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Marriott has gone through their annual category reorganization and unfortunately it is not looking good. While only 27% of their hotels are going up or down a category, 78% of those changing are going up by one category. This is heavily affecting category 4 and 5 hotels where you will no longer be able to get the free night certificates. The good news (if you are able to look at the positives) is that the overall loyalty program isn’t changing at all.
These changes go into affect April 8, 2014, so you must make a reservation that is going up a category by TODAY, APRIL 7th. Marriott also allows you to book reservations 50 weeks out and you can book even if you do not have enough points currently in your account – you just need to have the number of points available by the time you arrive at the hotel.
You can check out a full list of the hotels changing by downloading this PDF file.
The sweet spot for Marriott hotels are category 4 and 5 hotels. This is because their MegaBonus promotions typically give you a free night at any category 1-4 hotel (sometimes folks receive a 1-5 hotel promo), and their premier credit card gives a category 1-5 certificate on every anniversary year. Unfortunately, the category 4 and 5 hotels seem to be hit the hardest:
- 28 hotels went from a category 5 to a category 4, but…. 123 hotels went from a category 4 to a category 5! This will make using those MegaBonus certificates they many have earned over the past few months even harder to use and less valuable!
- 2 hotels went from a category 6 to a category 5, but… 208 hotels are moving from a category 5 to a category 6! This will make using your category 1-5 free night award from the credit card much less valuable. I will post more on that tomorrow, but I am pretty disappointed as that is one of the reasons I’ve kept my Marriott Premier credit card year after year.
Also, NO hotels went down from a category 9, 8, 7, or 6 (and only two went down to a 5), but, MANY hotels moved up to a category 6, 7, 8, and 9! The distribution here is absolutely not in our favor and I actually do not see one desirable hotel to the masses that has gone down a category.
Unfortunately, loyalty programs change, but remember to make your reservations now for any hotels that are moving up a category to ensure you lock in the current rate.
What are your thoughts on this?