Last November I earned a free category 1-5 hotel reward night e-certificate from Marriott MegaBonus with two stays on best rate guarantee discount rates in Denver. My free night certificate expires in two weeks.
Marriott Rewards had a major shift upwards in hotel category reassignment on April 8, 2014. Over 200 hotels moved up from category 5 to category 6 on that date. This change pushed over 200 hotels out of contention for redeeming a Marriott category 5 hotel certificate. The MegaBonus certificates and Marriott Rewards Visa card member annual free night certificate are capped at category 5 hotels. Loyalty Traveler – Marriott Rewards hotels geographical list for category 5 to category 6 reassignment April 8, 2014 (March 20, 2014).
There has been a significant shift in Marriott Rewards hotel reward categories over the past two years. In late 2012 there were fewer than 9% of Marriott Rewards hotels in Categories 6, 7 and 8. Marriott Rewards added a new high end category 9 in 2013 and the proportion of hotels in categories 6-9 grew by more than 50%.
Changes in 2014 pushed another 200 hotels into Marriott Rewards category 6. The proportion of hotels in categories 6-9 jumped to 20% of Marriott properties. Two years ago there were less than 9% of Marriott’s global chain in categories 6-9 with just over 300 hotels out of reach of a category 5 free night certificate. Now, in 2014, there are more than 750 hotels in Marriott Rewards categories 6-9.
I will take a road trip to California’s north coast redwood country in the next two weeks. There are a still a couple of Marriott brand hotels where I can burn a free night in a place I want to travel.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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