aspirational awards will skyrocket in the number of points required, sometimes tripling or even quadrupling.
You can access Marriott here.
READ MORE: Marriott Bonvoy Rate & Bonus Points Offers
Point Value Indications:
- Hotel Instant Awards = 0.4 cents each
- Homes & Villas = 0.6 cents each
- Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection = 0.55 cents each
It is evident that the dynamic awards will value Marriott Bonvoy point somewhere between 0.4 to 0.6 cents each.
Current Award Charts:
Marriott Bonvoy awards are partially dynamic already, considering that a hotel in each category has SIX different point requirements depending on OFF-PEAK, STANDARD, and PEAK combined with Saver and Standard.
Possible Dynamically Priced Awards:
You can currently redeem five nights for 340,000 points.
The same room goes for $13,577 if paid in cash.
If we are generous and value Marriott Bonvoy point at 0.6 cents each, this five-night award would cost 2,262,833 points, an increase of 566%.
St. Regis New York
You can book a five-night November stay for 400,000 points.
The same room goes for $8,751.
If we use the same 0.6 cents per Marriott Bonvoy point assumption, this room would set you back 1,458,500 points, an increase of 265%.
Pros & Cons of Dynamically Prices Awards
- The price of the award fluctuates with the paid rates.
- Usually, all the taxes and fees, including resort ones, are included.
- You can use your points towards multiple rate types (Accor).
- Simplifies the program – makes it easier to understand for a casual member.
- You can mix and match points and cash.
- No need for the program to adjust hotel categories annually.
- It sucks all the fun of the program, making it essentially a cashback one.
- Stays at aspirational properties become extremely expensive in terms of points required.
- No point in swiping affiliated credit cards – cashback is better.
- You end up paying all the taxes, service, and resort fees that the hotel usually collects on paid rates that are generally excluded from awards.
- Cancellation rates are in hand with the paid rates, while static awards are USUALLY flexible.
- Free night certificates issued by co-branded credit cards must have a cash maximum.
- The number of points for awards wildly fluctuates with the paid rates.
- You can only use points towards most publicly available rates (some deeply discounted may be excluded like Accor).
- You likely earn free nights faster by using OTA programs or merely booking the cheapest rate available that hotel programs rarely match (10% to 30% off).
I genuinely hope that this won’t be the point value Marriott uses for dynamically priced awards. But looking at other hotels that use this pricing method and their valuation for Homes & Villas, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and hotel instant awards, it is difficult to come to any other conclusion.
As I have listed above, there are pros and cons for dynamically priced awards, but it really decimates the value for program members that use their points for awards at high-end properties and during peak season. You may be able to save a bit if you redeem when the cash prices are low.
Dynamic awards turn loyalty programs into essentially rebate schemes sucking all the fun out of them.