You Can Lock In Marriott Stays At Old Rates Using Points Advance

Filed Under: Marriott

Marriott will be making some significant changes to their award pricing as of March 2019:

  • Marriott is introducing Category 8 award pricing, where we’re seeing the cost of Marriott’s top properties increase from 60,000 points per night to 85,000 points per night
  • Marriott is introducing annual category changes as of March 5, 2019, where we’re seeing about 380 hotels change categories, with under 40 hotels moving down in cost, and over 340 hotels moving up in cost

These changes are based on when you book and not when you stay, so you can lock in stays at the old rates over the coming weeks for stays later this year or early next year. For a five night stay at the St. Regis Aspen, St. Regis Maldives, etc., this could be the difference between paying 240,000 points and 340,000 points for a five night stay (since you get a fifth night free).

Redemption rates at the St. Regis Aspen are going way up

Anyway, a couple of days ago I wrote about another interesting change that I thought Marriott had made. Marriott has a very generous (too generous?) points advance policy, where you can lock in a booking even when you don’t have the necessary points, and then all that’s required is that you have enough points to pay for the booking 14 days before your stay.

Regarding their category changes, Marriott had written the following:

Points Advance – Members can book stays when they do not have enough points if they earn or purchase the needed points at least 14 days prior to check-in. Members who wish to book a points advance redemption under the current Marriott Rewards and SPG award chart are encouraged to order redemption certificates before March 5 to lock in the rate. On March 5, redemption bookings are subject to the new unified program award chart.

Redemption rates at the St. Regis Deer Valley are going way up

I have an update on this front. Marriott has reached out to clarify that they haven’t changed their points advance policy. So you can still lock in a booking now for a stay after March, and the old rate will be honored. Here’s how they explain the above:

We added language in the category changes email encouraging members to order redemption certificates before March 5 as a suggestion to help members lock in the rate with maximum protection. Having a certificate attached makes it easier to retrieve the original reservation and the original rate. While we can retrieve a reservation without a certificate attached, it is a more involved and time consuming process requiring the help of a CEC agent. As always, members can still cancel a reservation with or without a reward certificate attached. We just wanted to make it as worry free and seamless as possible with this suggestion.

Redemption rates at the St. Regis Maldives are going way up

So the footnote was a suggestion based on ease, rather than something that’s required. That’s great news for those who wanted to lock in a booking now for a stay after March without having to pay the new, higher pricing.

As I’ve said before, I think Marriott’s policy on this is actually too generous. Allowing members to make unlimited speculative bookings, especially at hotels with a limited number of award rooms, just seems like it’s not in the best interest of the membership on the whole.

Still, in this case I’m happy to see there wasn’t a change, since I think they should provide notice of changes like this, especially since it would have impacted people who already made bookings.

Anyone using points advance to lock in a booking for stays after March?

  1. Ok sorry for the basic question (haven’t had my coffee yet), will getting the redemption certificate now allow for a change to reservation dates and a stay after March 2020?

    I’m looking far out at honeymoon destinations and the St. Regis Bali is on our list. This is also a new Category 8 hotel.

  2. So the first comment solely refers to redemption costs, and there is absolutely no way to interpret the second comment as a clarification of the first. I am glad they walked it back, but I am interested to know what they mean. I have had plenty of points advance bookings and bookings with certificates attached and they are all equally visible in my account, so what actually becomes easier when I attach a certificate?

  3. I booked a room in Bali yesterday with the points advance thing.
    I do not know what a redemption certificate is? Can’t I just book? I booked over the phone

  4. I don’t actually understand their “statement”. It says you can cancel a reservation, so, great, but it doesn’t actually say you can redeem points for a reservation at the old price level …. ?

  5. Can you clarify why you think it is too generous to allow unfunded award reservations (that some people could abuse with speculative bookings) but it is not too generous to allow non-prepaid cash reservations (that some people could abuse with speculative bookings).

  6. @ [email protected] — Primarily because there are a lot of rooms that can be booked with cash, but at some hotels that are only a few rooms bookable with points. When paying cash it’s often only marginally more to book a premium room, while the same isn’t true when redeeming points. That’s the whole reason people find it so necessary to make a bunch of speculative bookings on points, but not on cash rates.

  7. I have an upcoming trip to Vegas in September and I booked the Cosmo (going up to 60K pts/night on 3/5) for 50,000 pts/night for two nights and the points immediately came out of my account as expected. I have a 50,000 certificate coming in April/May once my SPG Luxury card renews. Could I make a new points advance booking and use my 50K certificate and 50K points when the points come due 14 days before my stay? It would save me 50K points and allow me to use my cert.

  8. @Matt @Bgriff

    Exactly my questions – there is ABSOLUTELY NO CLARIFICATION on whether the point advance bookings will still keep the prior point level when the eCerts are ordered passed Mar 8th.

    I personally would not trust this “statement” as it does not SPECIFICALLY, OVERTLY STATE THAT POINT ADVANCE WOULD KEEP THE OLD RATES. None, not a single word addresses this concern which is the point to get a clarification – the “clarification” is just as clear as MUD, that leaves plenty of wiggle room for Marriott, unfortunately.

  9. Lucky– just got this offer from Marriott directly in my profile (no email)… seems ridiculous and too good to be true. 10 elite nights for any two stays in the next 3.5 months….. when I already have multiple stays booked. I’m a ~60 night platinum… but have been booking somewhat away this year… Anyone else??

    Earn up to 10 additional Elite Night Credits after two eligible paid stays.
    Register today.
    Stay at any of our 6,700 participating hotels and resorts worldwide now through 05/31/2019.
    Get five bonus Elite Night Credits after one stay* and five additional bonus Elite Night Credits after your second stay. That’s in addition to the usual one Elite Night Credit you earn for each eligible night you stay with us.
    *A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.

  10. This clarification by Marriott above, and your comment on it does not deal with a real problem that is out there on point advances and the upcoming soon transitions. I am a Platinum Premier Lifetime member and have a 4 night stay reservation for 240,000 points at a Category 7 (presumably becoming an 8 with the transition) hotel in Seville Spain beginning on April 15. I made it with “point advance” two months ago, when I only had 200,000 points–expecting to have an additional 40,000 easily by April 1 from stays in late March (14 days before my stay). I now have 226,000 points as of 2/12. However, when you and others wrote a few days ago that unless you had the points “in hand” by early March, that my reservation would be canceled, I was not happy. I called Marriott Reward elite line this afternoon (2/12) and was told precisely that–unless I “filled” up to the 240,000 level, my reservation would be cancelled, and I only had a few days (with no stays planned for the period to get more points or get my Marriott Reward Visa monthly bill) I was told I had two options: let it cancel and rebook when I had the points (not an attractive alternative at a hotel that will be sold out during Holy Week in Seville) or buy the 14,000 points for $185 dollars before March (not a good economic option as I have learned from you). I don’t think the Marriott statement above covers the circumstance I describe (or it is totally unclear and confusing). I find the whole situation totally frustrating and unfair on Marriott’s part. Terrible communication, or worse. Thank you for bringing the issue to my attention in the first place, and I sure hope you can get more and better clarification out of Marriott in the next few days before many of their good members lose reservations. What a way to treat good customers!

  11. I just checked my points advance booking and the number of points required has been increased to the new category required. So Marriott lied to you here.

  12. Mine increased as well 60,000 increased to 85,000 per night. It was a cash + points and I already paid the cash portion.

  13. I’ve essentially never been able to book a room at a Marriott with points as the hotels I need are never accepting them. So I guess I don’t care Marriott is devaluing points — they’ve been worth zero so far.

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