Marriott has announced to their Marriott Rewards Insiders community that they’ll be making some program improvements starting next week.
More details of these new four new benefits will be available on Monday, October 12, 2015, but in the meantime, here’s what they’ve announced:
In advance of our announcement next week, we’re giving you a sneak peek into four new benefits to make your Marriott Rewards membership even more rewarding:
Available now! Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members are able to book redemption stays before having sufficient points to cover the cost of that stay.
Beginning Oct. 12, 2015 Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will have the ability to share points with friends and family. Members can transfer up to 50,000 points from their account each year!
Redemption Stay Credit
Starting Nov. 1, 2015 Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will earn Elite night credit on redemption nights paid for with points.
NEW Cash + Points
Coming in early 2016, the NEW Cash + Points will give Rewards members the flexibility to use a mix of cash and points to cover single or multi-night redemption stays.
What do I make of these changes?
- The points advance is cool, though I wonder how many reservations they’ll let you make without having sufficient points. Presumably there’s some limit.
- The points sharing is also cool in theory, though the 50,000 point limit is fairly low. Still, it will be great for combining points between mostly dormant accounts. Hopefully this feature is as straightforward as it sounds.
- Marriott is just playing catch up by offering stay credits on award stays. Hilton and Starwood already offer this, and Hyatt offers it on Points + Cash stays. Marriott has among the highest elite qualification requirements of any hotel chain, so it’s only logical that they count award stays towards elite qualification.
- The addition of Cash + Points is awesome, though I guess we’ll have to see what costs and availability are like before drawing too many conclusions. For example, at Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood, Cash & Points awards are capacity controlled, and the values can be amazing. Meanwhile at IHG, Cash & Points is always available, and basically just allows you to indirectly purchase points at a discount. You can always pay $70 to take 10,000 points off the cost of an award.
These are all positive changes, so I can’t wait to see them implemented. I’m still a Hyatt and Starwood guy, with Hilton being my backup chain, but I think all Marriott Rewards members will agree these are positive changes. Now we just have to wait until Monday to learn about all the details.
What do you make of these changes to Marriott Rewards?