Marriott 2015 Changes Hit on 03.19 — Is There a Silver Lining?

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This Marriott 3rd (or is it 4th?) massive devaluation in a row is a disaster! 69% of Marriott properties remain unchanged, 75% are moving up, and 25% are moving down! Nice! Only a company that doesn’t give a flying duck about the loyalty of their members can screw them over, year after year with such brazen detestable disdain!

There is no sane explanation for raising point redemptions in Europe when the Euro is dropping like a rock off a cliff — that’s pure, undaltered greed! Same as putting a hotel that books for less than $100 a night into the 6th category. Check the recent SPG “devaluation” to see how things are done when they’re done thoughtfully and with care. Read this Flyertalk SPG thread where people thank the company for devaluation (!) and then read this Flyertalk Marriott Thread. See if you can find a few differences!

So… where is a silver lining in this theater of absurd?

Hey, I’m a cheerful guy. I can find redeeming qualities (pun intended) in anything — and that anything includes greedy hotel programs too.

I combed through their mammoth devaluation file and immediately came up with another reason to hate Marriott as if I needed another one.

Marriott Category Changes 2015

Marriott 2015 Changes — THE STUPIDITY!

Really, Marriott? At this day and age? You can’t list geographical locations along with your properties? You won’t name the state or the country? You just lump them all together so we could flip a coin and figure where your Courtyard Panama City is — in Florida or in a Central American country? Is that a test, Marriott, to find out if we are even worthy of staying at your beautiful hotels?

Here is my reaction to this killer Marriott presentation!

Luckily, vaboywnder (huge HT!) over there at the Marriott Rewards-Insiders forum converted the Marriott PDF file into an excel spreadsheet and categorized the hotels alphabetically. That helped! You can download that spreadsheet at the link above, and you probably should. It’s not perfect, but at least it’s better organized than this mess that Marriott has dumped on us in its infinite wisdom!

Parameters of research

Yes, I know it sounds preposterous, but I have a system for Marriott, just like I have the system for SPG, Hyatt, etc. But first, here is their rewards charts for both Marriott and Ritz Carlton (note that Edition hotels categories are moving into RC tiers –yes, thanks for another travesty!).

Marriott Reward Chart

Marriott Rewards Chart

Ritz Carlton Rewards Chart

Ritz Carlton Rewards Chart

As a budget traveler, I don’t normally book a Marriott reward stay at an above Category 5 hotel — unless I go  on a spree, and that doesn’t happen all that often. Category 5 is the top level you can redeem with your free Chase Marriott credit card annual certificate. Although, I gotta tell you — in view of this devaluation, I might just book one big vacation with one purpose only — to put the remainder of my Marriott points out of their misery!

Anyway, here is how you find a silver lining in this outrageous devaluation:

  • Look for properties off the beaten path.
  • Look for properties away from city centers.

Please remember that I’m mostly interested in international travel, but I will also list some interesting locations in the US, too. Note that it’s all a HUGE IMHO. I will most likely miss some real gems, in which case, please use the comments area. Tell me and the readers what I am missing.

Notable hotels moving down in the category from 2 to 1: WORLD

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

AC Hotel Lleida 2 1 Spain, Catalonia 4*, 3.5
Courtyard Guayaquil 2 1 Ecuador, 3.5*, 4
Courtyard Bilaspur 2 1 India, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Chennai 2 1 India, 4*, 4
Courtyard Kochi International Airport 2 1 India, Airport, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan 2 1 India, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Pune Hinjewadi 2 1 India, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Hyderabad 2 1 India, 4*, 4
Courtyard Kazan 2 1 Russia, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Suzhou 2 1 China, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Hangzhou Qianjiang 2 1 China, 3.5*, 4.5
Courtyard Puebla Las Animas 2 1 Mexico 4*, 4
MOXY Milan Malpensa Intl Airport 2 1 Italy, Airport

Chennai is one of the most visited destinations in India and one of the 10 top places to travel in 2015 according to Lonely Planet. Redeeming your points at Courtyard Chennai will get you a respectable 1:100 ratio (remember the taxes that you usually don’t pay on a reward stay).

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 -- Chennai/Madras, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Chennai/Madras, India

Guayaquil is a step stone in Ecuador on the way to the Galapagos Islands. You will likely need an overnight hotel stay in both directions, should you travel via Guayaquil. This would be a terrific redemption! Save your cash!

