What Is Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Elite Status Worth? January 2017 | Real World Machine

What Is Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Elite Status Worth? January 2017

Following its 2016 buyout of Starwood, Marriott International became the largest hotel company by rooms in the world, with over 1.1 million rooms. The Marriott Rewards program and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program still operate separately, but points can be exchanged at a rate of 3 Marriott points to 1 SPG point. You can also match Marriott/Ritz-Carlton status to SPG status and vice-versa.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program operates in parallel with the Marriott Rewards program. Given that elite members in both programs receive the same benefits, you can treat them as equivalent for elite status valuation purposes.



Elite Status Value

Marriott & Ritz-Carlton Rewards Elite Status Value
Silver $70
Gold $2,003
Platinum $3,770

Marriott brands include: Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Delta, Marriott Vacation Club, Gaylord, AC Hotels, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, MOXY, Protea, and TownePlace Suites. They also operate Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay, which are long-term corporate housing brands (and which will not be discussed further in this post).

Following the merger and ongoing integration of Starwood hotels into the Marriott family, Marriott Rewards members can also redeem Marriott points, after transferring them to Starwood Preferred Guest at a 3:1 ratio, at the following brands: St. Regis, Bulgari, Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Tribute Portfolio, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element.

Real World Machine values Marriott Rewards points at 0.8 cents each, after factoring in the large number of properties they offer, the possibility of upper upscale and luxury redemption options, the ability to transfer points to/from SPG, and reasonable award availability.

Marriott Rewards offers three published elite tiers: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. You earn elite status based on nights stayed annually.

Non-elite members earn 10 points per dollar spent on qualifying stays, assuming that they’re foregoing airline credit (two airline miles per dollar spent) and are not staying at Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (which only award 5 base points per dollar spent on room rate or one airline mile). You can only earn points based on the room rate, and not incidental spending, at Ritz-Carlton, Gaylord, AC Hotels, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, MOXY,and Protea.

Related: How much are my Marriott Rewards points worth?

You can achieve Silver status automatically through having a Marriott Rewards Premier credit card (from Chase) with its annual 15 elite night credits benefit. You also get one additional elite night credit for every $3,000 you spend on the card.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card (from Chase) confers Gold status with $10,000 in annual spending on the card (also complimentary Gold status during first year of card membership) and Platinum status with $75,000 in annual spending on the card.

Lifetime Elite Status

Marriott Rewards Lifetime Elite Status Criteria
Silver 250 nights + 1,200,000 points
Gold 500 nights + 1,600,000 points
Platinum 750 nights + 2,000,000 points

Lifetime nights can be either paid or award. Lifetime points are all of the points you have ever earned in the program; they accrue regardless of the source of the points (stays, credit card, bonuses, promotions, etc.).

Assumptions

Valuations are provided for each elite status level below and assume that (1) you already have the respective elite status for point bonus purposes, (2) that you hit the minimum threshold needed to achieve the status, and (3) that you do not stay any nights at Residence Inn or TownePlace Suites locations (which offer less points). If necessary, values are rounded up to the nearest dollar. Valuations do not include the regular non-elite-bonus points you earn for Marriott spending, since you would get these points regardless of your elite status.

As always, elite status valuation can often be more of an art than a science…and certain benefits may be more or less valuable to you than the average passenger. If most of your Hilton stays are in limited service brands, your elite status will be a lot less valuable to you than to someone who mostly stays in the full-service brands.


Silver = $70

This valuation is based on having Silver status, staying 10 nights at Marriott family hotels during the year, and spending an average of $150 per night. You need to stay 10 nights, paid or award, in a year to achieve Silver status. The Marriott Rewards Premier credit card (from Chase) also gives you automatic Silver status with its annual 15 elite night credits benefit.

20% Point Bonus = $24
The 20% point bonus works out to receiving two extra points on top of the ten base points per dollar spent. Valuing Marriott points at 0.8 cents a piece, you will earn a bonus of 3,000 points, worth $24, during your travels.

Priority Phone Number = $10
While not a huge perk, you do get priority call handling for all of your (re)booking needs when you call into customer service. Given the likelihood that you’ll manage your reservations online (or need to call a property directly), I am valuing this benefit at $10.

Ultimate Reservation Guarantee = $26
In the event that a Marriott family hotel is unable to honor your reservation as a Silver member, the hotel is responsible for providing alternate accommodations (as is true of most hotels that cannot honor a reservation, Marriott or otherwise) and additional compensation (except at Ritz-Carltons). The monetary compensation is $200 + 90,000 Marriott Rewards points at full-service properties and $100 at select-service and limited-service hotels. The hotel may not volunteer this benefit, so you do need to ask for the compensation.

