Huge Devaluation – Marriott Announces 2018 Category Changes

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Following on from SPG’s 2018 category changes, Marriott have announced theirs and it’s a shocker. More than four times as many properties are moving up a category than are moving down.

JW Marriott Washington DC
JW Marriott Washington DC, increasing from category 8 to category 9

You can find the full list of changes here, but be warned – it’s not pretty. 1,082 properties are moving up a category while only 247 properties are moving down.

There is a silver lining of sorts in that there are no properties moving up more than one category, but it still represents a huge devaluation of the Marriott Rewards scheme.

It also represents a devaluation of the Chase Marriott Rewards credit cards. Both the personal and business versions come with a free night certificate for a category 1-5 hotel every year when you renew your card. With these changes there’ll be 392 79 fewer properties where you can use your free night certificates. That’s because 620 124 category 5 properties are moving up and only 228 45 category 6 properties are moving down.

Edit: tinytavosa in the comments has put together a list of the properties moving from category 5 to 6.

These changes also mean that the number of properties available in Marriott’s Category 1-5 Hotel + Air packages will reduce. If you’ve had your eye on a category 6, 7 or 8 Hotel + Air package, check the list in case the property you want to stay at is moving up a category level and will therefore require more points. If you’re planning on booking one of those packages, you might want to do so before March 6, 2018.

Marriott are thankfully giving four weeks notice of these changes, so make your reservations by March 5, 2018 if you want to stay at a property that’s moving up a category. Stays don’t have to be completed by March 5, 2018, just booked by that date.

Following Marriott’s takeover of SPG, it seems strange that they’d make minor changes to the SPG categories this year but gut their own scheme. I’m guessing they’re trying to keep SPG loyalists on board while integrating the loyalty schemes and hoping their own loyalists don’t notice (or care?)

Question

What are your thoughts about this devaluation? Are you likely to move your loyalty away from Marriott due to these changes? Let us know in the comments below.

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