Last weekend, SPG and Marriott merged – all SPG points were multiplied by 3 and all SPG hotel award prices have been adjusted to account for the new pricing and value of points. Some SPG hotels went up in price while others went down. The best part is that all hotels now cost at most just 60k Marriott points per night (until December), that means that even the most luxurious SPG hotels cost only 20k SPG points per night (60k Marriott points).
The 60k price applies to the top category hotels per night, with the fifth night being free on any redemption of 5 nights. That means you can book a luxury hotel for just 48k points per night, if redeeming points for 5 nights. You can transfer AMEX and Chase points to SPG/Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.
Why You Should Book Top Hotels Now
The current SPG/Marriott award chart until the end of this year prices out the most luxurious hotels for just 60k points per night (or 48k points per night if redeeming for 5 nights). In 2019, Marriott will add an additional level to the award chart, which will make top hotels costs 85k points per night at the standard rate. Marriott will even go as far as including peak and off-peak awards later in 2019.
The bottom line is that you should absolutely redeem you SPG/Marriott points now for luxurious hotels as they are incredibly cheap in points. Remember those incredible SPG hotels priced for 35k+ SPG points per night? Well, now they cost just 20k “old” SPG points per night.
Which Hotels Should You Book?
Here is a list of the best and most luxurious hotels that you should absolutely book now, especially with a five-night stay (to get the fifth night free on an award booking):
- St. Regis Maldives
- St. Regis Bora Bora
- St. Regis Aspen
- St. Regis New York
- St. Regis Deer Valley
- St. Regis Princeville
- St. Regis Bali
- St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
- Al Maha
- The Gritti Palace
- Santa Marina
- W Koh Samui
This is by no means a complete list of the most gorgeous and luxurious SPG hotels, but is a list of my favourite hotels that are now bookable using the new award structure.
Please keep in mind that award space for the base rooms will be incredibly limited for these hotels – they are very popular, especially with the new award chart, therefore it may take you a while to find available dates using points.
How Can You Quickly Earn Points?
You might want to book a handful of these hotels at these incredible rates, but you might be short on points. Here are a few ways to earn points:
- SPG/Marriott Hotel Stays
- Buying Points
- American Express Credit Cards
- Chase Credit Cards
- Transferring Points between SPG, Marriott, and Ritz
- Bonus Ways to Earn Points Through Promotions (check Marriott website)
The quickest way to earn points is buy buying them, however the *cheapest* way to earn a lot of points is with the AMEX and Chase credit cards – there are currently huge bonuses – up to 100k with both banks and therefore you should take advantage of the offers.
Can You Book Past This Year?
Yes, you can book award stays for next year at this fantastic rate that is available now. You can change your bookings up until the end of the year at the current rate, even for stays for next year. However, if you want to change your booking next year, you will probably have to pay more points, depending on what award you use and what hotel you book.
Even if you do not have any specific travel plans, it does not hurt to speculatively book hotels that you might visit or that might be in your travel plans. You can always cancel – but make sure you check the cancellation policy when you book.
How Is The New Program Compared To The Old?
The new combined Marriott Rewards program, which features SPG and Ritz, is both good and bad. Marriott has kept a lot of SPG benefits in the new program, but they have changed some policies. For example, SPG would guarantee Suite Upgrades for Platinum Members, as long as a suite was available at check-in.
With the new Marriott program, a Suite Upgrade for a Platinum Member is at the desire of the hotel.. even if that suite has not been sold. The new policy is that “room upgrades for Platinum Members MAY include Suites”. The old SPG guaranteed Suite Upgrades.
While Marriott has changed a lot of SPG policies which were incredible, they have done a mostly good job with the merger. The fact that some top SPG hotels now cost just 60k points per night is fantastic. On the other hand, the removal of some SPG elite benefits is incredibly frustrating.
If you are planning a luxury holiday with your Marriott and SPG points, I would book sooner rather than later as these hotels are quickly filling up since they are so popular. Remember that you can cancel points bookings for free and therefore it does not hurt to book and change your plans later.
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