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It’s the time of year for hotels to do some evaluation and make category adjustments for their individual hotel properties. Today it is Marriott that released their category lists for the following year. The good news is that this time they released their list with some advance notice. Hotels can be reserved at their current category rates until March 14th. After that date the new category list will be in effect. If the hotel you are booked at is dropping a category, you can call to rebook at the lower rate starting on March 15th.
You can look at the new list here. I haven’t had time yet to go over the list in detail, but for me personally the key thing to look at is hotels that are coming down to a Category 4 from a 5, or going up from a Category 4 to a 5. This is because the MegaBonus free nights can be used at a Category 1-4 hotel, so when a hotel moves up to a 5 from a 4 it is now out of reach for the purposes of that promotion. The Marriott credit card also awards free night or nights (depending on the card) at sign-up that can be used at a Category 1-4 hotel upon sign-up. The Marriott Rewards Premier Rewards credit card also awards an annual free night at the renewal anniversary that can be used at a Category 1-5 hotel, so those with that card will also want to look at moves that involve Category 5 hotels. Of course, if Marriott is one of your primary hotel loyalty programs, then any category changes could be important to you.
Some hotels that jumped out at me quickly as going from a 4 to a 5 are some airport hotels such as Renaissance London Heathrow, Los Angeles Airport Marriott, Fairfield Inn at JFK and LaGuardia, as well as the Couryard Waikiki Beach, and JW Marriott Houston.
According to the Marriott representative on Flyertalk, 3% of hotels are decreasing by one category (100 hotels) and 15% are increasing by one category (526 hotels).
Are any of your favorites moving up or down?