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Marriott Bonvoy announces category changes for 2020

To the point Marriott Bonvoy just announced category changes that will affect nearly 30% of its hotels, which will take place starting March 4, 2020.

Marriott Bonvoy category changes for 2020

Each March, Marriott Bonvoy (formerly Marriott Rewards) conducts a rate adjustment at its 7,000+ hotels worldwide.

This happens through category changes, and this year’s will be on March 4, 2020.

Each hotel is classified into 8 rate categories, and since last year, each of these rate categories is subdivided into 3 rates to use points in exchange for a free night.

Category Off peak Standard Peak
1 5,000 7,500 10,000
2 10,000 12,500 15,000
3 15,000 17,500 20,000
4 20,000 25,000 30,000
5 30,000 35,000 40,000
6 40,000 50,000 60,000
7 50,000 60,000 70,000
8 70,000 85,000 100,000

For example, a free night can cost between 5,000 points at off-peak rate at a Category 1 hotel – as we’ve been able to get in South Africa – and 100,000 points at a Category 8 hotel during high-peak.

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Protea Hotel By Marriott Hazyview

Details on those Category changes

For reference, last year only 5% of hotels changed categories.

This year, as of March 4, 2020, the category changes are massive, affecting 2,185 establishments, or 29% of hotels:

  • 7% will decrease by one or more categories
  • 22% will move up one or more categories, or about 1,500 hotels!
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An annual devaluation

Hotel programs adapt their rates each year according to the market conditions affecting each hotel. To give a simple example: South Africa is a “trendy” destination for 2019-2020, so 23 hotels will change categories, 21 of which will increase!

On the other hand, for Canada, 76 hotels will change categories, 42 of which will be downgraded!

However, this is mostly an opportunity for Marriott Bonvoy to conduct an“annual devaluation“.

As is often said, it is necessary to accumulate points, but especially to use them, in order to be protected from this type of devaluation.

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The statistics of the main countries, a milesopedia exclusivity:

Country Category – decline Category – Increase Total
United States 257 1291 1548
Canada 42 34 76
China 24 44 68
Spain 4 30 34
Mexico 6 20 26
India 9 17 26
Germany 14 11 25
United Kingdom 13 10 23
United Arab Emirates 3 20 23
South Africa 2 21 23
France 0 20 20
Indonesia 13 5 18
Italy 4 13 17
Saudi Arabia 9 7 16
Japan 6 10 16
Russia 2 8 10
Colombia 0 10 10

Book using your points before March 4, 2020

Browse the list shared by Marriott Bonvoy to see if the hotels you had considered for the coming year are affected.

If so, book before March 4, 2020 USING YOUR POINTS.

If you don’t have the points in your Marriott Bonvoy account, you can always make a “points advance,” but this will only block the room, not the rate!

Remember, Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a 5:6 rate. And that the best card for this is the travel hacker’s favorite credit card: the Cobaltᵐᶜ American Express card!

Bottom Line

By March 2020, we will update the complete Marriott Bonvoy hotel map to help you find hotels where you can use your points and the annual certificate offered by each Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

While the list of category changes is available on the Marriott Bonvoy website, we will be sharing a list in the facebook group soon for you to work on!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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