Marriott

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Marriott has announced a deal to buy Starwood Hotels. The deal still has to get shareholder and regulatory approval, so this is not a done deal, but I thought I’d offer some preliminary thoughts.

Marriott buying Starwood is bad for miles and points enthusiasts.

Starwood has a far more lucrative program, SPG. I value SPG Starpoints at 2.5 cents each because they can be used on a very cheap award chart for free nights, starting at 2,000 points per night; used for Cash & Points nights, which offer some good values to stretch your points for more hotel nights at the cost of a cash co-pay; or transferred at a rate of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 American Airlines, Alaska, and Asiana miles to just name my three favorite options.

Marriott’s points are worth 0.8 cents each to me. They can be used on a much more expensive award chart or transferred at a worse rate than Starpoints to airline miles.

We don’t know for sure what Marriott would do with the SPG program. It could continue to run SPG independently of Marriott Rewards, keeping SPG’s value intact. However, I highly doubt Marriott would keep SPG around for two reasons related to the two companies’ current sizes and one reason common to all mergers.

  1. As the bigger program and surviving brand, Marriott Rewards would probably swallow SPG.
  2. Because SPG was so small, it needed to engender loyalty, since it couldn’t compete on the number of hotel options it offered in each city. This is why SPG was the most valuable program, because it had to be. As part of the largest hotel chain in the world (the new Marriott), the loyalty program would no longer need to be so lucrative.
  3. Mergers mean less competition, which means less need to offer a lucrative program.

Instead I anticipate SPG to operate as a separate program in much the same form as it does now until integration between the two companies. At that point, your SPG account will merge with your Marriott Rewards account and your SPG Starpoints will be forcibly converted to Marriott points. The ratio is harder to predict.

If Marriott tried to convert Starpoints to Marriott points at a 1:1 rate, people would revolt since SPG points are about three times as valuable as Marriott points. Instead, I could see Marriott converting SPG points to Starpoints at a 2:3 or 1:2 ratio. They could spin at as a great deal (“we’ll give you 50% more Marriott points when we convert your Starpoints”) while actually offering a terrible deal.

I will keep abreast of the latest news on the purchase of Starwood by Marriott and continue to share it here.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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Transfer hotel points to United miles by August 31, 2015 for a 25% bonus of United miles.

  • You must register here before transferring to get the bonus miles.
  • The bonus is capped at 20,000 bonus United miles.
  • Here are the participating hotel points partners.

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All of the hotel partners offer a terrible rate except for Marriott. (For instance, 20,000 Starpoints = 15,625 United miles after this bonus.)

Marriott and United have an enhanced partnership, so Marriott offers a very fair rate on United transfers. With a RewardsPlus transfer, you can transfer 56,000 Marriott points to 31,250 United miles after bonus or 112,000 Marriott points to 62,500 United miles after bonus. In general, I’d value Marriott points at 0.4 cents and United miles at 1.5 cents, so those are good deals.

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With a RewardsPlus Hotel + Air Package, you can do even better. With these deals, you get seven free nights at the hotel category listed plus the number of United miles listed at the top of the table.

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Remember that the 25% bonus is capped at 20,000 bonus miles, so choosing a “7 Nights + 110,000 Miles” or “7 Nights + 132,000 Miles” will result in far less than 25% bonus United miles. But those are still the best options. You’ll notice that as you move left-to-right in a row, get 1.1 extra miles for each 1 point spent before the current bonus promotion. That’s an insane value since, as I already noted, United miles are far more valuable than Marriott points.

How should you use your United miles? For international economy awards, United BusinessFirst and Global First awards, and these Six Under-Priced Awards on the United Chart. Check out my Basics of United MileagePlus post for more info.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Updated June 4: Hilton has moved up its free wifi to today from its originally announced date of August 1.

Hilton, Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, IHG, and Fairmont all offer free internet in their hotels worldwide if you meet certain easy conditions. Finally the great hotels of the world are catching up with a standard benefit of hostels for the last decade. 😉

Hilton now offers free wifi as of June 4, 2015 to all Hilton HHonors members who book their stay through a Hilton-controlled channel (like hilton.com, the Hilton app, or by contacting the hotel itself.) Join Hilton HHonors free here. Diamonds will get premium internet. All other members will get basic internet. Hilton operates the following brands:

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Hyatt offers free wifi in lobbies and guest rooms worldwide since February 1, 2015. This applies no matter how you book your room–yes even if you use Priceline–and even if you are not a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. Hyatt operates the following brands:

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SPG offers free internet access since February 2, 2015. The free internet is only available to SPG members who book their stay through SPG.com or other SPG owned channels (ie the SPG app or sheraton.com.) Join SPG for free here. SPG operates the following brands:

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Marriott offers free internet access since January 15, 2015. The free internet is only available to Marriott Rewards members who book their stay through marriott.com or other Marriott owned channels (ie by phone or directly with the hotel.) Join Marriott Rewards for free here. Marriott operates the following brands:

