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Marriott Bonvoy has released details of all its properties that are moving categories in a few weeks’ time and if there was anyone left out there who still viewed Bonvoy as a great rewards program, even they are going to have to now concede that Bonvoy is a dumpster fire that just had gas added to the flames.
Before I continue, let’s start off with the Bonvoy award chart – the key to all award redemptions:
Before this news broke, multiple recent devaluations and the introduction of “seasonal pricing” had already brought us to a point where top-tier Marriott properties now cost 100,0000/night (they could be booked for as little as 60,000 points/night a year ago) and some of us were beginning to think that Marriott couldn’t really devalue the program much further….at least not in the short term.
Well, it looks like we were wrong.
As of 4 March 2020 approximately 22% of Marriott’s 7,200+ properties will be moving up a category (and costing more points per night) while just 7% will move down a category and become cheaper so, once again, Marriott has essentially increased the cost of booking awards quite significantly.
Those numbers themselves don’t actually tell the full story either because, although Marriott will claim that 7% of properties will cost fewer points from 4 March, the fact is that most of those properties will not be of any interest to the vast majority of Bonvoy members.
Yes, it’s good to see the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach and the St. Regis Singapore both move from Category 7 to Category 6, but that’s an oasis of good news in a colossal desert of disappointment.
If you head over to the Marriott page which shows all the category changes and search for “New York” you’ll find that 34 properties are moving categories and only one is going down….and that’s at LaGuardia.
If you check to see what’s happening in Los Angeles you’ll find that out of the 7 properties that are moving category just one is moving down and that we now have an Aloft airport hotel that will cost up to 40,000 points per night.
These aren’t isolated examples either.
- Chicago: 5 properties are getting cheaper while 34 are getting more expensive
- San Francisco: 1 property is getting cheaper and 9 are getting more expensive
- New Orleans: 1 property is getting cheaper and 10 are getting more expensive
- Boston: 2 properties are getting cheaper while 44 are getting more expensive
Further afield, London is seeing a mix of properties moving up and properties moving down…but the only two properties on the list that most people will care about (London Marriott County Hall and London Marriott Hotel Park Lane) will both soon cost up to 100,000 points/night.
Paris will see 13 properties cost more points per night from 4 march 2020 while not one single property will be getting cheaper.
Of the 29 Ritz-Carlton properties that are moving category just one is moving down and of the 27 JW Marriott properties that are on the move, just 4 will be cheaper in a few weeks’ time.
Overall, Marriott is creating 30 new Category 8 properties which will cost up to 100,000 points per night (just 4 properties are moving down from Category 8) and 95 properties are moving up to Category 7 out of reach of even the best credit card free night certificates.
Wherever you look you’re likely to find bad news. One of my favorite properties at which to relax (the Langley) is moving up a category, the Aruba Marriott Resort will soon cost up to 70,000 points per night, the Domes Noruz Chaniain Greece will be joining the Category 8 club and we’ll soon have another 4 Courtyard properties that will cost up to 70,000 points per night.
Marriott’s Bonvoy program has been getting steadily worse for quite some time and now it’s just taken another dive downwards. It’s incredible to think that properties that cost just 60,000 points per night in January 2019 cost almost 67% more just a year later.
Bonvoy points haven’t become any easier to earn, Marriott’s promotions (when they bother to publish them) are as useless as ever and yet all we’re seeing are rate rises after rate rises after rate rises.
I haven’t actively gone out of my way to earn Marriott points for some time but I’m now left wondering if there’s anyone at all who can make a good (and honest) argument for collecting Bonvoy points over Hyatt or Hilton’s currencies?
I know I certainly can’t make that argument right now…but no doubt a very well known credit card site will soon be along to tell us all just how wonderful all these changes are and how Bonvoy is the best loyalty program in the world 🙂