Insane SPG, Marriott, and Ritz redemption opportunities coming soon!

If you’re considering an award stay at a Marriott, SPG, or Ritz-Carlton property, you may want to wait until August to book

Venice hotels on points

New category assignments of SPG, Marriott, and Ritz properties under the new program have been released! Click here to see the full list.

Click here for more details about the new program, but here are a few quick facts:

  • Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest will combine into one program in August 2018
  • Award trips that begin after August are still subject to current pricing if booked prior to August.  But if you have already booked an award stay and the new pricing is better, you should be able to cancel and rebook at the better price in August.
  • One new award chart will replace the award charts of all 3 programs in August.
  • Any existing Starpoints and any Starpoints earned prior to August 2018 will be converted to the new currency at a ratio of 1:3 in August.  20,000 SPG points on July 31=60,000 points in the new program*
  • Any existing Marriott Rewards points will remain as is.  20,000 points on July 31=20,000 points in August.

*This matches the current ratio.  You can already transfer SPG to Marriott at a ratio of 1:3 and vice versa if you want to.  But in August there will be only one currency. In other words, Starpoints will be extinct.

You should wait until August to book some SPG and Ritz award stays

new marriott rewards program Venice on points

Even without the category assignments, it was obvious that the higher end SPG properties would come at a discount if booked after the new program goes live.

This is the new chart:

new marriott rewards program chart

If you look at Starwood’s current award chart, the highest category is 7.

The new category 7 rate is twice that of SPG category 7. But remember, points will be easier to earn and existing SPG Starpoints will be multiplied by 3!

Category 8 and peak/off peak pricing will not go live until sometime in early 2019

One interesting thing is that the new category 8 rates will not go into effect until 2019. Additionally, peak and off-peak pricing will not go live until early 2019.

Properties that are slated to become category 8 will be available to book at the category 7 standard rate once the new program begins in August.

This means that from August until sometime in 2019, the highest possible redemption rate is 60,000 points. That is the equivalent of 20,000 SPG Starpoints (if earned prior to August).

Until 2019, you can book really fancy hotels for only 16,000-20,000 SPG points per night!

spg and marriott new categories

Venice!

The Gritti Palace in Venice is a Starwood category 7 hotel that goes for over 1100 Euros (~$1360 USD) per night.  As an SPG category 7 property, the current redemption cost is 35,000 Starpoints per night.

new marriott rewards program

If you like to splurge on luxury properties, 35,000 Starpoints per night on a hotel this expensive is a good use of your Starpoints!  But after August, it gets even better.

new marriott rewards program

Note that in the ‘Current points required’ column, Marriott has already done the 1:3 conversion. In  other words, the current lowest cost is 30,000 Starpoints or 90,000 Marriott Rewards points converted to Starpoints (that would be if it was off peak.  It’s actually 35,000/105,000 per night in my example because I chose a peak date).

The Gritti Palace in Venice will eventually become a category 8 property, but it will be available at category 7 pricing temporarily!

new marriott rewards program

If you book Now-August 1
  • Category 7 SPG redemptions require 30,000 or 35,000 Starpoints per night.
If you book August 2018-sometime in 2019
  • Even though this will become a category 8 property, it will be available at category 7 pricing until early 2019
  • Category 7 properties are 60,000 points per night
  • This translates to 20,000 SPG points (if they are earned prior to August 1 and thus converted at the 1:3 ratio)
  • This results in saving 10,000 or 15,000 SPG points per night when compared with current SPG category 7 rates

That’s a discount of over 40% on this property.  Since the 5th night is still free with the new program, a five night stay at a category 7 property would average out to only 16,000 Starpoints per night.

if you book sometime in 2019 (after category 8 goes live)
  • As a category 8 hotel in the new program, the cost is equivalent to ~23,333-33,333 Starpoints, depending on dates.
    • Off peak dates will cost 70,000 points per night (~23,333 Starpoints)
    • Standard pricing is 85,000 points per night (~28,333 Starpoints)
    • Peak pricing is 100,000 points per night (~33,333 Starpoints)
  • Even peak dates are less than the highest possible current SPG rate of 35,000 Starpoints!

