Normally I do not write about rumored changes to loyalty programs, but in this case the MarriottRewardsInsider thread is trending with feedback on rumored changes to Marriott Rewards for 2015 posted by an MRInsiders member two days ago.
Update 3/14: Inside Flyer reports that Marriott representatives informed them these changes are not proposed changes and the list of hotel category reassignments for 2014 will post next week.
Take all these proposed changes with a wink and a nod or perhaps a stiff drink since at this time these changes are only a rumor and not directly from Marriott.
The points required for award stays will be increased by at least 5,000 points per night across all levels and the 5th night free will disappear. Category 10 will be added and require 60,000 points per night (read mass devaluation).
A new level will be announced above Platinum and the requirements will be formally revealed. (i.e. everyone will know how to achieve PP, if that is what it is called)
New benefits for Gold, Plat, and the new PP will be announced. These will include things like confirmed suite upgrades (for the new PP), instant upgrades using online check-in, free breakfast (including resorts for the new PP ), free parking, and free “lifestyle events,” at the hotels during your stay.
The offerings in the concierge lounges in NA will be enhanced and will include free beer, wine and spirits where local laws permit.
However, Concierge lounge access will be eliminated for Golds and Plats unless upgraded to the concierge level rooms. (Gold and Plats will continue to receive free continental breakfast in the restaurant or points.)
MR is looking at different models for awarding elite status including annual hotel spend, instead of nights stayed (similar to Delta’s and United FF requirements for elite status). Spend in bars and restaurants will be included. Deeply discounted rates, such as Government Rates, group and convention rates, and special promotion rates will not count towards the spend requirement.
MarriottRewardsInsiders thread – How Will Points Change in 2014 (March 11, 2014)
Elite status based on annual hotel spend? The United and Delta model comes to hotels.
Free alcohol in Concierge Lounges and then deny Marriott high elites access. Marriott Rewards elites will storm the Marriott lounge doors like the Bastille demanding access to free beer, wine and cake too.
Across the board points increases in each hotel reward category? Given Hilton HHonors as Marriott’s primary competitor and the 2013 increases for HHonors rewards, this one does not seem too far out as a rumor.
Now let’s wait, see and compare what Marriott Rewards actually announces for program changes in 2014.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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