One week left before Marriott Bonvoy Points Advance changes
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.
Looking to book a Marriott property through August 2020 but don’t have the points for the stay in your account yet? Book now, because starting Sept. 14, 2019, Marriott’s changes to the Points Advance program come into effect, and they’re not pretty. Just two weeks ago the chain finally announced the remaining updates to the Marriott Bonvoy program. Here are the basics of what’s happening:
Peak and off-peak pricing
We’ve known for a long time that this was coming, but now it’s finally here. Depending on your travel dates, the price of an award night will now vary between off-peak, standard and peak:
Instead of having a set schedule for the year, Marriott will use an algorithm to recalculate these dates on a monthly basis, so a given property could increase or decrease in price.
One of the most useful features of Marriott’s award program, Points Advance enables you to book stays without already having the required amount of points in your account. This allowed you to lock in the cost of the room regardless of any changes in award costs (for example, if the hotel increases a category at the start of the new year). Unfortunately, as of Sept. 14, your reservation won’t be locking in the rate; rather, it’ll be locking in award availability for the room. This means that if you book the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort and Spa as a Category 5 property during an off-peak period and Marriott’s new pricing algorithm decides three months from now that your stay is actually occurring during a peak period, you’re on the hook for an extra 10,000 points per night. Ouch.
Cash + Points
The Cash + Points feature is also changing to accommodate the new peak/off-peak pricing. Essentially, you’ll pay the same amount of cash regardless of when you book, but your point cost will vary according to the new pricing:
What do you do if you have upcoming travel?
If you’re planning on traveling with Marriott sometime in the next year, book your stay now. One of the best parts of Points Advance is that you can make and cancel bookings without any fees, so if there’s something you’ve been eyeing but aren’t sure about, snag it just in case. Marriott has confirmed that all Points Advance stays booked prior to Sept. 14 will lock in the award rate at the time of booking. Starting on Sept. 14, however, those reservations are subject to monthly recalculations until you actually earn and then redeem the points for the award stay.
And if you have Marriott annual free night certificates and thought you were safe, unfortunately those certificates are tied to points values, not award categories. This means that if you’ve got a certificate from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — which gives you an annual night worth up to 50,000 points — sometimes you’ll be be able to book at a Category 6 hotel, and sometimes you won’t.
Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.