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IHG has long offered free internet to IHG Rewards club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join IHG Rewards for free here. IHG operates the following brands:

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Fairmont has long offered free internet to Fairmont President’s Club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join Fairmont President’s Club for free here. Fairmont operates the following brands:

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This is great news for travelers. In the United States, I never bought internet from hotels anymore, opting to tether my laptop to my phone, but abroad I was often stuck paying 10 to 15 euros per day at hotels. I look forward to free internet at hotels worldwide for the rest of my life.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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Today ends the fourth of five weeks of discounted travel packages from the US Travel Association called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will often sell out in a few minutes. Every weekend I’ll preview the deals for the next week, and the morning of interesting deals, I’ll have a full write up.

Today only, Marriott eGiftCards are 20% off.

Today’s deal is:

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You can buy five of the $100 gift cards, two of the $500 gift cards, and one of the $1,000 gift cards. That means you can purchase $2,500 in gift cards for $2,000. These eGiftCards are delivered electronically and do not expire.

The gift cards can be used at the following brands:

  • JW Marriott®
  • EDITIONSM
  • Autograph Collection® Hotels
  • Renaissance® Hotels
  • AC Hotels by MarriottSM
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts®
  • Gaylord Hotels®
  • Courtyard® by Marriott
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites® by Marriott
  • SpringHill Suites® by Marriott
  • Residence Inn® by Marriott
  • TownePlace Suites® by Marriott
  • Marriott Vacation ClubSM
  • And participating hotel outlets: retail, spa, golf and food and beverage.

My Plan

I’m out. I don’t book (m)any paid stays at Marriotts. If you do stay at Marriotts, this deal is a no-brainer to purchase gift cards and lock in a 20% savings on future stays.

Will This Deal Sell Out?

Yes, very quickly.

What Cards to Use to Purchase Daily Getaways

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Purchasing the Packages

To maximize your chances of getting in on the deal, I recommend using a site like whattimeisit.com to figure out the official time. The sale starts at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT / 7 AM HT. This year’s sales all started on time to the second. Keep refreshing the deal page until you see the BUY NOW button replace the SEE DETAILS button.

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This is what happens if you try to purchase something when all quantities are already in someone’s cart.

This doesn’t mean the deal is sold out. If someone doesn’t complete his purchase, that quantity will immediately become available for someone else. Keep checking until the dreaded “Sold Out” appears.

Key Links

Do you plan to buy Marriott eGiftCards? Post your successful or failed attempt in the comments, so we can gauge how quick you had to be to snag a deal.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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Reader Steve passes along a great deal for people with lots of Marriott points.

Until October 31, 2014, you can get a 20% bonus when you transfer Marriott points to American Airlines miles.

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This includes Marriott-points-to-miles transfers and transfers of Marriott points to hotel and air packages.

  • What are hotel and air packages?
  • Why are hotel and air packages often a better deal than just transferring to miles?
  • What airline transfer partner of Marriott points is always 10-20% better than other options?
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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United scared me on Friday, and I wrote about that fear on Sunday, by saying changes were coming to the MileagePlus program.

That fear was unfounded as United introduced unambiguously good changes to MileagePlus, though very minor changes from my perspective, in the form of a partnership with Marriott.

What does this mean for you?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

The offers listed in this post have expired so their links have been removed. Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Sometimes I want luxury, and sometimes I want quantity.

Last week I talked about the Three Best Credit Cards for Free Nights in Luxury Hotels.

But what about going to the other end of the award chart? A lot of times when I am traveling I just need a pillow and a roof, since I plan to be out exploring the city all day. What credit card sign up would net me the most free hotel nights? (20 in all!)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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Marriott Hotels announced that they are changing the requirements for lifetime elite status. The FlyerTalk thread discussing Marriott lifetime benefits can be found here. Shockingly, the changes are all positive. When word came from a Marriott Rewards forum post that lifetime elite criteria would be changing, there was some apprehension. However, I can tell you that the changes are actually beneficial to travelers. The new requirements are listed below with changes in bold.

Lifetime Silver

250 (previously 600) nights at Marriott properties &  1,200,000 Marriott Rewards points earned

Lifetime Gold

500 (previously 800) nights at Marriott properties &  1,600,000 Marriott Rewards points earned

Lifetime Platinum

750 (previously 1,000) nights at Marriott properties &  2,000,000 Marriott Rewards points  earned

The requirement that you had to be a Marriott Rewards member for at least 12 years was also eliminated. Marriott has the toughest nights requirement to qualify for top tier elite status of all hotel chains and is notoriously stingy with room upgrades. I have avoided them in the past, but work commitments might change my hotel choices in 2013. Make sure to check out my upcoming posts on the program as I spend more nights at Marriott properties.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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