If you’re sitting on a large balance of Marriott points, or can acquire them through American Express Membership Rewards, your redemption options are not just limited to free hotel stays or transfers to airline frequent flyer programs.
What is Marriott Rewards Moments?
Marriott and SPG offer redemptions options focused on rewarding its members with once-in-a-lifetime events. These moments incorporate a broad range of events and comprised of the following categories:
- Culinary Moments, which include exclusive cooking lessons, VIP food festivals and dinner with some of the world’s greatest chefs
- Lifestyle Moments, which include best of house show tickets, red carpet premieres and access to extreme fitness events
- Sports Moments, which include tournament and event tickets, player meet and greets and skills clinics with pros
- Entertainment Moments, which include premium concert tickets, private performances and backstage access
But why are these appealing? Most of the Moments on offer come from exclusive relationships with arenas, sports teams or artists, usually meaning some kind of bespoke event or unique access that couldn’t otherwise be bought using cash.
Experiences will either sell for a fixed points price, or are on auction.
For example, right now you could redeem 35,000 points for two premium tickets to see Mumford & Sons in Perth on the 27 January.
Alternatively, you could make a bid on this auction for a ‘Discover Cape Town’ culinary tour for two, with wine tasting and helicopter ride + 3-night stay in the Presidential Suite at the Westin Cape Town. At time of writing there is one bid, for 75,000 points.
Depending on the final price, it could be a decent deal if you’d be into this – an exclusive hospitality experience, and a stay in a hotel that would usually cost at least 105,000 points for a 3-night stay – in a base room!
How does it work?
From what I can tell, Moments start at 2,000 points, but are usually a lot higher.
Searching for events following the SPG and Marriott merger is still a little convoluted.
For example, while there is now one website called ‘Marriott Moments’, events still fall under legacy branding:
From what I can tell, some events will be listed under both, but others are exclusive – not helpful!
So for the time being, to see all events available for redemption, you will need to search under both:
As per the earlier examples, there are two types of events available for redemption. These are:
Single-package experiences, where this is only one package available. You bid on this event using your points and the highest bid at the close of the auction wins.
Fixed-price experiences, which are generally limited in number and always have a set price. To win these packages, you have to be among the first bidders to redeem the required number of points. Once they are sold out, you will be unable to redeem for that event. These type of events are identified by a ‘Redeem Now’ button being displayed on the redemption screen.
On occasion, Marriott offers private moments, which are auctions available to selected members.
The process for finding Moments is relatively straightforward. You can select by type, date range, location, point range or any general keyword.
Australian members should look at the Asia Pacific region to find events in Australian or New Zealand cities.
There aren’t too many SPG Moments events in our region at the moment. But availability in Asia, North America and other regions is usually excellent.
How to maximise your chance of winning an auction
Single-event auction events are live for a limited period of time, so you will want to be quick to submit your bid to maximise your chances of winning. The winning bid is based on a few variables, which include the number of members bidding on the package and how high they are willing to bid.
Marriott helpfully show the current highest bid for each auction, plus bid history:
Clearly, the higher you bid, the greater your chances, so looking for ways to maximise your points should be a major consideration.
Best way to earn Marriott Rewards points
While there are no Marriott Rewards direct earn cards in Australia, there are ways to accrue Marriott Rewards indirectly through a variety of credit cards that are linked to American Express Membership Rewards Programs.
In some circumstances it may also make sense to buy the points you need outright for an Marriott Rewards Moments redemption, or just an account top up if you’re a little short – especially if Marriott eventually offer points bonus or discount promotions.
While the concept of redeeming for exclusive events is definitely appealing, the availability of events in Australia and New Zealand could be better.
The split Marriott and SPG branding is also bound to continue to confuse members. We will look to update this guide as soon as this is (presumably) fixed.
However, if you travel frequently and are looking to do something outside the norm while you’re overseas, you should be able to find some good value in this program, given the good availability of overseas events.
Have you redeemed points for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Tell us about it below!