Some unfortunate news came out a couple days ago, and it is more of the same: devaluing our hard-earned points. This time the culprit is Marriott who announced that 27 percent of their hotel inventory will change category level and, of the 27 percent, 78 percent will be increasing by one category (which means more points for free nights).
You can find the full list of impacted hotels by clicking here. There was a rumor that a tenth category was going to be introduced which did not end up being the case, so it could have been worse. Below are some important details.
Book Marriott hotels for up to a year (almost)
A strategy many are employing is to book up those free nights before the increase occurs, especially if you’ve been eying a hotel or two on the list. Marriott's official communication stated, “All redemption reservations booked on or before April 7, 2014 for stays beginning April 8, 2014, will be honored at the point price booked. If you have not ordered your certificate prior to April 8, 2014, call Guest Services to request the lower priced certificate before your stay. You may book redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of your stay, even before having the required points in your account. For example, on April 1, 2014 you may book your redemption stay as far out as March 15, 2015.” So, if you’ve been waiting to use Marriott points now is the time to use them. If you end up changing your dates in the future, a customer representative has advised me that no additional miles will be needed. Customer representatives can often be inconsistent, so I still recommend calling before making your booking.
How companion certificates will be impacted
One of the biggest benefits of the Chase Marriott card is the free night at a category 1-4 hotel on signup. In the past, this could have been used at some of the best hotels in Asia, like the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur or the JW Marriott Beijing, and a large number of options across the world. In the devaluation, only 28 hotels went from a category 5 to a 4 as compared to 123 moving from a category 4 to 5.
What does this mean to you? Same as the above – check the list and if one makes sense for you, book before April 7.
To ease your transition through the Marriott devaluation, remember that Marriott (and many other banks, airlines and hotels) contact information is clearly organized in my Tools page.
If all of that is too much to handle, simply sign up for my email list on the sidebar to the right to have the most important miles news delivered straight to your inbox.
Disclaimer: Photos credit to Marriott.