Marriott’s March Category Changes Are Not Pretty
On March 4th, you’ll see increases to the award category for 22% of Marriott Bonvoy properties. This is a pretty massive increase across the board and one that is a bit depressing on the heels of all of the other issues we’ve been having with Bonvoy, from faulty IT to the introduction of peak pricing, the inability to lock in award rates with Points Advance, 5th night free applying to the cheapest night of your stay, and the recent addition of award night capacity controls on all brands.
Way More Marriott Bonvoy Hotels Move Up In Category Than Down
I checked rates for some places that I regularly look at for awards. Nothing in the Maldives or Bora Bora went down, as expected. All of those top properties remain top tier Category 8.
The full list of changes is here.
In New York, there are 34 metropolitan area hotels changing categories. The Fairfield Inn New York LaGuardia Airport/Astoria drops from category 5 to category 4. Of the other 33 hotels, they all go up in category. For example, the Le Méridien New York, Central Park is now Category 7, up from Category 6.
In Los Angeles and Santa Monica, 8 hotels change categories – all of them moving up. The The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles is now a top tier Category 8.
If you have the points, book any stays changing tiers before March 4th. Remember, Points Advance will *not* hold your rate, just the space. If you happen to have a refundable award booking after March 4th, you would be able to cancel and rebook at the lower tier as long as there is new award space there. (In theory you may be able to get a rep to simply swap certificates, but I don’t now how well that will work in practice these days.)
Effect on Free Night Certificates
Obviously, this will also affect where you can use the free night certificates you get from the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, ranging in value from 35,000 to 50,000 points. It will also decrease your options for the 40,000 point certificate you can take when you reach 75 nights in a year as your Choice Benefit.
HT to OMAAT
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.