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We recently learned that the Marriott and SPG programs will officially combine on August 18, 2018. This means August 17 is the last chance you’ll have to book SPG and Marriott properties at the current award chart rates. While August 18 will bring some opportunities to book high-end Starwood and Marriott properties for significantly fewer points than today, many mid-range properties that are popular with families will become astronomically more expensive from that date forward.
Thankfully, both SPG and Marriott allow you to book 50 weeks in advance, so you should be able to lock-in stays at the current award rates through about August 2, 2019, before the program cutover date of August 18. This will allow you to plan family trips through summer 2019 at the current award prices.
Keep in mind that for legacy Marriott Rewards properties, you don’t need to have the full number of points available to cover the entire redemption — you can book now and earn the needed points through other Marriott stays or even via your Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card at least 10 days prior to your arrival.
Before the two programs become one, here are 10 Starwood and Marriott properties that families should book before the August 18, 2018, transition to one combined program. When planning potential vacations, factor in that the majority of these properties do have resort fees that are not waived on award stays.
Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort
The Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort offers a solid way for families to put together a trip to Disney World and the Orlando theme parks on a reasonable budget. It’s located minutes away from Disney World, has two large pools and includes a complimentary shuttle to the Walt Disney World Resort.
The resort can currently be booked for the equivalent of 9,000-12,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, but jumps all the way to 25,000 Marriott points per night beginning August 18.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resorts are located on Disney World property within walking distance to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They convey most of the perks of “true” Disney Resorts, making them a great way to use hotel points without trading off most of the Disney magic. However, on August 18, they’ll both be increasing from the equivalent of 36,000-48,000 Marriott Rewards points per night to 50,000 Marriott points per night.
Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas
Families can currently book one-bedroom villas at the Sheraton Vistana Villas, a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, for 30,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. However, just like at the Swan and Dolphin, that number is increasing to 50,000 Marriott points per night.
The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas
The villas at the ski-friendly Westin Riverfront Mountain, not to be confused with the neighboring Westin Riverfront Resort, are currently available from 36,000-48,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. That number will skyrocket to 60,000 points per night on August 18. Currently, to book award rooms at this property, you may need to call SPG and book over the phone as I’m not seeing award nights available when standard rooms are for sale with cash.
Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
San Francisco, California
Families looking to explore San Francisco can currently book the Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square for 36,000–48,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, but it’s transitioning to 50,000 points per night once the programs merge.
Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalainipu’u
While I love the idea of families using their Marriott points to book larger rooms and suites at Marriott Vacation Club properties, the sad fact is that nearly three-quarters of these properties are going up in award price, with an average increase of 7,813 points per night. The Marriott Kauai Lagoons is one of the many Marriott Vacation Club properties getting pricier on points as it jumps from 40,000 to 60,000 points per night. There’s also a cash co-pay of $200 to $300 per night when you use points to book these two and three-bedroom villas.
The Marriott Kauai Lagoons resort is located near the Lihue Airport, which puts it about halfway between the different North and South sides of Kauai (and very close to my favorite luau on Kauai).
Marriott Waikoloa Ocean Club
Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii
You can currently book true one-bedroom suites at the new Marriott Waikoloa Ocean Club on the Big Island of Hawaii for 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night plus a $100 cash co-pay, or two-bedroom suites for the same number of points with a $200 cash co-pay. This property is co-located with the 15-acre Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa that’s increasing from 40,000 to 50,000 points per night.
Westin Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
The Westin Grand Cayman is set directly on Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach, which offers an ideal beach for families to swim and play. You can currently book award nights at this recently renovated property for 36,000-48,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, but that number will soon increase to 50,000 points per night. The nearby Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort will also be increasing to 50,000 points per night from its current award price of 45,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.
The Cove Atlantis, Autograph Collection
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
There are several unique hotels and towers that make up the massive Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. Two of the nicer hotels located within the complex will be getting more expensive when using Marriott points beginning on August 18. The higher end Cove Atlantis will be increasing from 45,000 to 60,000 points per night, while the Royal Towers will increase from 40,000 to 50,000 points per night. On the flip side, the more economical Coral Towers will actually decrease from 40,000 to 35,000 points per night. If you want to visit Atlantis without spending any of your Marriott Rewards points, you can look into the Wyndham Rewards/Total Rewards partnership option.
Le Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant
Those that are looking for a ski-friendly property in Eastern North America should consider visiting Tremblant. Until August 18, you can lock in rooms at the Westin Le Tremblant in Quebec for 36,000-48,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. After the programs combine, that number will creep upwards to 50,000 points per night.
For more on the Marriott and SPG program merger, take a look at these posts:
- The Ins and Outs of Marriott’s New Elite Status Program
- Crunching the Numbers on the New Marriott Award Rates
- Lifetime Status With the New Marriott: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- 6 Tasks to Complete Before Marriott and SPG Combine on August 18
Featured image of the Walt Disney World Dolphin in Orlando courtesy of the hotel.
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