When Marriott introduced the award chart for the merged Marriott/SPG/Ritz program, the new top tier became Category 8. Cat 8 standard awards were slated to cost 85,000 points per night. However, it was announced that Category 8 properties would be bookable for the Category 7 price of 60,000 Marriott Rewards points per night “until early 2019”. We haven’t previously had a clear indication as to when that would be, but Doctor of Credit and a reddit user point to a change Marriott made on its site indicating that you’ll be able to book Cat 8 properties for Cat 7 prices until March 2019. That’s great news for those who still have their eye on some of the most aspirational properties in the combined Marriott portfolio.
Remember that Marriott offers the 5th night free on award stays, so a 5-night stay at a top-tier property currently costs 240K Marriott points, or 48K points per night. That’s a phenomenal value for many of the chain’s top properties. You’ll remember that the top end of Starwood’s award chart was the equivalent of 105K Marriott points per night. Furthermore, some properties didn’t even exist on the chart as they were classified as all-suites, costing the equivalent of as much as 270K Marriott Rewards points per night to book a room. You can now book those properties for 60K if you find availability — or 48K per night for a five-night stay.
In fact, a reader reached out just the other day with a success story, having booked a stay at such a property that had a cash rate of over $24,000.
He booked those 6 nights for 300K Marriott points (240K for the first 5 nights + 1 additional night).
It looks as though you’ll have a few more months for that kind of thing, which some will certainly find exciting. Remember that this means you can lock in stays through the end of the booking calendar at current pricing. For example, in February 2019 you should be able to book those high-end properties at Cat 7 prices for stays into February 2020 — so you’ve got about 14 months of booking calendar that is yet to come to enjoy the lower rates.
Greg and I both have similar stays booked next year at formerly off-the-charts Starwood properties and I for one look forward to the opportunity to check out a couple of hotels I wouldn’t have considered at the previous prices for quite a discount over those former rates.
Overall, this is exciting news.
H/T: Doctor of Credit