Ritz-Carlton Reserve Joins Marriott Bonvoy

Lately, it’s been a bit bleak in the world of Marriott Bonvoy. The devaluations that followed the abolition of the much-vaunted prize table, though not as world-ending as previously suspected, have certainly not been very attractive.

That’s why it’s good to know that another family of Marriott properties will be joining the Bonvoy portfolio effective immediately.

And it’s not just any run-of-the-mill hotel collection joining Bonvoy. It’s the super-luxury Ritz Carlton Reserve family, a group of just five resorts known for their romantic locations, lavish decor, and lavish prices.

Ritz-Carlton Reserve: Exclusivity among the exclusive

So what exactly are Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties? This special category of Marriott hotels was previously inaccessible to anyone unwilling to book full price in cash.

With just five locations, each of these purpose-built resorts was designed to be the height of luxury and privacy. The properties in the portfolio are the following:

  • The smallest is the Higashiyama Nisek0, a 50-room resort in stunning Niseko, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
  • The 54 rooms at Phulay Bay, in Krabi, Thailand
  • Mandapa, a 60-room getaway in famed Bali, Indonesia
  • 115-room El Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico
  • Zadun, located in Los Cabos, Mexico, also with 115 rooms
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali, Indonesia

Judging from the pictures, it’s pretty clear to me that these resorts are a cut above the other places in the Ritz-Carlton lineup. Even the brand new Ritz-Carlton Maldives, for example, shares its island with another hotel.

Everything here is designed to remain unique and exclusive, something that is bound to be valuable for once-in-a-lifetime trips like honeymoons or diamond anniversaries.

Personally, my choice of litter would be the Niseko location due to its small number of rooms, and as an Albertan I am bound to be drawn to the cold.

Implications of Ritz-Carlton Reserve joining Marriott Bonvoy

I’ll answer the question you all want to know: Of course, you can now book Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotels with Marriott Bonvoy points.

According to the company’s official press release, the price will fluctuate between 80,000–240,000 points per night, which is a pretty spicy meatball, and definitely way above any previous chart value properties.

To soften the bite, the Fifth night free the benefit will still apply: the five-night point reservation will still require only four nights’ worth of points.

Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand

This also means that there will be the opportunity to earn Bonvoy points on any cash reservations. Like all full-service Marriott hotels, this rate will be set at 10 points per $1. Elite members get level bonuses, but more on that in a bit.

To me as an enthusiast, it would seem that Marriott is trying to further increase the brand cache of its Ritz-Carlton label while also making this ultra-premium brand more accessible to Miles & Points enthusiasts and business travelers. loyal Marriott businesses alike.

This makes even more sense in the context of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which joined the program last year prior to its launch and is valued at approximately 0.55 cents per Bonvoy point on cruises.

Zadun, at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Los Cabos

The value of redeeming points at Ritz-Carlton Reserves

While Marriott has listed redemption requirements of up to 240,000 Bonvoy points per night, I have been able to find five-night point stays that are much lower than this amount.

For example, let’s take a look at the Mandapa in picturesque Bali for this September.

392,000 bonus points for five nights won’t leave anyone’s Bonvoy balance particularly full after being booked, but it’s not as bad as the nearly 1 million it might have cost at the theoretical upper limits of Ritz-Carlton Reserve redemption values!

But how does this compare to cash?

At the above exchange rate, the entire reserve of 52,800,000 Indonesian rupiah would convert to approximately $4,625 (CAD).

That means the final value you would get from your Bonvoy points would be a hair under 1.2 cents per point, which is above our current valuations for Bonvoy points by almost 33%. Not bad for such a luxurious property.

As long as you’re flexible with dates or preferred property, you can get great value from your points in the Ritz-Carlton Reserve wallet. Just be prepared to absorb food and beverage costs.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Benefits at Ritz-Carlton Reserves

As part of the press release announcing Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s joining the Marriott Bonvoy program, a chart of additional benefits for elite members has been released.

I’ll be honest here: given the extreme pricing at these places in both cash and points, I think these benefits are a bit disappointing.

There’s no free breakfast, nor are there any sort of guaranteed room upgrades (although to be fair, given the size of the resorts, it’s probably harder to provide those anyway).

On the other hand, perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much, as these properties were beyond the reach of most Miles & Points enthusiasts before the present time.

Still, when we break down the chart, we can see that, for once, the biggest winners are Ambassador Elites, who earn a US$150 SD resort credit per stay. Judging by how expensive these properties can be, it’s not a discount to discredit.

On top of that, it’s good to see that Ambassador Elites are actually taken care of by Marriott, as one of the sticking points for Ambassador members lately has been the perception that they don’t receive the perks that their exceptional status should provide.

While I personally wouldn’t pay cash for these properties, I know plenty of people who would. Let’s see how valuable points earned with elite bonuses can be for a Platinum member.

A five-night honeymoon booked at the Higashiyama Niseko for around 491,000 Japanese yen would convert to US$3,910.

With 10 Bonvoy points earned per USD, plus a 50% bonus towards Platinum Elite status, the lucky couple would be looking at a cool base earn rate of 39,100 points, plus another 19,550 points, for a total of 58,650 Bonvoy points. .

Using a non-currency co-branded USD-denominated credit card, such as the American Express Bonvoy Brilliant Card, would increase the earn rate by another 6 points per USD, for a total of 81,150 Bonvoy points. That’s enough to get you another free night at many luxury properties around the world.

conclusion

Marriott is moving to make its upper echelon of Ritz-Carlton Reserve luxury properties accessible to devotees of the Marriott Bonvoy program.

While I’ll miss the tremendous value program members used to earn through their previous flexibility, I won’t reject the new trend of making aspirational spots bookable through points.

Although these places are not the first places I would choose for my next trips, I am sure that I will not be able to resist booking at least one or two of them in the future, since they are too beautiful to ignore. completely. I hope many of you reading this article will get ahead of me.

Until next time, fly safe.

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