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.