Marriott has just announced that they’ll be making some changes to their hotel categories for the 2013 program, which will kick in for bookings made May 16, 2013, or later (at least they’re giving us some advance notice). The first change they’re making is adding a new category to their award chart. Previously the highest category properties were category eight, which required 40,000 points per night, while now there’s a new category nine, which requires 45,000 points per night.
There are about a dozen new category nine properties, though unfortunately the changes don’t stop there. At the same time Marriott is increasing the categories of 36% of properties, while they’re only decreasing the categories of 1% of properties. That means we’re seeing a net increase in redemption costs at 35% of properties, which is among the worst across the board increases I’ve seen from a hotel loyalty program in a long time.
This especially sucks for those that earn MegaBonus nights or for those looking to apply for the Marriott Visa card, which comes with a category one through four free night certificate. I hope Marriott considers raising the cap on these certificates to category five properties.
Anyway, I can’t say I was especially interested in Marriott before this change, and I’m even less interested after the change…