Marriott Honors Mistake Award Rate at St. Regis Maldives – and How Much an Overwater Bungalow Should Now Cost

The new Marriott program rollout has been riddled with glitches. There are members who still show the wrong elite status, wrong lifetime status, and who still cannot merge accounts.

The basic functionality is there. But too many members remain inconvenienced a week later by glitches. And Marriott phone representatives give out too much incorrect information about the new program (hardly a new phenomenon, but more important now than ever).

One interesting quirk of the transition that benefited members was discounted overwater villa award availability at the St. Regis Maldives.

  • The basic award room there costs 60,000 points, which is the most any standard room is supposed to cost right now in the Marriott program. (That’s even lower than the 2016 award mistake rate at the St. Regis Maldives.)
  • But there are only a handful of those rooms, making standard room award redemption difficult.
  • And if you’re traveling all that way you probably want an overwater villa not a garden villa anyway.

Bedroom of Overwater Villa, Credit: St. Regis

Starwood used to charge 90,000 Starpoints per night for an overwater villa there. That was the ‘standard’ redemption, and equates to 270,000 Marriott points per night in the new program.

While some Marriott phone reps told members who called that overwater villas were not available for redemption there, other members successfully booked overwater villas by phone — at 85,000 points per night. That’s just 25,000 more Marriott points to upgrade to an overwater villa which is a steal.

I’ve learned that a standard room doesn’t have to be available in order to book a premium room award. And that Marriott hes learned about and fixed this glitch. Marriott confirms they “will honor the 85k rate booked by members.”

The correct rate is 170,000 points per night. It is not yet available but will be loaded “in the coming days.” That is still a good deal. It equates to less than 57,000 Starpoints per night, a big discount compared to the old rate Starwood had been charging of 90,000 points per night. And of course 5th night free applies.

Remember that there is a window to make top category bookings at great prices only through the end of the year. Currently the top category is 7, next year there will be a category 8, and there will also be peak season pricing. So some 60,000 point per night properties will go up to as high as 100,000 points per night next year. St. Regis Maldives will be category 8, and high season dates will undoubtedly be dates when you are most likely to want to go.

An overwater villa, then, should go up by the same amount since the ‘extra’ 110,000 points is supposed to be based on the difference in paid rate between garden and overwater at the property.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, is your understanding that the Garden Villa (base room) should still only cost 60k points? Because I have agents who can see this availability, the same as I can see online, and they are not able to book it.

  2. With current redemption rates of 85,000 points that is like $765 if you value Marriot points at .9 cents yes – it’s a helluva lot cheaper than SPG rates but i still wouldn’t describe it as cheap

  3. Why would you value marriott at .9 cents? More like .7 cents, and for 5 nights that ends up being even cheaper.

  4. I wonder if they made the same mistake at the W Maldives? The overwater lagoon villa was also going for 85K/night.

  5. That’s a great deal if you got it. Now pack your luggage with doomsday prepper provisions or set aside $5000 ( at least) for food and beverage. Every property I’ve been to has a dead reef . Too bad, as snorkeling was the main attraction for me. Maldives is no longer aspirational unless you aspire to see dead coral , a Trash island, and the worst part: no dogs.

  6. @EJB

    TPG values them at .9 cents and OMAAT values them at .8
    You may value them at .7 but my using .9 is a perfectly reasonable choice of valuations…

  7. Speaking of Marriott, they appear to have devalued their United Mileage Plus status upgrade via their “Rewards Plus” link. The top tier elite level (Platinum Premier) used to receive UA MP Gold, and now with the SPG merger it has been reduced to Silver. Did Marriott think their elite members would somehow not notice?

  8. @Ned – Pre-merger 75 night tier was Platinum, that came with Silver. post-merger 75 night tier is Premium Platinum, which still comes with Silver.

    If you want the better benefit, you need a higher tier, same as before (e.g. Ambassador in the new program — although UA Gold isn’t explicitly published benefit for that).

  9. @Oleg – Not according to Marriott’s own website, which states that Ambassador level also receives UA MP Silver.

  10. Gary, can you confirm 170k points per night is the new rate for the OWV at the St. Regis Maldives? SPG agents are now quoting me 192k per night.

  11. Hi Gary, as of today, 1/04/2019 an overwater villa is now pricing on the website as 360,000 points per night. Can this be correct? I called the Elite Platinum line but they were not helpful. They told me to call back when the property was staffed during normal business hours for the hotel manager. In October it was pricing as 790,000 Marriott points for 5 nights.

  12. I luckily booked the OVW for 85k/night but noticed there are $1450 in taxes/fees for the 5 nights. Is this expected?

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