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Old Sep 8, 05, 4:12 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Rewards: Which is better Marriott or Hilton

I am both Platinum and Diamond. Am strongly considering giving all/most business to Marriott based on what appears to me a much stronger point redemption program for hotel nights/trips etc.
Based purely on the "reward" program, is my outlook correct?
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Old Sep 8, 05, 11:16 pm   #2
 
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If you are Marriott Plat, I recommend sticking with Marriott. Marriott has more hotels than Hilton and a better loyalty program. I am HHonors Diamond and a lowly Marriott Silver. HHonors works better for me because I can achieve Diamond faster than Marriott Plat. Hilton family brands are also a tad cheaper in comparison to the corresponding Marriott family brands, which fits in better with my company's travel budget. But from what I can tell, Marriott is better even if it doesn't work for me.

As far as rewards go, I think you do achieve rewards with Marriott faster than Hilton.
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Old Sep 9, 05, 6:09 am   #3
 
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The analysis is simple and has been done many times before, if you do a search you will find some good analyses.

First, you have to like the product and it has to be available where you travel. Only you can make that call. Personally, I don't do Starwood because I have had numerous bad experiences at their lower end properties (4 points). I am also not enamored with Hampton Inns - if you visit the Hilton forum you will see they run a thread with good and bad Hamptons. The Marriott product is very consistent and their properties are almost everywhere. (Hilton Garden Inn is great but there aren't very many of them yet).

Second, you need to look at what you get for a stay. The fairest way to do this is to look at what you get in stay value ($) for a given spend. So for Marriott, say I stay 75 nights in 30 separate stays at an average room rate of $150 a night. My spend would be $11,250 and I would get 112,500 base points + 30% Platinum bonus plus 30x500 in Platinum arrival gifts = 161,250 points. This does not include any bonus promotions which are frequent and generous. For 130,000 points I can (and have booked) a week at the Vail Marriott (Category 6) in peak ski season which runs $400 a night. So the points are worth 2.15 cents each if redeemed this way (admit this is a pretty good and lucky redemption - I usually value my points at 1.0 to 1.6 cents each).

So for a $11,250 spend I get $2580 in value (using the more conservative 1.6 cents per point), $2580/$11250= 23% return on spend. Do the same analysis for Starwood and Hilton and adjust for your spend and status, as well as your redemption patterns. But remember, first and foremost you have to like the product and it has to be available where you want to go (both for earning and burning). On the latter point, we like to go to Hawaii. Marriott has 10 properties on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Hilton has two. A week at the Marriott Lihue or the Marriott Waikoloa is 130K points - the Hilton Waikoloa is 175K and you have to walk to the Marriott's beach (Anaeho'omalu Bay). We just got back from the two Marriotts I mentioned above, at the Luau on th Big Island was a couple from Texas who were staying at the HWV. They asked what islands we liked and we said Maui and Kaua'i were our favorites. Long face from Texas man, and he said, "But Hilton doesn't have properties on Maui and Kaua'i."
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Old Sep 9, 05, 9:25 am   #4
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Excellent analysis, gardener.

The only quibble I have with Marriott (I'm also Platinum and Diamond) is that even though it's a b1tch to get Marriott Platinum, you still just get in line with everyone else when it comes to award availability.

As a Hilton Diamond, I just call the Diamond desk and magical things happen.
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Old Sep 9, 05, 5:33 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLar
Excellent analysis, gardener.

The only quibble I have with Marriott (I'm also Platinum and Diamond) is that even though it's a b1tch to get Marriott Platinum, you still just get in line with everyone else when it comes to award availability.

As a Hilton Diamond, I just call the Diamond desk and magical things happen.

The Platinum Premiere desk can make magic happen.

Marriott is stepping up to take care of its top 3% platinum members.
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Old Sep 9, 05, 8:56 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebadc
The Platinum Premiere desk can make magic happen.

Marriott is stepping up to take care of its top 3% platinum members.

Why not Gold members as well? Fifty nights each year is quite a bit of business! I can't see how it would hurt to put Gold members right under Platinums for redemption. This would be an awesome way to cement loyalty! I think a win/win for all.
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Old Sep 9, 05, 9:21 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I am also now Plat and Diamond and When I called many months ago about reward availability in Japan for Marriott properties, they told me they had none. I called Hilton (at the time I was silver) and they had rooms no problem. I have redeemed points at Marriott a few times and often ended up paying for one night on either end because they had no reward availability. I like the reward redemption rates for Marriott better, but the Hilton seems to me to be more available.

Rothsix
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Old Sep 9, 05, 10:01 pm   #8
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I find Marriott and Hilton roughly similar for reward redemptions. In years past, Hilton offered gigantic bonuses to put you at ALON level (100k points at the time) with 8 Hampton-nights. But those days are gone: bonuses are a bit tighter, and redemption levels are higher. But with Points & Points at the HH Amex, you can still earn a bit higher theoretical value with HH. I participate actively in both programs.

However the flip side is this...if I had to pick one or the other, I'd probably pick Marriott for two reasons: (1) At the high end (Cat 5-6), the properties are consistently better (see Hawaii as an example), and (2) Marriott's sliding scale on short stays makes cheap weekends in the low/mid categories more feasible. For example, we are doing an upcoming 4-nighter in a 2-bdrm suite at a nice renovated Residence Inn for 72k (that would cost us $1000 for a paid stay or $800+ even if we Pricelined 2x4 regular hotel rooms). With HHonors, there is no comparable option - other than booking 2x4 rooms for 160k-200k points.

