My Best Use Of Marriott Reward Points For A Hotel Stay
I’m in the process of planning another journey around the world, with Paris being the primary purpose of the trip. However, because I love to fly, I’m going to take the long way there and plan to stop in Southeast Asia on the way. I have a stockpile of points available and wanted to choose a destination where I would get the best use of Marriott Reward points. While I was originally planning to stop in Singapore, I was just there, and find the Marriott hotel options a little bit underwhelming. I stayed at The JW Marriott South Beach Hotel on my last trip and had a pleasant enough stay, though the hotel wasn’t really my style (except for the pool, which was phenomenal).
I started to look at Jakarta as an alternative to Singapore, since it’s relatively close and has a terrific collection of luxury hotels (and prices are generally really low compared to other world cities). On my last visit, I stayed at The Four Seasons Jakarta in a Premier Suite and paid a crazy low rate of $350CAD for two nights, which included breakfast and evening cocktails in the lounge. Unbelievable.
When I first started looking at Marriott properties in Jakarta I wasn’t particularly impressed. There is a JW Marriott Hotel in a central location, though I found the rooms to be a bit bland and dated, and wasn’t feeling inspired. On the flip side, free nights start at just 15,000 Marriott Reward points per night (5,000 SPG points) which includes guaranteed executive lounge access with my Marriott Gold status.
When looking at point redemptions, I rarely look at Ritz-Carlton properties, but not because I don’t like them. I stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong using Marriott Reward Points and had a fantastic stay in a room overlooking Victoria Harbour. However, the stay cost a staggering 70,000 Marriott Reward points, and Marriott Gold Elite recognition with Ritz-Carlton is not as good as at other properties, with no lounge access included without a supplement fee (was worth it at this property). Knowing how affordable luxury hotels can be in Jakarta, I decided to check some out thinking I might just pay for the stay. There are two Ritz-Carlton properties in the city – the larger and older Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan, and the newer, more intimate property above the Pacific Place Shopping Centre.
The rooms at the older property were looking a bit tired, so I decided to check out Pacific Place hotel. When checking availability for my dates, I was shocked to see paid rates closing in on $400 per night, which seems high for Jakarta. However, something caught my eye in regards to reward redemptions.
What Caught My Eye?
- Redemption rates are low as a Tier 1 property at 30,000 points per night (cheaper than a lot of regular Marriott properties in North America). Paid rates during my stay were approaching $400CAD per night, so the redemption represents great value.
- The rooms are massive. Standard rooms start at 780 square feet, which is larger than a lot of suites at other properties
- Perhaps the best part, all rooms (including point redemptions) come with club access, including breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, late-night snacks, and all beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). This is just crazy, considering most Ritz-Carlton properties charge at least $100 as a supplemental fee for lounge access on award bookings, which is often still a good value.
So, for the equivalent of 10,000 SPG points, or 20,000 American Express Membership Reward points, I’m getting a free-night stay at one of Jakarta’s most luxurious five-star hotels with full lounge access and (if I choose to eat there) all meals/drinks included. That’s simply incredible. Furthermore, this hotel has only 62 rooms and suites, which is unheard of for a Ritz-Carlton, and I imagine the service levels will be extraordinary.
If you were to apply for the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card, which is offering 40,000 Membership Reward points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of membership and no annual fee the first year, you would have enough for two nights all-inclusive at this property by transferring your points to Marriott Rewards!
If you were to apply for the American Express Business Platinum card, you could earn enough points for a 5-night stay at this hotel (all Ritz-Carlton properties offer the 5th night free on points redemptions) after transferring your 75,000 point welcome bonus to Marriott Rewards. Furthermore, you would have automatic Gold status through your Amex which would include some extras, including room upgrade subject to availability and late checkout.
This Ritz-Calrton Jakarta is the best use of Marriott Reward points that I’ve seen, with attractive redemption rates compared to paid prices and club lounge access included with all rooms (which is normally reserved for guests paying a steep premium for access). I’m also excited to experience the service at the hotel. With only 62 rooms and suites, I imagine it’s quite personalized, which is often what separates a true 5-star hotel from the competition.
I’m lucky I decided to check-out Jakarta over Singapore, as it seems I’m going to get a lot more value out of my points at a much nicer hotel. This is good, considering my next stop will be Paris, where luxury hotels are in the $1,000+ range with limited redemption options. I’ll probably be doing my first cash+points redemption for a stay at the Prince de Galles hotel, which is a Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Collection Hotel.
Look for the details of my Paris hotel stay in an upcoming post outlining the full trip, including which airlines I’ll be flying and how I booked everything using points!
Have you stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta Hotel at Pacific Place? What has been your best use of Marriott Reward Points? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!