Hotels

Marriott Bonvoy hotel category changes coming in March 2019

The looming spectre of Category 8 pricing descends on 5 March, as do 383 hotel category changes, 90% of which are increases.

A few days ago, Marriott announced its annual hotel category changes for 2019. These will take effect for bookings made from 5 March 2019 onwards.

Category 8 pricing is coming for Marriott’s highest tier hotels

The awesome St Regis Bali will increase from 60,000 points to 85,000 points per night

The most important takeaway is that about 60 of Marriott’s most luxurious properties will increase from 60,000 to 85,000 points per night when Category 8 pricing comes into effect.

Advertising
Citi PayAll

Advertising
Citi PayAll

There is some good news, however, in that off-peak and peak pricing will not be introduced just yet (HT to VFTW for confirming this). Peak pricing would have increased the cost of a Category 8 property to 100,000 points per night during certain times of the year, still cheaper than what Starwood used to charge for its highest tier resorts but difficult to swallow all the same.

If you’ve been holding off on booking one of these properties, now would be a good time to do so. It’s been confirmed by VFTW that you can use Points Advance bookings to lock in Category 7 pricing on these hotels, which allows you to make speculative reservations that you can confirm closer to the stay itself. I’ll write more about this in a subsequent post.

Advertising

In the meantime, here are the hotels which are going up to Category 8. Note that the St Regis Osaka was originally supposed to increase to Category 8, but will now stay at 7. Also note that there are some additional original Category 8 listproperties which weren’t in the which have since been added, such as the Ritz Carlton Dubai and W Hong Kong. I’ve colored these in red at the bottom.

Hotel NameCountry
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, DubaiUnited Arab Emirates
Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, CreteGreece
Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina d’AmpezzoItaly
Domes of Elounda, Autograph CollectionGreece
G-Rough, Rome, a Member of Design HotelsItaly
Giardino Ascona, A Member Of Design HotelsSwitzerland
Giardino Mountain, a Member of Design HotelsSwitzerland
Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, a Member of Design Hotels™USA
Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa SmeraldaItaly
Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, VeniceItaly
Hotel Pitrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa SmeraldaItaly
Hotel President Wilson, a Luxury Collection Hotel, GenevaSwitzerland
Hotel Romazzino, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa SmeraldaItaly
Hôtel de Berri, a Luxury Collection Hotel, ParisFrance
Kenoa Exclusive Beach Spa & Resort, Barra de Sao Miguel, a Member of Design HotelsBrazil
Le Méridien Bora BoraFrench Polynesia
Mystique, A Luxury Collection Resort, SantoriniGreece
PalazzinaG, Venice, a Member of Design HotelsItaly
Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, LimassolCyprus
Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, ScottsdaleUSA
Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, ParisFrance
Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, MykonosGreece
Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-SalzburgAustria
Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, KyotoJapan
The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, ScottsdaleUSA
The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, New York CityUSA
The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, VeniceItaly
The Miami Beach EDITIONUSA
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection HotelJapan
The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, MiamiUSA
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central ParkUSA
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor GulchUSA
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanCayman Islands
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong KongChina
The Ritz-Carlton, KyotoJapan
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake TahoeUSA
The Ritz-Carlton, NaplesUSA
The Ritz-Carlton, St. ThomasVirgin Islands (US)
The Ritz-Carlton, TokyoJapan
The St. Regis Aspen ResortUSA
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto RicoPuerto Rico
The St. Regis Bal Harbour ResortUSA
The St. Regis Bali ResortIndonesia
The St. Regis Bora Bora ResortFrench Polynesia
The St. Regis Deer ValleyUSA
The St. Regis FlorenceItaly
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli ResortMaldives
The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca ResortSpain
The St. Regis New YorkUSA
The St. Regis Punta Mita ResortMexico
The St. Regis RomeItaly
The Wellesley Knightsbridge, a Luxury Collection Hotel, LondonUnited Kingdom
The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa ConchalCosta Rica
Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh SamuiThailand
W Koh SamuiThailand
W MaldivesMaldives
W South BeachUSA
W VerbierSwitzerland
W Hong KongChina
Ritz Carlton DubaiUAE
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & MarinaBritish Virgin Islands
The London EDITIONUK
Las Alcobas, Napa ValleyUSA
Pine Cliffs Residence, AlgarvePortugal
Ritz Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra BeachUAE
Westin Europa & Regina, VeniceItaly

Breaking down 2019’s category adjustments

In addition to the Category 7 to 8 movements, 383 hotels will be changing categories. 37 will be decreasing in price, and 346 will be increasing in price.

It’s not all bad news, as a handful of high end properties are coming down in cost such as

Advertising
Citi PayAll

Advertising
Citi PayAll

  • Naka Island Phuket going from 60K to 50K points
  • W Hollywood going from 60K to 50K points
  • W Los Angeles going from 60K to 50K points
  • Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa going from 60K to 50K points

Closer to home, the Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit is going from Category 3 (17,500 points) to Category 2 (12,500 points), providing yet another low-cost redemption option for Bangkok stays.

Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit
Advertising

However, everything else is pretty grim. Going to New York? 11 properties are changing, and all are going up in cost. Seoul? 5 properties all going up. Paris? 3 properties all going up.

TPG’s analysis notes that lower-tier properties are getting hit hard, so if you’re hoping to burn your Marriott points at the low end, this may affect you too

  • Of the 55 Courtyard properties changing categories, 52 are moving up, 3 are moving down
  • Of the 25 Fairfield properties changing categories, 25 are moving up
  • Of the 32 Residence Inn properties changing categories, 32 are moving up

In Singapore, both the Four Points by Sheraton Riverview (4 to 5) and the JW Marriott South Beach (6 to 7) will be increasing in price.

JW Marriott South Beach Singapore will now cost 60,000 points a night

Booking reservations in advance

Marriott allows you to book award nights ~350 days in advance, and redemption bookings are generally refundable (though do watch out for awards redeemed at high-end resorts, which may impose up to 30 day cancellation windows during peak periods). It’s therefore wise to lock in reservations at any property which is going up in price now.

If you’ve already made a booking at a property that is going down in price on 5 March, you’ll want to get the award repriced by customer service to get the additional points back.

Advertising

If you’ve made a booking at the pre-devaluation prices but subsequently need to change your dates on/after 5 March, you’ll need to pay the new prices.

Conclusion

2019 has been a very frenetic start for holders of hotel points (and I’ve not even started on Hilton’s 120,000 point award shenanigans), and now would be a good time to catch your breath and plan your upcoming stay strategy.

If you’ve always been curious about how to score better hotel stays for less, do consider checking out Hotel Hacks, the workshop where we learn exactly that. In addition to covering shortcuts to elite status, the ins and outs of buying hotel points and getting opaque/wholesale pricing on hotels, we’ll be covering all the recent changes to programs like World of Hyatt and Marriott Rewards as well.


Advertising

Signing up for credit cards through any of the links in this article may generate a referral commission that supports the running of the site. Found this post useful? Subscribe to our Telegram Channel to get these posts pushed directly to your phone, or our newsletter (on the right of your screen) for the latest deals and hacks delivered to your inbox.

 

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of