No, Marriott isn't increasing award rates at existing Category 8 properties
Earlier today, one of our eagle-eyed senior writers noticed a slight change to the Marriott Bonvoy terms & conditions that — at face value — could be taken as a concerning development. Here was the added language:
"Select properties may have redemption rates in excess of the Category 8 Redemption Rates."
Coming on the heels of the implementation of peak and off-peak pricing – where Category 8 properties now cost 100,000 points on select nights — this could've been a slap in the face to Marriott members.
However, there's a very specific reason this language was added: the forthcoming addition of North Island into the Marriott program. This luxurious resort in the Seychelles is currently bookable on Marriott's website but not for award stays. When we reached out to Marriott about the T&C change, we were given the following statement:
"We recently welcomed the addition of North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, Seychelles into the Marriott International portfolio and look forward to making this spectacular property available for award stays in the near future. In order to price the resort properly for redemptions, the change was made to the terms and conditions."
We did follow-up to confirm that there are no current plans to raise prices at existing Category 8 properties, and a Marriott spokesperson reiterated that the "change was made specifically for North Island." We also asked about a more specific timeline for North Island becoming available using Marriott points and was told that there's no date at present time but that we should "expect it to be in the very near future."