Marriott Introducing Peak Award Pricing (And More)

Filed Under: Marriott

Over the past 12 months we’ve seen huge adjustments to Marriott’s loyalty program:

  • This started last summer, when benefits were aligned across Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest, last summer
  • Then this winter Marriott Bonvoy was announced as the name of Marriott’s new combined loyalty program
  • Then this spring we saw the introduction of Category 8 award pricing, meaning that free night awards could cost as much as 85,000 points per night

Well, now the next big change to Marriott Bonvoy has been announced. We’ve known this is coming, but we now know exactly when, and there are some other changes that go along with it.

Marriott Bonvoy peak and off-peak pricing

As of September 14, 2019, Marriott Bonvoy will be introducing peak and off-peak award pricing.

Essentially what this means is that during times of the year where properties are busiest, they could require more points, while during times of the year where properties have less demand, they could require fewer points.

Up until now Marriott has used their standard pricing year-round, so this is either positive or negative, depending on the time of year you want to stay somewhere (for most people it will be negative, since you get the most value redeeming points somewhere when a hotel is in peak season).

For context, here’s Marriott’s standard, off-peak, and peak award pricing:

As you can see, with this change Marriott properties will cost anywhere between 5,000 and 100,000 points per night — that’s quite a range!

How many hotels will have peak and off-peak pricing?

So, can a hotel just choose to have peak pricing year-round? Nope. As Marriott explains it:

  • Across the entire portfolio, standard rates will be offered the majority of the time with the rest being an equal distribution of peak and off-peak
  • Peak and off-peak pricing will extend to all 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide

How can you figure out new pricing? 

Unfortunately there’s no way to know the updated pricing just yet. On September 14 people will be able to log into marriott.com or the Marriott Bonvoy app to see if properties in the destination they want to travel are in standard, peak, or off-peak pricing, using the flexible date finder.

That won’t be live until the changes go into effect, though, which is incredibly frustrating.

What happens to previously booked stays?

What happens if you book a stay by September 14 at the standard rates?

  • After that date, if a property offers off-peak rates during the period you’re staying, members can cancel and rebook, assuming they’re outside the cancelation deadline
  • If you need to make a change after the date where peak and off-peak pricing kicks in, you’ll be subjected to the new rate

Updated Marriott Bonvoy Cash + Points pricing

Cash + Points is a popular redemption option that allows members to redeem a combination of cash and points towards the cost of a stay. This will continue to be offered, though Marriott will be updating this redemption chart to standardize the amount of cash needed to redeem a stay within each category.

The amount of points will vary depending on whether a property is peak, standard, or off-peak. Here’s the new award chart:

Marriott adding limits on Points Advance

Marriott Bonvoy offers Points Advance, enabling members without enough points to reserve a room while continuing to earn points to cover the rate.

As of September 14, 2019, Marriott will limit Bonvoy members to having at most three Points Advance reservations at one time.

For Points Advance reservations made before that date, Marriott will honor up to five at the standard redemption rates.

This policy change seems totally fair to me, since a lot of members were making a huge number of reservations, limiting the availability that other members have access to.

Marriott’s new “Stay 5, Pay for 4”

Marriott Bonvoy is known for “5th Night Free,” allowing members to get a fifth night free when they redeem points.

This is being rebranded as “Stay for 5, Pay for 4.” With this, members will receive the lowest-point night for free.

This is potentially a mild devaluation if you’re in a situation where your stay involves different priced nights due to peak and off-peak pricing. It’s no longer specifically the fifth night that’s free, but rather whatever night is cheapest.

Bottom line

While Marriott promises that a majority of dates will still have standard rates, and the remaining dates will be equally distributed between off-peak and peak, this is no doubt a hugely negative development for members. Of course we knew this was coming, so there’s nothing to be surprised about here.

The way to maximize points is to use them when stays are disproportionately expensive, which will almost always be during “peak” dates. The cost of Marriott’s most expensive properties is now 100,000 points per night, which is steep.

I’d say the other adjustments to the program are fair enough, like limiting the number of Points Advance reservations, aligning Cash + Points pricing, etc.

