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Marriott plans to announce four changes to its Rewards program next week, according to an official post on the Marriott Rewards Insiders site. These are all positive changes, though note that the first program addition (outlined below) has been in effect for quite some time.
More details are coming on Monday, but for now we know the following, based on the post (and confirmed with a Marriott representative):
- Points Advance – Available now! Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members are able to book redemption stays before having sufficient points to cover the cost of that stay.
- Points Sharing – Beginning Oct. 12, 2015 Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will have the ability to share points with friends and family. Members can transfer up to 50,000 points from their account each year!
- Redemption Stay Credit – Starting Nov. 1, 2015 Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will earn Elite night credit on redemption nights paid for with points.
- NEW Cash + Points – Coming in early 2016, the NEW Cash + Points will give Rewards members the flexibility to use a mix of cash and points to cover single or multi-night redemption stays.
All three of these new additions are quite exciting. Starwood currently lets you share points for free with someone with the same mailing address, and Hilton allows points transfers, but with a fee of $10 per 1,000 points. Hyatt allows free transfers with any other member if you’re redeeming for a specific award.
As for stay credits, Marriott and Hyatt are the only major programs that still don’t offer stay credits for award nights — fortunately, that’ll change for Marriott next month. Cash and points redemptions are also commonplace with other programs, but it’s nice to see Marriott catching up to the pack here. It’s unclear how much you’ll need to shell out for redemptions, though.
Overall, these are all welcome additions. Ultimately, Marriott’s playing catch-up here, but late is better than never.