Marriott Announces Category Changes for 2016

Feb 19, 2016

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Like many of the major hotel chains — such as IHG and Hilton, which already announced their 2016 changes — Marriott adjusts the award categories for many hotels within its portfolio each year, and this year is no different. This week, the company announced its most recent round of category changes at a select number of properties in its worldwide portfolio.

Here are the highlights of the category changes:

  • 82% of its more than 4,000 properties will remain unchanged
  • 62% of those changed will remain in Categories 1-4
  • Of those changing, 30% are decreasing by one category and 70% are increasing by one category
  • 6% of those going up a category are outside the US, and 36% of those going down a category are outside the US

If you’re planning on traveling to one of the locations where the category has changed, you can use the changes to your advantage. If you book stays by March 24, 2016, you can redeem points for your stay with the 2015 rates — even for stays beyond that date. Meaning, if you plan to stay at a property that’s moving up a level, you can book your stay at the old rate before March 24; otherwise, it may make more sense to wait.

Some notable changes:

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton.
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton.

This picturesque Palm Springs luxury hotel, less than two hours from San Diego and Los Angeles, increased from a Ritz-Carlton Tier 2 property to a Tier 3 property. After March 24, redemptions will require an additional 10,000 points per night.

London Marriott Hotel Kensington

The London Marriott Hotel Kensington. Image courtesy of Marriott.
The London Marriott Hotel Kensington. Image courtesy of Marriott.

This London property is located close to train stations with easy access to Central London and Heathrow Airport. It’s also walking distance from the Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall and High Street Kensington shopping. It’s increasing from a Category 7 to a Category 8 property, requiring an additional 5,000 points per night.

JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro

The JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro. Image courtesy of Marriott.
The JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro. Image courtesy of Marriott.

This is a great decrease, especially if you’re planning on making use of the waived Visa requirement for travel to Brazil this summer. The property is located close to Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and nightlife in the city. It decreased from a Category 9 to a Category 8 property, for a drop of 5,000 points per night.

Here’s how Marriott’s redemptions break down, including the options for Cash + Points:

New cash and points redemptions for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.
Full and Cash + Points redemptions for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.

You can find the full list of all the properties that will be changing categories here. Overall, while this isn’t a positive announcement, category changes are expected, and you do have time to book future stays at current rates. Coupled with the launch of Marriott’s new Cash + Points redemption options (as seen in the chart above), there are many ways to redeem points for a stay at one of Marriott’s properties.

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card also recently increased its sign-up bonus to 100,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. You can earn an additional 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months.

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.