Marriott’s Negative Award Chart Changes Delayed (And Possibly How To Lock In Rates Even If You Don’t Have The Points)

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We’ve known what Marriott’s final, post-merger, award chart will look like for months and we were given the impression that the more negative changes would be coming into force in a few weeks time….but now the timeline has changed.

Up until now Marriott has been telling us that it will be introducing peak and of peak seasons as well as a new top-tier category (Category 8) in “early 2019” and it was generally accepted that this meant that the changes were coming in January.

However, a single line of text that has now appeared on Marriott’s points redemption page which shows that we’ve all been given a temporary reprieve from the impeding devaluation:

Save up to 25,000 points per night when you book future Category 8 hotels at the Category 7 rate until March 2019.

“March 2019” is still not very precise (will the changes kick in on 1 March or later in the month?) but it’s better than “early 2019” and, more importantly, this is good news.

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JW Marriot Desert Springs

Marriott fans now have at least two more months to book top-tier properties for 60,000 points/night (as opposed to the 70,000 – 100,000 points they’ll soon cost).

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This news is actually doubly good because, not only do we have two more months to book top-tier properties at acceptable rates, but we will also be able to book these properties into 2020.

Marriott allows guests to book hotels 355 days in advance so, had the changes come into effect on 1 January, we wouldn’t have been able to book the cheaper awards over New Year 2019 or into January and February 2020. That’s now changed.

This is particularly good news for me as I’ve ben waiting to make an award booking at the West Hollywood EDITION which is set to open in April 2019 but bookings haven’t yet been opened.

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I’ve watched this property rise from ground over the past two years and I was starting to think that I’d have to pay cold hard cash to try out one of the rooms when the door are finally opened but, as long as the opening date doesn’t get pushed back (again), I should be in with a chance of an award booking now.

A Possible Helping Hand From Marriott

We’re in uncharted waters with the upcoming changes to the Marriott award chart but there may be a way to lock in the lower award costs even if you don’t have the points you need to book the property of your choice.

As part of its loyalty program Marriott offers a benefit called “points advance” which allows guests to book award nights at Marriott properties even if they don’t have enough points in their account at the time of booking.

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Even if a guest has no points in their account Marriott will allow them to make an award booking and will give them up to 14 days before their check-in date to earn/buy/transfer in the points they need for the stay….and this could be useful here.

I suspect that Marriott will not re-price awards that haven’t been fully paid for when the devaluation date finally passes so, if I’m right, it will be possible to lock-in awards at pre-devaluation prices even if you don’t have the points in your account in the days leading up to the devaluation date.

Bottom Line

This is good news for Marriott/Starwood loyalists as we now have at least two more months to book some amazing properties for 60,000 points/night. I’ve locked in my one minor splurge for next year so I’m done for the time being but anyone who hasn’t been able to find dates that work for them so far has just been given more time.

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  1. I tried pre-bookimg with points advance prior to the SPG consolidation in August. When I went back to transfer points, the supposed locked in rates were not held. I spent hours on the phone trying to get a concession because they said that they weren’t obligated to honor anything other than a reservation. It was not easy to get them to honor the locked in points. It took 4 calls, many hours (close to 8), many days of waiting and checking and they never sent a Confirmation of what they promised on the phone, so there was always a fear that the hotel visit would show up at the new higher point rate. I would be sure to get a screen shot of the reservation with locked in rates. Marriott has become a nightmare to deal with.

  2. Unfortunately, Marriott has already blocked rooms for awards for this year. I am a Lifetime Premier Elite and have found NO premium properties available at all of the US and other parts of the world including; Cairo, Marrakech, Lisbon, San Juan, Cancun, DR, etc. I have NEVER had a problem booking a room during the Christmas/New Year period, but this year there is nothing available and after calling I am told the properties now decide when or if they have awards nights available. So the article above sounds good, but it appears that Marriott is planning ahead by not allowing any award bookings for the end of 2018/early 2019, regardless of status and points.

    • It must be property/destination specific because I just pulled up award availability for a random long weekend in Napa (Las Alcobas), a random week in Venice (Gritti Palace), a random week in London (the Edition, JW Marriott Grosvenor + more) a random week in Bali (the W and St Regis), a random (non summer) week at the Al Maha in Dubai and a random (non summer) week at both the Ritz-Carltons Ras Al Khaimah.

      To be clear – I din’t cherry-pick dates. I did 5 random searches and found awards available for each so you may be being very unlucky.

      The resorts like the St. regis Bora Bora and St Regis Maldives are a different story as there must be thousands of peoole trying to book into those.

  3. Nightmare indeed. We were SPG Platinum for life and are starting from near scratch with IHG and Hyatt. A beautiful Starwoods brand
    , value and experience is being destroyed. Starwoods loyalist repulsed Marriott profit grabbing policies and procedures. Quite frustrating and disappointing being gamed.

  4. I dropped out of the Marriott Rewards program over a year ago. They closed my account accidentally (on their part) and then refused to restore my points to a new account even though the case was sent to their mediation folks. I will never patronize their hotels or program again. Hilton Honors keeps their promises and treats their customers with respect unlike the Marriott organization.

  5. I HATE Marriott with a vicious passion and will NEVER STAY in ANY of their properties EVER again. The final nail in the coffin was their treatment of us at the Royal Hawaiian when that property and 4 other Hawaiian properties flying the Marriott flag were in strike. They rest their employees AND their guests like dog crap. They NEVER should have been able to merge with Starwood. Eventually their treatment of guests and employees, along with data breaches, will ultimately destroy them…but, not soon enough for me.

  6. Dear Marriott Customer Relations:
    We have NEVER had troubles with bookings with Marriott world wide! They have been extremely helpful whenever we want to plan trips World wide!

    Last year we wanted a Marriott hotel in Athens Greece and they directed us to Starwood as they didn’t have a property in Athens! The Starwood Hotel in Athens Greece was called the NEW HOTEL, And it was THE greatest as it was high tech modern, the likes that we have never seen!

    THANK YOU MARRIOTT AND STARWOOD. We are looking forward to possibly booking in London soon.

    Sincerely: J.C.

  7. Marriott is the Delta of hotel chains!
    They relentlessly pull back, subtract, restrict and try to hide the fact that their over-solicitations for a couple of decades now needs to be “ adjusted”!
    Why people keep falling for this vs. realligning with more friendly groups is just laziness and lack of ability to break old habits.

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