Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Changes March 15, 2012

Marriott Rewards this morning released the full list of hotel category reassignments effective Thursday, March 15, 2012.

  • 100 hotels are decreasing by one category (3% of Marriott brand hotels globally).
  • 526 hotels are increasing by one category (15% of Marriott brand hotels globally).

Reservations can be made using the current reward category rates until March 14, 2012. Reward reservations you already have at a hotel that will be dropping in category can be adjusted downward after March 15 to the lower rate by calling Marriott Rewards Customer Support at 801-468-4000.

The full list of hotel category changes with explanations and a category distribution graphic is available through the link in this FlyerTalk post. The hotel reward category distribution shows a competitive edge for Marriott Rewards with the high proportion of hotels in the lower four of eight reward categories.

On a personal note:

The past three years I have mounted social media attacks primarily on Marriott Rewards and Hilton HHonors each February and March when the announcement was made that hotel reward categories were being changed, yet these programs refused to release the full list of hotels changing categories prior to the changes taking effect.

Big thumbs up to Marriott Rewards for changing to a fully transparent announcement. Many of us using hotel loyalty programs take our loyalty as a serious investment in our travel budgeting for hotel stays. This is a consumer friendly move by Marriott Rewards. Thank you.

I will follow up this post in the next day or two with a detailed analysis of the Marriott Rewards hotel category reassignment changes.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Thanks for posting. Took a look at the list and looks pretty poor to me. Many of the cat 4 hotels that were great to use with the Megabonus promotions will now be a category 5. In my opinion, this is a devaluation for Marriott (unless you redeem in Aruba) 🙁

  2. Needless to say this is a devaluation for Marriott Rewards when 5 hotels increase for every one that goes down.

    At least Marriott Rewards is letting members know where to redeem points before the increases take effect.

    Past years we would have likely seen only the category 6-8 changes which would have revealed 4 hotels going down out of 100. We might have only seen about 60 hotel names with Category 6-8 increases out of 526 hotels going up, or 140 hotels if including the shift of Category 5 up to Category 6.

    The devaluation would have happened regardless. Hotel loyalty programs are making up for two to three years of limited increases in reward cost.

    These changes have a serious impact on the value of Marriott Visa card free night certificates limited to 1-4 hotels or 1-5 hotels in renewal years. There is a huge shift in hotels out of those reward categories.

  3. If I already have a reservation for April 2012 for a property increasing, will I be charged the higher rate?

  4. @Bryan – You are fine with a reservation already made as long as you do not make any changes to it after March 15. The lower rate applies.

    If you have a post-March 15 reservation currently for a hotel going down, then you can request a points rebate after March 15.

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