Most every hotel loyalty program adjusts the categories of their hotels from time to time. Sometimes these changes reflect local economic factors and other times properties are over or underperforming. Usually hotel categories are based on the expected average room rate.
When a hotel is getting higher rates or is expected to, you can usually see their category go up. On the flip side, a property which is struggling to fill rooms may see their category lowered. Of course, we don’t know which dollar amounts correlate to which category, so those back-end targets may adjust as well.
Today Marriott announced upcoming category changes for some of their hotels. The changes will go into effect for reservations booked on or after April 8, 2014. According to Marriott, 73% of Marriott’s properties will remain unchanged. Of the properties changing categories, 22% are going down and 78% are going up.
Here is some important information directly from Marriott:
Is my existing redemption reservation impacted?
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.
How long can I book a redemption stay using the current hotel categories?
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.
They also released a full list of the hotel changes.
With a brand as large and widespread as Marriott, this means there are a large number of properties going up. This is another devaluation and just another sign of the improving economy. As you can see, many of the hotels which are increasing are in the upper tiers. Not good.
If you follow the award travel world closely, then perhaps you are getting tired of these seemingly endless devaluations. Unfortunately it is more likely than not that they will continue. Just as the travel industry adjusted by providing great deals during the financial meltdown, they are moving in the other direction now that things are better.