Marriott Guts Award Chart Again – Why Are We Surprised?

Earlier this week, Marriott announced yet another crushing devaluation. This one, it seems, may be the worst one yet, with 21% of their hotels (more than 1,000 in total) going up in category on March 6, 2018, but only 5% going down. Here is a link to the full list of hotels which are changing category.

I’m not sure why I am even a little bit surprised. After all, these seem to have become a yearly tradition. Let’s take a look back at Marriott’s annual assault on our point values:

2011: In October, they removed their all-inclusive hotels from point redemptions without any notice whatsoever.

2012: 526 hotels go up in category, 100 go down.

2013: New Category 9 is announced, with more than 1,500 hotels going up in category and fewer than 50 hotels going down in category.

2014: Nearly 1,000 hotels go up in category, approximately 200 go down.

2015: More than 1,000 hotels go up in category, approximately 300 go down.

2016: 560 hotels go up in category, 240 go down.

2017: A small number of changes along with the merger, but 50% more went up in category than went down.

As you can see this is now the 9th consecutive year where Marriott has decided to make your points less valuable. Why? Well, the only real answer here is “because they can.” The partnership with Starwood doesn’t seem to have affected this either, as Starwood’s devaluation this month was far more reasonable than Marriott’s, with 146 hotels going up in category and 131 going down.

The Atlantis in the Bahamas will get more expensive on March 6th.

I continually shake my head at the amount of changes Marriott is making in their categories, almost always with multiples more going up in category than down. The fact that Marriott has a much bigger footprint notwithstanding, it seems that the single best thing about Marriott points is the ability to transfer them to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio, where you can actually get some value for them.

If you’re planning to stay in one of the affected Marriotts in 2018, make sure to book your stay prior to March 6th to get the current rate before it goes up.

Are you as dismayed by Marriott’s changes as I am? Will this impact your decisions on where to stay and use your points going forward?

Michael Prodanovich is a contributor to Point Me to the Plane, and author of The Ultimate Guide to Free Travel

Comments

  1. I have been in there program and started playing the points game with them way back then. I gave my kids their honeymoon packages, one in Hawaii, the other in Paris and Rome. Not sure I could afford that now with points being so devalued. I sent Marriott the list of devaluations. I think if everyone that did that, maybe we could get their attention. The free night at a level 5 hotel is just about worthless, same goes for the mega bonus free nights they gave us. I recently stayed at a Residence Inn at the Nashville airport. It was a level 6 and just a total dump. There is just no rhime or reason for what they are doing or what call certain levels. Additionally, I can get 3x points on the Hilton card. Where the Marriott credit card use to be our go to card, it is not even in either of our wallets.

    • Agreed. I don’t even keep the Marriott cards anymore, myself, since I don’t feel the free night is worth the annual fee. I can hardly wait to see what next year’s devaluations will be!

  2. Just applied and accepted for sapphire reserve and will be cancellIng my Marriott visa this weekend. Just no real use for cat 5 anymore. And In the end credit card cancellations seem to be about the only way to fight back.

    • Agreed. I picked up the business card last summer for the increased bonus, but will definitely be canceling before the annual fee comes back around this summer.

  3. CC cancellations wont work till you stop patronising the hotels. That in itself is difficult due to their vast spread after taking over SPG. I predicted this when the merger / buy out went through. Monopolies dont take long to reveal themselves

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