Though I always believe in ulterior motives, I must genuinely compliment Marriott on it's newly announced changes to the Marriott Rewards program. How many times have you heard me say that?! Usually when we hear change it's synonymous with higher rates and less flexibility. This announcement on the other hand will offer travelers the ability to combine points, book without enough points and earn elite status on those same free stays. 

Book Without Enough Points

Being a few points short of booking my dream vacation sends me into a frenzy. Do I buy points? Try to transfer some? No more! Marriott will now allow you to book a hotel stay using points no matter how short you are. There's one rule: you must have enough points on check in day. Fair enough! This is great news for people who want to lock in availability while it's there even if they're not points ready! Thanks Marriott!

Earn "Elite" Credit For Free Stays

I always wish that I was earning miles or elite credit for the free flights I take. I certainly am on plenty of them! Anyway, Marriott, clearly listening to my inner monologue will now offer elite credit for the stays you take even when using points. Free stays are now elite counting stays! What an opportunity to top off towards the next tier! It will matter even more for reasons directly below!

Transfer Points For Free Or Cheap

If you're a Marriott Gold elite or above you can now transfer up to 50,000 points to your friend, wife, mistress, family or whoever for absolutely free! If you're a lowly regular Marriott rewards member like me, they will charge just a simple flat fee of $10 for the privilege. In comparison I just paid $75 to transfer less than 5,000 Delta miles between my wife and I! I hate paying a certain dollar figure per certain thousand points. No more! Thanks Marriott!


Cash + Points

Sometimes you know a hotel is "the one" but it just seems a bit overpriced. Though it's rarely a use I would suggest for your hard earned points, come 2016 you will be able to apply points towards the cost of a stay to offset some of the cash cost. This can help make your ideal property something manageable and is a nice gesture, even if it's not usually the best use of points! 

Kudos to Marriott on realizing that a good rewards program is a competitive advantage and not a burden. The hotel industry is fascinatingly tricky with all the booking sites, competing chains, boutiques and so on. It makes the airline industry look like Disneyland! I will certainly be more interested in earning some Marriott points than I was before. I guess that's the point right?

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