Most experts agree that Marriott points have steadily decreased in value since merging with Starwood. While some of the best redemptions have come from Marriott, such as discounted Category 8 hotel pricing, this is no longer available. I already miss all the lovely hotels I stayed at for only 60,000 points – now they are 85,000 per night (a 24% discount). However, Marriott Moments is still one of the few places where redemptions provide good value.
Marriott Bonvoy Moments offer unique experiences available only with points. While most other programs provide poor value with their auctions, Marriott packages can be very attractive. It helps that Canadians can earn Marriott points extremely easily; Marriott points are the easiest hotel points to earn in Canada.
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card and Marriott Business American Express each earn 50,000 points as a welcome bonus with Marriott after you complete the minimum spend of $1,500. The Cobalt Card also earns the equivalent of 6 Marriott points per dollar on Groceries and Dining. Finally, being a AMEX cardholder unlocks Global Transfer, where eligible individuals can use their Canadian credit history to access American Express cards in the US with further earnings potential.
Marriott Bonvoy Moments
Marriott Moments has a Bonvoy section, which offers packages in categories such as entertainment and sports. This is a rewards site where you can only use your Marriott points to bid. Most redemptions are auctions, but some items are at a fixed price. Fixed-price items tend to be music items such as concert tickets.
Packages start from 15,000 points all the way to 1,000,000+ points on the most sought after experiences. There are some absolutely incredible items, like sleeping in the Super Bowl Stadium overnight before game day. I’m not even an American football fan, and I think that’s out of this world. That auction closed at close to 2 million points, although it’s not unreasonable as it’s something money can’t buy.
Other pricy experiences included a private dinner at French Laundry for 350,000 points or glamping in a W Yurt at Coachella for 566,500 points. I value Marriott points at 0.7 cents apiece, so keep that in mind when calculating how much something ‘costs’. For more ordinary experiences, a personal assistant or credit card concierge (such as with the American Express Platinum Card) might be able to get you in at reasonable prices. However, my Marriott balance is
500,000 300,000 more than I’d like, so valuations drop for me.
Marriott Auction Rules
Auction rules are simple. An auction will list the end date, with a minimum bid increment of 2,500 points. There are two options to bid: manually, or auto-bids with a maximum bid amount. Points are instantly deducted from your account once your bid gets accepted. Once you bid, a confirmation email gets sent with another email if you get outbid. Each account can win a maximum of five experiences per calendar year. Residents of Quebec are not eligible for Marriott Moments, presumably due do provincial regulations.
I will add my two cents: auto-bids are very dumb because all they’ve seemed to do, in my experience, is jack up the price. As well, sometimes emails that say you got outbid don’t always go through. For packages I want, I usually monitor the auctions as time runs out. Some packages are in local time, so I have enjoyed very much being awake at 4:30am Pacific time. Most packages are listed within a month or two of the actual event date.
Marriott Moment Deals
The best deals are auctions that include a hotel stay. The rationale I use is that even if the auction goes to a high amount, that is offset because you normally would pay a big chunk of points for a hotel to start with. There have been auctions which ended up cheaper than outright redeeming points for free nights. This is because most auctions are on fixed dates, helping to keep the price down. Flexibility with your travel dates is key.
Last year, I grabbed tickets to the Billboard Music Awards. I paid 27,500 Starpoints (82,500 Marriott) for two tickets. The cash price listed on each ticket was $375, for a total retail value of $750; prices were also higher through resellers. This wasn’t the 1.0+ cents in value I normally like to get, but it was a memorable concert I never would have attended if it wasn’t for Marriott Moments.
Last month, I snagged a Marriott Moment package featuring a fitness/wellness bootcamp at W Dubai – The Palm. This included three nights in a suite, a whole weekend of workouts, and more. One of the highlights was a private training session with a trainer from Barry’s Bootcamp. My friend and I won the auction with 175,000 points, which turned out to be a great deal. Normally, each night at the W Dubai is 50,000 points: staying three nights would require 150,000 points. All the add-ons included definitely was worth more than 25,000 points.
The property recently opened, so the accommodations were absolutely incredible. With my Titanium status, I received a massive suite that normally went for $1500 USD a night. Breakfast was complimentary as part of the package. The weekend also included additionally several events including an evening reception and private dinner. My friend and I also got a ton of swag including a Bonvoy branded bluetooth speaker, portable blender, and tank top. The experience has been one of my favourite travel moments this year.
Marriott Moments is one of the redemption opportunities still a good value despite the deals that have been removed with the Marriott and Starwood merger. I love bidding on these auctions and letting the experiences available inspire me.
The other relevant aspect is that anyone can earn Marriott points quickly and easily. Getting the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card and Marriott Business American Express earns you 120,000 Marriott points after meeting minimum spend, while the Cobalt Card also earns the equivalent of 6 Marriott points per dollar on Groceries and Dining.