Overnight, Marriott Rewards announced award category changes for 2016. This change will come in effect from March 24, 2016 and while this change affects over 650 properties across the US, in India there are only 2 Marriott hotels changing in category chart.
The rejig for Marriott means that 524 properties in the USA are going up at least one category. Most of these are not premium properties however, except for the Ritz Carlton in Denver. Further, however, 152 properties are also going down one category or more. Other markets don’t see much impact, apart from the UK market which has 7 hotels going up in category and Spain which has 5. Canada is seeing a vast number of properties going down in categories, 19 to be precise, while Russia is seeing 11 properties go down in categories.
As per Marriott’s webpage publicizing the changes,
82% of the properties remain unchanged.
62% of the properties will remain in Categories 1-4.
18% of the hotels are changing. Of those changing, 30% are decreasing by one category and 70% are increasing by one category.
One of my favorite resort properties in India, the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove & Spa Resort, is moving up from Cat4 to 5; which means that award nights will now cost 25,000 points against the 20,000 up till now. Sadly, there are no properties in India that are moving down the ladder.
You can check the entire list of hotels changing here. As a quick recap, below is the chart to help you determine the number of Marriott Reward points required for redemption at various Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels. Remember, when you redeem 4 nights, your 5th night is free.
You can book all redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of you stay, even before having the required points in your account. If you can are planning to redeem your points for a summer vacation in Mussoorie or planning a holiday to France or Spain this year it may be a good idea to book before March 24, 2016.
This is a usual adjustment, but I am not happy that while other programs are downgrading Indian hotels in terms of categories, Marriott made some upward changes. However, I am happy that the change communication is out a month in advance and I can plan a redemption stay until the end of 2016 already.
Which are your favourite Marriott hotels and what do you think about the changes this year?