Marriott Destinations Points were introduced to facilitate the trading to Marriott Vacation Club properties. In the past, the only option to trade out of your home property or season was to go through Interval International. Marriott was one of the few timeshare companies that did not offer an internal trade system so they developed the Destinations Club.
The advantages of trading your Destinations points to go to a Marriott Vacation Club are:
- Easier access to high-demand inventory
- Ability to book less than 7 nights at a time
- Ability to book the view you desire at oceanfront properties
- Ability to book the size unit you desire regardless of the size unit you own
The Destinations Points give owners more control over booking their vacations. I believe that the best value for your points is to use them to book other Marriott Vacation Club properties.
Below are three other ways to use your Destination Points for your vacations:
Option 1 - The Explorer Collection
The Explorer Collection is comprised of offerings from cruise companies, a tour operator, Collette Tours and select Marriott hotels. The intent is to provide you with more options to spend your Destinations Points thus creating the need for you to purchase more points to take advantage of all of these great travel opportunities. But are they good value? Typically, no.
To calculate the value of Explorer Collection offerings, I have determined that the average ownership week converts into 3,000 Destination Points with maintenance fees of approximately $1,300. Below, I have compared the cost of a trip in Destinations Points, the cost of these points when you take into account the maintenance fees you paid to obtain them and the dollar cost if you were just to go out and purchase the trip.
I encourage you to calculate the value using your own scenario.
New York Marriott Marquis Hotel
1,600 Destinations Points per night (cost of points = $689)
OR $499 per night from Marriott website
OR 45,000 Marriott Rewards points
Sonoma Wine Country – The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort and Spa
1,250 Destinations Points per night (cost of points = $541)
OR $299 per night from Marriott website
OR 40,000 Marriott Rewards points
Collette Vacations – Treasures of Italy in May - 12 day bus tour with 48 people
To purchase this trip from Collette directly = $4,149 per person or $8,298 for 2
OR 19,000 Destinations Points = 6.3 ownership weeks X $1,300 per week in Maintenance fees = $8,190.
Basically a wash price wise but you have given up 6 weeks of timeshare vacation time for a 12-day bus tour. Is this worth it to you?
Read about the “value” of using Destination points for a cruise at my recent blog post. Click here.
Option 2 - Purchase Airline Tickets
You can purchase airline tickets using Destinations Points. There is no set conversion rate but we have found, from experience, that every 500 Destinations Points reduces the cost of an airline ticket by approximately $130.
As an example, if an airline ticket cost $400 and you have 500 points to use, you would pay $270 (=$400-$130) plus your 500 points for this airline ticket. (Value: cost of the 500 points in relation to your maintenance fees paid = $217. Cost to you for this $400 ticket = $270 + $217 = $487)
Marriott’s so-called “air department” is actually ICE (International Cruise & Excursions , Inc), located in Phoenix. To book an airline ticket you need to know your dates of travel and it is best to know the exact flights you desire. Even with all that information, you will still be on the phone for about 1 hour to get this ticket booked. It can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Is it a good value for your points? No, but if you are going to lose the points anyways it is an option to consider.
Option 3 - Purchase Marriott Travel Insurance
I do recommend Travelex Insurance offered by Marriott. This insurance covers your vacations to a Marriott property including maintenance fees. No other insurance company will cover this for you. It does not cover other types of vacations, like cruises, etc.
It will cover your maintenance fees should you need to cancel a trip due to a covered reason – the most common one being an unexpected medical emergency.
The insurance is sold by “usage year”. For each “usage year” the cost is $169 or 700 Destinations Points.
For example, if you are planning on traveling in 2016 and you booked your vacation using Destinations Points from 2015 and 2016, then you would need to purchase insurance for the 2015 usage year AND 2016 usage year. Total cost $338 or 1400 Destinations Points.
Is it a good value for your points? No, but if you are going to lose the points anyway it is an option to consider.