Ever since the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards programs announced they were going to be merged, we’ve been told we’d eventually see on and off peak rewards pricing on hotel stays through Marriott Bonvoy

More than a year later, we finally know when it’s going to happen and how it’s going to work.

And the news comes with an extra treat: the option to ease redemption by paying a little bit in cash and the rest in points..

Let’s go over the news and see what’s going to happen to everyone’s favourite hotel rewards program.

Want to see everything for yourself? This Marriott site has videos on the upcoming changes.

Peak and off peak rewards pricing

The biggest change coming is the introduction of peak and off peak rewards pricing for hotel stays.

Here’s the new hotel redemption chart:

 New Marriott Bonvoy hotel redemption chart

Depending on what days you’re looking at booking, you may see different requirements for points.

So how are they determining what constitutes off-peak, standard, and peak pricing? According to Marriott, it all depends on the hotel’s availability.

So, if a hotel is less busy, you’ll see off-peak pricing. If you’re not flexible, during certain times of the year peak pricing will take effect and you may need to dish out more points. Somewhere in the middle would be standard pricing.

Marriott will be making it easy to see what nights offer which rates. They’ll be providing a daily calendar showing the number of points you’ll need to redeem for each night of the month.

A small change is also happening to the deal that lets you get the 5th night free of a 5-day long rewards stay. You’ll still get a free night, but it’ll be the cheapest one of your trip, not just the 5th night. This is because single nights now have variable point prices.

So what does this mean for point value? We’ve redone our hotel research, and actually found no difference. We had an average value of 0.97 cents per point, and after the changes had the same value.

If you want to see the details, you can find them in our Marriott Bonvoy program guide.

Cash and points redemptions

Marriott Bonvoy is also introducing points and cash redemptions.

Basically, you’ll pay a set amount of cash (in USD) and points for your stay. The cash value never changes, but the amount of points varies as per the redemption chart:

Marriott Bonvoy cash and points redemption chart

What constitutes peak, off-peak, and standard pricing will be the same as full point redemptions – it’s all based on hotel availability.

In the videos, Marriott team members stated it should be roughly equal to full point redemptions.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

To make the most out of Marriott Bonvoy, earn points on your day to day purchases with a credit card. Here are two top-of-the-line options for earning points:

Credit card Welcome Bonus Earn Rate Annual fee Apply Now
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card 50,000 points (terms) * 5 points per $1 at Marriott properties
* 2 points per $1 everywhere else
$120 Apply Now
American Express Cobalt Card Up to 30,000 points (terms) * 5 points per $1 on groceries and restaurants
* 2 points per $1 on gas, transit, and travel
* 1 point per $1 everywhere else
$120, charged out as $10 per month Apply Now

Marriott Bonvoy American Express card

The best option available is the .

Here’s what you get:

  • 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott properties,
  • 2 points for every other $1 spent,
  • automatic Silver Elite status,
  • 15 elite night credits, and
  • an annual free night stay (valued up to 35,000 points).

This free night stay more than covers the annual fee every year you have the card.

American Express Cobalt Card

The other top option is the .

While it doesn’t earn Marriott points directly, you can transfer them at a 5:6 ratio to Marriott Bonvoy. It’s just one way in a list of many to use your Amex Membership points.

With the Marriott transfer option (essentially getting you 20% bonus Marriott points), it actually would earn you more Marriott points than the branded option, based on our typical $2,000 per month spend (61,920 for the Cobalt Card vs 51,600 for the Marriott Bonvoy Card).

But the downside is you lose out on the annual free night stay.

There you have it

While it may be a little disappointing that some nights will cost more points, the update also offers the opportunity to use fewer points in some cases.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on the changes?

Let us know in the comments below.