Tomorrow is a big day in the Marriott loyalty program tomorrow. On Sept. 14, 2019, Marriott will implement peak and off-peak award pricing. A big move from their traditional award pricing chart. For those who typically travel during off-peak dates, this will be great. However, for those bound to school vacation weeks or other peak times, staying at Marriott properties could cost you more points.
Marriott has stated that the loyalty chain will determine whether a particular property is peak, off-peak or standard pricing during a certain time period and it is not up to the actual property to decide. This is good news since a hotel cannot identify themselves to be peak pricing 365-days a year. Instead, algorithms will be but in place and we are told that off-peak dates and peak dates should balance out. Fingers crossed this is actually the case.
Credit Card Free Night Certificates Impact
Unfortunately, this affects the free night certificate that comes with the Marriott credit cards. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a certificate capped at a hotel that costs 50,000 points a night, while both the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card come with certificates capped at a hotel that costs 35,000 points a night. So let’s say you are looking to book a category 6 property with the 50k free night certificate, if that particular hotel is pricing out at peak points (thus 60,000 points) you unfortunately will not be able to use the certificate on that particular date.
Fifth Night Free
For awhile now, Marriott has offered a 5h night free benefit when redeeming your points. Now, that benefit will be rebranded as “Stay for 5, Pay for 4”. Up until now, you were not charged points on your 5th night. Now, over the course of a 5 night stay, the night that is the lowest price in points will be your free night. For example, if you are staying at a category 6 property and the first night is pricing out at the “off-peak” price and the last four nights are pricing out at the “standard” price, the cheapest night (which is the first night) will be free.
Book Now… and Keep on Checking Pricing
If you have any reservations you are looking to book, BOOK NOW! At least you’ll be locked in at the standard point price and if your dates happen to be over an “off-peak” time, then you can re-price your reservation. If you wait and your dates go up to the “peak” pricing, you’ll be stuck paying a higher number of points. (This works for reservations that are still within the cancelation time period).
Also, once you book, keep on checking the number of points required for your particular reservation. Dates will be recalculated once a month, so there is a chance that the number of points required for an upcoming reservation could decrease (but could always increase) as the date gets closer.
We’ve known that Marriott would be moving towards this direction for awhile now, but the day has finally come. Go ahead and book your reservations now so you are not hit with a higher point reservation in the future.
Where will you be locking in your points?