Marriott Bonvoy’s Latest Category Changes Are Painful…

a resort with a pool and chairs

Award category changes are a fact of life in the hotel loyalty game. Every year, a bunch of hotels change from one award category to another. Some chains take a reasonable approach to these annual changes – with hotels just as likely to drop a category as to go up. Marriott Bonvoy, on the other hand, takes advantage each year to slip in a stealthy devaluation. 2020 is no different.

On March 4, 2020, hundreds of Marriott hotels will be increasing in award category. A few will drop, but those will certainly be the hotels where cash rates are far lower than the value of the points you would be spending.

As always, you can book now at current prices for stays after March 4. However, if you subsequently try to modify that reservation in any way, you will end up repricing to the as-current price. And as I’ve written about previously, “Points Advance” is now completely useless for locking in award category / pricing / etc.

Which Hotels are Changing Award Category?

Because the list is so long, all I can do is point you towards Marriott’s special website dedicated to outlining which hotels will change in award category. You can access the website by clicking here.

As a reminder, this is what Marriott’s award chart looks like:

a screenshot of a white table

Are Airline Miles Now the Best Use of Marriott Points?

Of course it is easy enough to overreact when one peruses a list of “award category changes” and finds many of one’s favorite hotels about to increase in price (using points at least). At such times, it is useful to remember that you can still convert your Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles. By converting 60,000 Bonvoy points, you will receive 25,000 miles.  More if you wait for a conversion bonus…

a group of logos on a white background

Share the Changes That Most Annoy You

I’m not surprised to see the Marriott Auditorium hotel near Madrid airport increase from Award Category 2 to 3.  But the nearby AC Coslada hotel – much worse in every way, including substantially lower room rates – also goes from 2 to 3.

By the same token, the super cheap Moxy hotel near London’s Heathrow airport is dropping from Award Category 4 to 3. Perhaps sensible, but the Sheraton Skyline and Sheraton Heathrow hotels are also dropping to Category 3. Only the hippest of millennials would rather use their points at the $65 per night Moxy instead of the £100+ per night Sheraton Skyline.

Does it make sense to have one hotel undercut nearby hotels when using points? I suppose it doesn’t. But at the same time everybody just gravitates to spending their points at the better hotel, so isn’t that equally as bad for Marriott?

Which changes most annoy or bother you? Let us know in the comments section…

A version of this article first appeared on InsideFlyer UK


  1. Harry says

    I have stayed at the Sheraton Skyline many times. I think it is overall by far and away the best value – no not the best – hotel near the airport. The rooms are large, the public facilities good and the price can’t be beaten, not usually more than $100. If you don’t have check-in luggage to lug, the fact that it is the free transport zone of Heathrow is a bonus. In Hotel Category 3, it may even be worth using points!

  2. Jim McMillan says

    I’ve mostly stopped using Marriott hotels, primarily because of the valueless “loyalty” program.

    In my experience it’s easily possible to channel your hotel stays to alternatives. At airports, pretty much everyone has service available. On the highways, every exit that has hotels generally has an offering from all the major brands.

    Marriott in my view has never been a particularly ethical chain.

    Vote with your feet and your wallets!

  3. Rlaan says

    Most industries evolve to better products. Unfortunately, the travel industry does not. Not only their products drop to lower standards usually for the same or higher prices. Also their loyalty programs Are worn out. Not a smart choice is you want to keep you customers. And this is what the market asks for is not an excuse here. If we want Chaam and shitty, we would pick low budget airlines and hotels and not the premium ones. It is about time that the travel industry understand that there is a middle class in between the cheap and the rich folks.

  4. Joachim says

    I was an enthusiastic member of Sheraton and Platinum member but since Marriott has eaten up most chains i have stopped lodging there and prefer to go with better brands like Anantara or Shangri-la. Marriott has always had a poor loyalty program and now it has spread this bad to the other brands. I see no point staying there anymore.

  5. Jeff Epstein (different one) says

    I am still put off by how bad the Bonvoy name is. There has never been a worse rebranding in travel program history. What was wrong with Marriott Rewards or even Marriott Preferred Guest?

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