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. 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
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
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
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:
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.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards