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Marriott’s annual devaluation shows that SPG members should remain on alert

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As the story (as told by Marriott’s CEO) goes, the company was very surprised by the lack of overlap between its existing customer base and the customers it acquired when it bought Starwood Hotels.

Admittedly the average W / Aloft customer is unlikely to spend much time in a Residence Inn, but at the same time Sheraton / Westin and Marriott / Renaissance tend to serve the same market.

The downside for Marriott is that it knew it then had to work harder than planned to keep Starwood Preferred Guest members on side.  To give them credit, none of us expected a ‘Starwood to Marriott’ points transfer rate as generous as 1:3, neither did we expect a direct SPG to Marriott Rewards status match.  After all, Marriott Gold – because it needs 50 nights to earn – has far greater benefits than Starwood Gold.

Marriott Bristol Royal

So far, so good.

Many of us had even begun to forget how badly Marriott Rewards treats its members.

The 2018 round of devaluations should be enough to remind everyone.

Here is the list of Marriott properties changing category on 6th March.  Bookings made before then will be priced at existing rates.

In summary:

  • 5% of Marriott Rewards hotels are getting cheaper
  • 21% of Marriott Rewards hotels are getting more expensive (over 1,000 hotels)

European increases include Marriott Prague, Renaissance Paris La Defence, Marriott Hamburg and Stuttgart, The Shelbourne in Dublin, Marriott Amsterdam and Marriott Lisbon.  A lot of South African hotels in the Protea chain move from Category 1 (where they are unfeasably cheap, to be fair) to Category 2.  A lot of Spanish hotels in the AC chain also go up.

The UK risers are:

  • Bristol Marriott Royal (photo above)
  • Leicester Marriott
  • London Marriott West India Quay
  • Residence Inn Edinburgh
  • St Ermin’s Hotel
  • The Glasshouse

European falls include The Ritz-Carlton Berlin, Marriott The Hague and a number of Turkey hotels.

The UK fallers are:

  • Aberdeen Marriott
  • Courtyard Aberdeen Airport
  • Courtyard Glasgow Airport
  • Sprowston Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club
  • Sunderland Marriott

The key issue with Marriott is the number of hotels which move from Category 5 to Category 6.  This is because Category 5 is the cap for:

the free night vouchers often given out via Marriott quarterly promotions

the basic 7-night Marriott Travel Package hotel

If you had a specific property in mind to redeem a Category 1-5 Marriott Travel Package then you should check the movers list here to ensure that it remains a Category 1-5.

(If you don’t know why Marriott Travel Packages are so good, read this article.)

It is worth remembering that this is not an isolated example of Marriott’s behaviour.  To quote from US blog View from the Wing:

  • “They removed all-inclusive rewards without notice in 2011.
  • Substantially more hotels became more expensive in points than less expensive in 2012.
  • Then in 2013 they increased the price of 36% of hotels and dropped only 1% while introducing a new more expensive award tier.
  • 2014 saw a 4:1 ratio of increases to decreases in points prices for hotel redemptions.
  • 2015 was 3:1 increase.
  • In 2016 ‘only’ 560 hotels went up in points prices while 237 went down.
  • Last year with merger news fresh they only increased 1.5 times as many hotels as they reduced.”

Marriott is not a company to trust, long term, with your points.

Marriott 2018 category changes

The Starwood changes are not so bad

The Starwood Preferred Guest changes also kick in from 6th March.

These changes are more modest, although I would note that:

Starwood’s top-end properties are already far more expensive than Marriott’s, given the 3:1 conversion ratio

The gap between Starwood categories in terms of points needed can be steep – a one category SPG rise can be more painful than a one category Marriott Rewards rise

The list of impacted hotels is here.

European risers include Four Points Brussels, Sheraton Prague, Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, Le Meridien Stuttgart, Westin Hamburg (above the new concert hall), Westin Dublin, Element Amsterdam (reviewed here), Sheraton Porto and Westin Palace Madrid (reviewed here).

European fallers include Sheraton Baku Airport, Element Frankfurt Airport (reviewed here), Sheraton Rome and Sheraton Zurich plus a number of Turkish hotels.

