Stop whining, start winning…
Two days ago, Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards and Ritz Carlton Rewards were all “things”. Today, only one remains and that’s Marriott Rewards. Marriott is now the largest hotel rewards program in the world, representing over 1,000,000 hotel rooms in 127 countries, with a mere 110,000,000 members. If you’re one of those more than one hundred million people, or are considering joining them, here are a few under the radar ways to maximize your journey within the Marriott Rewards program…
You know the drill – the best hotels during the most popular breaks sell out way in advance. One overlooked facet of the Marriott Rewards program, is that you can book any room available with points, without actually having the points. This is an awesome way to lock in the reservation you need, and then go about earning the points in the meantime before your stay. You need to earn all the points needed at least 7 days before check in, which is really reasonable, especially for future bookings later in the year, or next.
Hotels have caught onto the idea that opening the best restaurant or bar in town is the way forward. By doing so, the people come to you, and you barely have to rely on rooms being sold out for a hotel to “do well”. By bringing along your Marriott Rewards card, or at least remembering the card number, you can earn points when you take your friends or work colleagues out for a meal (or maybe even drinks). For now, this is theoretically limited to hotels in Asia & Pacific, but there’s very, very strong reason to believe this will ring true all over the world, very shortly. Simply present your membership number when the bill comes, you may even save 10% off.
You’ve undoubtedly had the conversation. Your friends see you living large, assume you’re either selling drugs or hit the lottery, and you explain it’s all about the points, baby. To prove the point, you and your friends can each land 2,000 bonus points for each stay they make, when you refer them to Marriott Rewards. You can refer up to five friends, and for each of the first five stays they complete, you each get 2,000 bonus points, for a total of 10,000 per friend. You’re welcome.
Timing is everything not just in travel, but life. To ease the transition into this “one program” thing, many hotels which were previously a part of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and are now a part of Marriott Rewards can be booked for fewer points than you would’ve needed two days ago, and less than you’ll need if you book them next year in 2019. Bear with us here for a second. Until the end of 2018, the most expensive hotels in Marriott Rewards, including Luxury Collection, St Regis cost 60,000 Marriott Points per night. All Starwood points are converted at a rate of 1:3 this week into Marriott Rewards, so if you had 20,000 SPG, you now have enough for a five star hotel. Under the old SPG program, you needed 35,000 SPG points per night, or 105,000 Marriott. That’s a savings of 45,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, if you lock in your luxury hotels for 2018 or 2019, in 2018. Come 2019, the booking rates will go higher again.
This was a more generous trick prior to this week, but it’s still a great way to kickstart your year of Marriott Rewards elite status “night” earning. If you’ve ever been to a hotel and wondered “who actually books these”, you can now be one of those people. Booking a conference or meeting room can be extremely affordable, and when you do, you’ll earn 10 elite status nights. This magic 10 nights only counts once now, so don’t try to triple, quadruple, whatever dip. Be sure to confirm everything with your meeting planner in advance to ensure all goes as planned. Enjoy the coffee.
Sure, you could pay 45,000 points per night for a nice hotel in Barcelona, or you could pay 45,000 points for three nights, a Michelin starred dinner, a concert and other cool stuff. Enter: Marriott Moments. Marriott is utilizing their reach into travel lifestyle to offer exclusive access at restaurants, music festivals and sporting events, and the packages are totally overlooked. You can quite literally lock in hotels and priceless experiences for a fraction of what the hotel alone would cost, from time to time. Take a look at the current offerings, here. And yes, you should click that link because your mind will be quickly blown.