Marriott Hotel Categories Changing

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Marriott has gone through their annual category reorganization and fortunately it is not a huge number of properties affected. Only 18% of the hotels are changing – 30% (237 hotels) are decreasing by one category and 70% (553 hotels) are increasing by one category. While unfortunately there are more hotels going up a category then down, it does not seem like many aspirational hotels are changing and instead they seem to be more random hotel locations. The greatest impact are the category 5 hotels that are moving up to a category 6. For those properties, the free night certificate earned from the Marriott credit card will no longer be an option. You can see a list of all the hotels changing categories here.

These changes go into affect March 25, 2016, so you must make a reservation for a hotel that is going up a category by MARCH 25, 2016. 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.

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. Any reservations that change after this date will be re-priced at the new hotel category.

Also, their recently announced cash + points redemption option will take place on March 24, 2016 as well. That means booking a reservation on March 24th can lock you into the current rates plus get you the cash + points option. You can learn more about cash + points here.

What are your thoughts on this?

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  1. Still doesn’t help me with the 2 certificates I need to use this year from our credit cards! Seems like where I need to go is always Cat 6 and above. I just wish some of the airport hotels would be a 5. Even when the prices are low they are still a Cat 6.

  2. Thanks for the notice! Let me reciprocate. Since your article was the only one I read on BA that highlighted the Category 5 impact, here are some details on what I found evaluating the full Marriott list:

    Of the 524 US properties that are increasing, 52 are moving from Category 5 to 6. 32 of the 52 are in “warm weather” states, and Florida is the hardest hit, with, by far, the most properties – 16. No other state has more than seven (California & Arizona). Four of those are in Fort Myers alone (the most of any one city).

    Of the 152 US properties that are decreasing, 12 are moving from Category 6 to 5. Five of the 12 are in “warm weather” states.

    So there is a net loss of 40 properties that won’t be available as a free redemption from the Marriott credit card certificate.

    It would be an interesting study to track, over time, the percentage of properties that have been available with the Marriott credit card. I’m not sure if the criteria has always been Category 5, but the criteria per any specific year could be counted. And since the total number of properties is always in flux, a percentage would show if the program value, in this respect, is steady, slipping, or tumbling off a cliff. Wonder which it is?

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