Success Booking the St. Regis Maldives, Bora Bora and Al Maha at New Prices
Today is Day 4 of the Marriott and SPG integration, and while lots of progress was made by the end of Day 3, as of early Monday evening, you still couldn't book the high-end all-suites properties at the new (lower) rates of 60,000 Marriott points per night.
However, this morning brought with it a new day, and it was time to try again. Calling Marriott to book legacy SPG properties was stillmet with an immediate dead-end, but calling SPG directly was much more successful. The very helpful lady I spoke with at SPG said that things were still down for her about 90 minutes ago, but she was willing to try again.
Amazingly, this time the system worked and we were able to successfully price out stays at three different legacy SPG all-suites properties.
First, we tried the St. Regis Maldives, which was sold out of the base-level Garden Villas for our test dates, but had an Overwater Villa available at a price of 340,000 Marriott points for a five-night stay with the fifth night free. That breaks down to 68,000 Marriott points per night over five nights, or 22,667 old SPG points per night, which is an absolutely outstanding deal. The same villa was selling for a total of $16,000 for those five nights, meaning a fantastic redemption value of 4.7 cents per point, so I'd say points are the way to go.
That said, only having pricier upgraded rooms available on points is going to be a very common theme at these high-end resorts. While you may technically be able to book for as low as 60,000 points per night (48,000 with the fifth night free), the standard rooms (er, villas) that cost that amount are very, very limited in quantity — as in a literal handful.
Next we moved on to the St. Regis Bora Bora, and on our first round of trying a few different test dates, we did not come up with standard award pricing. In this case, the Overwater Villa was again the least expensive option available and it was 730,000 Marriott points for a five-night stay with the fifth night free. That's the equivalent of 48,667 old SPG points per night — not as good of a deal as the St. Regis Maldives' Overwater Villa, but it's certainly a better deal than the old award pricing model.
The larger one-bedroom Overwater Villa was also available at the St. Regis Bora Bora at an even higher price of 970,000 Marriott points per night on a five-night stay.
However, I made another booking attempt over the phone a couple hours later, and did find an example date in May 2019 where a standard room was indeed available at the St. Regis Bora Bora for 60,000 points per night with upgraded rooms available starting at 70,000 points per night. The description of the standard room I was given over the phone was a one-bedroom lagoon view. I don't see that specific room-type listed in the same way online, but the least expensive room available on that date online was the One-Bedroom Reefside Pool Villa. Perhaps searching for dates when that villa type is for sale with cash will help you narrow down when you can book over the phone with 60,000 points.
Our final test was to price out the Al Maha, a desert resort and spa located just outside of Dubai that features villas with plunge pools and includes food and unique dessert activities. This Luxury Collection property was entirely sold out on our first test dates, but on the second try, a Bedouin Suite was available for just 270,000 Marriott points for a five-night stay. That breaks down to 54,000 Marriott points per night, which is the equivalent of 18,000 SPG points per night in the old system. For fun math, that same suite on the same nights is selling for over $8,000, for a redemption value of 2.9 cents per point. TPG currently values Marriott points at 0.9 cents apiece, so you'd be getting over triple what they're worth on this booking.
If you've been waiting to book these or other high-end SPG properties that previously cost more points per night than many of us could ever get our hands on, then today's the day to pick up the phone and get booking. At least right now, you cannot book these awards for all-suites properties online. However, if your goal is a resort with standard rooms such as the St. Regis Aspen, St. Regis New York, St. Regis Deer Valley or St. Regis Princeville on Kauai, you can book those awards online for just 60,000 Marriott points per night or 48,000 points per night with the fifth award night free.
Be aware that you cannot currently advance yourself points to book the legacy SPG properties, so you have to have enough points in your account to make the booking. Additionally, many people (including myself) still cannot merge their SPG and Marriott accounts as that functionality is rolling out in batches — perhaps your luck in that area may be better than mine.
Now that we know booking these resorts for a reasonable number of points truly is possible, I will 100% be applying for the new SPG Luxury Credit Card when it launches later this week. There's no doubt I will need every Marriott point I can get!
Being able to book high-end SPG resorts from 60,000 Marriott points per night is a huge step forward in the SPG and Marriott integration process, but we're still keeping our eyes on a number of integration issues. Check out our new Marriott hub page for complete coverage, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information.
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