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It was only in the second week of February that Marriott announced that it would be changing which hotels appear in which of its Bonvoy categories and deadline day is almost here – from tomorrow a significant number of Marriott properties will be charging more for an award night that they do today.
Before I go on I need to point out that I’ve seen various other sources say that around 380 hotels are changing the cost of an award night but, per the list I’ve seen (and exported to Excel), there are just 323 hotels changing category.
From the list which I’ve seen…
- 286 properties are going up a category (and will cost more)
- 37 properties are moving down a category (and will cost less)
- No properties are moving by more than 1 category
For reference, here’s what the standard Marriott award chart looks like:
Of the properties going up a category….
- 161 are in the United States
- 21 are part of the Autograph Collection
- 14 are JW Marriott Properties
- 7 are Luxury Collection Hotels
- 5 are Ritz-Carlton properties
- 2 are EDITION hotels
- 2 are St Regis properties
- 2 are W Hotels
8 new top-tier Category 8 properties are being created (not including properties previously announced as Category 8 properties):
- Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina – British Virgin Islands
- The London EDITION – United Kingdom
- Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort – Portugal
- Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel – United States
- The Ritz-Carlton Dubai – United Arab Emirates
- The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah – United Arab Emirates
- W Hong Kong – Hong Kong
- The Westin Europa & Regina Venice – Italy
Of the properties going down a category….
- 16 are in Europe
- 3 are in the United States
- 5 are in the UAE
- 1 is in the Maldives
- 3 are Luxury Collection Properties
- 2 are W Hotels
- 1 is a St Regis property
One top-tier Category 8 property is moving down to Category 7:
- The St Regis Osaka
No Category 7 properties are moving down to Category 6
Make Sure You Use Your Credit Card Certificates
Chase and American Express issue credit cards which offer annual certificates for awards at properties costing 25,000/35,000/50,000 per night (depending on which card you hold).
Following the changes just announced here’s how things will look going forward:
25,000 Points Certificates
- 64 properties are moving up from Category 4 to Category 5
- 12 properties are moving down from Category 5 to Category 4
From tomorrow, 5 March 2019. there will be 52 fewer properties at which 25,000 point credit card certificates can be used.
35,000 Points Certificates
- 72 properties are moving up from Category 5 to Category 6
- 3 properties are moving down from Category 6 to Category 5
From tomorrow, 5 March 2019, there will be 69 fewer properties at which 35,000 point credit card certificates can be used.
50,000 Points Certificates
- 22 properties are moving up from Category 6 to Category 7
- 7 properties are moving down from Category 7 to Category 6
From tomorrow, 5 March 2019, there will be 15 fewer properties at which 35,000 point credit card certificates can be used.
I’ve already pointed out how Marriott’s introduction of peak and off-peak season will be a negative move for anyone looking to use their credit card certificates and now we have a situation where considerably fewer properties will be available to card holders looking to redeem their award night certificates – essentially this is a devaluation of the credit card benefit.
I’ve already picked out 9 Marriott properties which may be worth booking before tomorrow’s changes kick-in but clearly opinion will vary from person to person – not everyone want’s to visit the same places.
- Overall these are clearly a negative set of changes for Marriott Bonvoy members
- It’s disappointing to see yet more devaluations to the credit card certificates
- Almost exactly half of the properties moving up a category are in the United States so this doesn’t bode well for domestic award night redemptions.
- One positive is that the properties moving down a category (as few as there are) aren’t confined to regions where few people want to travel
You have until the end of today (I’m assuming US Eastern time) to make your award night bookings before the prices change tomorrow so, if you have yet to lock in a reservation you know you’ll need, this is the time to do it.
If you don’t have enough points in your account to book a property you’d like to visit, you can use Marriott’s ‘Points Advance’ benefit to lock in the lower rate now and earn/transfer in the points needed for the reservation in the coming weeks or months….just make sure you check the hotel’s cancellation policy and make sure you understand what timeframe you have to earn/transfer in the required points.