Honestly, this benefit just makes a bad situation less unhappy. Still, you’ll be $100 or $200 + 90,000 points better off than someone without elite status. I assume you will have to use this benefit very infrequently…at a rate of one night for every 200 nights with an average value of $510 per usage (the average of $100 and $200 + the value of 90,000 points). As a Silver member, this means you’ll avail yourself of the benefit once every two decades, for an annualized value of $26 per year.

Gift Shop 10% Discount = $2
You get a 10% discount for all purchases at hotels’ gift shops, except that this benefit is limited to logo-branded merchandise at Ritz-Carlton and EDITION hotels. I assume you will use this benefit once a year for $20 worth in eligible purchases.

10% Weekend Discount = $8
You get a 10% discount on regular rates for Friday and Saturday night stays at Courtyard and SpringHill Suites hotels. I assume you will make use of this benefit once every twenty nights with an average value of $15 per usage. This represents an annualized value of $8 (rounded up) per year.

Return to table.


Gold = $2,003

This valuation is based on having Gold status, staying 50 nights at Marriott family hotels during the year, and spending an average of $150 per night. You need to stay 50 nights, paid or award, in a year to achieve Gold status.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card (from Chase) confers Gold status with $10,000 in annual spending on the card and also gives complimentary Gold status during first year of card membership (regardless of spending). The Marriott Rewards Premier credit card (from Chase) also confers Gold status if you spend $105,000 on the card in a given year…which gives you 35 elite night credits coupled with the automatic annual 15 elite night credits benefit you receive as a card member.

25% Point Bonus = $150
The 25% point bonus works out to receiving 2.5 extra points on top of the ten base points per dollar spent. Valuing Marriott points at 0.8 cents a piece, you will earn a bonus of 18,750 points, worth $150, during your travels.

Priority Phone Number = $20
This is the same as the Silver benefit, except you can get marginally more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

Ultimate Reservation Guarantee = $128
This is the same as the Silver benefit, except you will utilize it more, since you’re staying more nights. As a Gold member, this means you’ll avail yourself of the benefit once every four years, for an annualized value of $128 per year.

Guaranteed Room Type = $25
You are guaranteed to receive the type of room you booked, namely the type and number of beds, for your stays in the U.S. and Canada. The hotel owes you compensation ranging from $25 (Fairfield Inn and Suites, TownePlace Suites, and MOXY), to $50 (Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, and Protea), to $100 at most full-service property brands (JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, and Delta).

Like the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, this benefit simply makes a bad situation not sting quite as much. I assume you will have to use this benefit very infrequently…at a rate of one night for every 100 nights with an average value of $50 per usage. As a Gold member, this means you’ll avail yourself of this benefit once every years.

Space-Available Upgrades = $1,080
You can receive space-available upgrades at all Marriott family properties. Upgrades can include rooms on higher floor with better views or other bigger rooms (including suites).

This is a rather subjective benefit to valuate, but I assume you’ll you get upgraded for 80% of your nights. Of your upgrades, 80% will be lesser upgrades (e.g., better view) valued at $15 a night, while 20% of your upgrades will be more significant (e.g., suites) valued at $80 a night.

Guaranteed Lounge Access or Free Breakfast = $300
You get guaranteed lounge access at JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, and Delta properties. For those aforementioned full-service properties without a lounge or for which the lounge is closed, you will receive your choice of a complimentary continental breakfast in the restaurant or 750 points (worth $6). Resort hotels are excluded.

There are usually complimentary light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages available throughout the day along with appetizers and desserts in the evening. You could make a light meal out of the appetizers and desserts if you’re not feeling too peckish. Many lounges are closed Friday evening through Sunday morning.

Since there are many Marriott brands where you cannot avail yourself of this benefit, I am assuming you utilize this benefit for 40% of your nights with a value of $15 for each night you are able utilize it.

Guaranteed 4pm Late Checkout = $200
Unlike Silver and non-elite members who can request late checkouts (but whose requests are subject to availability/hotel’s discretion), Gold members are guaranteed a 4pm late checkout, subject to availability only at convention and resort locations.

I assume you’ll make use of this benefit for 20% of your stays with an average value of $20 per stay.

Complimentary Enhanced Internet = $50
In theory, you get faster Internet than the free Internet that everyone else (who book directly) gets. Enhanced Internet costs money for Silver and non-elite members.

