Marriott’s 2018 Category Changes: Mostly Negative
Marriott’s category change list is out and the news is bad, bad, bad. Over 20% of Marriott’s properties are moving up a category! Think about that, more than 1/5 of their hotels just got more expensive to book with points. You can find the full list of Category Changes here. Categories are set to change March 6, 2018. There are almost 400 hotels that are moving down a category, so that’s a little silver lining. Best part? SpringHill Suites New York LaGuardia Airport can now be booked with your Marriott Reward’s Free Night. Kidding of course. I noticed that the Atlantis Coral Towers moved up to a Category 8! I really hope they moved the Royal Towers down because that place is showing it’s age. (Review coming soon.)
I really think the worst part of the category changes is that it really devalues the Chase Marriott Rewards credit cards which both come with a free night in a category 1-5 Marriott. I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve struggled to use the free night in the past because I live in a major city and prefer to stay at Marriotts as opposed to the more economical brands like Springhill and Courtyard. I tend to use my free night to book airport hotels on long trips.
Another huge negative here is that both SPG and Marriott points are worth less. The amount of points needed to book an award stay increases 5,000 points per night as you move up categories. This means that you’ll need an additional 20,000 points to book a hotel for 4 nights (with the fifth night free) when the changes go into effect. That’s a pretty big increase considering that the sign up bonus on the Marriott card is currently 75,000 points. It’s still a great card, you just have a few less options to use your free night on.To learn more about the benefits, click here.
Now, I want to make sure not to blow this out of proportion, the vast majority (almost 75%) of hotels remained in their current category and around 5% moved down. SPG points still represent great value when transferring to Marriott and the Marriott travel packages still provide outsized value. Interestingly, the SPG category changes were minimal with only 376 properties changing categories and about 1/2 moved up and 1/2 moved down. To see the SPG list, click here.
If you are planning on taking a trip or redeeming points for a nights and flights package, just be sure to book it before March 6.
HT: Frequent Miler