SPG currently has 17 properties that are literally “off the charts” in that they are not priced in SPG’s standard category 1-7 award chart. The award prices for these properties are also off the charts in the sense that they can be astronomically high. Fortunately, when Marriott and SPG merge in August, it should be possible to book these properties at reasonable rates. Nick covered this opportunity in-depth in his post: The huge wins in Marriott’s announcement.
Controversy: How cheap will these properties really be?
Today, these off-the-chart properties typically cost anywhere from double to quadruple the current category 6 and 7 rates. That means that most of these properties cost at least 60,000 Starpoints per night. Nick found, for example, that the cheapest available rate for the St. Regis Bora Bora was 90,000 Starpoints per night. That’s equivalent to 270,000 points per night in the new program!
There has been some controversy over the question of how these properties will price in the new program. Bob Behrens, the Vice President of Marriott Rewards, told us in-person and re-confirmed via email, that all of these properties will have standard rooms defined in the new program and will be assigned categories in the published award chart. If that’s true, the most expensive property will cost only 60,000 points per night (the equivalent of 20,000 Starpoints per night) if booked between August and early 2019. In 2019, an 8th category will be added along with peak and off-peak pricing. At that point, you can expect these properties to cost as much as 100,000 points. Still, that’s equivalent to 33,333 Starpoints, which is far less than these properties cost today.
On the other hand, in interviews with View from the Wing and with The Points Guy, David Flueck, SVP of Global Loyalty for Marriott, stated that there will be an up-charge for all-suites properties.
View from the Wing writes that David Flueck “let me know that these charts do not account for pricing at premium all suite properties.”
And here’s an excerpt from the TPG interview:
TPG: With all-suites properties like the St. Regis Maldives, how are they priced? There’s no all-suite pricing on the new award chart.
DF: When we get through getting all of our properties into the new award chart, we’re also working through the suite pricing and some of those other prices which have required a few more points, which will still be the case in the new program. We’ve announced all of our award chart for the standard rooms and we’ll be rolling out the pricing for things like suites and other upgraded inventory.
So, who is correct SVP David or VP Bob? At the big reveal event in New York, David introduced us to Bob as the person who could best answer all of our questions. But what if Bob’s wrong? If so, my hope and expectation is that the suite pricing will be less severe than it is today. Hyatt charges a 60% premium for suites. I hope that Marriott will offer a similar rate. If so, the all-suite properties will be cheaper in the new program than they are today (much cheaper, actually, until category 8 and peak pricing is introduced).
Planning for the deal
Some people with huge SPG point balances are booking awards now with the intent to call in August to ask Marriott/SPG to reprice the awards, and refund the difference. This way they can hold the coveted award while it’s still available. It’s not unreasonable to assume that these off the chart deals will get snagged up quickly once the new award chart is in place.
Those without huge piles of Starpoints will want to plan ahead by identifying where they want to go and when. That way they’ll be ready to book these hotels as soon as the new award chart goes into effect in August.
To help with your planning, I’ve created a map of Off the Chart properties, and a list of all of the properties…
The Off the Chart Map
You can find all of the Off the Chart SPG properties on this Google Map: SPG Off-The-Chart Map.
The Off the Chart List
Here are all of the SPG Off the Charts properties:
The following text, where quoted, was taken from SPG.com:
“Free Night Awards at the following locations require higher Starpoint redemption amounts either because the hotel does not have standard rooms or the standard rooms it offers have a mandatory Full Board requirement in peak seasons.”
These Category 6 properties “charge a minimum of 40,000 Starpoints per night”:
(Prices shown next to each property are based on the best rates found by Google Maps for October 7-13 2018)
- Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand ($531)
- The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand ($167)
- Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, Steamboat Springs, Colorado ($138)
These Category 7 properties can “range from 31,500 to 140,000 Starpoints per night depending on the hotel, its room types, the time of year, and/or it’s mandatory requirements”:
(Prices shown next to each property are based on the best rates found by Google Maps for October 7-13 2018)
- The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, Costa Rica ($322)
- The St Regis Bora Bora, French Polynesia ($1,146)
- Le Meridien Bora Bora, Bora Bora, French Polynesia ($593)
- Mystique, Santorini, Santorini, Greece ($650)
- The St. Regis Bali Resort, Nusa Dua, Indonesia ($542 — 1 week earlier)
- Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda, Italy ($297 — 1 week earlier)
- Hotel Pitrizza, Costa Smeralda, Italy ($314 — 1 week earlier)
- Hotel Romazzino, Costa Smeralda, Italy ($297 — 1 week earlier)
- W Retreat & Spa, North Ari Atoll, Maldives ($921)
- The St. Regis Vommuli Resort, Vommuli, Maldives ($1,477)
- W Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand ($646)
- Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, U.A.E. ($1,424)
- St. Regis Residence Club, Aspen, CO ($432)
Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort, Key West, FL(It looks like this one left SPG)
- Phoenician Residences, Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale, AZ. ($424)
[…] SPG off-the-chart properties are now bookable using Marriott points via the Marriott app. I’ve personally been struggling to try to make this work via website as well, but I’ve been able to get through to the point of booking in the app. Loyalty Lobby shares screen shots of confirmations. Oddly, you’ll want to book via Apple device. More on why below. […]
Even at (only) 60,000 points a night, they are going to cost 600$ a night
At 2 c cash back vs 2 Marriott points per $ spend, there is always a cost to the “free” miles and points.
