Why the new Amex Marriot Rewards deal has some people upset
It's going to be harder to score yourself a free room with newly-lowered rates.
Details of the merger between the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest hotel rewards schemes were first unveiled in April. The three schemes will be merged into a single program from 2019, with various changes being made to the existing programs in the run-up to the switch.
The devil is often in the details with these kinds of changes, and one detail that has emerged this week means points hunters will have to think carefully about their next moves. The earn rate for transferring Amex Membership Rewards points into Marriott Rewards is going to be cut in August.
Currently, you can convert 1 Amex Membership Rewards point into 1.5 Marriott Rewards points. From early August, that rate will change to requiring 3 Amex Membership Rewards points for 2 Marriot Rewards points, a spokesperson for American Express confirmed to Points Finder. That's close to a 50% reduction in the redemption rate.
If you're sitting on a stash of Membership Rewards points and have been considering putting them into the Marriott Rewards scheme, then there's a clear strategy: do so well before August. I'd only consider doing that if there was a specific reward from Marriott you had in mind. Otherwise, keeping the points within Membership Rewards is going to be a more sensible strategy, since you then have a variety of options for redeeming them.
Marriott is a relatively small player in the local market, with just seven hotels operating in Australia. If you're a high tier Marriott Rewards member, I'd imagine that you're either travelling to the US alot or have a work travel policy that favours Marriott locally. Either way, using Amex to top up your points is going to become a little less effective in the near future.
THE POINTS FINDER TAKEIf you've been saving towards a specific Marriott Reward using Amex points, then it makes sense to transfer before the August changes.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.