Hotel Chicago Downtown is a recent February 2014 addition to Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand. I previously visited the hotel in 2010 when it was Hotel Sax and a Thompson boutique hotel. The location next to House of Blues and near the north bank of the Chicago River is a central downtown location.

Read More…

Marriott eBreaks are weekly hotel rate discounts sent on Monday to newsletter subscribers. These rates are available for stays the following weekend Thursday through Sunday nights, with a two night stay required for Thursday-Friday or Saturday-Sunday. Friday and/or Saturday night can be a one-night booking.

Two California hotels I tried had higher rates than shown in the email. Perhaps you will have better luck finding a good value hotel rate.

These low rates can be a cheap way to earn Marriott MegaBonus certificates.

Alabama – Huntsville $87

California – Fresno $87 – $95

California – Sacramento $71 – $87

Colorado – Colorado Springs $59 – $143

Florida – Orlando $95 – $207

Indiana – Fort Wayne $72 – $87

Indiana – Indianapolis $76 – $159

Indiana – Multiple Cities $71 – $112

Indiana – South Bend $64 – $96

Iowa – Multiple Cities $71 – $103

Kentucky – Louisville $64 – $87

Michigan – Grand Rapids $80

Michigan – Lansing $92 – $111

Minnesota – Minneapolis-St Paul $55 – $95

Missouri – Multiple Cities $63 – $87

Montana – Multiple Cities $63 – $103

Nebraska – North Platte $87

New Jersey – Newark $87 – $123

New Mexico – Multiple Cities $79 – $135

New York – New York $143 – $295

North Carolina – Multiple Cities $87 – $159

Ohio – Canton-Akron $88 – $111

Ohio – Cincinnati $69 – $135  

Ohio – Columbus $71 – $119

Ohio – Multiple Cities $95

Pennsylvania – Philadelphia $79 – $135

Rhode Island – Providence $95 – $159

South Carolina – Florence $95

Virginia – Multiple Cities $87 – $143

Virginia – Norfolk-Virginia Beach $71 – $151

Virginia – Williamsburg-Newport News $71 – $119

Washington – Multiple Cities $79 – $119

Washington – Seattle $71 – $183

West Virginia – Multiple Cities $83 – $103

Wisconsin – Madison $95

Outside the U.S.

Barbados – Bridgetown $167 – $183

clip_image001[85]Canada – Alberta CAD87 – CAD103

clip_image001[90]Canada – Toronto CAD79 – CAD159

clip_image001[95]Curacao – Willemstad $98

Marriott ebreaks

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Up to this point in time, as RoomKey.com enters its third year of operation as a pop-up annoyance when searching hotel chain sites, the greatest use I have derived from the company is a t-shirt I picked up at a TBEX conference in 2012 and still wear regularly. RoomKey is owned by hotel chains including Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and Wyndham. The idea is to try and draw you back into a chain hotel booking after leaving one of the the hotel chain’s booking sites when you see the RoomKey pop-up screen. So when you check a Hilton hotel for New York, RoomKey displays other hotels in its network of chain hotels with rates.

RoomKey is planning enhancements to its website that may make the site more desirable than annoying.

Welcome to Room Key

Founded by the world’s leading hotel companies, hospitality is who we are and what we do. Featuring 100+ brands you trust across 159 countries, each time you book direct through Room Key, you earn your qualifying hotel rewards. For maximum value, link your hotel rewards programs to compare member-only benefits on Room Key…then simply Search hotels. Book direct. Relax.

RoomKey.com

Tnooz.com has an interview article with Room Key CEO John F. Davis III discussing a new concept to be introduced in 2014. RoomKey will allow members to register their loyalty program memberships. RoomKey.com will then organize hotel rates at hotel chains where you have status. Clicking on the hotel will detail the benefits you can expect at the hotel based on your loyalty membership and elite status. You can check your nights and stays and point balance in different hotel loyalty programs. There is a RoomKey.com hotel loyalty program dashboard image in the Tnooz article.

Perhaps even more significant is the article suggests the recent UK ruling on hotel rates price-fixing by Expedia, booking.com and hotel chains means members of a closed group like loyalty program membership can be offered lower rates than publicly available. Hyatt is already doing this with their 20% off Elite Member discount.

Hotel stay promotions may move beyond targeted personalized points offers like IHG Big Win to targeted loyalty member discount rates.

RoomKey.com as a standalone website.

The growth of mobile booking in the hotel industry sounds like it has been an impediment to RoomKey.com growth. The website changes with hotel loyalty membership registration are aimed at making RoomKey.com a direct hotel booking destination website since pop-ups do not work in a mobile environment.

