Marriott Increasing the Price of Award Nights

Last night Marriott announced both hotel category changes (almost all are going ‘up’ in price) and the introduction of a new, higher award category — category 9.

  • The new category 9 will cost 45,000 points per night
  • 36% of properties will go up by one or more categories (almost all by only 1)
  • Only 1% of properties will drop by a category.

The changes go into effect May 16. Here’s the full list of properties changing categories.

They new category 9 hotels are:

  • Boston Marriott Long Wharf
  • Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Beach Hotel & Spa, Santa Monica
  • London Marriott Hotel County Hall
  • London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square
  • Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel
  • London Marriott Hotel Park Lane
  • JW Marriott Essex House
  • New York Marriott Marquis
  • Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees
  • St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel
  • Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square
  • Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel
  • Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel

So stay out of London, Paris, Midtown Manhattan, Boston, and Santa Monica if you’re a Marriott Rewards member!

The good news is that we get a bit of notice (and thus an opportunity, if we already have enough points in our account, to redeem now and as far in advance as nearly a year and under the current rates).

Marriott hasn’t always been so generous, tending not to release lists of hotels going up in price in advance and even eliminating categories of awards without notice. They’ve gotten pushback on this things, and so it’s good to see they’ve learned something.

This is the new award chart that goes into effect May 16. Categories 1-8 have not changed points requirements (though more than a third of hotels have gone up a category, so require more poitns). Only category 9 is new here:

Not a great time to be a Marriott Rewards member with a large number of banked points.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] a new 9-tier reward chart, Starwood raised the price of cash and points awards, Marriott introduced a new more expensive award tier and a points price increase for 36% of their properties. Just this morning I shared news that we’ll get a new devalued Wyndham Rewards chart on March […]

Comments

  1. Thanks for recommending Chase cards other than Priority Club and Marriott. Very glad I used my limited apps with Chase on Sapphire Preferred, British Air, etc. rather than on the hotel chains that have all recently devalued!

  2. Very bummed about this. I logged a lot of points as a Marriott Platinum over the years and have been hording/waiting for the right time to go on vacay. Sounds like now is the time. Please come up with a new name for this devalued currency.

  3. What will this do to Mega Bonus nights. Will they be good for Cat 5 or still only Cat 4. There were some good Cat 4’s near me that I could have used these free nights at but all are going to Cat 5 so would make the promotion useless…

  4. @ Grant – I’m thinking of cancelling my Marriott card next time the annual fee hits. Cat 5 is only a decent value, but I figured I could lower the cost of the occasional necessary airport stay. But my favorite airport hotel (the Newark Liberty Marriott) is also going up in categories. So I’m just giving up on the program. It’s been frustrating for a while, and I can’t find any good deals on the new list.

  5. The Cat 9 hotels are going up 5k pts per night. Hardly noteworthy. Marriott points are easy to come by and earn

  6. It’s a pretty bad deval, almost as bad as Starwood, I’m taking my own advice and diversifying as much as I can this year. I agree that Cat 4’s are next to useless now. Hyatt Diamond here I come.

  7. I think it’s time to dump that $85 per year Marriott credit card. Look at all the properties moving up from cat 5.

    -David

  8. “almost all are going ‘up’ in price”
    “36% of properties will go up by one or more categories”

    36% is a lot, but was there another change to get us to almost all??

  9. Almost all was referring to the group of hotels that are changing price (37% changing of which over 97% are increases and less than 3% are decreases)

  10. Every single Ritz Carlton in the Caribbean is going up in Category! And those are Ritz-Carlton categories. They were expensive enough as it is, but now it’s crazy.

    Grand Cayman, St. Thomas Ritz-Carlton. Aruba Marriott (which is not that amazing, to begin with) all going up.

    This makes Marriott for Caribbean travel, which I follow closely, an even worse deal than it was before.

  11. This means the Cat 4 cert from the Megabonus promotion is now even more worthless than before.

    @kay Agree! We normally stay at the EWR Renaissance, which is a good value at Cat 4. Looks like it’s moving up to Cat 5.

  12. Marriott is more and more challenging to get decent redemption out of in my humble opinion….which is why when I was looking at my recent applications I decided not to go with a Marriott card…and this was BEFORE the increases.

    All programs have pros and cons…but at the end of the day find that staying diversified between Hilton, Hyatt, and just recently got Priority club cards for both the wife and I should have most of our bases covered….

