Marriott Rewards just released a preview of their award charts. How does a top MR elite come out with these changes? After August 1, — Platinum Premier members will earn 17.5 points per dollar — The top standard award rate through 2018 will be 85K/night That translates into a top award cost of [85,000points/free night]/[17.5points/$] = $4,857 spend required to afford a free night. That calculation of the spend necessary to afford a free award night is, literally, the cost of an award night in hard currency. Before the change on August 1, — Platinum Premier members earn 15 points per dollar — The top standard award rate was 70K points/free night at Ritz Carlton. Cost of awards before August 1: 70,000/15 = $4,667 for a free night MR award costs pre vs. post merger: $4,667-$4,857 = -$190 There will be a modest increase of $190 in MR award costs for PPs after August 1. In 2019 and beyond: The top award rate (peak) will be 100K/night Assuming same earning of 17.5/$ for PP The top award cost for a MR PP will be: 100,000/17.5 = $5,714 for a free night. There will be a substantial increase of $1,047 in the award cost compared to current highest award cost. Perspective How would all of the above compare with award costs for WoH Globalists and HH Diamonds…and SPG Plats? I previously did this analysis, complete with glossy charts. — Spend per free night for a WoH G’list at top Hyatt hotel: 30,000/6.25 = $4,800 — Spend per free night for a HH Diamond at top Hilton hotel: 95,000/20 = $4,750 — Spend per free night for a SPG Plat-50 at top Starwood hotel: 35,000/3= $11,667 Tales of the Tape Top Award Costs for Top Elites Before MR/SPG Merger WoH: $4,800 HH: $4,750 MR: $4,667 SPG: $11,667 Top Award Costs for Top Elites After MR/SPG Merger WoH: $4,800 HH: $4,750 MR: $5,714 The chart below shows the preceding pre-/post-merger data graphically: BOTTOM LINE Before the merger: MR, HH, WoH award costs were about the same. SPG’s award costs were out of this world. After the merger: SPG is gone, weeded out, and MR awards are now the most expensive in the business, although not by much (see horizontal dashed line in Figure above), and, importantly, they remain much more affordable than were SPG’s. Also, with a PEAK award cost of 100K, MR will now shield HH from the mindless inference that because it has the highest standard award rate (95K), it was either the most expensive program or it had the most inflated currency, both of which were bogus claims. That is my quick quantitative analysis of the landscape of the hotel loyalty program award costs before and following the MR/SPG merger. Note that points earned on co-brand CCs were not included in the analysis above, which would have ranked the costs of HH awards lower than those of the other two programs.