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?