Update as of 2019-02-26: Exciting news, the Marriott Bonvoy Card has just been released in Canada! Go read the review and get all the card details and benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Card Canada!
Coming February 13, 2019, Marriott Bonvoy will be the new name for the combined loyalty programs including:
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
So what can we expect with the new Marriott Bonvoy program? This video doesn’t explain much, but it’s still worth a watch:
Marriott Bonvoy Promo Video
Well, personally I’m not a fan of the rebranded name. What is a “Bonvoy” anyway? However, I’m certainly pumped after watching that video! I seriously love staying in hotels. Take my points! But in all seriousness, are there good things to come for Marriott Bonvoy, or is it just some clever marketing hype? Let’s take a look…
1. New Status Tier Names with Marriott Bonvoy
Along with a rebranded name for the loyalty program, comes with some new names for the elite tiers:
- Marriott Platinum Premier Elite (75+ nights) will now be called “Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite”
- Marriott Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador (100+ nights with $20,000+ spend) will now be called “Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite”
- Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers will not see a name change.
Your current benefits will remain the same despite the name change.
2. Current Loyalty Program Phone Apps Will Be Deprecated
The SPG and Ritz-Carlton apps will be deactivated on February 13. Users of the Marriott Rewards app will receive a message in February notifying them to upgrade to the new Marriott Bonvoy app at the time of its release.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to combine your Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts.
3. Category 8 Pricing Will Launch In March 2019
With the current Marriott Rewards program, hotels are priced from category 1 to 7, with category 1 being the cheapest, and category 7 being the most expensive. In March 2019, Marriott will roll out category 8 pricing. That means that category 7 hotels will see a price increase from 60,000 points a night to 85,000. Ouch.
Take a look at the free night points redemption chart to see how many points it will cost for a free night, and check out the new category structure.
Lock In Your Points Redemption Rates Now
Right now category 8 prices are still priced as category 7 until the switch takes place. So if you’re thinking about booking your next trip with Marriott points, now is the time to use them, or at the very least, lock in at a lower rate before March.
One of the things I enjoy most about the Marriott Rewards program is that you can book your room ahead of time, even if you don’t have enough points in your account! This is a huge benefit and really makes planning your trip a lot less stressful.
Check ahead of time to see if you can book your desired hotel without enough points in your account. I say this because when I was planning my recent Las Vegas trip, I wasn’t able to book the Cosmopolitan in advance, however, when I booked the Residence Inn in Wailea for my upcoming Hawaii vacation, I was able to book without having all of the points!
When you book through Marriott Bonvoy, you’ll see an option on the checkout page to use a “Points Advance” which will allow you to earn the points you need in the meantime. You must have the remaining points in your account at least 7 days prior to your check-in date.
Marriott Bonvoy Brands
Just like with Marriott Rewards, a wide range of hotel brands will be available to book with points, suitable for any type of traveller. From the budget traveller to the luxury connoisseur looking for that elite experience, there’s a hotel for everyone.
What I Like About Marriott Bonvoy/Marriott Rewards
As an American Express Canada Platinum cardholder, I can transfer my American Express Membership Reward points to Marriott at a 1 to 1.2 ratio. I get really excited over hotel stays, so this program allows me to use points for hotels of all types. Sometimes I just want a budget hotel if I’m on a road trip, and sometimes I want to stay at a luxury property. Marriott Bonvoy allows me to do that, and they have a very user-friendly website and app. I often get stuck daydreaming and searching for random properties I can use my points on.
Also with my American Express Platinum card, I receive automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott! That means I can most notably get a late checkout of 2pm and a room upgrade! In my experience the room upgrades haven’t been quite as generous as those offered with Fine Hotels and Resorts where we’ve seen multiple (6-8) room category upgrades, however, I’ll happily take any room upgrade they’re willing to give me, even if it’s just an upgraded view. One of my favourite parts of staying at hotels is seeing what kind of room upgrade the hotel can offer!
How To Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points Fast
With the new changes coming to the Marriott rewards program, you might be wondering how you can quickly earn some points and book your trip before prices increase!
Currently, the American Express Canada Platinum card is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Express points when you meet the minimum spend requirement of $3,000 in the first 3 months of membership. The annual fee on this card is $699, but comes with a $200 annual travel credit, airport lounge access at over 1,200 lounges worldwide, industry leading travel insurance, and automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy! That means you’ll get room a room upgrade and 2pm late checkout everytime you stay at a Marriott property with your new loyalty status!
Read our review on the American Express Platinum Card, and if you have a Vegas trip coming up, learn how you can save on food, alcohol, show tickets, and resort fees just by being a Platinum cardholder! You can even learn how to sneak in a 4-night complimentary stay at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas if you act really fast.
Since Marriott is a frequent travel partner of American Express, you can transfer your Amex points to Marriott at a 1 to 1.2 ratio. So 50,000 Amex points converts to 60,000 Marriott points. That’s enough for 1-night stay at a luxury property (ie The St. Regis, or Ritz Carlton), or 3 nights at a category 3 hotel (ie Fairfield Inn, Marriott Courtyard).