Update: The 70K Chase Marriott bonus is schedule to end at some point tomorrow.
DDF member SamKey wrote a nice trip report from a points stay at the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya that you can read here.
Originally posted on 07/28:
Point hotels in Israel are hard to come by.
Not long ago Starwood had 13 properties that were all bargains with Starpoints. I stayed in many of them on a month-long trek across the holy land in August of 2007 spending just a couple thousand Starpoints per night to stay in Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, and the Dead Sea. Now there’s just 1 left, the Sheraton Tel Aviv, and at 12K-16K points per night it’s not the bargain it once was.
It seems hotels don’t need to stay part of a loyalty program to fill up their rooms in Israel. Hyatt had a Jerusalem hotel but now has nothing. Hilton has had several hotels in Jerusalem over the years that have come and gone. The David Citadel opened as the Hilton Jerusalem in 1998 but left Hilton in 2001. It’s anyone’s guess as to how long the newly opened Waldorf Jerusalem will stay part of Hilton, but at 80K points per night it’s out of the budget of most folks.
Chase recently released a limited time offer on the Chase Marriott card for 70K bonus points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. On top of that you’ll also get a free night at a category 1-4 hotel upon account approval. You also get a free night at a category 1-5 hotel every year that you renew the card.
The $85 annual fee is waived for the first year.
The Marriott program is split into “categories” and “tiers.”
Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.
Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.
When you stay 4 nights you get the 5th night free. You can browse hotels in each of those categories and tiers via the find button on this page. While there you can look at the additional free night you receive at signup besides for the bonus points at category 1-4 hotels.
You can also transfer points into miles here. The ratios aren’t great, but if you need some Southwest points for Companion pass status that can be worthwhile.
Israel has 2 Marriott hotels:
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a luxury hotel that opened 7 months ago and has been getting rave reviews. It is a Ritz-Carlton tier 2 hotel which means that it’s 40,000 points per night or 160,000 points for a 5 night stay (32,000 points per night).
A standard room for a tourist from 08/10-08/15 is $2,750 or $550 per night. Or you can use 160,000 points, a value of 1.72 cents per point. The 70K signup bonus would be worth over $1,200 for a redemption at that value per point.
A standard room for non-tourists would run $3,245 for the 5 nights with VAT. Using points would yield a value of 2.03 cents per point.
Marriott allows free point transfers between spouses, so if 2 spouses both get a Marriott card and spend $2,000 on each they would have at least 144,000 points in one account and 2 free category 1-4 nights. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott, but in most cases there are better uses for Ultimate Rewards points. After all you can buy increments of 1,000 points for $12.50 and Ultimate Rewards are worth more than that. I’d rather buy the additional 16,000 points needed in that scenario for a 5 night stay for $200 than use 16,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
The Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel is a category 7 hotel that goes for 35,000 points per night or 140,000 points for a 5 night stay (28,000 points per night.)
A standard room for a tourist from 08/03-08/08 is $1,475 or $295 per night. Or you can use 140,000 points, a value of 1.05 cents per point. The 70K signup bonus would be worth $735 for a redemption at that value per point.
A standard room for non-tourists would run $1,741 for the 5 nights with VAT. Using points would yield a value of 1.24 cents per point.
2 spouses each getting the Marriott card would have more than enough points for a 5 night stay at the Renaissance Tel Aviv and they would still have 2 more free nights at category 1-4 properties.
Other Chase consumer cards you can simultaneously include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year), Chase United Explorer (50K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, plus 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories), .