This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Marriott has confirmed that you’ll be able to book Cash + Points awards beginning March 24, 2016.

A few days ago, Marriott teased upcoming changes to its Marriott Rewards program, with a promise to provide more details this week. One of the “new benefits,” Points Advance, has actually been around for awhile now. The other three changes, however, are actually new.

Marriott
Marriott’s Fab Four program changes.

As I mentioned last week, these are all positive changes — you can see the four outlined in the screenshot above. Really, the only addition that required a further explanation is the program’s new Cash + Points redemptions, which let you use a mix of cash and points to cover single or multi-night redemption stays.

As you can see in the chart below, the cash and points amounts increase depending on the hotel category (or tier in the case of Ritz-Carlton). However, the increase isn’t proportionate to the full points redemption amount. In other words, the amount you’ll “pay” for each point varies depending on the category.

New cash and points redemptions for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.
New cash and points redemptions for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.

With a Category 5 hotel, you’ll need to redeem 25,000 points OR 14,000 points + $65. That means you’re offsetting the difference of 11,000 points by paying $65, which works out to just 0.59 cents per point. TPG values Marriott Rewards points at 0.7 cents each, so you’ll end up ahead here. With a Category 9 hotel, meanwhile, you’ll need to redeem 45,000 points OR 28,000 points + $220, so you’re essentially “buying” those 17,000 points at 1.29 cents each, which is a really bad deal.

Of course, other programs already offer cash and points redemptions, so ultimately Marriott is playing catch-up here. Still, in some cases it can be worthwhile, so it’ll be nice to have the option when it kicks in early next year.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Points Guy Assessment:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.