Sunday Reader Question: What is the Best Use for Marriott Points?
TPG reader Mary Lynn writes:
"What's the best value for Marriott Reward miles? If you try to exchange them into airline miles the exchange ratio is so bad I'm wondering if I'm completely misunderstanding things."
In my opinion, transferring Marriott points to airlines at a ratio of 10,000 points to 2,000 miles is not a great deal. In general, redeeming hotel points for hotel stays is going to get you the most bang for your point, but as with all redemptions- it depends on what you personally value the most.
If you need miles and want to stay at a hotel, check out Marriott's Hotel and Air packages. If you need 50,000 miles, it would normally cost 250,000 Marriott points. However, with the hotel + air package, you could get 7 nights at a category 1-5 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for only 200,000! Not only do you save 50,000 points, but you get free hotel for a week too. They even have a sliding scale, so if you need more airline miles you can up-gauge, for example and extra 70,000 airline miles only costs an additional 70,000 Marriott points for a grand total of 270,000 points.
Even if you don't necessarily need miles, it often makes sense to take advantage of these packages if you have 7 night hotel stays. For example, 7 nights at a category 5 hotel normally costs 150,000 points. It's only an extra 50,000 points to get the 50,000 airline miles and I personally think trading Marriott to airline miles at a 1:1 ratio is a steal of a deal.
Another redemption opportunity that can be a great value is the PointSavers program, which are free hotel nights discounted up to 33%. This list rotates, so check it frequently to see if any participating properties align with your travel plans.
I personally don't accrue tons of Marriott points because I see better value in other hotel elite status programs, but I know a lot of friends and TPG readers who get tremendous value out of these redemptions. As always, please feel free to share your experiences.