As if we need another reminder that hoarding points en masse is a bad idea, Marriott announced changes to their redemption charts this week. Perhaps the only good news is that customers will have three months to get bookings in under the old rates. The bad news is much, much more pervasive. The company is adding another award category at the top of the charts and more than a third of the properties will see an increase in redemption costs. I’m not so sure that OUCH does justice to the level of pain these changes will bring about.
The points required per night are not changing for the bottom 8 tiers; the new category 9 will require 45,000 points per night.
Not such a big deal if they don’t move all the hotels up a level. But 36% are moving up, compared to 1% moving down. I can only find one hotel (Renaissance Barcelona) which moves up two levels rather than just one. And only 13 properties appear to be moving in to the new Category 9 level. Still, the overall numbers are a bit disheartening:
- 8 to 9 – 13
- 7 to 8 – 32
- 6 to 7 – 55
- 5 to 7 – 1
- 5 to 6 – 190
- 4 to 5 – 370
- 3 to 4 – 401
- 2 to 3 – 184
- 1 to 2 – 43
The big pain points will be the number of hotels no longer in the Category 1-4 range for MegaBonus redemption or in the Category 1-5 range for redemption with the cert earnt for carrying the credit card. The 370 properties jumping out of MegaBonus redemption really hurts.
I’m not inherently opposed to award rates increasing. It is a necessary evil as the costs of the underlying product increase. At the same time, it sucks when it happens, and these increases don’t leave a lot of opportunities for anyone to win a part of the changes. I’m very happy I don’t have a stockpile of Marriott points to worry about dumping.
It is also somewhat interesting that this change comes just a couple months after the improvements to the lifetime status options with Marriott. Clearly they know they have to appeal to customers in some ways, though this move definitely isn’t one of them.