Posted by William Charles on March 3, 2019
Loyalty Programs

Published on March 3rd, 2019 | by William Charles

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Marriott 2019 Award Changes: 383 Properties Changing (346 Increase, 37 Decrease)

Update 3/3/19: Just a friendly reminder to book before these changes go into effect. Reddit user gordie44 also points out that bookings made before March 5th, 2019 seem to have a cancellation policy where you must cancel before March 4th, 2019 rather than 30 days prior to the stay. Not sure if this is affecting all properties, or just select properties.

Marriott has announced changes to award categories for 2019. These changes will go into effect on March 5th, 2019. The full list of changes can be found here (courtesy of View From The Wing). Keep in mind Marriott on March 5th some properties will fall under the new category 8 price as well, so this is really a double devaluation. Some statistics about the changes:

  • 383 properties will be changing category:
    • 346 will increase in price
    • 37 will decrease in price
  • 71 properties will be going from category 5 to category 6. This means they will no longer be usable for annual free night certificates. In comparison only 3 properties are going from category 6 to 5.
  • 22 properties will be going from category 6 to category 7. This means they will no longer be usable for annual free night certificates on premium cards.

Keep in mind Marriott has a third devaluation planned for this year with the introduction of off-peak and peak pricing. Given the difficulties Marriott has been having with the SPG merger I’m actually surprised we are seeing a devaluation this bad, although that might be because the C-Suite team fails to recognize large scale problems still affecting loyalty members and prefers to blame it on noise around the edges.

 



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Rob
Rob

Agreed. They should be in full scale damage control mode right now, and instead they are doing new damage creation mode. All of those folks they tried to calm by giving them an anniversary free night on their credit card and showing them the intended award chart thought they were going to be able to use their certificates in New York, Boston, San Fran etc. Now, they go raising those hotels to Cat 6 before any of us even got the certificates and can’t use them there. Such bad will creating. They can’t get out of their own way.

really
really

The Peak Cat 5 pricing is going to be another huge hit that hasn’t been fully absorbed yet (because peak pricing is coming but each hotel will be different).

It was good while it lasted. But I will be staying elsewhere as my stash runs out.

LDoc
LDoc

Another reason I am all in with Hilton for the last year.

Kevin
Kevin

I think whether you can use credit card nights is not by level, but by points required (e.g., 35K and 50K). So with peak and off-peak it gets more complicated what hotels can be used and can’t be used.

Blue
Blue

After their fuckery with the travel packages this is entirely expected.

Halamadrid
Halamadrid

This is a huge devaluation and makes the cc certificates pretty useless IMO. With the switch to Peak/Off-Peak there will be times where the normal certificate doesn’t even get you a Cat5 property and the “premium” doesn’t get you a Cat6. Even Courtyards and Residence Inns in NYC are now Cat6. They are really trying to prevent people from using any certificates (or points for that matter) during any sort of holiday. I mean 60K p/night at a Courtyard…seriously? The upcoming sign-up bonuses don’t even get you 2 nights in many cases. Time to reevaluate and look for options.

really
really

You are absolutely right and this point needs to be emphasized more on the blogs, r/awardtravel, etc!! All the 35k certs are going to be useless for any good redemptions for Peak Cat 5 (and same with 50k certs for Peak Cat 6).

Yoni
Yoni

Seems like that the only real value that might exist is for using points on Courtyards and Residence inns in the less desirable parts of the suburbs of some metro areas – that are Cat 1 – Cat 2 that have been running 12.5-17.5 a night for $99-$119 – but yeah the free night ares a huge devalue and makes the AF a glaring issue now with peak/off-peak – but that is what happens you get so big that you DGAF or need to (till you lose 20-35% of your customer loyalty base to other programs. No breakfast is all a huge negative on top of all the other devalues makes the program super unattractive unless your a Plat Elite. Even then it has lost its luster.

Sevillada
Sevillada

Given you can currently get 25k avios for those 60k points, it may be the best time to do it

mba
mba

Two competitors merge to increase market share, and then they cut loyalty rewards. Why are people surprised?

