LAST DAY to lock in Marriott redemptions to avoid peak pricing and the changes to ‘Points Advance’

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Today, 13th September, is your last chance to lock in Marriott Bonvoy redemptions before peak and off-peak pricing is launched tomorrow.

Annoyingly, we don’t yet know which dates will peak – and it will vary by hotel AND will change monthly if a hotel finds it is busier or quieter than anticipated.

To be clear …. you have nothing to lose by locking in a redemption today.  

If your dates turn out to be peak on Saturday, you have saved a lot of points.  If your dates turn out to be off-peak, you can cancel and rebook.

Full details of these changes can be found on this special page of the Marriott website.  The site includes a few videos explaining how the different changes work.

Marriott Bonvoy peak night pricing

How will peak and off-peak Marriott Bonvoy pricing work?

We have known since the launch of Marriott Bonvoy that the programme was going to introduce peak and off-peak pricing.  The implementation date has been delayed a couple of times but it finally kicks in from 14th September.

Here is the reward chart as it will look from 14th (click to enlarge):

New Marriott Bonvoy redemption chart

You can see pricing by individual hotel here.

From tomorrow, a ‘flexible date finder’ will be available on line, hotel by hotel, so you can pick off-peak dates if your plans are flexible.

As you can see, a top category property such as St Regis New York will now cost 70,000, 85,000 or 100,000 points per night depending on the date of your stay.  It is currently 85,000 points for every night.  It is worth remembering that when Marriott Bonvoy launched and Category 8 did not exist, it was 60,000 points per night, every night.

Here are the key things you need to know:

All redemptions booked TODAY (13th) will be booked at the current standard rates

If your room drops in price tomorrow because the date is now off-peak, you will not automatically receive a refund.  You need to cancel and rebook, assuming that redemption rooms are still available.

If your room goes up in price because the date is now a peak date, don’t worry.  You will only pay the rate you booked.

Note that whilst the ‘majority’ of dates will be at standard prices, this is being measured across all 7,000 hotels and not on a hotel-by-hotel basis.  In theory, a specific property could be ‘peak’ for the bulk of the year.

‘Cash & Points’ redemptions are being standardised as part of this change.  Instead of the previously proposed structure, there will now be a fixed cash element across hotel categories with only the points element varying.  Here is the new chart:

Marriott Bonvoy cash and points redemption chart

What is happening to ‘Points Advance’?

‘Points Advance’ is, for me, one of the best aspects of the Marriott Bonvoy programme – and one of the cleverest.

Marriott Bonvoy allows you to book redemption nights even if you don’t have the points available.  You have until 14 days before your stay to earn them.

This is a smart move.  A lot of people don’t like switching brands because they are not confident that the new scheme will let them get the redemption they want.  Marriott lets you lock in, say, a hotel for a New York break next Summer.  This means you are VERY motivated to move your stays across to Bonvoy to ensure you earn the points in time.

‘Points Advance’ has had issues, however.  One is with some members booking large volumes of rooms with very little intention of using most of them.  If you were planning a Paris trip ‘at some point next Spring’ you could hold a room every weekend for three months with no penalty.

There were also issues over Marriott repricing rooms due to the introduction of Bonvoy, with the IT being unable to track the price at the original point of booking.

‘Points Advance’ will change in two ways from 14th September:

From 14th September, the price you pay is the price in force on the date you have enough points in your account to confirm the booking.  You are NOT locking in the price, just the availability.  If the hotel goes up in points price, you will need to earn more.  This means that there is no benefit in locking in rooms now using ‘Points Advance’ to avoid the jump to peak pricing.

You will be capped at a maximum of three ‘Points Advance’ reservations at any one time.  For bookings made by TONIGHT (13th), you will be allowed to have up to five at any one time.

It appears that, for ‘Points Advance’ bookings made today, you ARE locking in the price.  You have protection against peak date pricing AND against the hotel category going up.

I am OK with these changes, given that no other scheme offers a benefit like this which I think both Marriott and members value.

Marriott Bonvoy peak pricing

There is also a change to ‘5th night free’ tomorrow

At present, if you book a five night Marriott Bonvoy redemption, the fifth night is free.

This is not going away, but the formula used to calculate it is changing.  The new rule is that the free night is the cheapest night.

