Award Redemption Changes to Marriott Rewards for 2013: Not Good Overall

Of the 29 pages of the document which lists the changes in hotel categories in the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program, it appears that approximately 1,312 hotel properties will move up one category; while only 46 hotel properties — comprising of only one page — will move down one category.
Additionally, a new Category 9 — requiring a redemption of 45,000 Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points for a stay of one free night — will be added. The hotel properties which will now be at the Category 9 tier include:

This is the hotel category chart for the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program for 2013. There are no changes to the redemption values in the award categories themselves, but a new Category 9 has been added, and 36 percent of all Marriott Rewards hotel properties have increased at least one category.
  • Boston Marriott Long Wharf
  • Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Beach Hotel & Spa, Santa Monica
  • London Marriott Hotel County Hall
  • London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square
  • Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel
  • London Marriott Hotel Park Lane
  • JW Marriott Essex House
  • New York Marriott Marquis
  • Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees
  • St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel
  • Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square
  • Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel
  • Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel

The good news — if you can call it good news — is that PointSaver awards and travel packages will be available for Category 9 hotel properties.
The category changes become effective as of May 16, 2013 — but all redemption reservations booked on or before May 15, 2013 for stays after May 16, 2013 will be honored at the point redemption price booked. Redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of your stay may be booked — even before having the required Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points in your account.
The statistics are as follows:

  • 73 percent of the programs properties will remain in Categories 1 through 4.
  • 63 percent of the properties remain unchanged.
  • One percent of the properties will decrease by one or more categories.
  • 36 percent of the properties will increase by one or more categories.

These statistics are of little comfort to FlyerTalk members, who consider these changes as a significant devaluation of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program — despite the appreciation of the advanced notice of the changes for 2013…
…but then again, a devaluation was no surprise to FlyerTalk members. The jolt is in the perceived severity of the changes expressed by several FlyerTalk members, who use descriptive terms such as massacre, ugly, awful, stinks, and seriously unbalanced. For example, FlyerTalk member VA1379 posted the following:

“I think this devaluation is worse than the 2009 one for platinum members. There is no increase in bonus points for platinum members this time, and they basically made each category worth the previously lower one. Cat 5 is the new 4 and so on with the new category 9. A lot of solid category 3 properties are now 4. Some properties like La Jolla Marriott have gone from category 4 to 6 in two years.
“If Marriott is going to charge these rates for award rooms, they need to stop the excuse of not offering free breakfast on weekends at USA/Canada properties for gold and platinum members.”

In response, FlyerTalk member sammyindc suggested that the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program offer the following:

  • Free breakfast seven days per week for both domestic hotel properties within the United States and international hotel properties
  • An increase in bonus Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points
  • Category 1-5 certificates instead of Category 1-4 certificates

Many FlyerTalk members are inferring that they are done with the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program.
I was basically done with Marriott Rewards a long time ago.

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