Many (Negative) Marriott Award Category Changes—Start Booking Now!

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Marriott just announced their yearly hotel category changes and it is not pretty. There are a total of 383 properties changing categories and only 37 of them are going down a category. Do the math and you’ll see that out of the changes, 90% of them are moving up—this means more points required to redeem for a free night stay. These changes will go into effect on March 5, 2019, so make sure to make reservations now at the current rate. As long as the hotel is booked prior to this date you’ll be locked into the lower point amount. Just make sure to not do points advance, you must actually have the points in your account.

Make sure to book your Marriott hotels now before they get more expensive!

While you can see the entire list of properties changing categories here, this is my breakdown of areas you should pay attention to.

Hawaii

Staying in Hawaii on points is not cheap and unfortunately some of the better redemptions will not be a great value anymore.

  • Courtyard Waikiki Beach — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Sheraton Waikiki — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • Sheraton Princess Kaiulani — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Residence Inn Maui Wailea — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection  — moving from a category 6 to 7

New York City

Right now New York City actually has many category 5 properties where you are still able to use your free night certificate from one of the Marriott credit cards. Unfortunately many of these properties will be moving up to a category 6, although you’ll still be able to stay in downtown Manhattan or in some of the boroughs with your category 5 free night certificate.

  • Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Times Square — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Residence Inn New York Downtown Manhattan/ World Trade Center Area  — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Courtyard New York Manhattan/Times Square — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Courtyard New York Manhattan/SoHo — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Courtyard New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center Area — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Fairfield Inn New York Manhattan/Financial District — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Downtown Manhattan/ World Trade Center Area — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel  — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Aloft New York Brooklyn  — moving from a category 4 to 5

Disneyland

If staying in Anaheim is on your radar to visit Disneyland, these properties are increasing as well.

  • Courtyard Anaheim Resort/Convention Center — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Four Points by Sheraton Anaheim — moving from a category 3 to 4
  • Residence Inn Anaheim Resort Area/Garden Grove — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Residence Inn at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • SpringHill Suites Anaheim Maingate — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • TownePlace Suites Anaheim Maingate Near Angel Stadium — moving from a category 3 to 4

Florida Beach Resorts

Many family friendly resorts in Florida are increasing as well. This hits most of South Florida on both the East and West Coast.

  • JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • Hollywood Beach Marriott — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • The Saint Hotel Key West, Autograph Collection — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club, Autograph Collection — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Sheraton Suites Key West — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Courtyard Marathon Florida Keys — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Delray Beach Marriott — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • W Miami  — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Pompano Beach/Oceanfront — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Residence Inn Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami — moving from a category 5 to 6

Mexico and Caribbean Beach Resorts

Resort vacations throughout Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico, Puerto Vallarta, British Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas are about to get more expensive as well. I am personally disappointed to see The Westin Grand Cayman moving up again! Just a few years back you could redeem 12,000 Starwood points for a free night stay and now it will require 60,000 Marriott points (equivalent to 20,000 Starwood points) or even 70,000 Marriott points during peak dates (equivalent to 23,333 Starwood points).

  • Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa — moving from a category 6 to 7
  • Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman — moving from a category 7 to 8
  • The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta  — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino — moving from a category 5 to 6
  • La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort— moving from a category 5 to 6
  • Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino — moving from a category 4 to 5
  • Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection — moving from a category 7 to 8
  • French Leave Resort, Autograph Collection — moving from a category 6 to 7

As you can see from the lists above, there are some significant changes which will require you to use more points. Of course there are a few (just 37) properties that will require less points, but they are far and few between. I personally would pay good attention to the hotels that are moving up from a category 5 to a category 6 because the free night certificate that comes with the Marriott credit card are capped at a category 5 hotel. So if you are looking to use one of those free night certificates and the hotel is moving out of the category 1-5 zone, make sure to lock in that reservation now.

HT: View from the Wing

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