Nearly a month ago, the Marriott Bonvoy program announced a massive shift and released their full list of category changes for 2020, which kick in for bookings made as of March 4, 2020.
As you may know, I was a SPG loyalist and somehow found myself trapped in the drama of the Marriott Bonvoy program after they acquired the SPG brand.
Personally, I had forgiven them for all the recent Bonvoy devaluations (and overall poor customer service) and hoped that we could continue a mutually beneficial relationship and be spared any significant price hikes in 2020 but that’s not quite how things have played out.
CHANGES FOR 2020
Marriott’s category changes for 2020 are absolutely massive and as of tomorrow, 4 March 2020, nearly a quarter of all Marriott properties worldwide will be moving up a category (and seeing award night cost increase), while only 7% will move down a category (and see their award prices decrease).
That means that net we’re seeing an increase in cost at 15% of all properties, and of those properties changing categories, over three quarters are going up in price. YIKES!
As a point of comparison, in 2019 only about 5% of hotels changed categories.
With so many properties soon to cost more, it would be impossible for me to list them all in this post or to select all the properties that readers will be interested in so take a look at the full list here as you have less than 24 hours left in which to book their favorite properties.
THE MARRIOTT AWARD CHART
As a reminder, here’s what the current Marriot award chart looks like:
YOU’LL WANT TO REMEMBER…
Points Advance bookings no longer lock in the current award night cost so you’ll have to have enough points in your account for whatever reservations you’re going to make otherwise you won’t be able to lock in the lower rates.
If you’re short of points it may be advisable to book as many nights as you can now and then add to those nights later when you have more points available (albeit at the increased price).
Generally, I don’t recommend this but considering some of the price increases we’re seeing, you may also consider buying Marriott points in the current sale (which is offering a 50% bonus) to allow you to make the bookings you need…although you should always check the math before making any such purchase.
A lot of great Marriott properties will see the cost of an award booking increase significantly after tomorrow, 4 March 2020, so I urge anyone considering a Marriott booking to check this page of hotel category changes very carefully to see if the property (or properties) you’re considering will be going up in price in a few hours time.
If you’ve been procrastinating and find yourself in the 11th hour, you may want to get a move as the clock is ticking.
Have you waited until the 11th hour? What properties are you considering?