What do you make of these Marriott Bonvoy adjustments?

Comments
  1. Marriott’s 2019 category changes earlier this year were the third change that Marriott made since 2018. There was one change at the end of 2017 or early 2018, another around the time of Bonvoy’s launch and the third in 2019. This is now the FOURTH change in less than two years.

    What’s with the less than one month’s notice? Come on.

    Marriott should have also used this to announce an enhancement, even if it was something meager like tweaking the breakfast benefit to ensure that properties can’t cheat or by giving ambassadors something more concrete. Right now, there’s not much point of staying with Marriott after you hit $20,000 and 100 nights. Especially when ambassador benefits at properties aren’t any better than platinum or titanium .

    And, BTW, it would seem if Marriott is doing away with fifth-night-free then we can expect it impossible to get four consecutive nights at the same award-redemption rate, at least at the time of the year that when most people redeem points.

    I still think Marriott has a lot of value if you are flexible and travel to Europe outside June–August, avoid the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico between December–March, and eschew London, Paris or Rome for lesser known European destinations.

  2. We need to watch for when they change the wording of the credit card annual free night certificates from calling it a “35k” night to a calling it a “Category 5” night certificate. That will be the signal that they intend to devalue those certificates with a future shift to only allow those certs to be used during standard priced nights. With the 33% reduction in the credit card earnings and doubling of the top redemption price, you would now have to put 50k of spending on a marriott card to earn 1 night at their top tier, versus 15k before. Spreading that same 50k on Hilton cards would earn you 3 weekend nights anywhere.

  3. Are you sure that we can now have a look at the new peak/off-peak pricing? Others are reporting it will only be available on the calendar from 14 September.

  4. An important detail: It seems Points Advance will no longer allow you to lock in the old rates at the time you deduct points and attach e-certificates to the reservation.

  5. @ Rob – The credit card nights are already limited in this way. Its a 35k night — not a CAT5 night

    Note also that the peak/-off peak split is an aggregate across the entire network, so in theory a high end property could be peak all year round, while a FI out in the sticks is permanently off-peak, thus allowing them to keep their promise that there is an even split of peak/off-peak

  6. @Nick: if you follow your thoughts on how to avoid those places and times of the year you might just pay for the stay instead of using points. For example, wants to go to the beach in Italy outside of the summer months? Some locations are like ghost towns so not even bother going there either with points or not.

  7. Contrary to popular blogger opinion, it is not hotels that choose their categories. The HQ loyalty team chooses categories to align with their reimbursements. In terms of peak and off peak, properties were asked to submit proposed peak and off peak dates, but final approval rests with Bonvoy. Though it’s mostly a formality with Marriott since properties get what they want 99% of the time

  8. Bonvoy is extremely bad for your loyal customers … Amazing! I’ve been seriously considering shifting my focus to the Hilton.

  9. I’ve been a Marriott Rewards member and a very loyal Marriott customer since 2001, always looking for their properties first and staying with them about 90% of the time. I also have a Marriott Rewards credit cart and spend about $70K annually, along with paying the $95 annual fee (which just about pays for my one “free room” at a category 5 motel every year). Also, while I had few issues with their program from time to time over the years, I generally found the program to beneficial and fair until last year when they started this “Bonvoy” program. Like any other mega-merger, the first thing that the “new” mega-company does is raise prices and start screwing their long time loyal customers. Do the math, their rooms are among the highest priced in every category now and the rewards program is no longer a decent value. You come out way ahead now by getting a cash back credit card and staying with the competition most of the time, which is what I will be doing from now on. It’s sad. I think they made a mistake naming their new non-rewards program “Bonvoy”. I think they will find the more appropriate name is “Au revoir”. I will use my existing points, switch to a lower non-annual fee Marriott card and keep it active so I can use my lifetime elite status, otherwise I will have the same loyalty to them that they have to me, NONE!

  10. @Tom – yeah, you’re right. Can’t get a Cat5 during peak time as it stands with the new peak pricing.

