Hitting the Sweet Spot for Marriott Rewards

I recently applied for a Chase Marriott Visa. Part of the reason was for the no-foreign currency conversion fee, part was for the signup bonus and immediate Silver Elite status for Marriott. You can get more details on the Marriott status benefits here. I wouldn’t keep this card for my day-to-day spending though, more for the bonus and the free annual certificate.

Again, using my usual methodology on determining the value of loyalty points, I look for what can I get with the points, and what my opportunity cost is for acquiring them.

The interesting thing about Marriott points is that the value changes depends on where you redeem them.

Let’s look at the Marriott hotels in Toronto.

Hotel Cash rate Redemption rate Value of points
Marriott Downtown Eaton Center $279 35,000 0.8 cents/point
Ritz-Carlton $455 50,000 0.9 cents/point
Residence Inn Toronto Downtown $206 30,000 0.7 cents/point
Renaissance Toronto Downtown $174 35,000 0.5 cents/point
Marriott Bloor Yorkville $199 35,000 0.6 cents/point

So it looks like the value varies from 0.5 cents per point to almost 1 cent per point across the Marriott hotels in Toronto.

I then explored around, and I found some of the hotels in Mainland China yields much better redemption rate.

Hotel Cash rate Redemption rate Value of points
Ritz-Carlton Beijing $365 30,000 1.2 cents/point
Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing $220 20,000 1.1 cents/point
JW Marriott Beijing $275 25,000 1.1 cents/point
Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park $165 10,000 1.7 cents/point
Shanghai Marriott Pudong East $271 10,000 2.7 cents/point
Renaissance Chengdu $194 15,000 1.3 cents/point
Marriott Guangzhou $264 15,000 1.8 cents/point

We are now getting between 1-2 cents/point for many of the Marriott properties in China, while the Shanghai Marriott Pudong hotel is netting a 2.7 cents/point. It puzzles me as to why these hotels are of such low category yet offers the same, if not better quality, than the establishments in NA.

Keep in mind that if you choose to redeem with points, you also do not pay any of the taxes/hotel fees, you literally check-in, check-out, without spending a dime. Perks of being Marriott Silver elite means you will automatically upgraded to a better room, usually one level above what you book, welcome gifts, such as fruits and chocolates, and a dedicated faster Elite check-in line.

In summary, if China is somewhere you may visit in the near future, Marriott points could prove to be very valuable there! Below is the JW Marriott Beijing, and this is only a category 4 establishment!



Leave a comment if you also enjoy using Marriott rewards and what were your most valuable redemptions?

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