Marriott Category 8 Pricing Won't Take Effect Until March 2019
Update: Category 8 redemption rates went into effect as of March 5, 2019. For details on Marriott redemption options, please visit How to Redeem Points With the Marriott Bonvoy Program.
One of the long-awaited changes in the Marriott/SPG integration will be the introduction of new, top-tier Category 8 pricing in 2019. Once this takes effect, standard award rates at roughly 60 luxurious hotels and resorts around the world will jump from 60,000 points to 85,000 points per night. As a result, our recommendation has been to book properties like the St. Regis Maldives and St. Regis Bora Bora now before the pricing change takes effect.
Originally this change was slated for 2019, and the assumption was that it would happen early in the year. Well, it now looks like you have a couple of additional months of breathing room. While we don't have a specific date, Marriott has confirmed that Category 8 redemption rates go into effect in March 2019 along with annual category changes. This new information is now reflected on the program's category page with award rates:
Marriott has confirmed that this change will happen on "a date to be determined in March" and has promised to update as as soon as possible, and we don't yet know any details on how significant the category changes will be at that time. That being said, I still take this as positive news, since you now have at least the first two months of 2019 to lock in award stays at the properties shifting to Category 8. And since you can typically book Marriott properties roughly 50 weeks in advance, that'll extend this pricing into February 2020.
Bear in mind, too, that this update comes on the heels of remaining legacy SPG properties shifting to Marriott's booking site, meaning that Points Advance is now available across the combined portfolio of 29 brands. This is one of my favorite things about the Marriott program, as it allows you to book award stays when you're short on points. You then just need to earn enough to cover the stay within 14 days of your arrival, giving you plenty of time to boost your balance. This is a terrific strategy to use before Category 8 pricing takes effect.
We'll be sure to keep you updated on all things Marriott as additional information is provided.