Marriott Rewards has released list of properties that are moving up (848 properties) and down (233) in award categories effective on April 8, 2014.
You can book using the old award categories until April 7, 2014, even if you don’t have the award certificate or required points yet in your account. You must ensure that you have them before your stay, however.
The total number of properties that are changing in award categories is 1081. There are 233 properties that go down by one award category. Of the total number of properties moving up (848), three are moving two award categories. Two category 7 properties become 9 and one category 6 property becomes 8.
Here’s the full list of properties moving up/down:
Here’s the reminder of points required by award category
Properties moving down
There are quite a few properties moving down in China and the Middle East (Egypt, Doha, Turkey, Pakistan etc). The new Marriott Rayong in Thailand is moving from category 4 to 3. This is a nice hotel where I stayed at late last year.
Properties moving up
If you look at the highest category moves up, they are almost all in vacation spots where people would actually prefer burning their points. These are not necessarily the most expensive hotels.
208 category 5 properties move to category 6. You can no longer use those MegaBonus category 1-5 free nights certs for these hotels. JW Bangkok and Renaissance both move to category 6?
Same for 123 category 4 properties that are moving to category 5. Those category 1-4 free nights certs become a lot less valuable.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards moving up
There isn’t a single Ritz-Carlton property that would be moving down in number of points required for a free night.
It is a significant category shift when 21% of the properties are moving up and only 5.8% are moving down.
You should evaluate how this affect you by checking the properties where you have redeemed during the past year and what are their new award categories.
Personally, I have only redeemed Marriott Rewards points for travel packages with 120,000 miles component and used those MegaBonus certs for “free” nights.
It is telling that I am writing this from a current category 5 property (Courtyard Hong Kong) that I booked using one of those MegaBonus certs and it is shortly becoming category 6 property.