Marriott Rewards announced it will raise the hotel reward category at 350 hotels and lower the category for 100 hotels on March 8. Members can make reservations at the lower reward level for hotels moving up by ordering certificates before March 8. Members can receive an adjustment in points for existing reservations after March 8 for hotels moving down.
Marriott Rewards has only released the names of 50 hotels changing category in current categories 5 through 8. Of these 50 hotels, 31 are increasing in category and 19 are decreasing in reward category. The other 400 hotels changing category are currently in category 1 through 4.
Marriott Rewards has not posted a complete list at this time of the 450 hotels changing reward category on March 8, 2011. Last year Marriott Rewards never posted the complete hotel list prior to the 2010 category changes taking effect.
Loyalty Traveler excoriated Marriott Rewards for its lack of transparency last March when it chose not to publish the full list of category changes prior to the new reward category levels taking effect. Obviously my rants had no effect as Marriott Rewards has chosen to follow a similar strategy again for 2011.
The hotel reward costs what it costs, so what’s the big deal about an incomplete list of changes?
Marriott Rewards has announced it will change the hotel reward category assignment at 450 hotels. The 350 hotels moving up in category represent 10% of Marriott’s global hotel portfolio which was 3,507 hotels as of December 31, 2010.
The changes released in Marriott’s advance notice to members of Marriott Insiders and FlyerTalk include only 31 hotels of the 350 hotels increasing reward category March 8. That is less than 9% of the hotels revealed that will cost more points as of March 8.
There will be an increase in points needed for a reward night at 319 other Marriott brand hotels on March 8. Making a reservation at the lower reward level is rather difficult when members do not know the names of these 319 hotels.
Marriott Rewards Free Night Certificates Often Restricted to Category 4 and Lower
Currently Marriott Rewards offers MegaBonus 2011 for a free night certificate after two hotel stays. The free night certificates earned from the MegaBonus promotion are only valid at Marriott Rewards category 1 to 4 hotels. New members of Marriott Rewards Visa card also receive a free night certificate restricted for use at Category 1 to 4 hotel rewards.
Marriott Rewards members holding these types of free night certificates do not have a list of the hotels that will be increasing to category 5 on March 8. The reassignment of hotels to category 5 hotel rewards will likely make dozens of Marriott hotels ineligible for free nights as of March 8, even though these hotels are currently eligible with a Category 4 free night certificate earned from credit card membership or MegaBonus.
At least this year I am seeing numerous requests to Marriott Rewards from members seeking the full list of hotel reward category changes before the changes go into effect. More voices calling for transparency create a louder voice.
Will Marriott Rewards listen to their members’ voice before March 8?
Update: February 28, 2010
Here is Marriott’s official response to members’ request for a complete list of hotel reward category changes before the changes go into effect on March 8, 2011.
“The entire list is considered proprietary.”
Update Wednesday, March 2: Marriott posted today on FlyerTalk the full list of properties changing categories on March 8.