When Marriott launched the Bonvoy program in 2018, combining the old Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, the most expensive redemption for any hotel was 60,000 points. Then they introduced ‘high and low season’ pricing and a new more expensive category 8, pushing up the most expensive reward to 100,000 points.
Unfortunately a year ago they abolished award charts altogether and promised only that price increases would be muted in the first year of the new system. Even then some redemptions went from 70,000 points to 100,000 points.
Now that the first year has passed, gloves and constraints are off, and properties can cost up to 150,000 points per night. Take, for instance, the Ritz-Carlton Maldives:
- During rainy season points prices range from 92,000 – 106,000 points per night
- Pricing runs 108,000 – 130,000 per night during normal popular times to travel
- And peak dates, where they offer redemption nights (e.g. not the week between Christmas and New Year’s) you may 150,000 per night.
Here’s the end of December into January:
You’ll now see Al Maha and the St. Regis Bora Bora pricing up to 126,000 points although that can now continue to rise of course.
North Island was always a special case, with pricing in its own league for instance 365,000 points against a $7,000 room rate. Now there are no more special cases as such, just whatever Marriott wants to charge you for a room. Notably Marriott did not even tell members about this change. They just raised the price cap, and so can presumably do so whenever they wish with no notice at all – that’s the opposite of loyalty.
Dynamic pricing means no longer getting great value for points. There may be times when you’ll get better value (when rates are low and award prices used to be high). In those case you shouldn’t have spent points, and spent cash instead. Now the ‘great values’ of the past are going away, since redemption prices rise to meet higher rates. There’s no longer a reason to go out of your way, in most cases, to build up points balances with Marriott, and I’ll be looking at the extent to which I should revisit my 60 basis point valuation of a Marriott point.