The other Marriott advantage that I like is the Travel Package... Like I said, I stay involved in both programs, but I think Marriott has the overall edge on Hilton.
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Old Sep 10, 05, 10:47 am   #9
 
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Interesting to read. I've not stayed with Marriott very often enough to compare the two like some others, but I've never had a problem redeeming points w/Hilton and the Diamond desk is great.

Hilton diamond is much easier to earn, so one would think that there would be alot more diamonds competing for the same awards than Marriott Plats.

Definitely agree about the quality of Hilton properties going south. Maybe that's part of the reason Hilton always has more rooms available for award stays?
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Old Sep 10, 05, 10:54 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paradocs
Why not Gold members as well? Fifty nights each year is quite a bit of business! I can't see how it would hurt to put Gold members right under Platinums for redemption. This would be an awesome way to cement loyalty! I think a win/win for all.
Because Between Golds and Platinum Premiers there's still the whole population of Platinum

50 nights each year is a decent bit of business but there's a large number of people who are doing 125-150 AND MORE nights a year.
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Old Sep 17, 05, 6:28 am   #11
 
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I think they are both good programs

I am a loyal Hilton customer, but I think the two programs are both very good. Have had general success with both in terms of getting awards. The biggest factor I think has to be where you like to go for award stays and then make your choice.
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Old Sep 17, 05, 8:31 am   #12
 
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go with MR

IMHO, both are good programs, but MR is a better choice. I was loyal to Hilton for many years, but a job change and relocation meant travel to areas where there were more Marriotts closer to where I needed to be.

Since joing MR about 1.5 years ago, I have banked more useful points and those points offer better rewards availability and nicer property selection than Hilton. I have also found the service quality to be more consistant at Marriott. If you are MR Plat the guaranteed room availablity is one of the best benefits.
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Old Sep 17, 05, 4:01 pm   #13
 
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I'm Platinum with Marriott and Diamond with Hilton also. I personally pay for all my travel, so value for dollar spent is very important to me. About half of my travel is now leisure. Here's my take on the difference between Marriott and Hilton:

Marriott
-better consistency of product
-EEO certificates are very nice (for some reason Marriott has been sending me them both in the mail and via website)
-Bonus Bucks are helpful in keeping costs down. If I don't earn enough, I can always buy more on eBay for ~20 cents/$1 face value.
-For approximately equal properties, I can usually get lower prices at Marriott properties through use of the booking codes found here on FT.
-Platinum arrival gift is always better than anything from Hilton.
-You can use awards Ritz Carltons and all but 1-2 Marriott properties. Hilton has a fair amount of properties that won't except awards.

Hilton
-Mutual Account is a big help as my wife now does more business travel than I do.
-Better points promos. Currently, I accrue 35-50 points/$ with various promos. It's rare that I accrue less than 25 points/$. It seems like Hilton points just flow into my account while Marriott's roll in more slowly.
-No black out on awards for Diamonds. This is a biggy.
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Old Sep 19, 05, 12:16 am   #14
 
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I made Hilton Diamond earlier this year, and I'm now going for Marriott Gold, specifically because I've heard that reward redemption is a lot better.

I may go back to Hilton next year, though. Reason being that even though reward redemption might be better, the experience of staying in Marriott properties has been pretty miserable so far. I disagree with everyone who says that Marriott is more consistent. Perhaps at the high end, it's better, but I usually stay in the lower end properties (Fairfield, Courtyard, SpringHill at Marriott and Hampton/Hilton Garden Inn at Hilton). In 10 Marriott stays, I've had one time when I had to move rooms because wireless Internet didn't work at all in my original room, another two times when the wireless access was so flaky that it was barely usable, another time when I came back to my hotel to discover it surrounded by police vehicles and police tape, another where MR did not credit my account properly for the nights I stayed despite multiple faxes (and with no phone call or other communication to explain why), etc., etc. I'm starting to actively avoid Fairfields because I figure I could book Motel 6 for similar quality at half the price. On the other hand, in 30 Hilton stays, I can count on one hand the number of problems I had. HGIs are consistently excellent, and Hamptons consistently range from acceptable to very good.

I figure why should I have to endure substandard accomodations for 50-100 nights a year, just so I can have four wonderful nights on vacation, if there's even availability? I'd rather pay for the vacation nights and be happier during my day-to-day business travel.

As always, YMMV. I go to different locations all the time, so consistency is really important to me. If you are always staying in high-end properties, or only going to one or two spots where you can find the best Marriott property around, then yes, I would suggest Marriott, due to the better reward redemption.
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Old Sep 19, 05, 6:14 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyer23
I figure why should I have to endure substandard accomodations for 50-100 nights a year, just so I can have four wonderful nights on vacation, if there's even availability? I'd rather pay for the vacation nights and be happier during my day-to-day business travel.
Completely agree. Sometimes, people just forget that they live on the road substantually longer than they are on holidays and I always found out proposition to struggle miserably for 100 days to have 5 days free of charge not appealing. Therefore some time ago I decided to stay in best available properties within corporate hotel policy (please note that best does not equal most expensive). I have gold status with both SPG and Marriott and silver with Hilton (not to mention Plat with Priority Club) and plan to keep it this way. I understand that this way I don't get platinum desk access, (some) upgrades and not much points but when you "live" in hotels they better be good.

AX
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