For me, a dashboard of loyalty program data while I am planning hotel bookings is a desirable feature.

If RoomKey.com can also add promotion bonus data to room rate searches, then that would be a major innovation. It would be a great convenience to know that booking the next Marriott stay would earn a free night with MegaBonus or that Hyatt Place night comes with an extra 1,000 bonus points.

roomkey

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

This post contains a list of 123 Marriott Rewards category 4 hotels moving up to category 5 on April 8, 2014 organized by City, State and Country. These hotels will no longer be bookable for reservations using Marriott category 1-4 certificates earned from MegaBonus promotions and Marriott Rewards Visa card enrollment after April 7, 2014.

Some basic facts:

  • 716 of 792 Marriott Rewards category-4 hotels, slightly more than 90% are currently located in the USA.
  • 108 of 123 hotels (88%) moving up from category 4 to category 5 are located in the USA.
  • A few hotels on the list released by Marriott Rewards have slightly different or even completely different names. The Marriott release shows a hotel name Courtyard Cincinnati East/Norwood. This hotel name does not exist in a Google search or on the list of Marriott category 4 hotels in Ohio. Courtyard Cincinnati Midtown/Rookwood comes up in a Google search.

Read More…

There are 208 Marriott Rewards category 5 hotels moving up to category 6 on April 8, 2014. This means these hotels will become unavailable for free night certificate redemption using MegaBonus and Marriott Rewards Visa credits. You have until April 7, 2014 to book these hotels at the category 5 reward level.

Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Changes Announcement (Marriott Rewards Insiders March 19, 2014).

It is perplexing to me that a company like Marriott Rewards publishes a list of hotel category changes containing over 1,000 hotels with no geographical location information for city, state and country.

For example, Courtyard Portland Airport is the name of a hotel at two locations in Oregon and Maine. Courtyard Portland Airport in Maine is the category 5 hotel and Portland Oregon is a category 3 hotel.

Here is the list of hotels moving to category 6.

The most interesting aspect of these changes are 171 of 208 hotels rising to category 6 are located in the USA for 82% of the hotels moving up and out of category 5.

  • Marriott Rewards Category 5 Hotels = 561 hotels worldwide.
  • Marriott Rewards Category 5 Hotels = 459 hotels USA (82%).
  • 171 of 459 hotels in USA moving up to category 6 is 37% of all USA hotels currently in category 5.
  • 37 of 102 international hotels moving up is 36% of all category 5 hotels outside the USA rising to category 6.

Basically, the Marriott Rewards April 8 changes remove more than 1 out of 3 hotels currently in category 5 to category 6 and out of reach of category 5 hotel reward night certificates earned through MegaBonus and Marriott Rewards credit card bonus.

Read More…

Marriott Rewards announced hotel reward category changes yesterday to take effect on April 8, 2014. The changes continue the trend of pushing far more hotels up to higher category levels than hotels coming down to a lower category. Last year’s changes were brutal and this year exacerbates the issue of Marriott Rewards free night certificates being far more limited in hotel choices at the category 4 and 5 hotel reward levels. 

Loyalty Lobby puts the count at 848 hotels going up in category and 233 hotels going down. I am not able to manipulate Marriott’s pdf file of changes and I don’t want to do a hand count, so my analysis in this post is based on Loyalty Lobby numbers.

An in-depth evaluation of category 4 and 5 hotels moving up is on my agenda. Marriott Rewards members holding free night certificates from MegaBonus and Marriott credit cards should look over the list of changes to see if there is a hotel to book before the reward category changes.

Here are some data points from the category reassignments that catch my attention.

The Big Picture:

The number of Category 9 hotels at 45,000 points per night more than doubles, increasing from 14 hotels worldwide to 30 hotels. Among the new category 9 properties is Courtyard Ocean City, Maryland, the first hotel in the Courtyard brand to reach the exalted heights of Marriott Rewards.

This hotel has $69 rates this week and next in March, but hikes up to $399 for dates in July and August. Certainly the beachfront location is the draw here.

Autograph Collection hotels moving up

Autograph Collection is a fast growing Marriott brand that signs independent hotels in popular tourist areas. These are urban and vacation destination properties. In three years the brand has grown to over 50 hotels.

Boscolo Palace Rome is the type of hotel experience that comes to my mind at category 9. This hotel is an Autograph Collection property and is one of four Autograph Collection hotels rising to the top tier category 9 of Marriott hotel rewards.

Autograph Collection as a brand is seeing a jump at most of its brand hotels.

The hotel brand reached its 50th hotel milestone just last November 2013. I count at least 35 Autograph Collection hotels on the list of hotels moving up in category.