Rob
Rob

Well it is surprising given that they paid a premium for SPG well above asset value, which can only be for goodwill (that is pretty much the definition of goodwill). That goodwill value of SPG was its loyal customer base, which they are now eroding by promising things to keep people happy, then bait and switching or just flat out not delivering the promises. It would be like paying a premium to acquire Netflix, promising customers all of the same shows will be available, and that you would not change the monthly subscription fee. Then taking all of the best shows and putting them in a higher “category” and charging double the monthly price for that premium subscription, adding commercials to the base subscription customers and throwing a whole bunch of new technology glitches into the mix on top of that.

PT
PT

Don’t forget snubbing them at every turn. Oh, we can’t get our website or reservations systems right, leak your info, but hey, at least we were successfully in placing Bibles in all the SPG hotels on day 1. You can keep your SPG cc – nah, just joking. SPG hotels remain the same – nope, we’ll quietly switch out the amenities and furnishings to crap versions and hope you don’t notice.

Sevillada
Sevillada

Did they really add bibles to all spg hotels? lol

culdeus
culdeus

They were actually morman bibles. Just to be accurate. I don’t know what the differences are really.

Francisco J Rios
Francisco J Rios

I’m guessing Marriott is still better than Hilton points wise? I love Hyatt and use Marriott as my backup because of footprint but wonder at what point Hilton would get me more free nights than Marriott.

Glenn
Glenn

The obvious difference is that Hilton has all kinds of credit cards, lots of them with great bonus categories. Also even in the current environment they’ve been having quarterly rewards of various kinds which have pretty much vanished for Hyatt and Marriott. So there’s that.

Sevillada
Sevillada

You also acquire hilton points twice as fast or transfer them from chase at 1:2, as opposed to 1:1
For example, you can waste 60k UR points to get 60k Marriott points or you can use them to pay $900 worth of hotels (using CSR).
it’s crazy.

Jordan
Jordan

This is truly unfortunate. A couple of my favorite “low tier” Ritz Carlton’s are impacted. Ritz Coconut Grove in Miami and Ritz Dove Mountain in Arizona are both increasing from 35k points per night to 50k. There was a lot of opportunity for long stays with minimal points there.

Pam
Pam

If we book now but stay after March 5, will they charge us more points at check-in?

Rajarshi Roychowdhury
Rajarshi Roychowdhury

No, once you book you are locked in at the old point rate

Points
Points

If I have one SPG card, one SPG biz and one SPG Lux all 3 with annual cerfificates around same time, can i book 3 night without checking out the hotel?

Francisco J Rios
Francisco J Rios

Yes, just call so they merge them all into one reservation and make sure you book the same type room for each day.

Points
Points

Thanks Francisco!

Trung
Trung

Aweful

Yoni
Yoni

Does anyone know if this will this effect an existing reservation if the reservation is after 3/5/19 but booked before the 5th? Thanks- I know they already swept the points from my account. So I’m thinking we good. My bookings all going up after the 5th.

Hadley V. Baxendale
Hadley V. Baxendale

You are fine. The reservation might show the new required points but you will only need to pay the points that you have. Bare in mind that if you change the dates, you will have to pay the new prices after 3/5/19.

Yoni
Yoni

Thanks

BaconSF
BaconSF

Time to move more nights to Hyatt.. wow CEO of Marriott is an absolute idiot

Subhuman-Male
Subhuman-Male

I’m not as certain. Maybe they save more money by spending less on IT and by these changes, after factoring in the opportunity cost of losing elite members.

Anna
Anna

Well I guess it’s time for me to switch over to another hotel chain. Not really impressed with the way things are right now.

Jesse
Jesse

I have reward nights booked for San Diego comic con. The reservation is complete but they have not pulled the points out yet. Do I need to get the points taken out or do I risk losing the reservation/a point change?

Hadley V. Baxendale
Hadley V. Baxendale

You should be fine, but I would check with Marriott if they have any different rules for a points advance reservation.

If it is no skin off your back, I would have them take the points out anyway.

PT
PT

No, Jesse needs to have the cert attached. Points advance didn’t count last Aug.

Hadley V. Baxendale
Hadley V. Baxendale

Jesse,
From what I have read on other blogs, PT is spot on, you will need to attach the cert before 3/5/19 to get the current rate as others are speculating that a points advance reservation will register the new higher rate after 3/5/19 — and since PT says this is how it worked last August, I would follow that answer — attach your certs/points prior to 3/5/19!

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