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Marriott Ups Awards Prices at 20% of Hotels

Marriott Ups Awards Prices at 20% of Hotels

About a year ago, Marriott added a new award tier, Category 9, and increased award prices at a whopping 36 percent of its hotels, while lowering award prices at a paltry 1 percent of properties.

This year’s “changes to hotel categories,” announced today, are somewhat less horrific, but they’re another significant devaluation of Marriott Rewards program nonetheless.

Effective for award bookings made on and after April 8, the number of points required for free room nights will increase at 20 percent of Rewards-affiliated hotels, and decrease at just 6 percent of program hotels. (A full list of affected hotels is here.)

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

As always with award-price changes, program members are best served by booking before the changes take place in cases where prices are set to rise, and waiting to book those (few) properties that will benefit from a price decrease.

Longer term, there’s no sugar-coating price increases affecting an eye-popping 20 percent of Marriott’s properties. That’s more than sufficient cause for discerning Marriott Rewards members to rethink their loyalty to the chain and consider alternative hotel networks and programs.

Bottom line: If you have banked Marriott points, they will on average be worth less on April 8.

Reader Reality Check

Are these price increases enough to undermine your loyalty to Marriott?

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  • James Gancos

    The existing loyalty models of the large hotel chains require devaluations when times are good because the opportunity cost of a room increases. The only way to ensure that there is no devaluation is to tie the reward value to the value of your spend and allow you to use that value like cash. That was the basis behind the creation of Universal Points, a 5% cash back program for independent hotels which launched earlier this month. Disclaimer: I am the CEO of Universal Points.