Autograph Collection April 8, 2014 changes

  • Category 8 to 9 = 4 hotels.
  • Category 7 to 8 = 10 hotels.
  • Category 6 to 7 = 17 hotels.
  • Category 5 to 6 = 4 hotels.

That is nearly 70% of the hotels in the Autograph Collection brand moving up by one category, effective April 8, 2014.

Marriott Rewards 5 year cat changes

Marriott data in table is based on my own research and not directly from Marriott International. Each year since 2009, I have analyzed the Marriott Rewards hotel category reassignment changes.

Each table column shows the effect on Marriott Rewards hotel category distribution for hotel rewards. 2011 is shaded since that year shows only the effect of announced changes for 2011 compared to 2010 and does not have an accurate count of total hotels in Marriott. As you can see, the number of hotels has grown each year and the 2011 total hotels is not accurate, although the reward category shifts are accurate. In 2011, there were 351 hotels that went up and only 89 went down in reward category.

Observations for 2014 and the past five years

Marriott states 66% of hotels worldwide remain in categories 1-4 with the 2014 changes out of 4,047 hotels.

That is a significant drop in the proportion of hotels in Categories 1-4 since 2010.

Two years ago this number was 82% of all Marriott brand hotels worldwide (3,676 hotels) were in hotel reward categories 1-4.

Four years ago this number was 85% of all Marriott brand hotels worldwide (3,365 hotels) were in categories 1-4.

Overview of 2014 changes to Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Assignment

Categories 7, 8 and 9 see huge growth.

Category 9 grows from 14 to 30 hotels for 114% more hotels.

Category 8 grows from 55 to 114 hotels for 107% more hotels.

Category 7 grows from 110 hotels to 257 for 134% more hotels.

Category 6 drops by 4% from 368 to 352 hotels.

Category 5 sees 25% fewer hotels in 2014 with the April 8 changes. This is bad news since this drop is primarily due to hotels going to category 6.

  • 208 hotels move up to category 6 and only 2 hotels move down from category 6 to category 5.
  • 28 hotels go down from category 5 to 4 while 123 hotels move up from category 4 to category 5. For every category 5 hotel that goes down to category 4, four more category 4 hotels go up to category 5.
  • Net effect is a second year of massive devaluation to Marriott Rewards category 5 certificates earned from MegaBonus and Marriott Rewards credit card renewal with a loss of 208 hotels moving out of category 5 and no longer eligible for certificate redemptions.
  • Those 208 currently category 5 hotels moving to category 6 hotel rewards are replaced by 2 hotels moving into Cat 1-5 certificate redemption territory.
  • Hotel & Spa do Vinho, Rio Grande do Sol, Brazil (new cat 5)
  • Marriott San Jose, Costa Rica (new cat 5)

Category 4 has a net drop of 55 hotels. This 7% drop in hotels in category 4 appears to be less drastic than the category 5 changes, however, the numbers reveal a different story.

  • 123 hotels currently in category 4 move up to category 5.
  • Only 28 hotels drop from category 5 to 4. This means the net effect is nearly 100 hotels are removed from the category 4 free night certificate pool for category 1-4 hotel redemptions.
  • The good news is 40 hotels are moving down from category 4 reward level at 20,000 points to category 3 at 15,000 points. This is a 25% reduction in points for these 40 hotels.
  • The worse news is 80 hotels are moving from category 3 at 15,000 points to category 4 at 20,000 points. This is a 33% increase in nightly reward cost for twice as many hotels (80 hotels) going up to category 4 than dropping down from category 4 to 3 (40 hotels).
  • Category 1-4 hotel reward certificates see a devaluation with 95 fewer hotels (123 up, 28 down) available at the category 4 level compared to 2013. (I don’t count the hotels moving up to category 4 from category 3 since those were already available with cat 1-4 certificates.)

Category 3

The most significant change in category 3 is the drop of 125 hotels down to category 2. This reduces reward cost from 15,000 points to 10,000 points per night. Category 3 is the reward category with the largest number of hotels at 1,147 hotels for 28% of all Marriott brand hotels worldwide.

  • 80 hotels move up from category 3 to category 4.
  • 59 hotels move up from category 2 to category 3.
  • 125 hotels drop from category 3 to category 2.
  • 40 hotels drop from category 4 to category 3.

Category 3 is the highest category level where the number of hotels moving up is less than the number of hotels going down.

Category 2

  • 59 hotels move up from category 2 to category 3.
  • 42 hotels move up from category 1 to category 2.
  • 38 hotels drop from category 2 to category 1.
  • 125 hotels drop from category 3 to category 2.
  • Category 2 is the biggest recipient of new hotels with 125 category 3 hotels moving down to category 2.