If your stay covers both peak and off-peak dates, it will be an off-peak date which is treated as the ‘free’ one.

Conclusion

We knew that peak and off-peak pricing was coming eventually, and we already knew the prices, so there is nothing here to surprise us.  In some ways we should be grateful that the implementation is running six months behind schedule.

The changes should, of course, also net out over time.  Some members will end up better off if they tend to redeem off-peak, others will be worse off.

The changes to ‘5th night free’ and ‘Points Advance’ are acceptable, especially if it means that these valuable benefits stick around.

Remember to lock in redemptions TODAY to guarantee you don’t pay peak day pricing.

Full details of these changes can be found on the Marriott Bonvoy website here.

Changes to Marriott Bonvoy

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

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 Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

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

PS.  The picture above is of one of the US-issued Bonvoy cards.  Cute isn’t it?  There is no sign of it being used here unfortunately.

Will you be getting Avios and tier points if your flight was impacted by the BA strike? Possibly.
4%-5% cashback at Waitrose for American Express cardholders

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Comments

  1. Any news on whether Marriott is going with Amex or Creation or both? 2,000 points keeps getting to my account each year via Creation and SPG Amex just gave me a boost of 35k points. Be a good opportunity for Marriott to sort out an Amex or Creation or other deal?

  2. It’ll be interesting to see what transpire re individual hotels – will you be running a feature on the changes once the new rates can be viewed? I am guessing I may have locked in a good rate at the GCM Westin next Easter, even though it went from 50k to 50k points per night before my dates became available! (Also The Langley for 2 summer weekends next year).

  3. We have RC Berlin booked on Points Advance but not paid for on “5 nights for 4” so hoping they honour the original rate once I have the points, otherwise I could have a bit of a shortfall.

    I’ve just booked a precautionary summer Friday night at The Langley before it inevitably rises to the upper echelons of redemption pricing. We stayed there a couple of weeks ago and most of the issues Rob reported seemed to be fixed, though we did stay on an weeknight and it seemed very quiet. It is an absolutely top-end property and barring disastrous service I can’t imagine how anyone could be disappointed with a stay there.

    • I’ve just checked that I’ve got the email confirmations for my points advance bookings; they clearly state the number of points required.

  4. Spaghetti Town says:

    Why didn’t you mention the SPG card as way of earning marriot bonvoy in your last paragraph?

  5. Silly question perhaps but can this be done online or does it need to be done on the phone?

  6. While I have no issue with the peak and off-peak concept what I don’t like is the essential creation of Cat 9 as we know some hotels will be peak pretty much the entire time. The fact it is scheme wide to be balanced rather than per hotel was not overly published at the start and to me is very sneaky.

    So overall I feel Marriott are getting away with a devaluation here after not much more than 12 months since the launch!

    • Some hotels will be peak 365 days a year. No hotel you will want to stay at will be off peak 365 days a year! So yes, this is yet another big devaluation from Marriott.

      • I seem to recall reading somewhere (probably on HFP) that peak period dates will be reassessed each month. Not sure I could be asked to monitor what the current numbers are, although I seem to manage it when booking anything flexible with cash.

  7. Anyone know which is the best Mariott CS to call? Is it the UK/Ireland number? Keep getting unhelpful CS agents on the global number

  8. Ok booked a few nights in several paces… now how do I earn these points when I am not eligible for amex bonuses 🙂

    • Does it make sense to buy c9k points from Marriott? Got 31k across two accounts = 62k, and have 2x 35k bookings = 70k.

  9. Thanks for this article it save me 15000 points on two bookings which is massive for an occasional customer of theirs…

  10. Has anyone else has their redemption rate changed on a points advance booking? I had redemption at 35000 p/n booked (I didn’t have the available points at time of booking) and it’s now gone up to 50000 p/n. I didn’t have the confirmation of points saved.

    T+C’s have been updated: ‘This includes rates based on demand (“Off-Peak and Peak Redemption Rates”) which may change for an Award Redemption Stay at the time of checking availability, at the time of booking or modifying an Award Redemption reservation, and at the time of when Points are deducted’

    • bonvoyed_again says:

      This is an egregious abuse of T&C. No one had the points saved and they knew it. As customers they are meant to send notificaiton of any change in T&C – did any one receive these?

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