Multiple sources who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak about the matter are telling me that Marriott Rewards will be rolling out four new features to their program.
- Cash and Points awards There will be a fixed redemption chart, the way that Starwood has, that discounts the number of points required for a standard room redemption. In other words they’ll offer ‘real’ cash and points, not what they currently call cash and points (“combining redemption nights and cash nights” in one reservation).
- Points sharing with no requirement that points are shared only with immediate family. It will cost $10 for base members and silvers, and will be free for Gold and Platinum members.
- Points Advance is something Marriott actually already offers now, but it will become a published benefit. You’ll be able to book awards that you don’t have enough points for, as long as you have the points prior to your stay.
- Reward nights will count towards elite status. Elite credit on redemptions that count towards status.
Marriott Seattle Airport Atrium
There’s nothing here that’s revolutionary but all should be incremental improvements to Marriott Rewards. Starwood, Hilton, and IHG already count reward stays towards elite status. Marriott joining in leaves Hyatt as the only major program where reward nights don’t count (although Hyatt’s cash and points redemptions do, just not their traditional all points hotel redemptions).
Cash and points, similarly, is something that all other major chains offer. Marriott is the last one to the party, but — depending on the specifics of the chart, what the points discount is and how much cash is required to get it — it’s something that’s a better deal than regular awards most of the time and Marriott’s competitors. So if they stick to that formula it’ll be a winner.
SkyCity Marriott, Hong Kong Airport
I believe hotel managers are being briefed soon on these changes, so I’d expect an announcement in the near future. I imagine these changes should be in place for the 2016 program year.
Will these new benefits be useful to you?