Category 1

  • 42 hotels move to category 2 and 38 hotels drop to category 1 making a net loss of 4 hotels in category 1.

The Five Year Trend in Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Reassignment

Looking over the data of fives years in Marriott Rewards hotel category changes indicates to me that Marriott Rewards is now in a game of shifting hotels in categories 1-4 around between these low tier categories.

  • 2010 = 2,875 hotels in categories 1-4.
  • 2014 = 2,846 hotels in categories 1-4.

The more significant difference comes in categories 5-8.

  • 2010 = 490 hotels in categories 5-8.
  • 2014 = 1,203 hotels in categories 5-9.

Marriott added 684 hotels since 2010 to grow the hotel chain by 20%, yet during that time the number of hotels in the category 1-4 range actually dropped by 1% while the number of hotels in the upper tier categories 5-9 climbed by 143%.

I look at that and see Marriott Devaluation.

You can argue that hotel rates are higher than ever right now, but compared to 2007, hotel rates are not really that much higher. Globally and regionally the increases in room rates are less than 10% in most locations when looking at hotel rates in 2014 compared to 2007. The rate increases in hotel reward nights vastly outpaces the increase in room rates over the past seven years.

My final thoughts:

Marriott Rewards like many of the other hotel loyalty programs continue the march upward in hotel reward category assignment year after year. Unless earning points becomes easier through hotel stays, the value of points is reduced for hotel stay rewards at more desirable properties.

Hotel loyalty programs, like frequent flyer programs, have shifted much of their hotel loyalty programs to revolve around their cobranded credit card business. That leaves less value in points held by loyalty members who earn their points primarily from hotel stays. Printing billions of points earned from activities other than hotel stays results in annual adjustments to hotel rewards that reduces the value of hotel loyalty points.

Executives at many of the major hotel loyalty programs have said for several years they want to move away from points-based programs. Another five years like the last five years and most customers will likely have the same sentiment about the value of earning points for free hotel nights through hotel stays.

In the coming days I will take a closer look at the hotels in category 4 and 5 rewards for suggestions on places to redeem your certificates by April 7, 2014.

Sources:

Loyalty Traveler: http://boardingarea.com/loyaltytraveler/2013/02/13/marriott-rewards-may-16-2013-hotel-category-reassignment-an-overview/#sthash.BpaTgvJb.enMOof3g.dpbs

Marriott Rewards Insiders thread on 2014 hotel category changes

New hotel categories are effective beginning April 8, 2014. In the meantime, we have compiled a full list of changes to hotel categories.  The Marriott Rewards categories remain 1 to 9 and the points values required for each category are not changing.

How many hotels are affected?

73% of the properties remain unchanged
66% of the programs properties will remain in Categories 1-4

27% of the hotels are changing; of these 22% are decreasing by one category and 78% are increasing by one category

Is my existing redemption reservation impacted?

All redemption reservations booked on or before April 7, 2014 for stays beginning April 8, 2014, will be honored at the point price booked. If you have not ordered your certificate prior to April 8, 2014, call Guest Services to request the lower priced certificate before your stay.

How long can I book a redemption stay using the current hotel categories?

You may book redemption reservations up to 50 weeks in advance of your stay, even before having the required points in your account. For example, on April 1, 2014 you may book your redemption stay as far out as March 15, 2015.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

 

Marriott Rewards members who opt for emails get weekly Marriott eBreaks notices on Monday about hotel rate discounts for the following weekend in the U.S. and Canada.

The standard eBreaks discount is 20% off.

Use MEB in the corporate/promotional box or reserve by phone at 1–800–752–7571.

  • Friday or Saturday can be booked as one-night stays at the discount rate.
  • Thursday requires a Friday night stay (minimum 2-night stay).
  • Sunday requires a Saturday night stay (minimum 2-night stay).

There are dozens of hotels in the following states with rate discounts this weekend. Many of these hotels are under $100 per night.

Arizona

Colorado

Florida

Illinois

Indiana

Kentucky

Michigan

Mississippi

Montana

Nevada

New Hampshire

New York

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Outside of U.S.

Canada

 

Rate Analysis

Courtyard Portland City Center, Oregon

Friday, March 21

  • Marriott eBreaks rate = $119
  • AAA rate = $142
  • BAR = $149
  • Kayak.com metasearch = $149

Marriott eBreaks rate is a true 20% discount on BAR. Best of all, the flexible cancellation policy allows day of arrival cancellation with no charge up to 6:00pm local time on Friday, March 21, 2014.