You have just over three weeks to lock in the old redemption rates.  It is worth noting that Starwood has a 550 day booking window – which is about to align TOMORROW with Marriott at 350 days – so for today only you can also lock in redemptions for Summer 2019 at the old rates.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (June 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (53)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Idrive says:

    I am Ubering right now (with Tesco vouchers of course) to Heathrow – for a quick weekend trip which will involve a Marriott stay. So far the booking experience has been awesome with lots of customised details as a Gold member (much more options than i enjoyed as Hilton Diamond) and a discounted rate. I booked two rooms let’s see if i ll get them both upgraded. I will report on the experience;) happy weekend everyone

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Not sure I agree on the SPG customers shoukd watch out comment

    Isn’t a top SPG redemption far more than a top Marriot anyway?

    So the reality when they merge is SPG redemption should cost less and marriot may cost a little more anyway.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      “Marriott is not a company to trust, long term, with your points.” Sorry it’s early meant SPG customers shouldn’t be as concerned with this bit due the massive gap in redemption costs that already exists with the 3:1 transfer rate highly unlikely to change at merger.

      • Rob says:

        Agreed. Top Starwood hotels will get cheaper, almost certainly – the current 35k SPG hotels would be 105k Marriott at 3:1 and that won’t happen. If they create a new 75k Marriott category then that is a 30% saving.

  • Ian says:

    Had a good look at the list. Thankfully no increase at hotels I use. Marriott still my favourite chain by a long way. I’ll continue to get 1p value per point throughout 2018.

    • Andy says:

      Where are you staying to get that type of value? I need to learn your secret 🙂

  • Mark says:

    Ah I remember the Aberdeen Marriott well from my BP days (it’s basically opposite the office). During the heady days of $100+ oil it was basically full of BP staff and contractors; I’m surprised it hasn’t been downgraded sooner given lower oil prices the last few years.

  • Matt says:

    Haven’t you previously said that hotel redemption should get more expensive /points should devalue because of inflation in hotel room cash prices? Is this not just that process happening?

  • Chelseafi says:

    What is the HfP estimated valuation of IHG points? I’ve got a 1 night stay in Atlanta Airport area in summer, I can work out Hilton, SPG & Marriot easier from MP conversion, I can see Marriot have Courtyard Atlanta Airport West for 10k Marriot (due to rise to 15k) which seems very good value.

  • Rio says:

    Does anybody have good recommendations of best Marriott hotels at various category levels? Flexible on destination and I’d like to narrow down what to aim for before selecting a travel package level.

    • Peter K says:

      Just go for the basic package. You can ring and upgrade to a higher package of you see a more expensive package later… Unless you think you might go for a hotel that is going up a level.

    • zark says:

      Take a look at Marriott Santiago, Chile (now will be cat.5), Courtyards in Seoul (have exec.lounges & bkfst like Marriotts), most of the Bangkok properties, Kuala Lumpur,Istanbul,Cairo Omar K,Shanghai,Saigon. All below cat.6.
      These are all with direct BA fllights for those Avios club redemptions…..

    • Pangolin says:

      One of the few good opportunities that arose is that the excellent Courtyard Seoul Namdaeumun has dropped from a 6 to a 5, so it can now be used in a Travel Package.

      BTW, the Marriott Santiago actually went from 5 to 4, so it has always been possible to use a Cat 1-5 voucher there.

      • mark2 says:

        It depends where you want to go to.
        Last June we stayed in the Delta Suites in Vancouver BC. Good city centre location and all suites as name. As Gold we got amazing recognition and upgrade. Also good Avios availability to Vancouver or Seattle in J/F.

    • mark2 says:

      t depends where you want to go to.
      Last June we stayed in the Delta Suites cat 7 in Vancouver BC. Good city centre location and all suites as name. As Gold we got amazing recognition and upgrade. Also good Avios availability to Vancouver or Seattle in J/F.

    • Pangolin says:

      And since your name is Rio, note that two Marriott properties in Rio de Janeiro have also gone from 6 to 5!
      The CY and the Residence Inn are now both Cat 5.

    • Will says:

      Phu Quoc is cat 5 and £400 a night after tax. So a week there would be £2800 in cash or a base level travel package.

      • Pangolin says:

        Unfortunately, Phu Quoc is one of those being bumped up to Cat 6 so it will be ineligible for standard TPs (you’ll need to call them and pay the extra points if you make a standard 1-5 TP booking).

  • George says:

    I’m holding off on a second travel package in the idle hope that BA runs another transfer bonus – but the hotel I want to book is moving from C8 to C9 in March. Any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, to suggest BA might run a hotel bonus before then? Based on the timing of the last one I’m thinking not likely!

    • Peter K says:

      From what I’ve read it’s maybe every 9 months or so you get a bonus offer from hotels from BA so unlikely before the Marriott changes. Depends if you value the Avios or Marriott Points more.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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