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 -- Guayaquil, Equador

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Guayaquil, Ecuador

If you are not reluctant to give you tourist money to Putin, Kazan is one of the most underrated and most beautiful cities in Russia. It dates to the 15th century, yet it’s been incessantly modernized in the last decade — for better and for worse. And it has its own Kremlin, too. Courtyard by Marriott Kazan would be an excellent value for your points.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 -- Kazan, Russia

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Kazan, Russia

Hotels moving down in the category from 2 to 1: AMERICA

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

Courtyard Atlanta Marietta/Windy Hill 2 1
Courtyard Atlanta Northlake 2 1
Courtyard Atlanta Suwanee 2 1
Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/North 2 1
Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/South 2 1
Courtyard Chicago Bloomingdale 2 1
Fairfield Inn Atlanta East/Lithonia 2 1
Fairfield Inn Dulles Airport 2 1 Airport
Fairfield Inn Houston Hobby Airport 2 1 Airport
Fairfield Inn Jacksonville Orange Park 2 1
Fairfield Inn Philadelphia Great Valley/Exton 2 1
Residence Inn Atlanta Gwinnett Place 2 1
Residence Inn Baton Rouge Siegen Lane 2 1
Residence Inn Philadelphia Willow Grove 2 1
TownePlace Suites Albuquerque Airport 2 1 Airport
TownePlace Suites Atlanta Kennesaw 2 1
TownePlace Suites Baltimore Fort Meade 2 1
TownePlace Suites Boston Tewksbury/Andover 2 1
TownePlace Suites Charlotte Arrowood 2 1
TownePlace Suites Charlotte Mooresville 2 1
TownePlace Suites Dallas Lewisville 2 1
TownePlace Suites Houston Clear Lake 2 1
TownePlace Suites Oklahoma City Airport 2 1 Airport
TownePlace Suites Tampa North/I-75 Fletcher 2 1

If you stay at a Category 1 or 2 Marriott limited service hotel (7,500 points) near large cities, you will almost always get your money points worth. I’m content when I can redeem a Marriott point at $0.01, but in the US, you will often do even better than that.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 --  Atlanta/Marietta

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Atlanta/Marietta

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 --  Chicago Blumindale

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Chicago/Blumindale

Want 2 cents per your point? Stay at this property near Baton Rouge.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 --  Baton Rouge/Siegen Lane

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Baton Rouge/Siegen Lane

Notable hotels moving down in the category from 3 to 2: WORLD

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

AC Hotel Alicante 3 2 Spain, Valencia, 4*, 4
AC Hotel Los Vascos 3 2 Spain, Madrid, 3*, 4
Aguascalientes Marriott Hotel 3 2 Mexico 4*, 4.5
Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino 3 2 Egypt. 5*, 4
Courtyard Bremen 3 2 Germany, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Jizan 3 2 Saudi Arabia, 3*, 5
Courtyard Panama City (there are two, which one is unclear) 3 2 Panama
Courtyard Recife Boa Viagem 3 2 Brazil, near beach, new 4.5
Haikou Marriott Resort & Spa 3 2 China, 4.5*, 4
Hurghada Marriott Beach Resort 3 2 Egypt. 5*, 4.5
Jixian Marriott Hotel 3 2 China, 4.5*, 5
JW Marriott Hotel Zhengzhou 3 2 China, 4.5*, 5
Kochi Marriott Hotel 3 2 India, Kerala, 4.5*, 5
Mulu Marriott Resort (Royal Mulu Resort) 3 2 Malaysia, Park, 4,5*, 3.5
Renaissance Atyrau Hotel 3 2 Kazahstan, New, 4
Renaissance Chengdu Hotel 3 2 China, 4.5*, 4,5
Renaissance Golden View Beach Resort Sharm El Sheikh 3 2 Egypt. 5*, 4
Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel 3 2 Malaysia (10 min to Singapore). 4,5*, 4.5
Residence Inn Jizan 3 2 Saudi Arabia, Brand New
Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao 3 2 China, 4.5*, 4
Tegucigalpa Marriott Hotel 3 2 Honduras, 4*, 4.5
Tuxtla Gutierrez Marriott Hotel 3 2 Mexico, 4*, 4
Courtyard Toulouse Airport 3 2 Airport, France, 4*, 4

There is some excellent value to be found with some of these 10,000-point properties.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 --  Haikou, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 — Haikou, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 -- Zhengzhou, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 — Zhengzhou, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 -- Shanghai Hongqiao