Marriott eBreaks can be useful for a spur of the moment getaway trip. These eBreaks offer some good hotel rate discounts for Marriott Rewards members who seek to earn two free night certificates with the MegaBonus promotion ‘stay two times and earn one free category 1-4 hotel night certificate, valid for one year from date of issuance’. There is a limit of two free night certificates earned in this promotion running through April 30, 2014.

You must register for Marriott Rewards MegaBonus by March 31 to be eligible for earning free night certificate credit for Marriott brand hotel stays through April 30, 2014.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Earn 2,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points per stay at any of four Gaylord Resort & Convention Center properties in the USA for stays February 3-April 27, 2014. Promotion code M11.

Gaylord Resorts are purposefully built convention hotels with over 1,000 hotel rooms and provide a self-contained environment of restaurants, activities and recreation space. There are only four of these hotels in the USA and a fifth hotel being built in Denver as the Gaylord Rockies to include 1,500 rooms and an adjacent $25 million water park in the old Denver Stapleton Airport redevelopment of Aurora, Colorado.

I have attended conventions at the Florida and Maryland Gaylord properties. These are unique hotels with huge atriums offering a plant and water-filled environment in what might be considered immense open-space lobbies.

As a Marriott Rewards Silver elite member I received a similar Gaylord Resort offer for 3,000 bonus points + $25 resort credit with Promotion Code EOS.

Loyalty Traveler Rate Analysis

M11 2,000 bonus points deal

Gaylord Palms

Gaylord Palms in Florida showed two offers when I checked the M11 rate.

$299 for 2,000 bonus points pales in comparison to the Marriott Rewards member promotion for $25 per night credit and no bonus points rate at $254.

A member can buy 2,000 points for $25 on MarriottRewards.com so a rate at $45 less per night with a $25 resort credit is the better deal.

$254 per night is still a high price to pay for the Orlando area and DisneyWorld area hotels.

Marriott Rewards Silver Elite Offer 3,000 Bonus points + $25 resort credit nightly

Using my Silver elite member offer of 3,000 bonus points + $25 resort credit nightly is the same $299 rate.

Paying $45 extra for 3,000 bonus points is still not a good deal since there is hotel tax and the rate works out to about $18 per 1,000 points.

Best deal is going for the $25 resort credit rate or possibly an even lower AAA rate with no bonuses.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Normally I do not write about rumored changes to loyalty programs, but in this case the MarriottRewardsInsider thread is trending with feedback on rumored changes to Marriott Rewards for 2015 posted by an MRInsiders member two days ago.

Update 3/14: Inside Flyer reports that Marriott representatives informed them these changes are not proposed changes and the list of hotel category reassignments for 2014 will post next week.

Take all these proposed changes with a wink and a nod or perhaps a stiff drink since at this time these changes are only a rumor and not directly from Marriott.

The points required for award stays will be increased by at least 5,000 points per night across all levels and the 5th night free will disappear.  Category 10 will be added and require 60,000 points per night (read mass devaluation).

A new level will be announced above Platinum and the requirements will be formally revealed. (i.e. everyone will know how to achieve PP, if that is what it is called)

New benefits for Gold, Plat, and the new PP will be announced.  These will include things like confirmed suite upgrades (for the new PP), instant upgrades using online check-in, free breakfast (including resorts for the new PP ), free parking, and free “lifestyle events,” at the hotels during your stay.

The offerings in the concierge lounges in NA will be enhanced and will include free beer, wine and spirits where local laws permit.

However, Concierge lounge access will be eliminated for Golds and Plats unless upgraded to the concierge level rooms.  (Gold and Plats will continue to receive free continental breakfast in the restaurant or points.)

MR is looking at different models for awarding elite status including annual hotel spend, instead of nights stayed (similar to Delta’s and United FF requirements for elite status).  Spend in bars and restaurants will be included.  Deeply discounted rates, such as Government Rates, group and convention rates,  and special promotion rates will not count towards the spend requirement.

MarriottRewardsInsiders thread – How Will Points Change in 2014 (March 11, 2014)

Elite status based on annual hotel spend? The United and Delta model comes to hotels.

Free alcohol in Concierge Lounges and then deny Marriott high elites access. Marriott Rewards elites will storm the Marriott lounge doors like the Bastille demanding access to free beer, wine and cake too.

Across the board points increases in each hotel reward category? Given Hilton HHonors as Marriott’s primary competitor and the 2013 increases for HHonors rewards, this one does not seem too far out as a rumor.

Now let’s wait, see and compare what Marriott Rewards actually announces for program changes in 2014.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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
  • 2014?

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.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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