In this post I wanted to take a look at Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which is an initiative that Marriott launched back in 2019. Is there any value to booking your home rentals this way?
What is Homes & Villas by Marriott?
Over the past several years, we’ve seen vacation rentals through companies like Airbnb become increasingly popular. This has posed a threat to the major hotel groups. While home rentals offer a different experience than staying in a hotel, there are pros and cons to each. A home rental typically offers a lot more space, and is often more affordable, while a hotel typically offers more services.
With the introduction of Homes & Villas by Marriott, the world’s largest hotel group essentially decided that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Homes & Villas by Marriott gives Bonvoy members access to tens of thousands of vacation rentals around the globe. These are premium and luxury rentals — they’re not all outrageously priced, but they’re definitely on the higher end of home rental pricing.
Now, the key thing to understand is that this is more of a marketing agreement than anything. Marriott isn’t personally managing these homes, but rather Marriott is marketing home rentals available through other platforms, while giving Bonvoy members an incentive to book through Marriott (at a cost).
Homes & Villas by Marriott basics
What should Marriott Bonvoy members expect with Homes & Villas by Marriott, in terms of earning points, redeeming points, elite benefits, pricing, and more? Let’s cover what you need to know.
Earn Bonvoy points for homes & villas
If you’re booking a stay with Homes & Villas by Marriott, you can expect to receive the following as a Bonvoy member:
- Earn 5x Bonvoy points per dollar spent (this is the same points earning rate as Marriott’s extended stay properties, while most Marriott properties offer 10x points per dollar)
- Marriott Bonvoy elite members receive their usual points bonuses for these stays as well, of 10-75%
- Spending with Homes & Villas by Marriott counts toward the $20,000 Ambassador Elite status spending requirement, if that’s a consideration
- Marriott Bonvoy members earn one elite night for every night booked
- Marriott Bonvoy points will only post three to six weeks after an eligible stay
- Marriott Bonvoy elite members receive bonus points as a welcome gift — Gold Elite members receive 500 Bonvoy points, while Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite members receive 1,000 Bonvoy points
- Paying with a co-branded Marriott Bonvoy credit card could earn you up to 6x points per dollar spent, as this counts the same as Marriott spending for those purposes
Redeem Bonvoy points for homes & villas
It’s possible to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for all or part of the cost of a stay with Homes & Villas by Marriott. As it currently stands, you can expect that each Marriott Bonvoy point will get you roughly 0.6 cents toward the cost of a stay. You can even redeem points toward the cost of taxes and the cleaning fee.
What makes Homes & Villas by Marriott different?
What makes Homes & Villas by Marriott different than other home rental experiences? Here’s what Marriott claims sets its platform apart:
- Marriott claims to offer a highly-curated offering, working just with professional management companies offering premium and luxury private home inventory, and each home is evaluated either in person or digitally
- Marriott claims to only have professionally managed homes, by a trusted property management partner, providing a professionally cleaned home, 24/7 local support, high-speed Wi-Fi, premium linens and amenities, and family friendly conveniences upon request
- Marriott offers the ability to earn & redeem Bonvoy points on all stays
Homes & Villas by Marriott is typically more expensive
A major catch with Homes & Villas by Marriott is that you’ll almost always pay more through the site than you’d pay if booking through another site. For example, most of the Homes & Villas by Marriott inventory is also available through Vacasa, so let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
For example, I found a rental in Key West for three days that costs $5,531.11 with Homes & Villas by Marriott.
Meanwhile the same rental costs $4,845.10 through Vacasa. So you’re paying a ~14% premium for booking through Marriott.
I found another rental in Palm Springs for three days that costs $3,667.87 with Homes & Villas by Marriott.
Meanwhile the same rental costs $3,308.12 through Vacasa. So you’re paying an ~11% premium for booking through Marriott.
Is Marriott Homes & Villas worth it?
When Homes & Villas by Marriott was launched, it was essentially positioned as a way for Marriott to compete with the likes of Airbnb. In that sense, I find the execution to be quite lackluster:
- All of these listings are also available through other home rental websites
- Marriott is almost always charging a premium for the privilege of earning points
- Marriott’s not really doing a whole lot here that adds peace of mind with booking; someone from Marriott having digitally reviewed a property isn’t exactly a high threshold for deciding on the quality of a place
This is essentially no different than if Marriott started letting you buy gas at a 10-15% premium with existing gas stations while earning points. It’s the same concept.
I don’t really see this being a long-term viable business model. Then again, I guess Marriott isn’t investing a whole lot of money in this, so it’s a source of passive income for the company.
Ultimately Homes & Villas by Marriott is only worth it if you’re looking to earn or redeem points, and are willing to pay a premium for the privilege. I wouldn’t redeem Bonvoy points this way, since you’re getting 0.6 cents per point based on the inflated rental cost.
Meanwhile I think it could be worth booking through Homes & Villas by Marriott in some situations, like if the spending would help you earn Ambassador Elite status, or if there’s a great promotion. Marriott does sometimes have promotions offering bonus points for Homes & Villas by Marriott bookings, so in those cases the math may work out favorably.
Homes & Villas by Marriott is sort of Marriott’s attempt to compete with the home rental industry. Essentially Marriott is marketing select home rentals available through other sites (primarily Vacasa). Marriott charges extra for these stays, and in turn Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points.
Personally I don’t think there’s very wide appeal here, though for some Bonvoy members this could be worth considering, especially if there’s a promotion.
Have any OMAAT readers made bookings through Homes & Villas by Marriott? If so, what was your experience like?