The minimum cost of the free nights with points using their award chart is 600$ which may be too much for some of these
When SPG was exorbitant at 90k SPG a night, if it was 1800$ or less, I would suggest paying cash in stead of SPG
(as the cost of SPG points was 2c lost cash using the cards)
The relative “savings” now is because of the transfer ratio of 3 MR for 1 SPG which was a nice arbitrage and is now gone.
Your analysis is true if you earn Marriott points through base credit card spend. I’ve written separately that I don’t recommend Marriott or SPG cards anymore for the purpose of earning points through spend. They are still good for their annual free nights (if you value those nights much more than the card’s annual fee) or, in some cases, to help with elite status, but definitely not for spend.
I just booked St regis maldives but the point chart been advertised that it would cost 60000 points is not honoured. I booked for 5 nights in october thinking it would cost 240000 points as 5th night would be free night. But the marriot call centre told it would cost 340000 points for 5 nights for the overwater villa. I am bit disappointed that i have to give 100000 extra points which i think is not correct as its no where mentioned on marriot website. Can you please suggest if any way i can fight back to get back 100k points.
I’m surprised that you succeeded in booking it at all! My guess is that the villas which are not overwater are the ones that should be available for 60K per night and that you had to pay a 15K per night upgrade for the overwater one. If true, that’s a great deal in my opinion. Anyway, Marriott is continuing to struggle technically with these special properties, so I’d recommend waiting until next week to see what the correct price is for the property you booked.
[…] Of course, the St. Regis Bora Bora is only one such example — see this post for more ideas: SPG’s Off the Chart Properties, and a Map. […]
[…] are only transfer partners with SPG because I would rather hold my SPG points for the shot at an off the charts property come August […]
[…] SPG’s Off the Chart Properties, and a Map […]
Greg, this is awesome. Thanks for laying out so clearly. I agree with you. Santorini could be a great spot. Went there just for a day as part of the cruise, and it’s lingered ever since. Would love to get away from the tourists and stay for several days. – Zac (www.travelfreely.net)
Any idea which hotels on this list are “full board”?
I called twice last week and neither rep could answer that. Both of them looked and only pulled up stuff like a Westin in Costa Rica that’s an all-inclusive that does fit on the chart. They told me none of these properties had a full board component — though maybe it’s only during certain seasons and the reps I spoke with didn’t know…
[…] that the information I’ve received is accurate. I’ll note that Greg from Frequent Miler got the same info as me from Marriott. Yet many well known bloggers say they’ve gotten the opposite information […]
I think I’m going to wait till August and then ask Marriott how many points it would take to upgrade my current 7 night category 1-5 package to the Al Maha, Dubai. Got a 30 year anniversary coming up…
I’m confused about the prices listed for some of the resorts… for example:
Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, Steamboat Springs, Colorado ($138)
How is that worth anywhere near “a minimum of 40,000 Starpoints per night”?
The prices shown were whatever Google Maps showed me when I put in the arbitrary dates: October 7-13 2018. Since those dates are very much off-season for many resorts, you’ll often see lower than usual rates.
Regardless, your observation is very important: just because a property is off the charts doesn’t mean that it is a good deal to book with points even if the price goes down to 20K Starpoints. It’s always a good idea to check the paid prices of places you want to stay because you may get a much better deal by booking the cash rate.
Look before u book then book the best value then cancel IF something better comes up like i do .
Just booked NY by SW $11 air + 2 Free or cheap nites v Hotels.com.
Thanks for all of the info and suggestions. This is a bit off topic, but is there a way to find out which category the new Westin Maldives will be placed?
None of the actual category mappings have been revealed yet.
One step further, suppose someone has a 7-night Marriott package at a cat 8…..where does that fall into this reorg? Do you think they be able to book one of these properties for 7 consecutive nights?
The way to guess the mappings in advance is to look at the current award chart vs the new. Category 8 Marriotts currently charge 40K points per night. So, looking at the new chart, that package should land in either category 5 (35K/night rooms) or category 6 (50K/night). My guess is that they’ll map to category 6 (in which case it will be a deal) or if category 5 I hope they’ll refund some points.
From your second most recent article Bob says that they are working to map “standard rooms” at all these properties. I’m assuming that at places like the St Regis Maldives the standard rooms would likely be the rooms that aren’t over water villas and rather are on land. Should we be trying to use our SPG points now to book into these rooms types specifically? Would be tough to book an overwater villa and then be told it’s not a standard room come August.
That is exactly what we anticipate in terms of the type of rooms that would be defined as “standard”, so that strategy makes sense to me.
I just tried booking a regular land villa at the st regis maldives. Apparently you can’t even use points for those right now. Only overwater villas work with points. I guess we’re stuck right now unless you have any solutions?
Great suggestion. Thanks!
So the idea is to book regardless of the amount of starpoints now and then in August it should be able to be converted and fixed to the correct amount?
I’m merely pointing out a strategy that some are using. You have to have enough Starpoints to book now and then in August, the award won’t automatically reprice — you’ll have to call and hope that they can do so. If they can’t reprice it, your points are still safe in that you can cancel the award and get back the original Starpoints (in the form of 3X points)
Greg-Any strategies that one should follow who has huge stash of Starpoints? Buy certain category Hotel and Flights packages before August? Just wondering what to do in case we are expecting devaluation of these packages and how categories may realign at the top. Thanks
I don’t think that the packages will devalue — at least, not significantly. There may be some opportunities to buy now with the hope that the packages will map to new categories in a favorable way, but I don’t think the potential upside is enough to make it worth locking in your points if you’re not ready to. If you want United miles, though, I do think that it’s likely that the current Cat 1-5 132K package is likely to have a worse points to miles rate in the new program.