Marriott Bonvoy “No Blackout Dates” Award Policy Change (For Worse)

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Marriott Bonvoy has quietly changed their “No Blackout Dates” award policy and, it appears, it is for the worse.

Hong Kong Conrad & JW Marriott

Previously, Marriott Rewards was misleading its program members for years with its then “No Blackout Dates” policy. In contrast, SPG members were always able to redeem when there was a standard room available for sale.

You can access Marriott Bonvoy’s page for award policy here.

READ MORE: Marriott Bonvoy Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the old policy:

3.2.n. The Company has a “No Blackout Dates” policy, which means that, subject to the limitations and exclusions below, Participating Properties have standard rooms available every day for Award Redemptions. These limitations and exclusions are:

i. Participating Properties from the following Brands may limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days: The Ritz-Carlton®, EDITION®, JW Marriott®, Marriott Hotels®, Delta Hotels®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Gaylord Hotels®, Courtyard®, SpringHill Suites®, Protea Hotels®, Fairfield by Marriott®, AC Hotels®, Moxy® Hotels, Residence Inn®, TownePlace Suites®, Vistana properties.

ii. The following Participating Brands allow only for Points/Miles earnings and do not offer Points redemption: Marriott Executive Apartments® and ExecuStay®.

Iii. The following Participating Properties or Brands either do not participate in or do not fully participate in the No Blackout Dates benefit at this time:

Here’s the new one:

3.2.n. The Company has a “No Blackout Dates” policy, which means that, subject to the limitations and exclusions below, Participating Properties have standard rooms available every day for Award Redemptions. These limitations and exclusions are:

i. Participating Properties may limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days.

ii. The following Participating Brands allow only for Points/Miles earnings and do not offer Points redemption: Marriott Executive Apartments® and ExecuStay®.

Iii. The following Participating Properties or Brands either do not participate in or do not fully participate in the No Blackout Dates benefit at this time:

The new policy implies that now the legacy SPG properties can deny members award rooms if they had at least one available for the date OR they have applied and granted a “blackout.” Isn’t it interesting that Marriott’s No Blackout Date-policy does allow blackouts?

Previously this only applied for legacy Marriott brands while SPG ones had to have awards available always when they had standard rooms available for cash.

Conclusion

Marriott Rewards has had a misleading “No Blackout Date” policy in place that didn’t mean that there were no blackout dates but merely that there were none set by the program and properties could apply for months-long exceptions that were readily approved. Also, properties didn’t need to have award availability when they were selling standard rooms.

SPG, however, did have a bonafide No Blackout Date policy in place that allowed members to redeem whenever there was a standard room available for sale.

This change means that the old Marriott Rewards policy now applies to legacy SPG hotels. I would assume that most hotels will continue to have good award availability. Still, those that are hostile to low-cost reimbursement from Marriott Bonvoy for award rooms will start further limiting the availability.

I find it very unfortunate that Marriott Bonvoy continues the Marriott Rewards tradition of not playing fair with its program members but rather misleads them. This certainly doesn’t build trust between the program members and Marriott Bonvoy.

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