Marriott Rewards announced the yearly category creep on February 11, but the new hotel award categories won’t go into effect before May 16, 2013. You have until May 15th to book at the current point levels. I have already written two pieces about this devaluation that you can access here and here.
Here’s a quick reminder:
– About one third of hotels (1311) will move up by a category
– New award category 9
– You can book up to 50 weeks in advance using the old rates
You do not need to have Marriott points to make award reservations
Marriott has a very lax policy, when it comes to award reservations. You don’t need to actually have the points in your account to support the award reservation that you do. You do have to make sure that you have the points in your account before your stay, however.
When you make an award reservation, make sure that you pay attention to the cancellation terms. Most of the time awards do allow cancellation for up to arrival day, but there can be exceptions. Some hotels may require cancellation i.e. 30 days before during their high season.
If you are planning to use certificates that you earn from future Megabonus promotions, just make reservations now using points. You will very likely be able to change those to certificates once you have earned them.
Make reservations day by day
I cannot stress this enough. To have the maximum flexibility, make your award reservations day by day unless there is a discount involved for i.e. five day awards.
This way it is very easy for you to shorten your stay or come day later etc. Plans often change at the last minute and this allow you the maximum flexibility.
This Marriott devaluation is ugly, but won’t hit you for a year, if you can plan ahead and make your award reservations now.
Remember that with Marriott you don’t need to have the points in your account at the time of making the award reservations.