The Al Maha Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Dubai was one of the very few bright spots of the SPG-Marriott merger. It went from costing 60K Starpoints to just 60K Marriott points (20K Starpoints) in August. That’s a real bargain for hotel that can set you back over $2,000/night!
It’s an ultra-luxury desert oasis that consists of all villas with private pools. All meals are included as are 2 daily activities like Falconry, camel trekking, archery, horse riding, desert AWD, and more.
I loved my Dubai stopover in 2017 and definitely plan to try to make it to Al Maha one day when I have more time to spend there.
Unfortunately last month Al Maha stripped out the meals and activities from rooms that were booked with points:
The full board and activities is one of the reasons that the resort is able to command the prices that they do, so stripping everything out seemed pretty unfair.
Al Maha’s Trip Advisor rating tanked from the top of the list in Dubai all the way down to #67 as reviewers pummeled the hotel with 1 star reviews for the new policy and for making the changes apply even for people who booked award stays before the policy change.
Gary points out that he was able to help get the situation resolved.
As it turns out, Marriott requires hotels to offer everything on point stays as they do on revenue stays, so Al Maha management didn’t have a leg to stand on.
However Al Maha was also supposed to be reimbursed at a higher rate for point stays that they have been since the merger due to the all-inclusive nature of their resort.
All of that has been resolved and point stays once again include all meals and 2 daily desert activities:
This hotel will climb to a category 8 (70K-100K Marriott points) when Marriott releases their new program in the coming months, so be sure to book your stay now for 60K points/night if you have any Dubai travel plans this year.
Marriott point earning cards include: