Marriott Bonvoy was integrated into one program (Marriott + SPG + Ritz-Carlton) earlier this year, and it was expected that more changes like peak pricing were coming later. Well, the wait has ended, and Marriott has now announced that peak pricing along with other changes with go into effect on Saturday, September 14, 2019.
5 Marriott Bonvoy Changes
1) Introduction of Peak (and off-peak) Pricing
Let’s recap on how the new pricing chart with peak and off-peak pricing looks like:
As you can see, the Category 1 Marriott Hotels around the world will now cost only 5,000 points at off-peak, but the Category 8 Marriott Hotels will cost a whopping 100,000 points.
See Marriott’s YouTube Video announcing this change.
Luckily, the hotels will not be in charge of the pricing, but Marriott itself will run an algorithm and decide when peak and off-peak pricing applies. The changes are applicable across the board to all their hotels that are redeemable on points. Marriott says Standard pricing will mostly apply throughout the year, and pricing changes will only kick-in when the hotels are busy or vice-versa. The points will be updated once every month. This also means that it would be a bummer to book at a Standard Points Price, and then have to check every month till your booking to see if the price went down.
Also, take a look at the new PointSavers Award Chart with Peak and Off-Peak Pricing:
2) Cash + Points Award Nights Pricing
This is another interesting change that came as a side effect to the introduction of Peak and Off-Peak pricing. The new changes entail only the points portion changing as part of the new structure, while the cash price remains as-is. Here’s the new cash and points award chart:
See Marriott’s YouTube Video explaining these Cash and Points changes.
3) Changes to the 5th night FREE on 4 nights booked on Marriott Bonvoy points
Marriott (and Hilton) both offer the 5th night free, when you book 4 nights on points. Now, this redemption was easy if all 5 nights were priced the same value on points. But with the introduction of the new pricing structure on points, the change to this benefit is that – out of the 5 nights booked, the cheapest night on points would be FREE. It’s not necessarily the 5th night, but rather the night that has the lowest points offered for redemption (now this would be bad if one of your nights was at off-peak and the others were at peak pricing – rare, but who knows).
4) Points Advance Changes
As a reminder, Marriott Bonvoy allows members to book a hotel on points without having the actual points in the account but continuing to earn and then confirm. Any reservations made before September 14 will still honor the standard pricing. The main change that Marriott is now introducing is that it’s limited the number of active Points Advance Reservations that you can have to 3 (instead of 5).
See Marriott’s YouTube Video explaining the changes to Points Advance.
5) [Marriott Credit Card] Free Night Redemption Cap
If you have a Marriott Credit Card that gifts an annual free night certificate typically valid for 35K points or 50K points, there is a slight change that’s expected due to the new pricing. The certificate will be tied to number of points and not to the category. This means that you can still redeem your certificate for standard points or off-peak points at the maximum price, but not at peak pricing above the certificate value.
For a 35K certificate, you can redeem anything up to 35K (and not Peak Pricing when that same hotel is priced at 40K points).
Final Thoughts – Marriott Bonvoy Changes
The new pricing structure was already announced earlier and it was just a matter of time of when it actually went into effect. The peak pricing would change my booking behavior a little bit, to force me to look around at other brands if a standard points option was available. I’m also bummed that my free night certificate was now slightly devalued not allowing to book the same category at peak pricing. But let’s see how Marriott’s algorithm really plays out and affects the rates at different times of the year.
What do you think of these new changes by Marriott Bonvoy? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments.
Image Credit: All images are copyright of Marriott and Marriott Bonvoy
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