  13. I just booked all my points (plus a few Chase Sapphire points that I transferred to top up) for an upcoming stay. Almost 400,000 points.

    I am now at 387 Marriott points.

    Earn, burn. I should always keep this in mind…

  14. Agree with everyone saying the cat 1-4 certs from Megabonus will now be near useless.

    Every hotel I’ve ever used the Cat 4 certs at: NOLA Courtyard Convention Center; Marriott O’Hare; Marriott Suites O’Hare; and Fairfield Inn FLL Airport and Cruise Port.

    I’m going to hope that they’ll be adjusting the certs to cat 1-5 going forward. Otherwise, the megabonus will have become a complete joke.

  15. Starwood redemption is worlds better than Mariott. Not even close. The points go much farther with Starwood and usually the top hotels points wise are about 30K max which would be St Regis properties. Still you can get 4 nights/5th free at that point level.

  16. Makes one think long and hard about striving to maintain elite level rather than just go with starwood for a couple of years to hit lifetime platinum. Every hotel in cat 4 we ever redeemed bonus nights are out of reach now with said bonus. Marriott manhattan beach, courtyard marina del rey, renaissance bangkok, even cheapo airport hotels one might need to stay in.
    Marriott rewards should take a hard look at themselves and consider attrition with changes they made.

  17. @Kalbotz I did not know MAriott does 5th night also. But even at 10 points per $ at Mariott It takes $4500.00 spend to get a top tier room. The Mariott credit card only generates 1 point per dollar.

  18. The biggest joke of all is the Santa Monica JW Marriott moving to a category 9. We stayed there 2 weeks ago – as a Platinum – and we experienced it as a 3rd world hotel with service levels not even rating a category 1 hotel. The internet connection was so weak and it took 45 minutes of arguing with the manager (whom we had to bring him to the room to see the signal level with his own eyes before he stopped arguing and changed our room). Wrong newspaper delivered to the room. Nobody at the front desk could make a customer service decision. We won’t be going back and we recommend that you consider many other fine hotels in SM before you book this JW.

  19. One small bit of good news is that the Hotel Beaux Arts is going down. I dad been considering booking even at category 7.

  20. Boston Long Wharf a Cat.9.Really?Sure,it’s a great location but nothing more.Over the last couple of years they have closed their lounge on weekends,and the rooms are still small and drab after the refurbishment.Many of their longtime employees who I have formed many friendships have become discouraged because of cutbacks in hours and benefits from the new employers.I just don’t know how they can justify the points price.
    I guess I’ll start using the Intercontinental down the street. I have been upgraded to concierge floor access for $50.00(yeah it annoys me since they don’t recognize status for award stays but it is a fair price when you look at the return) during award stays on weekends and it includes alcoholic drinks and a pretty good spread mornings and evenings.And they just dropped from a 50,000 points down to 45,000 for a free night.

  21. If I book a cat 4 hotel with a mega bonus cert now for later this year that’s changing to cat 5, would they require me to pay cash or cancel my reservation or would they still honor the cat 4 cert?

  22. @Valerie => If you book before the May cutoff the stay should grandfathered into the reward rate at the time of booking. (The stay has to occur before the cert expires)

  23. @Bill: Seriously, I can’t believe this one (Boston Marriott Long Wharf). Just shows you how under-roomed Boston is to be able to generate a high enough ADR to get this hotel in the top category.

  24. @ robertw, if you are Platinum you’d earn 15 points per $ spent plus more for whatever promotion is running at the time.

    Using your same calculations, it would cost $10K spend on rooms to get enough points to stay one night at top tier SPG property (for 30K SPG points) for one night.

  25. … and with the Marriott card you earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott properties, 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible Airline Tickets, and at Car Rental Agencies & Restaurants, and finally 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases anywhere else.

  26. Marriott should soften the blow by letting cat 1-4 and cat 1-5 certs be used on any cat by paying the point difference (e.g. 10K points + 1-4 cert for a free night at a cat 6).

  27. @Bill & @mikeef – you are both right – the Boston Marriott Longwharf is not that nice (and I was in a named suite there last summer) – but it does have crazy occupancy levels so that even during a big city-wide convention they want a higher rate than the Renassance next to the BCEC. I guess if they can command a transient rate of $350/night then they don’t want to bother giving the rooms away for low miles.

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