Marriott Bonvoy has announced their full list of annual category changes for 2021, which will take effect for bookings made from 3 March 2021 onwards.
With the pandemic, you’d be expecting most hotels to move down in category. Surprisingly, only 201 (~3% of Marriott’s global portfolio) are. I suppose the silver lining is that among those 201, 150 are decreasing in category and 51 increasing. As a reminder, here’s Marriott’s current award chart:
How can you avoid the price increases?
If your property is moving up a category, you’ll be able to lock in the current price if you make a booking before 3 March 2021. However, any subsequent changes to the reservation (e.g date changes) made from 3 March 2021 will attract the new prices.
If your property is moving down a category, then you can request a refund of the difference in points from 3 March 2021 via customer service.
Remember: this has nothing to do with when you stay, this has all to do with when you book.
Notable hotels changing categories
There are only two properties in Singapore that are changing categories, and both of them are moving down:
- Courtyard Singapore Novena (5 → 4)
- Four Points by Sheraton Riverview (5 → 4)
There’s no way either property was ever worth 35,000 points a night, so it’s good to see this coming down to a relatively more reasonable 25,000 points.
Elsewhere in the region, there are (remarkably) no category changes at all in Bangkok, Koh Samui, Hanoi, or Hong Kong.
Both the AC Hotel Penang and Courtyard Penang drop from Cat. 2 to 1, presenting an extremely enticing redemption opportunity at 7,500 points per night (whenever we get to go overseas again). Similarly, of the seven properties that are changing category in Bali, all are decreasing, It’s the same story for Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Phuket- the only properties changing categories are moving down.
I suppose this shouldn’t be that surprising. With travel demand virtually non-existent, hotels have had to cut their rates, and this has a knock on effect on Categories (contrary to popular belief, these are not based on the “quality” of the hotel, but rather its average daily rate- although the two tend to be correlated).
Marriott’s category changes are relatively mild compared to last year, which is surprising given all that’s going on.
Remember that Marriott is currently offering a 10% discount for off-peak redemptions at any hotel booked by 21 February 2021 and stayed by 30 September 2021, so there’s a chance to save even more points (unfortunately the category changes will come too late for you to stack the effects, as they only kick in on 3 March 2021).
Any other noteworthy hotels on the move?