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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Marriott Rewards 2014 Hotel Category Changes - including a breakdown of Canadian properties affected

Marriott Rewards annual hotel category adjustments were announced yesterday on the Marriott Rewards Insiders forum. This happens yearly from Marriott (as it also does with most other hotel loyalty programs) and luckily this year there were no new category additions like last year which means the number of points required per category remain the same, all that changes are the category that hotels are assigned to.  According to Marriott 73% of their hotels will stay in the same categories while out of the 27% changing 22% are going down a category while the other 78% (over 800 hotels) are moving up a category.

These changes take affect as of April 8th so the takeaway here is that if you have your eyes set on some Marriott Rewards redemptions and the hotel you are looking is moving up a category be sure you reserve those award nights by April 7th. On the flipside if you are looking at redeeming for one of the hotels moving down a category our advice is to wait until April 8th to book unless you absolutely need to book prior to then.

Ritz-Carlton hotels are seeing 20 of their 85 hotels move up in categories in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program. Properties in Toronto and Montreal are included.

A key thing to look at in these changes are the 123 hotels moving from Category 4 to 5 as many of us receive free nights via Marriott's MegaBonus promotion that are only good at Cat 1-4 or Cat 1-5. Also there are 208 properties moving to Cat 6 from 5 which will affect Marriott Rewards Premier Visa cardholders annual free night benefit which is only good for  up to Category 5 hotels (they will also potentially lose out on the Cat 1-4 sign up free night offer).  Marriott has compiled a complete PDF of all the changes which you can access here.

Here are the Canadian properties affected in the 2014 Hotel Category Changes:

Canadian Properties moving down (2% of their properties in Canada)
Courtyard Ottawa East 3 to 2
Residence Inn Toronto Mississauga/Meadowvale 3 to 2

Canadian Properties moving up (26% of their properties in Canada)
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto from 2 to 3
The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal from 2 to 3
Quebec City Marriott Downtown 6 to 7
Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain  6 to 7
Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel 6 to 7
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour 6 to 7
Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel 6 to 7
Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel 6 to 7
Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside 6 to 7
Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown 6 to 7
Courtyard St. John's Newfoundland 5 to 6
Edmonton Marriott at River Cree Resort  5 to 6
Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel 5 to 6
Residence Inn Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District 5 to 6
Residence Inn Montreal Downtown 5 to 6
Residence Inn Vancouver Downtown 5 to 6
Courtyard Edmonton West 3 to 4
Fairfield Inn Sudbury 3 to 4
Fairfield Inn and Suites St John's Newfoundland 3 to 4
Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel 3 to 4
TownePlace Suites Sudbury 3 to 4
Courtyard Edmonton Downtown 2 to 3
  

Some more wording around the changes direct from the Marriott Rewards Insiders forum:

Please note:
  • All redemption reservations booked on or before April 7, 2014 will be honored at the current point price, even if the stay occurs after April 8. 2014. If you have not ordered your certificate prior to April 8, 2014, call Guest Services prior to your stay to request the lower priced certificate.
  • As always, you may book redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of your stay, even before having the required points in your account.
  • You can also use Cash + Points to take advantage of booking your redemption stay early.

How many hotels are affected?
73% of the properties remain unchanged
66% of the programs properties will remain in Categories 1-4
27% of the hotels are changing; of these 22% are decreasing by one category and 78% are increasing by one category

Is my existing redemption reservation impacted?
All redemption reservations booked on or before April 7, 2014 for stays beginning April 8, 2014, will be honored at the point price booked. If you have not ordered your certificate prior to April 8, 2014, call Guest Services to request the lower priced certificate before your stay.

How long can I book a redemption stay using the current hotel categories?
You may book redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of your stay, even before having the required points in your account. For example, on April 1, 2014 you may book your redemption stay as far out as March 15, 2015.

You can also use Cash + Points to book your redemption stay.


With roughly 1/5 of Marriott's hotels moving up a category Worldwide including 1/4 of their Canadian properties this is definitely a devaluation to the Marriott Rewards program which means it is also a hit to the Canadian Marriott Rewards Premier Visa. Other major hotel chains like Starwood and Hyatt already announced their category changes for 2014 and while both also had hotels moving up and down categories the number of hotels involved was a lot less then we see from Marriott.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the 2014 Hotel Category Changes! Are they going to affect your loyalty to Marriott? Will the make you reconsider holding on to or applying for the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa? Or will you just stay the course and just keep on trucking as these category changes are just part of the loyalty game.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this "Canadian" filter of the changes


    Any way you look at it, it is a bad devaluation, kicking out any worthy hotels (Cat 4/5) from MegaBonus certificate redemptions. so sad... less incentives for MegaBonus now, unless they start giving out Cat 1-5 again

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