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 — Shanghai Hongqiao

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 -- Mulu, Malaysia

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 — Mulu, Malaysia

Hotels moving down in the category from 3 to 2: AMERICA

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

Courtyard Tampa Oldsmar 3 2
Courtyard Winnipeg Airport 3 2 Airport
Denver Marriott Tech Center 3 2
Detroit Marriott Southfield 3 2
Fairfield Inn and Suites Winnipeg Airport 3 2 Airport
Fairfield Inn Boston Milford 3 2
Fairfield Inn Columbus Airport 3 2 Airport
Fairfield Inn Indianapolis Airport 3 2 Airport
Fairfield Inn Jackson Airport 3 2 Airport
Fairfield Inn Jacksonville 3 2
Ambassador Hotel Wichita, Autograph Collection 3 2 4*, 4.5
Fairfield Inn Salt Lake City Airport 3 2 Airport
Fairfield Inn St. Petersburg Clearwater 3 2
Residence Inn Albuquerque Airport 3 2 Airport
Residence Inn Atlanta Alpharetta/North Point Mall 3 2
Residence Inn Atlanta Cumberland 3 2
Residence Inn Atlanta Kennesaw/Town Center 3 2
Residence Inn Birmingham Homewood 3 2
Residence Inn Chicago Bloomingdale 3 2
Residence Inn Cincinnati Airport 3 2 Airport
Residence Inn Cleveland Airport 3 2 Airport
Residence Inn Dallas Lewisville 3 2
Residence Inn Dulles Airport at Dulles 28 Centre 3 2 Airport
Residence Inn Gaithersburg Washingtonian Center 3 2
Residence Inn Jacksonville Airport 3 2 Airport
Residence Inn New Orleans Covington/North Shore 3 2
Residence Inn Orlando East/UCF 3 2
TownePlace Suites Fort Lauderdale West 3 2
TownePlace Suites Fort Lauderdale Weston 3 2
TownePlace Suites Jacksonville 3 2
TownePlace Suites New Orleans Metairie 3 2

A room at a Category 2 Marriott hotel will cost you 10,000 points to redeem, so  to me it wouldn’t be very difficult to justify using the points for stay at one of these hotels. In fact, it would be quite easy. You often get as much as $0.015 per point, and sometimes even more. Of course, at this price point you will almost never be staying anywhere downtown. Almost…

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 --  Ambassodor Wichita

Marriott 2015 Changes: 2 to 1 — Ambassodor Wichita

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 --  Boston/Milford

Marriott 2015 Changes: 3 to 2 — Boston/Milford

Notable hotels moving down in the category from 4 to 3: WORLD

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

AC Hotel Bologna 4 3 Italy, 4*, 4
Courtyard St. Petersburg Vasilievsky 4 3 Russia, 4*, 4.5
Novosibirsk Marriott Hotel 4 3 Russia, 5*, 4.5
Cali Marriott Hotel 4 3 Colombia, 4.5*, 4.5
JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi 4 3 Vietnam, 5*, 5
Beijing Marriott Hotel Central JW? 4 3 China, 5*, 4,5
Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel 4 3 China, New 4.5
Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview 4 3 China, 4,5*, 4.5
Astana Marriott Hotel 5 4 Kazakhstan, 5*, 4

Most hotels in the above table are good value at 15,000 points per night. The properties in Bologna and Cali are not, though. Pay cash.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- JW Marriot Bejing Central, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — JW Marriot Bejing Central, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- Renaissance Bejing, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — Renaissance Bejing, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- Renaissance Bejing, China

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — Hanoi, Vietnam

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- Astana, Kazakhstan

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — Astana, Kazakhstan

Hotels moving down in the category from 4 to 3: AMERICA

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

Atlanta Marriott Northwest 4 3
Courtyard Charleston Summerville 4 3
Courtyard Orlando Airport 4 3 Airport
Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Vista Centre 4 3
Courtyard Philadelphia Bensalem 4 3
Courtyard San Antonio SeaWorld®/Lackland 4 3
Courtyard Santa Fe 4 3
Courtyard Toronto Vaughan 4 3
Fairfield Inn Orlando Airport 4 3 Airport
Fairfield Inn Santa Fe 4 3
Renaissance St. Louis Hotel Airport 4 3 Airport
Residence Inn Charlotte Piper Glen 4 3
Residence Inn Charlotte SouthPark 4 3
Residence Inn Indianapolis Airport 4 3 Airport
Residence Inn Minneapolis St. Paul/Roseville 4 3
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth/Liberty International Airport 4 3 Airport, across from NYC
Residence Inn Ottawa Airport 4 3 Airport
Residence Inn Phoenix North/Happy Valley 4 3
Residence Inn Phoenix NW/Surprise 4 3
TownePlace Suites Republic Airport Long Island/Farmingdale 4 3 Airport

At 15,000 points a night, it’s a bit harder to get gems for your points, but they do exist.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- Atlanta Northwest

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — Atlanta Northwest

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- Philadelphia/Bensalem

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — Philadelphia/Bensalem

Marriott 2015 Changes: 5 to 4 -- Newark/Elizabeth

Marriott 2015 Changes: 5 to 3 — Newark/Elizabeth

And this San Antonio Courtyard looks like a great hotel and exceptional value.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 -- San Antonio/SeaWorld

Marriott 2015 Changes: 4 to 3 — San Antonio/SeaWorld

All remaining hotels moving down in the category from 5 to 4 and 6 to 5: WORLD and AMERICA

Why am I bundling these into one group? Because so few higher category hotels are moving down, it’s not even funny! I’ve decided to put them all in one list because of these free certificates for the Chase Marriott credit card holders. Choose wisely.

