Last day to lock in awards before Marriott category changes take effect (we’re looking at you Vancouver)

Early in February we provided you with details on Marriott’s annual hotel category changes and those will take effect as of tomorrow. We also covered it in last week’s podcast if you haven’t given it a listen yet. This is just a friendly reminder that if you have been thinking of redeeming points or a free night certificate for a stay you may want to expedite it to today if the hotel you are looking at is moving up in the category list. If its moving down you can wait until tomorrow or later.

View the entire list of category changes here.

Just to recap the changes quickly – a total of 29% of Marriott’s locations Worldwide will be changing categories and for the most part it’s not pretty – 22% are moving up in categories with a lot of Category 5 hotels (Those that you can redeem for with your free night from the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card) moving to Category 6. Here in Canada the changes weren’t as bad if you just look at the numbers with 42 hotels changing and 55% of them moving down. However, Vancouver was hit hard in the changes with many of their downtown hotels moving from that Category 5 sweet spot to Category 6.  There are seven hotels in downtown Vancouver that are moving to the category 6 and some of you have already voiced your displeasure as you enjoyed using that free night certificate for staycations in the heart of YVR. So if you have been thinking of using a cert for downtown Vancouver stay you best be trying to book today! Other notable hotels moving up to Category 6 are the Residence Inn Mont Tremblant Manoir Labelle, Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection and the Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview.

That will say Category 6 as of tomorrow!

For other hotels we wait – in fact the Rewards Canada family is, we have a couple older Category 1-4 certificates that will expire soon and will need to use them up. As of tomorrow there will be a couple of more options as the Calgary Airport Marriott In-terminal hotel and Westin Calgary drop to Category 4 so those are on our radar to use the certs at for a staycation.

Now even with the category changes don’t let it detract you from the Marriott Bonvoy program – it still provides a lot of potential value with its points (both on earning and redeeming) and not to mention having such a large footprint of over 7,200 hotels worldwide – it is a program that most people should use, even if its not your primary hotel programs.