Marriott Rewards devaluation: category nine added, and 36% of hotels go up in price

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…


  1. Yeah. Marriott Rewards has to be the lamest program. That and the majority of their hotels hurt my eyes.

    I have a rather large MR balance due to meetings and haven’t found a property I’ve been interested in staying at (and the fact that their trip rewards are 7 days is a bit much). Finally using them for the Grosvenor House in London. Not necessarily the best redemption value but at least I will use them before this devaluation.

    I like the MR credit card in Canada though as it is one of the few without FX fees. Cards like that are rare in Canada 🙁

  2. The Marriott web site now says that the annual night that comes with their CC is a category 1 – 5 . Did they just increase it?

  3. Thats where I’m struggling, I actually like the MegaBonus program, but Cat 4 is too low to use most places. I was excited to see that I can use the ones I’m earning on a hotel in Portland, but now it looks like I had better earn them & get them booked before May.

  4. Yes, the Chase credit card comes with a Cat 4 cert on opening the account, but the annual cert for renewing is Cat 5. Regardless, they are both going to be hard to use after this devaluation

  5. Wonder if we can use the MegaBonus certs at a hotel that is going up from category 4 to 5 if we book by May or if we have to complete the stay by May.

  6. @ Ben: Try the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

    If that hotel ‘hurts your eyes’, then I guess Marriott/Ritz does not have anything to offer you.

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