Recall of Marriott Bonvoy's changes
Since September 14, 2019, here is the price schedule for an overnight stay according to the hotel category:
A night can cost between 5,000 points (category 1 hotel in low season) and 100,000 points (category 8 hotel in high season).
How are the seasons determined?
We would have thought that low/high-season rates would be determined based on the geographical location of the hotels. It will be more complicated… and unpredictable.
- The low/high-season rate will be different from one hotel to another, even if they are located in the same city or region
- The hotel does not have control of this rate: it is Marriott Bonvoy who will decide the rate via an algorithm
- This price will not be set in stone: it will be adjusted every month
- Most dates will be at the standard rate .. . on the entire portfolio (which may mean that some hotels have more high-season rates like in the Maldives for example).
- For stays of 5 nights or more, the 5th night free will actually be the cheapest in points (if the rate is different from one night to the next). The option is renamed“Stay 5 nights at the price of 4”
In fact, it can happen that in a same week, a hotel is categorized in 3 ways:
- Low season fare
- Standard fare
- High season rate
Here’s an example with SpringHill Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings/Western Entrance,very close to Walt Disney World.
SpringHill Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings/Western Entrance is a Category 4 hotel and during the same week, 3 rates are in effect:
- 20,000 points (off-peak)
- 25,000 points (standard)
- 30,000 points (peak)
How to find flexible dates within the reward chart?
To browse a hotel’s price list, you should proceed by searching with “flexible dates” on the Marriott Bonvoy website, indicating the number of nights desired:
Stay for 5, Pay for 4
With the introduction of off-peak and peak rates, it is now the cheapest night in points on your 5-night stay that will be free. For example, here is the schedule for this category 1 hotel in Bali, the Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Ungasan:
Depending on the dates chosen, the stay can cost from 20,000 points to 40,000 points for 5 nights. From simple to double!
The free one-night certificate worth 35,000 points
Both Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offer a Free night Award Certificate worth up to 35,000 points upon annual renewal.
With the introduction of the off-peak/peak rate, you can use this certificate at Category 1 to 4 hotels anytime.
On the other hand, for Category 5 hotels, it will be possible to use the certificate for the off-peak rate (30,000 points) or standard rate (35,000 points).
But it will not be possible to use during peak rate at a Category 5 hotel (40,000 points).
Marriott Bonvoy’s points advance is used to “block a room” but not to “block a rate.”
This means that this option allows you to ensure that the room will be available with the points. On the other hand, as long as you haven’t paid for it with your points, the rate will change between low-season/standard/high-season.
And it is possible to make a points advance for up to 5 bookings.
How do I adjust your rate online?
To the surprise of the facebook group members, Marriott Bonvoy simplified the work to adjust the rate for those who had already applied points for a booking (excluding points advance).
As indicated by Gab G., it is possible to edit your booking and update it if you find that the rate is more advantageous for you!
However, for this option to be present, rooms must always be available for booking with points.
To proceed you will need to go on your reservation and click “change the room”:
If a room is available with points, you will be able to see the current rates. In this case, the rate is cheaper for the whole stay: 80,000 points instead of 100,000 points.
All you have to do is click“refresh”:
A confirmation screen will be used to let you know that the points will be credited back to your account.
And here is the updated booking in the account at the rate of 80,000 points instead of 100,000 points.
Here’s another example of booking from 150,000 points to 130,000 points thanks to low-season rates.
Looking for sweet spots!
It will be up to everyone to look for sweet spots (i.e. good deals) in the Marriott Bonvoy program!
To help you, we have put together a map of all hotels by rate category! (Click on the square at the top right to open it fully).
There are many hotels in Category 1 to 3 around the world
Here is a sweet spot we found in Indonesia at Four Points by Sheraton Manado which is classified in category 1. Here are the rates for June 2020:
By making a 12-night stay from June 3, we benefit from:
- low-season rate on 12 nights
- 2 free nights (1 free night for every 5 nights).
Confirmation on the final screen:
While the cash rate would have been 12,538,938 IDR!
That’s close to CA$ 1,200 at the rate of the day (or 100 CA$ per night)!
It’s easy to earn over 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points with each of the two Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. And over 120,000 points if you take both!
With off-peak/peak rates, Marriott Bonvoy has just introduced a dynamic pricing chart. This allows Marriott Bonvoy to adjust its rates based on the hotel capacity.
It has become much more difficult to plan stays by setting a goal of points to achieve as we recommend in our strategies.
It will therefore be necessary to constantly monitor:
- the rates of Marriott Bonvoy hotels you want to stay in
- bookings you’ve made to try to get a better price