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After being unusable for much of yesterday, the Starwood and Marriott websites came back online early this morning with the new award pricing and booking functionality. Of course, for many family-friendly properties and the Marriott Travel Packages, this weekend marked a Points Doomsday of sorts.
The silver lining of the merger is that if you were waiting (im)patiently to book previously pricey or even out-of-range properties such as the St. Regis Maldives, Al Maha, St. Regis Bora Bora or domestic properties such as the St. Regis Aspen, St. Regis New York, St. Regis Deer Valley or St. Regis Princeville on Kauai, this weekend marked go time.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, the systems are not working perfectly quite yet. Some tasks are possible, but some aren’t. If you aren’t chasing a specific award booking I would recommend staying clear of the Marriott and SPG sites and call centers for at least a few more days.
However, if you’re like me and have been counting down the days to make award reservations at the newly lowered rates at high-end properties, then I’ll walk you through my experience trying to book properties today.
Trying to Book the St. Regis Maldives for 48,000 Points Per Night
We have had the St. Regis Maldives on our Spring Break 2019 wish list for a few months. Yesterday morning, I could see availability for our dates at 60,000 points per night, or 48,000 points per night with the fifth night free. However, when the website was briefly functional for a few minutes yesterday morning, several of those dates were somehow already gone. This morning, even more of our March dates were gone, to the point that I started working on a very different back-up spring break plan. Since the St. Regis Maldives only has a small handful of standard award rooms that will be available for 60,000 points per night, they legitimately can and will sell out on many dates.
That said, you can find award rooms available online at the St. Regis Maldives with enough date flexibility (especially next summer), but I’ve already experienced the Maldives during monsoon season and don’t particularly want to do that again. We may try again in a few months to book the St. Regis Maldives for late 2019 during Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Even if we can’t book the St. Regis, perhaps one of the other SPG/Marriott Maldives resorts that are currently under construction will be feasible options by then.
We knew that availability would be limited at this resort, but the especially frustrating part is that you can’t currently book the St. Regis Maldives using points online, even when availability displays. My experience calling both SPG and Marriott this morning resulted in being disconnected or told that bookings cannot be made using points at this time. In fact, I was told they can’t even see award rates, which is strange since they are viewable on the public websites. My polite begging for them to at least try was unsuccessful, and I was told to try calling later.
The Sheraton Maldives is bookable online, though that property isn’t on the TPG most-recommended list.
Award Availability for Suites Properties Not Displaying Online
My attempts to find award availability at Al Maha, St. Regis Bora Bora and the St. Regis Bali online were unsuccessful this morning. It is possible that awards at these resorts must be booked over the phone and will not display online, but since the call center award functionality isn’t yet fully operational, dead ends were found with all of these attempts.
If you want to try calling, I was able to reach both SPG and Marriott, though neither was ultimately able to assist at this time.
- Marriott Rewards: 1-801-468-4000
- SPG Rewards: 1-888-625-4988
60,000 Point Award Booking Success at Some St. Regis Resorts
If you have your eye on a reservation at one of these properties, and you have the functionality to book the property online, I’d do it now! I say if you have the functionality because point transfers between SPG and Marriott have not yet combined and manually transferring points from one account to another isn’t a given this morning. In fact, I can’t get into my SPG account at all despite following all of the tips in this article.
The bottom line is SPG and Marriott made huge progress towards program integration during the night, but things are not yet smooth sailing. This is especially true if you want to book some of the all-suites properties for just 60,000 points per night. However, there are properties you can book now for fewer points than you could a few days ago — and the all-suites properties could come online at any time — so good luck award hunting!
We’ll continue to update all our coverage of the new Marriott program throughout the weekend and into next week as more of the integration goes live. You can also find the answers to some of the most common questions about the new Marriott program from TPG‘s senior points & miles editors, and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information.
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