What are Marriott Bonvoy points worth?

11

For years we have listed Marriott points as being worth 0.72 cents each.  This was based on the average redemption value reported in 2017 by a company that no longer exists (Pointimize).  For details about point values for different programs (and how we think about them), see: Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs).

Since then, Marriott Rewards merged with Starwood Preferred Guest to become Marriott Bonvoy.  Subsequently, Marriott changed their award chart, introduced peak and off-peak pricing, and bounced hotels around to different categories (usually to make them more expensive).

Given all of those changes, maybe our old 0.72 cents per point valuation doesn’t make sense any more.

I’d love to methodically figure out a new value for Marriott Bonvoy points, but this is a terrible time to do so.  With the current COVID-19 situation, any look at current point prices compared to paid prices is suspect.  What we see today is unlikely to be what things look like in the future.

Fortunately in mid February, before travel was greatly affected outside of China, I collected data for two posts:

I’d argue that this data is more representative than any data one could collect right now.  So, I put all of the data together (131 data points) and found the answer:  In this dataset, I found that Marriott Bonvoy points are, on average, worth 0.68 cents each.

Unfortunately, the data I collected only included category 5, 6, and 7 hotels.  And I didn’t include peak or standard priced hotels that priced out of the range for the certificates I was evaluating.  As a result, there’s a significant selection bias in the results.  My bet is that my results undervalue Marriott Bonvoy points.  That said, it’s the best info we have right now.

I considered updating our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) with the new average of 0.68, but ultimately decided against it.  The result I found is so close to the original RRV (0.72) that, if anything, it confirms that old number.

Going forward

If hotel prices drop precipitously due to COVID-19, then we can expect point values to drop since there will be a significant lag between cash prices dropping and Marriott changing a hotel’s award category.  That said, in recent research I haven’t seen a drop in cash prices for resorts in the United States.  At least, not yet.  See: Best Marriott resorts for domestic US summer travel.

When (or if) travel returns to normal, it will be worth doing a new study to calculate Marriott Bonvoy point values.  Until then, let’s just slightly round-up my 0.68 finding, and slightly round-down the old 0.72 number and then we can agree to the following:

Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.7 cents each.

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