Marriott has taken some flack recently — some of it deserved — but the chain still has some fantastic luxury hotel properties across the world. It’s this massive footprint that gives you tons of options to use your points regardless of the continent you’ll be visiting.
However, some award rates are changing tomorrow — March 5, 2019 — and that means today is the last day to book some properties at much better rates. In fact, some properties will cost 15,000 more points! Even if some of these properties are worth it at the higher rate, there’s no sense using more points unless you absolutely must.
What Is Marriott Changing Tomorrow?
Before we dive into tomorrow’s changes, here’s a quick look at the award chart that will take shape this year:
As you can see, Marriott Bonvoy will be introducing standard, off-peak, and peak award rates this year but not quite yet.
Now, let’s get to tomorrow’s changes.
First, Marriott Bonvoy will introduce a Category 8 level to its award chart. The standard rate for a Category 8 property will be 85,000 Marriott points per night which is 15,000 more than Category 7. We’ve known this is coming for a while now but it hurts nonetheless.
If you want to see which properties will be jumping to the new highest category, Marriott provides a page with a listing of its properties and their corresponding categories. Just sort by category to find the 62 properties that will become Category 8 tomorrow.
You’ll also see other properties jumping up or dropping down a category tomorrow.
3 Luxury Properties You Need To Book Today
With St. Regis, Ritz, and Luxury Collection (and more) all part of the Marriott portfolio, it’s hard to just pick 5 properties to highlight. There are plenty of other Category 7 properties getting bumped to Category 8 tomorrow, so give this list a look to see which one fits your travel plans.
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai
If there’s one Marriott property I wish I’d booked, it might be the Al Maha in Dubai. Cash rates can exceed $1,500 per night at this Luxury Collection property so it’s no surprise it will be a Category 8 as of tomorrow.
With your booking, you’ll receive three meals per day plus some staples like coffee, tea, and water — other drinks are not free. Additionally, you get to choose two complimentary activities per day such as archery, falconry, a desert drive, and more.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Recently, we talked about how to take advantage of a Hilton points promo to book the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Well, the Maldives is full of amazing hotels and the St. Regis is no exception.
From beautiful beaches to private pools at your villa to the numerous activities and amenities to enjoy, it’s hard to go wrong here if you’re just looking to relax. There’s even a kid’s area if you want to bring your family.
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
If you want an amazing view of Hong Kong, it’s tough to beat the views from the Ritz-Carlton, especially if you’re having a drink at one of the highest bars in the world on the 118th floor.
You can also expect your room to live up to the luxury reputation Ritz seeks to cultivate and for the service from the staff to match.
While Platinum Elites and above receive lounge access at many Marriott brands, this is not the case at Ritz-Carlton properties. However, you might be able to pay a supplement to upgrade to a club room which will give you access. If you like champagne, you can enjoy a glass while taking in the view.
Possible Workaround With Points Advance
Marriott Bonvoy will allow you to book an award stay as long as you have the required number of points in your account at least 14 days prior to your stay. In theory, you could book with a points advance if you know you’ll have the points later so you can lock in your stay at the current award rates.
I say “in theory” because Marriott has had a lot of IT issues lately and it’s certainly possible that something could get screwed up between now and when you have the points for the stay. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly but just keep this in mind when using the points advance feature.
Whether it’s an airline program or hotel program, it’s always sad to say good-bye to better redemption rates, but booking one last award can soften the blow. I booked Thai Airways first class between Sydney and Bangkok with United miles just before it’s devaluation to make myself feel better.
If nothing else, we should be used to the annual category adjustments that hotel loyalty programs make even if we don’t like them. This time, it’s Marriott’s turn so make sure you get your bookings done today if you’ll be staying at a hotel that is jumping up a category.