In practice, there is usually no meaningful difference at Marriott properties with regards to the Internet speeds for enhanced Internet versus the regular free Internet. And you can sometimes end up being charged for premium Internet and will have to get the front desk to remove the charge. Thus the overall value of this benefit is a lot lower than it could be under more ideal circumstances.

I’ll value the supposed increase in Internet speed at $1 per night.

Gift Shop 10% Discount = $10
This is the same as the Silver benefit, except you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

10% Weekend Discount = $40
This is the same as the Silver benefit, except you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

Return to table.




Platinum = $3,770

This valuation is based on having Platinum status, staying 75 nights at Marriott family hotels during the year, and spending an average of $150 per night. You need to stay 75 nights, paid or award, in a year to achieve Platinum status.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card (from Chase) confers Platinum status with $75,000 in annual spending on the card. The Marriott Rewards Premier credit card (from Chase) also confers Gold status if you spend $180,000 on the card in a given year…which gives you 60 elite night credits coupled with the automatic annual 15 elite night credits benefit you receive as a card member.

50% Point Bonus = $450
The 50% point bonus works out to receiving five extra points on top of the ten base points per dollar spent. Valuing Marriott points at 0.8 cents a piece, you will earn a bonus of 56,250 points, worth $450, during your travels.

Priority Phone Number = $30
This is the same as the Silver benefit, except you can get marginally more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

48-Hour Guaranteed Room Availability = $35
Marriott can force availability at sold-out hotels provided you reserve your room at least 48 hours in advance of your arrival. You should be aware that you will likely be charged the full rack rate for the room, which can often be hundreds of dollars more than the regular rate that most guests pay. Also, the guarantee does not apply if there is a special event in the vicinity of the hotel.

If you often make last-minute bookings in popular locales, and money isn’t really a concern for you, this benefit has some limited value. Otherwise, this is a benefit that’s nice in theory, but not that useful in practice.

Ultimate Reservation Guarantee = $300
This is very similar to the Silver benefit except that you get $100 + 90,000 points (with the points worth $720) at the select-service and limited-service brands (Gold and Silver members only get the $100). You also get $200 + 140,000 points (with the points worth $1,120) if a Ritz-Carlton fails to honor your reservation (Gold and Silver members do not receive any additional compensation).

I assume you will have to use this benefit very infrequently…at a rate of one night for every 225 nights with an average value of $900 per usage. The slightly decreased odds of needing to utilize this benefit reflects the fact that the hotel should only want to bump you as an absolute last resort (because at most brands, your compensation is going to be a lot more pricey than it would be for any non-Platinum guest). As a Platinum member, this means you’ll avail yourself of the benefit once every three years, for an annualized value of $300 per year.

Guaranteed Room Type = $38
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

Space-Available Upgrades = $2,025
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except that you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights. Again, this is a rather subjective benefit to valuate, but I assume you’ll you get upgraded for 80% of your nights. Of your upgrades, 80% will be lesser upgrades (e.g., better view) valued at $15 a night, while 20% of your upgrades will be more significant (e.g., suites) valued at $80 a night.

Platinum Arrival Gift = $140
You will receive your choice of points or a snack item and beverage upon check-in (except at Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, and Marriott Vacation Club locations…at which you can only choose between points or airline miles). The points option provides between 250 to 1,000 bonus points, with most full-service properties offering 500 points.

Since 500 points is worth $4, which also seems like a reasonable price tag to fix on the food/beverage, I’m valuing this benefit at $4 per stay and assuming 35 annual stays.

Guaranteed Lounge Access or Free Breakfast = $300
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except that you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights. Again, since there are many Marriott brands where you cannot avail yourself of this benefit, I am assuming you utilize this benefit for 40% of your nights with a value of $15 for each night you are able utilize it.

Guaranteed 4pm Late Checkout = $300
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except that you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights. I assume you’ll make use of this benefit for 20% of your stays with an average value of $20 per stay.

Complimentary Enhanced Internet = $75
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except that you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

Free Local Phone and Fax = $2
You get free local phone calls and faxes (up to 15 pages), along with discounted long-distance phone calls, at certain Marriott brands. This benefit would have been more valuable in the 1990s.

Gift Shop 10% Discount = $15
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except that you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

10% Weekend Discount = $60
This is the same as the Gold benefit, except that you get more use out of it since you’re staying more nights.

Return to table.



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What Is Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Elite Status Worth? January 2017
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What Is Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Elite Status Worth? January 2017
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Learn more about Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards elite status with a breakdown and description of elite status benefits and their values.
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Real World Machine LLC
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