In 2022, Marriott changed the way that hotels were priced when people redeemed points, and implied that in 2023 there would be no more limits on the maximum number of points it would cost to book one of their hotels. If you heard this news and were worried that the value of your Marriott points would go down, I'm happy to say that after looking at the cost and points of many hotels around the world, things are not quite as bad as many people expected. In this video, I'll tell you what I discovered about how Marriott prices their hotels when people redeem points, the overall average value of Marriott points, and the best places to use your points based on my data. The first thing you have to understand is the Award chart that Marriott used up until early 2022. Under that system, hotels would belong to a category from one to eight, and in general, they would cost one of three different amounts of points based on whether a night was considered.
What It Means for Your Points and Hotel Bookings
Peak standard or off-peak? In March of 2022, Marriott switched to Dynamic pricing, so it's no longer possible to search for a hotel by its category. Under Dynamic pricing, the original off-peak and Peak prices became the minimum and maximum, and hotels could be priced any amount within that range rather than just three different prices. Marriott also announced that the maximum number of points it would cost to book just over 200 of their hotels would go up. Based on my research, it's essentially meant that they moved up one category. There were also some hotels in category 8 that increased so that their maximum cost is now 120,000 points. This essentially created a new category nine, and based on my research, the minimum price for a category nine hotel is 80,000 points. Occasionally, some Hotel owls will also have Point Savers promotions, and before March 2022, the Point Savers cost would have been the numbers shown.
On screen, after the change to Dynamic pricing, I found that the Point Savers rates were basically a 20% discount, meaning there are actually hotels that could now have some nights that cost less than they did before the change to Dynamic pricing. An example is this Moxie in Paris which, as a Category 5, has a Point Savers price of twenty-four thousand eight hundred points. While before the change in March 2022 it would have had a Point Savers cost of 27,500 points, but that was 2022. So how do things work now? To find out, I tried to find the costs and points of hotels in every single points category in every region of the world. You can look at my research methodology in more detail in the description of this video, but essentially what I found is that this nine-category Award chart still exists.
Unlocking Savings with Marriott's Dynamic Pricing System
Even though it's not publicly available, there is one major change to it. Though, before I go into that, the things that didn't change are the minimum prices and the point Savers rates. The change is to the points maximums, and that's now shown on screen. Categories four and nine actually didn't change, and there was a five percent increase in categories one, three, five, and six, and a less than seven percent increase for the other categories. Given that inflation in the United States was over seven percent in 2022, even if you only use your points for Peak nights, the value of your points went down less than the value of your actual money. If you happen to have an 85,000 Point free night certificate, such as the ones that you would get from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, you might be concerned though that those cannot.
I found that the free night certificate can be used at the category 9 hotel that you want. However, in 2023, I found that every single category nine hotel that I checked had at least some nights that you could use this certificate. Although there are some hotels, like the W, where there will be some nights you can't use the certificate, and there will be some nights where it's probably not a good idea to use that certificate because the point Savers cost is so good. There were a few hotels where I couldn't find a points redemption rate less than 88,000 points, meaning that if you wanted to use your 85,000-point free night certificate, you'll have to top it off with a few thousand points. There's also the Ritz Carlton Reserve brand, which before April 2022 could not be booked using Marriott points. Now, most of these hotels are priced in category nine, but the one in Los Cabos and the one in Dorado are priced above category nine.
Perhaps when Marriott was talking about removing the limits on the number of points it would cost to book their hotels, they weren't talking about devaluing points for the vast majority of their hotels but just making it possible to add a few more Ultra Luxury hotels to be bookable with points. Another thing I looked at is whether there was any difference in the value of points in the few days before Christmas Eve 2022 compared to the month of January 2023. I actually found that there was no statistical difference in the value of points between these two time periods. But for the week of Christmas, the value of points is a little bit higher because during this time, the cash rates for hotels are extremely high. So now you may be wondering, based on the hotels that I looked at, what are Marriott points worth and where are they?
Analyzing the Value of Marriott Points for Hotel Redemptions
Get a value of over eight cents per point but those instances are rare and not representative of typical redemption values. Best places to use your points well? To answer these questions, I separated these hotels by region of the world and by hotel category. I found that in Europe and the United States, points were worth a little bit less than other parts of the world. In January 2023, the average value of points in these two regions was 0.73 cents per point while the average value of points in the rest of the world was 0.87 cents per point. Now, let's look at the value of points by hotel category. If you don't know how to read this graph, 50% of the time, the value of points will be within this shaded box. About 25% of the time, the value for points will be represented by the line under the box, and about 25% of the time, the value for points will be represented by the line above the box. I did remove outliers to make the graph a little bit more presentable. So, there are some nights in places like the Saint Regis Maldives where you can get a value of over eight cents per point, but those instances are rare and not representative of typical redemption values.
Get more than four cents per point, but this is less than 0.1 percent of the time. By looking at this graph, you can see that points tend to be worth the most when you use them at either the most expensive or the cheapest hotels, and points tend to be worth the least when you redeem them for hotels in this middle area. Unfortunately, on the Marriott website, you can no longer filter hotels by category, but you can sort hotels by points cost, which is a rough way to try to find hotels at either end of the price spectrum. In the award chart, I'll now add median value. This means that half the time points will give you more value than this amount, and half the time points will give you less value than this amount. If you're looking for one number for the value of Marriott points, I'll say that based on the average, it's 0.79 cents per point, while based on the median, it's 0.72 cents per point. Anyway, if you're interested in learning more about Marriott points and Marriott's loyalty program, check out the playlist that's linked on screen.
Overall, while Marriott's switch to Dynamic pricing did result in some changes, including the creation of a new category nine and some hotels seeing an increase in their maximum point cost, it's not as bad as many people feared. Based on data analysis, the average value of Marriott points has remained relatively steady, and there are still many great places to use your points. It's important to stay up to date on any further changes and promotions that Marriott may offer in the future.