A Glimpse Into Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
Marriott recently released a list of select properties across five distinct region as a sample of what to expect with Marriott Rewards new hotel categories. Overall, I’m not really shocked by any of the new rates, though I do suspect these properties were ‘cherry-picked’ a bit to highlight some of the better value redemptions with the new award prices (particularly between August and the end of the year when future category 8 properties will be available at a steep discount).
In summary, we can expect:
- Most current SPG category 7 hotels to be re-categorized as category 8 in 2019
- A number of previous category 7/8/9 Marriott properties to increase in price
- Most properties to remain unchanged, or within +/- 5,000 points per night, which is fairly negligible
A huge caveat, however, is that these changes don’t reflect the new standard/peak/off-peak pricing (dynamic pricing) that will see rates fluctuate based on hotel occupancy beginning in 2019. Let’s look at The Laguna Resort in Bali, (where Brad and I enjoyed a 5-night stay a couple of years ago on points) as an example:
- Until August, free-night redemptions cost just 12,000 SPG points, or 36,000 points per night
- Under the new program, standard award rates will increase to 50,000 points per night. This is a significant increase
- Peak pricing for this property will see the rates rise to 60,000 Marriott Reward points per night, which represents an almost 100% increase from the previous program
Now this can’t be said without mentioning the property will also offer ‘off-peak’ pricing for 40,000 Marriott Points per night (which is relatively unchanged from the current SPG rates), but it’s yet to be seen how often these rates will be made available, since they’re essentially at the hotel’s discretion. My guess is we will see ‘peak’ pricing a heck of a lot more often than ‘off-peak pricing’, especially in popular locations.
Here are the partial lists of new hotel categories provided by Marriott, broken down into 5 distinct regions: Bali, Caribbean & Mexico, Dubai, New York, and Paris:
Bali – Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
Caribbean & Mexico – Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
Dubai – Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
New York – Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
Paris – Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
Sweet Spot – Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories
Not all is bad with the Marriott Rewards new hotel categories though. Current category 7 SPG hotels, such as The Price de Galles Hotel in Paris and The St Regis New York City will be steeply discounted between August and the end of 2018. What once cost between 30,000 and 35,000 SPG points per night will be available for just 60,000 Marriott Rewards (or 20,000 SPG points). Also keep in mind these properties are eligible for the fifth night free when redeeming points, which means free-nights could be as low as 16,000 SPG points per night, or just 48,000 Marriott Reward points, which is incredible!
Marriott Rewards New Hotel Categories Bottom Line
This glimpse into the new award pricing doesn’t surprise me much, though I am a bit disappointed in the destinations Marriott chose to include in this sneak-peak. I would have liked to see Hawaii prices, though I suspect most of the resort properties will be increasing by 5,000-15,000 points per night, which wouldn’t have made for a very nice preview….
All said, I’m still quite relieved with the changes to Marriott Rewards. Yes, some properties are increasing, but there are also some new value-redemptions opening up, particularly between August and the end of the year. You’ll want to double check any current or future reservations, as it may be advantageous to book under the current rates (which Marriott will honour after August) or re-book once the new category changes take effect (most useful at the highest category properties).
I’m really looking forward to the full list being published in the coming weeks, and also anxious to learn the future of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards in Canada (which recently underwent some pretty significant devaluations), along with any changes to the transfer program between American Express Membership Rewards and SPG.
What do you make of this preview of the new hotel categories? Do you think Marriott is being a bit sneaky by publishing only a partial list of mostly positive changes?