Loyalty Traveler reports on rumored changes to the Marriott Rewards program for 2015.
These are uncomfirmed, though Ric is usually quite circumspect in terms of the sorts of rumors he passes along.
The points required for award stays will be increased by at least 5,000 points per night across all levels and the 5th night free will disappear. Category 10 will be added and require 60,000 points per night (read mass devaluation). a new level will be announced above Platinum and the requirements will be formally revealed. (i.e. everyone will know how to achieve PP, if that is what it is called) New benefits for Gold, Plat, and the new PP will be announced. These will include things like confirmed suite upgrades (for the new PP), instant upgrades using online check-in, free breakfast (including resorts for the new PP ), free parking, and free “lifestyle events,” at the hotels during your stay. The offerings in the concierge lounges in NA will be enhanced and will include free beer, wine and spirits where local laws permit. However, Concierge lounge access will be eliminated for Golds and Plats unless upgraded to the concierge level rooms. (Gold and Plats will continue to receive free continental breakfast in the restaurant or points.) MR is looking at different models for awarding elite status including annual hotel spend, instead of nights stayed (similar to Delta’s and United FF requirements for elite status). Spend in bars and restaurants will be included. Deeply discounted rates, such as Government Rates, group and convention rates, and special promotion rates will not count towards the spend requirement.
Dropping club lounge access for Golds and Platinums (a 75 night leevl is a big hit. Personally, and this varies property-by-property I often prefer breakfast. But breakfast on weekends as a benefit only for elites above the Platinum level at resorts is still a large way behind what chains like Hyatt, Hilton, and Starwood offer. And of course not offering lounge access to 50 and 60 night elites is far behind competitors as well.
New benefits for top tier Platinum Premiers, a level which exists now but that would be published, are good — but for most members these are downgrades.
And award chart price increases across the board — after a series of award chart devaluations in recent years — is a big downgrade for everyone.
We’ll see of course how these changes correspond to what Marriott actually announces — for which there isn’t any ETA.
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