Normally Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards have announced hotel reward category changes by this date. Were last year’s changes so drastic that these companies do not need to reassign hotel reward categories in 2014?
MarriottRewardsInsiders has a rumor thread started January 8, 2014 about a new category 10 level for 2014.
A respondent listed dates Marriott Rewards category changes were announced over the past few years.
- February 4, 2010
- March 2, 2011
- February 27, 2012
- February 11, 2013
Marriott Rewards added category 9 hotel rewards in 2013 and reassigned 370 hotels in category 4 to category 5. This was more than 50% of the existing hotels in category 4. The change greatly devalued the free night certificates limited to category 4 hotels from Marriott Rewards Visa card enrollment and Marriott MegaBonus promotion nights limited to category 4 hotels.
Loyalty Traveler: Marriott Rewards May 16, 2013 hotel category reassignment: An Overview (February 13, 2013).
Here is my analysis of the 2013 hotel reward impact of San Francisco Marriott brand hotels. Marriott Rewards Points Analysis San Francisco (April 10, 2013).
2013 Marriott Rewards changes:
1% of the properties decreased by one or more categories (< 40 hotels).
36% of the properties will increase by one or more categories (> 1,300 hotels).
I do not think Marriott will add a category 10 reward this year, but I do think there will be more hotels going up in category in 2014. And based on other loyalty programs dropping hotel reward category for Asia-Pacific hotels, I expect Marriott will follow suit.
I expect the Marriott Rewards announcement on hotel reward category changes to appear any day.
Hilton HHonors made crazy hotel reward category changes in 2013. What is in store for 2014?
Hilton adopted a 10 category system in 2013 and implemented a crazy seasonal hotel reward schedule in 2013 where higher category hotels float between several point prices for reward nights. You have to check the month to see if a category 8 hotel is 40,000 points or 50,000 or 60,000 or 70,000 points per night.
HHonors Points & Money reward nights are 50% points compared to the standard rate, however, category 8 has no meaning in the new HHonors system since that does not define the reward night cost except to provide a lower and upper range limit.
You need to check the HHonors Point Search tool to know the reward cost for a specific hotel in any month. Hilton HHonors Seasonal Reward Rates clarified (Jan 24, 2014) is my post explaining how the new system works.
Hilton HHonors can change reward categories by month and may no longer need to make annual hotel reward reassignment.
For these two major hotel chains to bypass the annual hotel reward category reassignment in 2014 might be welcome after last year’s changes.
But I doubt that will happen. We will likely hear about hotel reward category changes sometime in the next couple of weeks from these two big players in the hotel loyalty world.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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