A Few Afterthoughts for the New Marriott Changes 2014

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OK, so I’ve had a chance to play with new Marriott changes a little bit longer. I was mostly interested in determining whether or not the value of the program has been considerably reduced in 1-4 categories. Not only because redemptions for these categories doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but also because the Chase Marriott credit card offers new members one free night at Categories 1-4 hotels in the first year.

My findings have revealed that the changes in the Marriott Rewards program haven’t been that bad after all. It’s a mixed bag, not unlike what we’ve seen with the Hitlon devaluation of 2013.

Here are a few afterthoughts.

In general, this is what you should expect from the new changes.

  1. It’s gotten worse if you’re mostly interested in the US hotels.
  2. It’s gotten worse if you’re mostly interested in luxury hotels in the most popular tourist destinations.
  3. However, it’s gotten much better if you’re interested in budget international travel or even luxury properties off the beaten path. 

Isn’t it interesting how every hotel chain from Hilton to SPG, to Club Carlson, to Marriott fights so hard to restrict “free” access to their properties that are in heightened demand? I don’t know but it makes perfect sense to me, as long as they don’t forget to leave another door open.

Since, I’m mostly interested in international travel and do not insist on staying at top hotels of the world (not all the time, at least), I have to admit that I don’t have a lot of problems with this devaluation.

Here is the count of international changes (might not be 100% accurate and includes airport hotels, too).

Category 1 hotels

  • Now: 4
  • After April 7: 17 (give or take)

Category 2

  • Now: 57
  • After April 7: 127 (NB, none came up from Category 1)

Category 3

  • Now: 150
  • After April 7: 164 (NB, four went up from Category 2)

Category 4

  • Now: 76
  • After April 7: 82 (NB, 12 went up from Category 3)

In addition, 12 hotels went up from Category 4, so they won’t be available for the 1st year free stay).

Again, I might be off by a couple of hotels in each category, but it doesn’t change the picture. The winner here is obviously the Category 2 that will have 125% more properties after April 7. In addition, many of these hotels are nice and even luxury properties although most might not be located in the most popular places.

Finally, here is a reminder from Marriott. If you have plans to stay at one of the hotels that are going up in a category, book by April 7.

  • All redemption reservations booked on or before April 7, 2014 will be honored at the current point price, even if the stay occurs after April 8. 2014. If you have not ordered your certificate prior to April 8, 2014, call Guest Services prior to your stay to request the lower priced certificate.
  • As always, you may book redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of your stay, even before having the required points in your account.
  • You can also use Cash + Points to take advantage of booking your redemption stay early.
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