Marriott Hotels Category Changes – Book Before March 15!

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Just as we saw with Starwood, Marriott has also gone through their yearly review and has updated their category chart for 626 hotels! Unfortunately, this time around many many many more hotels are going up a category than down, which is disappointing. You can find a PDF of the new categories in this FlyerTalk thread here. These changes go into affect March 15th, so if you have any upcoming stays, keep the following two things in mind:

  1. If you already have a future reservation for a hotel that is going down in a category, make sure to call Marriott on March 15th to get the difference credited back to your account
  2. If you are looking to make a reservation for a hotel that is going up a category, make your reservation NOW to lock in the lower rate. Even if you are not 100% of your vacation, book your reservation and cancel later (just make sure to take a look at the cancellation policy).

When Marriott went through their annual category change last year, I knew I was going to Thailand 9 months later, but I was not 100% sure where and what hotel I would be staying in. However, the JW Marriott Phuket was moving up in the ranks from a category 5 to a category 6, and at the time I thought I would be staying at that hotel. I made probably 20 reservations with every scenario possible! The great thing is Marriott allows you to book hotel stays even if you do not have the points in your account – you just need to have the points available by the time the reservation comes along.

Here’s my analysis and thoughts on the changes:

Pros:

  • If you are looking to go to Aruba, all four categories went down a category. I personally have never been to Aruba, but have heard great things about the Marriott and timeshare properties.
    • Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino – going from a cat 8 to cat 7
    • MVCI Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club – going from a cat 8 to cat 7
    • MVCI Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club – going from a cat 8 to cat 7
    • Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort & Casino – going from a cat 6 to cat 5
  • Other than Aruba, I really do not see any other pros!

Cons:

  • 59 hotels are moving up to a category 7 or 8 – that is huge! This includes many hotels in Florida beach resorts, London, Paris, Hawaii, New York.
  • 76 hotels are moving from a category 5 to 6, which means we will no longer be able to redeem the cat 5 yearly free night certificate at these hotels (which is earned from having the Marriott credit card). Some disappointing hotels include:
    • Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong – just stayed there in January and redeemed my cat 5 free night certificate
    • JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa in Costa Rica
    • Residence Inn Beverly Hills – I used to stay at this hotel by redeeming my cat 4 free night certificates and now is a cat 6!
    • Savannah Marriott Riverfront – I was able to stay at this hotel for less than $150/night
  • 98 hotels are moving from a category 4 hotel to a category 5 – this is the most disappointing! This means that you cannot use your free night earned from the Megabonus promotions. I’ve been able to find some great usage of these hotels and sad to see so many hotels no longer being eligible! The hotels I am sad to moving up are:
    • Renaissance Barcelona Airport Hotel – I will actually be staying here so quickly booked with my category 1-4 free night certificate
    • Courtyard New Orleans Downtown Near the French Quarter – I’ve used my free night certificates here many times. During certain times of the year, hotels in NOLA can be extremely expensive.

Just make sure to not delay and make your reservations prior to March 15!

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