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It’s the time of year that many hotel chains announce their award category adjustments for the year. Hyatt did theirs in January, the Starwood Preferred Guest announcement came just a few days ago, and now Marriott has announced the hotels that will be changing category and points price effective March 19, 2015.
Just like with SPG and Hyatt, Marriott is not changing the categories themselves or adding any new categories, but instead the changes are limited to hotels moving between the existing categories.
As is pointed out in the Marriott Rewards Insider post, you can make reservations up to 50 weeks in advance, and you don’t have to have enough points in your account to hold the reservation.
Marriott states that 64% of the properties remain unchanged in category, which means that 36% are changing categories. The unfortunate news is that of those 36% changing, only 25% are decreasing by one category and 75% of the hotels changing are increasing by one category. That is a much greater percentage of the changes being negative for us than Hyatt and SPG announced. In other words, 27% of all Marriott properties will cost more points beginning March 19th and only 9% will cost fewer points.
Also unfortunate is that the list of hotels changing categories is far from easy to read. Given that there are hundreds of properties on the list, It would have been much easier to group them geographically than the order that they are presented. So, curl up for some long reading if you want to carefully look at the Marriott 2015 Hotel Category Changes. If you are looking for a specific hotel name or portion of a name, you can use the search box in the upper right hand corner.
As a reminder, here are the award charts for Marriott and Ritz Carlton:
A very few examples of the changes include:
EDITION Hotels moved to Ritz Carlton Tier based award chart instead of the Marriott points chart. This meant that the EDITION Miami Beach went from Category 9 to RZ5 (45,000 points to 70,000 points!), EDITION London went from 9 to RZ3 (45,000 points to 50,000 points), and the EDITION Istanbul went from an 8 to RZ3 (40,000 to 50,000 points).
Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort & Casino 7 to 8
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection 7 to 8
Courtyard by Marriott Kailua-Kona 6 to a 7
Courtyard Anaheim at Disneyland Resort 6 to a 7
Courtyard Kauai Kapa’a 6 to a 7
Fairfield Inn Steamboat Springs 5 to 6
St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino 6 to 7
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas RZ 4 to RZ5
Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Vista Centre 4 to 3
The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow RZ3 to RZ2
Courtyard Washington Embassy Row 7 to 6
Summary of 2015 Marriott Award Chart Changes:
Some cities such as Austin, Nashville, Boston, Denver, and San Francisco got hit particularly hard with a large number of properties increasing in category. Marriott is not a primary points program for my family, and with over 1 in 4 properties getting pricier on points in this year alone, I don’t think that it will be anytime soon.
In contrast, Hyatt had just 22 properties going up in category this year, with 48 going down. Granted, Hyatt has a much smaller footprint than Marriott, so of course the number of properties changing would be smaller, but clearly they are currently on different trajectories with their award pricing trends.
The sliver of good news for the Marriott changes is that there aren’t really large jumps between the points price of different categories the way there is for some programs, so if a property you like went up in category it is probably just a difference of 5,000 points each night. That isn’t fun, but there isn’t a ton of difference between 35,000 and 40,000 points a night. Marriott also has so many properties that there may be another option if your first choice increased in category.
What do you think of the 2015 Marriott award category changes?
Thanks to One Mile at a Time for sharing the news of the changes.