Marriott Rewards Announces Hotel Reward Category Changes (Mostly Increases) for 2012

Loyalty Traveler reports that Marriott Rewards is making its annual adjustment to reward categories (which hotels cost how many points) — new rates go into effect March 15 — 100 hotels are going down a category and 526 are going up a category.

Marriott is the chain whose economics I’m least familiar with, several years ago it was explained to me that hotels are compensated based on the number of redemptions made during the year — the more redemptions, the more they were paid per redemption. This was how Marriott incentivized hotels to make more rooms available as awards.

I hadn’t paid much attention, and since that time Marriott has changed policies to more closely match its competitors and make award rooms available on points more or less whenever those rooms are available for cash. And I hadn’t thus learned whether their compensation model changed along with it.

You can download a .pdf file with all of the hotel-by-hotel changes.

One interesting tidbit from the document suggests that the hotel compensation model may not have fundamentally changed:

Marriott Rewards has 8 hotel categories which are determined by prior
year redemption volume at each hotel and are not determined by brand, rate, amenities, location, or services offered.

You can also download a .pdf of the full list of hotels by category for 2012 that will be in effect from March 15 onward.

I certainly don’t like to see so many more hotels going up in price than going down, but at least it’s only ~ 15% of properties that are getting more expensive.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I looked over the chart (thanks for the handy link). Unfortunately, the downgraded ones aren’t ones that I’d stay at anyway. But those that upgraded from 7 to 8 (Marriotts in Hawaii, for example) are ones that I would. Same for some other international Marriotts. Bummer!

  2. Thanks for the list. It is bogus that the Courtyard Munich City Center was increased from 4 to 5 last year and now this year 5 to 6. 2 catagory jump in 2 years.

  3. Not happy at all about this. I have a free-night certificate from Marriott’s Q1 promo and was planning another couple of stays to get a second to use at the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown in September. Not happy that this property is one of the 96 moving up from Category 4 to 5, thus removing the ability to use these certificates there!!

  4. Interesting to know that Marriott uses redemption rates as their sole indicator of the property category. One has to wonder whether people are really staying a ton at Cat 8 properties – if not, how would it keep it’s current category. I don’t think I’d blow my points on a Cat 8 hotel – I usually don’t think of my hotel as the destination’s attraction – if that were the case, heck, I’d just find the nicest hotel in my home town and stay there.

  5. Yeah it’s major downgrade for those who collect the Cat 1-4 Megabonus free night certificates. Almost everyone else has improved their programs this year while Marriott has only downgraded theirs.

  6. The biggest letdown is that Marriott’s best value property – the Courtyard Waikiki – is now Cat 5. That puts it out of reach of Megabonus! 🙁

  7. Marriot should increase the value of their free cat 1 to 4 free night certs to include cat 5 to 8 + points. The points would be the delta between the points required for a free cat 4 night and the points for a free cat 5, 6, 7, or 8. This makes the cert at least partially useful for the higher categories. The cat 1 to 5 Marriott Premier Visa/MC retention bonus should do this also.

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