So, even after February 2019 when category 8 and peak/off peak price variations go live, the higher end SPG categories will be less than in the current SPG program!  But the best time to book SPG properties slated for future category 8 is August 2018-early 2019.

marriott new categories

another obligatory Venice pic

Some redemptions at top tier Ritz-Carlton properties will also cost less

The Ritz-Carlton brand also falls under the Marriott umbrella, but currently Ritz has its own award chart.  Below is the current Ritz-Carlton chart*.

*Note that this chart is for Marriott/Ritz currency, not SPG points.   So, you can divide the points needed by 3 if you’re planning to use SPG points earned prior to August to book.

The Ritz Carlton Kyoto is currently a Tier 5 property.  The cash price is $1271 per night.

new marriott rewards program ritz Carlton

It will eventually become a category 8 property, but it will be available at category 7 pricing temporarily!

ritz kyoto on spg points

Now-August 1
  • Tier 5 redemptions require 70,000 points per night.
  • This is equivalent to 23,333 SPG points.
August 2018-early 2019
  • Category 7 properties are 60,000 points per night
  • This translates to 20,000 SPG points (if they are earned prior to August and thus converted at the 1:3 ratio)
  • This results in saving ~3,333 SPG points per night when compared with current rates
  • This is 10,000 points less than in the current Marriott/Ritz program.
After category 8 goes live in 2019
  • For standard category 8 pricing, the Ritz Carlton Kyoto will cost 85,000 points per night.  Peak and off peak pricing will also be implemented.
  • As a category 8 hotel in the new program, the cost is equivalent to ~23,333-33,333 Starpoints, depending on dates.
    • Off peak dates will cost 70,000 points per night (~23,333 Starpoints)
    • Standard pricing is 85,000 points per night (~28,333 Starpoints)
    • Peak pricing is 100,000 points per night (~33,333 Starpoints)
  • Standard and peak pricing result in an increase of the current Tier 5 price of 70,000 points per night.

You should book Tier 5 Ritz properties that are moving to category 8 in/after August but before category 8 pricing goes live.

All-suite SPG properties are the biggest surprise!

The St. Regis Maldives is an SPG category 7 property, but it’s actually more than the normal 30,000-35,000 SPG points per night since it is an all-suite property.  Properties that are all suites are an exception to the SPG chart and have their own award redemption pricing.  Currently, standard award nights at this property are booked into overwater villas, which is very generous.  The price is a whopping 90,000 Starpoints per night!  SPG does run occasional promotions knocking it down a little, but that’s still a crazy amount of Starpoints.  If you think the redemption price is crazy, wait until I tell you the average rate of an overwater villa at the St. Regis Maldives… it’s over $2,000 per night!!

The St. Regis Maldives will eventually become a category 8 property, but Marriott has confirmed that it will be available to book at category 7 pricing between August and early 2019.   It’s possible that Marriott will change the base award to a suite type that is not an overwater villa, but even the non-overwater suites are pricey!

I’m guessing that in August when category 7 pricing begins, award rooms will get snatched up pretty quickly at this rate.  If I can find dates, I don’t think I’m going to be able to pass up this amazing deal!

Other off-the-charts SPG properties such as St. Regis Bora Bora will also be available at the new program category 7 pricing.

new marriott rewards program st regis Maldives

Photo courtesy of St. Regis

Summary

If you’re considering an award stay at a Marriott, SPG, or Ritz property, you can check the new category assignments to figure out your best time to book.  For example, if a property is moving to a category that results in a higher redemption cost, you would want to book prior to August.  On the other hand, you can save big on higher end properties if you wait until August!

  • From August 2018 until early 2019, you can book high end SPG properties and top tier Ritz properties for 20,000 Starpoints or less.
  • Now is the time to earn as many Starpoints as possible if you’re interested in properties like this!  Remember, the SPG card is devaluing your earning potential after August.  Click here for more info.
  • Any Starpoints earned between now and August will be converted to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio.  In August, Starpoints go away.

new marriott rewards program

 

 

 

 

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