Skip to content

The Marriott hotels to book now before award rates increase on March 4

March 02, 2020
13 min read
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.

If you've been hiding under a rock hoping the annual Marriott category changes would go away if you just ignored them, I don't blame you, but I have some bad news. Beginning on Wednesday -- March 4, 2020 -- 1,686 Marriott properties around the world will cost you more points per night than they do today. To put math to it, a staggering 22% of Marriott hotels are increasing in award price on March 4, while only 7% are going down in award cost.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

With the pricing increases just about upon us, here are some ideas of Marriott hotels you should lock in now before the new prices arrive on March 4. Assuming you have the Marriott points at the ready to lock in award rates at one of these properties, you can book stays as far our as early February 2021 at the current award rates. Just keep in mind that Points Advance only secures you a physical room, and does not lock in the award cost until you actually spend the points to pay for the award reservation. To see the entire list of properties changing categories for yourself, head here.

Related: Analyzing the 2020 Marriott award chart changes

W New Orleans (Photo courtesy of

Hotels moving out of range of a 35,000-point certificate

There are several Marriott cobranded credit cards that issue an annual award certificate valid at Marriott hotels costing up to 35,000 points per night. The currently available Marriott cards that award this certificate at each renewal include:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

These certificates are valid for stays at Marriott Category 5 hotels (when those hotels aren't on a peak priced award night) and below. So, when a hotel moves up to Category 6, it takes it out of range of these awards. On March 4, there are 216 Marriott hotels going from a Category 5 to a Category 6, and only 15 coming down to a 5 from a 6.

Beginning on March 4, here are some of the 216 hotels that will go out of range of a Marriott 35,000-point certificate:

Two changes that will actually be helpful for travelers? The Westin San Diego and Westin San Diego Gaslamp will fall from Category 6 into the very useful Category 5 price range. So, starting March 4, you'll be able to redeem 35,000-point certificates for a free night at either of these hotels.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: Best ways to earn Marriott points

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort (Photo courtesy of

Hotels moving out of range of a 50,000-point certificate

Similar to how it works at the Category 5 level with the 35,000-point certificates, hotels classified as Category 6 and below are within range for booking with an up to 50,000-point certificate that's awarded each year at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees) with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

Sadly, 95 properties will move from Category 6 to a 7 on March 4, with only nine coming down from Category 7 to 6.

Here are some of those 95 properties going out of range of a 50,000-point certificate beginning on March 4:

Bodrum Edition (Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)

Category changes to ski resorts

Paid rates for otherwise standard rooms at ski resorts tend to skyrocket between $500 and $1,000 on ski weekends, and then plunge as low as $100 to $200 per night during the off-season. Because of this, ski properties are generally exceptional places to redeem points during the ski season. It was reasonable to hope that Marriott's introduction of peak- and off-peak pricing would have stabilized ski resort categories, but it didn't work out that way. Many Marriott ski resorts are heading up the award chart:

Related: Review of the Westin Snowmass

Westin Snowmass as seen from the lift. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The silver lining? The new W Aspen will come within range of a 50,000-point certificate beginning on March 4 on all but peak dates. The hotel was overpriced as a Category 7, but is a great use of a 50,000-point certificate if you can find availability during ski season.

Related: Review of the W Aspen

Caribbean resorts

Many of the best points hotels in the Caribbean are Marriott properties. Frustratingly, many of them are increasing in award cost on March 4.

Basically, this means that going to Atlantis on points is going to cost you more — as will resorts in destinations such as Aruba, Grand Cayman and beyond.

(Photo courtesy of French Leave in the Bahamas)

Hawaii resorts

Hawaii is a fantastic place to travel with points. But, like many other hot spots, a number of Marriott properties in the Aloha State are moving up the chart.

Sheraton Kauai (photo courtesy of the hotel)

Related: Using free night hotel certificates in Hawaii

New York City hotels

While award chart increases are happening all over the world at Marriott properties, some cities are particularly hard hit. The Big Apple is one such destination. As with Hawaii and ski towns during peak season, cash rates can become painful in Manhattan, making points redemptions a smart way to save money. But it's going to cost you more points at dozens of New York City Marriott hotels when the new rates take effect. The value-friendly Category 5 New York City properties were especially hard hit.

Here's a sampling of the upcoming changes:

Sheraton Tribeca (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: Review of the Marriott Marquis

Bottom line

It wasn't a surprise when Marriott added an eighth award chart category in 2019. We all knew peak- and off-peak award pricing was coming long before it arrived. We also weren't surprised when some hotels moved categories this year. After all, that happens every year.

But to have all this happen in such a short timeframe is a massive blow to Marriott loyalists.

To put this all another way: In six months, we've gone from hotels costing a maximum of 60,000 Marriott points per night to a whopping 100,000 points per night.

What's arguably worse than what happens at the extreme end of the award chart, is how many of properties are creeping up in the middle of the chart. Even if you never want to redeem points somewhere such as the St. Regis Maldives, what happens in those key category 5 and 6 ranges matters to pretty much all points-savvy travelers.

There are, of course, a few bright spots — the W Aspen, for example, and the Westin San Diego and Westin San Diego Gaslamp properties — that will become cheaper on points beginning March 4.

But by and large, this is a painful recategorization that will leave the average Marriott award price higher than it was before. Our advice? Book those Marriott stays for the next year right now if the hotel you want is one of the 1,686 that will cost more points beginning in just a matter of days.

Featured image by Westin Maui (Photo courtesy of
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.