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Buying SPG points: good deal or bad?

daviator

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Back in 2016 I upgraded my EOY at Desert Willows to every year. Whenever you buy or upgrade a SVO/Vistana week, you (used to, at least) get some certificates that you can use to buy SPG points up until the end of your first use year, which in my case is 2018. I've gotten these certificates before but never used them. But now I'm wondering if it might actually be worth doing so.

My certificates each allow me to buy 110,000 SPG points (which would now be 330,000 Marriott points) for $2275. According to thepointsguy.com, Marriott points are worth 1¢ each, so that would peg the value of those points at $3300, making them a bargain at more than 30% off. Of course, that 1¢/point valuation is the subjective opinion of one person, I assume.

But I'm wondering what folks here think, do you see enough value under the new (to us) Marriott scheme to be worth investing in points I will definitely use, but probably not immediately? I think I have six of these certificates, I definitely wouldn't use them all but might consider using a couple of them.
 

rickandcindy23

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I hope someone answers this question for you that knows more than I do, but I wouldn't do it myself. The devaluation of SPG is considered to be 33%, some hotels have been devalued more. The example I will use is Dolphin and Swan at Epcot in Disney World. The points required were always 12K, at least when I stayed there. The points required through the new Marriott/ SPG merger is 50K. If we get the 3X multiplier, that makes our 12K worth 36K. So now you have to come up with quite a few more points to get that same room.

I am most upset by that particular one, and I know I harp a bit on it. The hotel room can be had for about $160-$180 in cash. That value of those 50K points is really awful.
 

lorenmd

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i used my certificates to transfer the points to american airlines and then get the bonus points as well. i then get a RT ticket in the beds to europe. that is worth the $1875 i pay for 90k points which turns into just enough points.
 

daviator

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I hope someone answers this question for you that knows more than I do, but I wouldn't do it myself. The devaluation of SPG is considered to be 33%, some hotels have been devalued more. The example I will use is Dolphin and Swan at Epcot in Disney World. The points required were always 12K, at least when I stayed there. The points required through the new Marriott/ SPG merger is 50K. If we get the 3X multiplier, that makes our 12K worth 36K. So now you have to come up with quite a few more points to get that same room.

I am most upset by that particular one, and I know I harp a bit on it. The hotel room can be had for about $160-$180 in cash. That value of those 50K points is really awful.
I know that some of the hotels effectively cost more points now but haven't had a chance to investigate the specifics, if it's a general 33% devaluation, that's pretty bad. (In that case, there's not a chance that Marriott points are worth a penny each.) I guess I need to do more homework there.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

daviator

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i used my certificates to transfer the points to american airlines and then get the bonus points as well. i then get a RT ticket in the beds to europe. that is worth the $1875 i pay for 90k points which turns into just enough points.
Hmm, I need to investigate that too. Not sure if transferring to airline miles has been devalued too under the new scheme. Of course, it can be pretty tough to find award seats on AA (or anyone else) in business class these days, but that is an option I need to look at.
 

daviator

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I hope someone answers this question for you that knows more than I do, but I wouldn't do it myself. The devaluation of SPG is considered to be 33%, some hotels have been devalued more. The example I will use is Dolphin and Swan at Epcot in Disney World. The points required were always 12K, at least when I stayed there. The points required through the new Marriott/ SPG merger is 50K. If we get the 3X multiplier, that makes our 12K worth 36K. So now you have to come up with quite a few more points to get that same room.

I am most upset by that particular one, and I know I harp a bit on it. The hotel room can be had for about $160-$180 in cash. That value of those 50K points is really awful.

Just to add some more data points, I went and checked the "before and after" SPG/Marriott award redemptions for some reason stays of mine. The first one I checked, at a hotel in San Antonio where I have often stayed using SPG points, is about 20% more expensive after the switch to Marriott. Not happy about that.

But on the flip side, I have a reservation next month at a Starwood hotel in Sydney, and the new award value is about 20% LESS than it was under Starwood. I'm going to call tomorrow and see if I can cancel and rebook at the new, lower value and get some of my points back.

So it seems that some hotels cost more points, others may cost less (and Murphy's Law says, the hotels you use most often are the ones that have gone up.)
 

tomandrobin

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The devaluation of SPG is considered to be 33%, some hotels have been devalued more. The example I will use is Dolphin and Swan at Epcot in Disney World. The points required were always 12K, at least when I stayed there.

We have a stay booked in October at S&D booked months ago before the change in points........it may be our last stay on points at the resort.
 

Henry M.

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You can get a lot of value out of points depending on where you stay. I go to Europe a lot and can get good value for these points, where the certificates you have would be worth it. However, points do devalue over time, so I would just buy what I could reasonably use in the next couple of years.

I haven’t seen the points be that valuable for US stays. Sometimes you can get $0.02/Starpoint (now 2/3 of a cent/Point) so the price of the certificates is almost at breakeven or worse. I just pay for the stay when the exchange is not favorable.
 

YYJMSP

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The devaluation of SPG is considered to be 33%, some hotels have been devalued more. The example I will use is Dolphin and Swan at Epcot in Disney World. The points required were always 12K, at least when I stayed there. The points required through the new Marriott/ SPG merger is 50K. If we get the 3X multiplier, that makes our 12K worth 36K. So now you have to come up with quite a few more points to get that same room.

A sample size of 1 property isn't really a fair way to calculate.

In my case, I'm finding that it's the same or better redemption rates at the properties that we're staying at over the next 12 months. Quite a few of the higher level SPG properties have dropped their redemption rates. But this will change after Jan 1st when they introduce the new higher redemption level and peak rates, but I still expect it to stay reasonably the same for the properties where we go.
 

rog2867

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Isn't the 3 for 1 conversion a one time event and you had to have the points in your account before the August 18th merge to get them?
 

controller1

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Isn't the 3 for 1 conversion a one time event and you had to have the points in your account before the August 18th merge to get them?

Not sure I understand your question.

Vistana has stated that all future transactions that have printed documents that refer to numbers of Starpoints will be converted in a 1:3 conversion to Marriott points upon execution of the transaction.
 

grrrah

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We have similar upcoming certificate options to buy, and I'm trying to figure this out too. My general gut feeling of what I learned:
-Value is good compared to "The Points Guy" $ valuation of points
-Not that good when comparing a few hotels I frequent in terms of Point cost vs. finding online deals with cash.
-More value in europe at some luxury places I have no plans to go in the next 5 years
-Can have more value when converted to airline miles (Alaska in my case) with 20% bonus. But I don't fly enough and am not totally familiar with maximizing airline miles.

I'm probably going to pass and use the the cash to payoff the damn developer's principal.
 

The Haileys

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I hope someone answers this question for you that knows more than I do, but I wouldn't do it myself. The devaluation of SPG is considered to be 33%, some hotels have been devalued more. The example I will use is Dolphin and Swan at Epcot in Disney World. The points required were always 12K, at least when I stayed there. The points required through the new Marriott/ SPG merger is 50K. If we get the 3X multiplier, that makes our 12K worth 36K. So now you have to come up with quite a few more points to get that same room.

I am most upset by that particular one, and I know I harp a bit on it. The hotel room can be had for about $160-$180 in cash. That value of those 50K points is really awful.

This is a very sore pain point for us as well, as we loved to use our Starpoints to book S&D and get the Disney on-site perks. The Vistana resorts are also now 50K/night which hurts because we often tagged an extra night or two onto our ownership stays. That was doable at 12k SPs. Now we'll just find a good discount and pay $125/night cash, and reap the points instead of paying out the nose.

Other than that, I see in your travelog that you did a big family trip to Disney in May? We did that in April, staying in 4 villas at SVR. We had a blast! Now two of our kids are looking into resale ownership (or bumming off mom and dad) for their families.
 

Sea Six

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The points seem high for the Dolphin and Swan because they were upgraded from CAT5 to CAT6.
 

controller1

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Remember also that the points required for the Dolphin and Swan increased because, unlike Starwood, Marriott does not base the Category on the property’s Average Daily Rate but rather on how popular the property is for using award reservations.
 

surrey91724

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I have also wondered what is a good price. I did use 2 of my certificates assuming the following:
with new Marriott points 1 certf equals 330,000 points for $2275. If I use my Amer Express to pay for points I would also get an additional 13,650 points ($2275 x 6 (bonus from AMEX) = 13,650) so total 343,650 points for $2275. This works out to be $0.00662 per point. Then I simply multiply the cost of the free nights (i.e. 35,000 per) to see if is a good deal. Some are some aren't. But I know my Break even point (in this case) 35,000 = $231.70 per night. Also important to consider is that points include taxes. So I also figure a tax rate of 15% (avg) so I actually look for the break even to be $201.50. Find a room below this price, I book and pay cash. Higher, I'll use points.
 

GetawaysRus

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According to thepointsguy.com, Marriott points are worth 1¢ each...

I think The Points Guy is an optimist. But you can easily do your own math. Pick a hotel you might be interested to redeem points for. Check the room price in real money, then check the room price in points. Room price in dollars divided by room price in points will give you a value per point if you were to stay at that hotel using points. When I've done this sort of math in the past, Marriott points have been closer to half a cent per point in value than 1 cent. But it will vary depending on the redemption.

In general, I don't buy rewards points. You're spending real money now in trade for a hoped for value in the future. That hoped for value can decrease if, for example, there is hotel category inflation (and Marriott has done this several times in the past). Or a desired points redemption might not be available when you want it. The fact that so many award programs (the airlines and the hotels) offer these "deals" tells me that maybe they're not such great deals after all.
 

lorenmd

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Hmm, I need to investigate that too. Not sure if transferring to airline miles has been devalued too under the new scheme. Of course, it can be pretty tough to find award seats on AA (or anyone else) in business class these days, but that is an option I need to look at.
you can actually buy AA miles now for the same as you could buy the SPG 90 miles certificate with bonus miles to AA making it 110. that used to cost $1890 . you can now buy 110 AA miles for $1950 and that will just about get you round trip to europe in the beds. it is 114k.
 
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