Hotel/Category Change/Country/Hotel Rating (Trip Advisor)/Review (Trip Advisor)

Courtyard Seoul Pangyo 5 4 Korea, 4*, 4.5
Courtyard Cologne 5 4 Germany, 4*, 4
Renaissance Minsk Hotel 5 4 Belarus, 4*, 4.5
Sochi Marriott Krasnaya Polyana Ski Resort 5 4 Russia, 5*, 4.5
Spa do Vinho Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection 5 4 Brazil, 4.5*, 4.5
Courtyard Palm Beach Jupiter 5 4
Courtyard San Marcos 5 4
Courtyard Sunnyvale Mountain View 5 4
Fairfield Inn Bozeman 5 4
Fairfield Inn Erie 5 4
Fairfield Inn Syosset Long Island 5 4
Fairfield Inn Wytheville 5 4
Little Rock Marriott 5 4
Pittsburgh Marriott North 5 4
Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel 5 4  Airport
Residence Inn Champaign 5 4
Residence Inn Chattanooga Near Hamilton Place 5 4
Residence Inn Halifax Downtown 5 4
Residence Inn Omaha Aksarben Village 5 4
Residence Inn Orlando Airport 5 4  Airport
Residence Inn Santa Fe 5 4
SpringHill Suites San Angelo 5 4
JW Marriott Bogota 6 5 Colombia, 4.5*, 4.5
JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity 6 5 India, 5*, 4.5
Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel 6 5 Thailand, 5*, 4.5
Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino 6 5 Curacao, 4*, 4.5
Renaissance Moscow Hotel Monarch Centre 6 5 Russia, 4.5*, 4
Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel 6 5 Across from NYC
Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel 6 5
The Castle Hotel, Autograph Collection 6 5 Orlando
Fairfield Inn Fort Walton Beach-West Destin 6 5
Fairfield Inn Orlando Near Universal Orlando Resort 6 5

Finding real value in this bunch is going to be pretty tough. But if you are holding a free night certificate that you need to use anyway, then all bets are off! Still, this is not to say there are no gems left whatsoever.

Marriott 2015 Changes: 5 to 4 -- Seoul/Pangao, Korea

Marriott 2015 Changes: 5 to 4 — Seoul/Pangao, Korea

Marriott 2015 Changes: 5 to 4 -- Bogota, Colombia

Marriott 2015 Changes: 6 to 5 — Bogota, Colombia

Marriott 2015 Changes: 6 to 5 -- Medowlands, NJ

Marriott 2015 Changes: 6 to 5 — Medowlands, NJ

OK, so this post is getting awfully close to 2,000 words, and I’m going to stop now. If you have any tips, praises or criticism — fire away.

Here is the link to the original Marriott PDF File.

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4 Responses to Marriott 2015 Changes Hit on 03.19 — Is There a Silver Lining?

  1. […] spots. Would like to hear some thoughts from folks who have stayed at any of these properties. Marriott 2015 Changes Hit on 03.19 — Is There a Silver Lining? __________________ New to Travel Hacking? Read my bestselling BOOKS to get started! MY BLOG […]

  2. […] That reminds me: before booking your Marriott travel, check my mammoth research: Marriott 2015 Changes Hit on 03.19 — Is There a Silver Lining? […]

  3. Kumar says:

    Excellent analysis, Andy. The only difference in marriott devaluation this time i think is they did it even before freddie award winners were announced which is positive stuff from marriott 😉 but seriously i wonder is it worth any effort to rack up their points even for emergency. I think it has already become a big joke. May be move to choice or even wyndham for that matter compared to marriott?

  4. Andy Shuman says:

    Thanks Kumar. I think, Marriott has gone over the line with this devaluation. But there is still room for using Marriott points. Of course, I do believe in being a free agent. To me, the question is not to replace one program with another, but to complement one with another. For instance, since I’m planning a trip to SEA this fall, I might stay at JW Hanoi and/or JW Beijng for 15K per night. Even though they are cheap hotel markets, why not splurge every now and then?

    But yes, you’re right. It’s bad, no doubt about it.

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