  11. @ Ben — One of the best travel moves of my “career” was ditching Bonvoy on Day 1. I stayed a Hioliday Inn Express the night before.

  12. so the Bonvoy’s idea is to slowly heat up the pot so the frogs would never notice? Would they up the categories again the next Spring comes? I burn their points as fast as I can… The benefits for a Lifetime Titanium Elite are hit but mostly miss nowadays even in hotels I used to stay the most often. We all knew all of this when the Marriott prevailed with the SPG takeover.

  13. I second @LAXJeff’s question. I have one 7-night and one 5-night certificates to use over the next year. Will the peak/standard/off-peak rates affect them?

  14. All hotel chains, Hyatt noticeably excepted, are earn and burns. IHG, Hilton and now Stariott make too many, and too frequent, changes to their loyalty programmes that never positively impact loyalty redemptions.

  15. @lucky – have you done the Hilton vs Marriott bake off yet to see what the better value now for those of us with choices who do a lot of travel?

  16. @Mr Moon…I don’t think so and at top resort destinations I would think that we are at least going to see that happen during the time people actually want to visit. If we look at Europe, I can see resort hotels in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc. basically apply the PEAK pricing during their season…..which is when people want to visit those places.

    Other than the uncertainty of what will be peak and non-peak, the biggest annoyance for me is the fact that the 35k free night certificates from the credit card are now worth less during the peak times because they will only get you a Cat. 4 free night instead of a Cat. 5.

  17. @DC-PHLyer: That is hogwash. Owners and property managers can clearly dictate what category they fall into because brand new properties open up as category 6. Marriott has never confirmed 100% how a property’s category is decided. Only properties in Asia and the Middle East seem to be fairly categorized. Everywhere else they seem to be priced to screw customers. Otherwise, there is no legit reason why a dumpy Marriott or Sheraton at an airport is a category 6 or 7 when its cash rates are $110-$125 per night. Clearly, a property can tinker with the system.

    Everyone is also forgetting the joke that is Marriott’s no blackout policy. A legacy Marriott property only needs to have 1 room available for points if it is selling rooms on a given night. That will make it much harder to get any standard or saver points redemptions. I wanted to stay in Kuala Lumpur last week. The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Hotel Majestic, and Hotel Stripes all had entry-level rooms for sale at cash rates. Not a single one of those properties were accepting award reservations.

  18. Terrible. The number of points redemption for rooms have gone up quite a bit in the last 3 years. They should have increased the points to, it is not like i get more room, or luxuries for the extra points. I got a million+ points but I am deciding to switch to Hilton. I avoided staying at Hilton before because it cost more points to redeem for room before but not anymore. So, why give business to douschbag Marriott!

  19. The Marriott rewards program keeps getting progressively worse with too many negative changes in the last two years. Every time Marriott announces a so called enhancement, they stab their loyal members in the heart. I have a lifetime titanium membership, but have serious doubts of paying for any nights at Marriott. Just planning to spend my accumulated points and dump the Marriott annual fee card.
    Very disappointed in Marriott for continously devaluing their hard to earn points. Get an independent points credit card instead
    The good news we still have other options, let’s use them.

  20. As a Marriott loyalist for 20 years, and Lifetime Platinum Elite member, I am disappointed with Bonvoy points system. I still clock 40-50 nights a year on business travel, and have been loyal to the Marriott brand, but I am rethinking this now.
    A couple of years ago, I was able to take my family to a 5 day vacation at a Category 7 resort for a 100,000 points. I get two nights at the same property for the same dates now. The new peak time bs will push it even further.
    Absolutely ridiculous. It all boils down to greedy capitalists, trying to find new ways to screw the customer. I see it across the board now.

  21. Well double check your room before staying, I stayed at Anchorage Alaska residence inn Marriott on 36th street. Well tell me why the locks are changed around in the bedroom and bathroom?? Yes you heard me.. door knob locks are changed around. So when a employee tries to rob you are whatever they plan to do. U cant lock yourself in the bedroom or bathroom. Since 2017not impressed with marriott’s anymore! Service, customer service, charging me different prices each night. Terrible front desk service.

  22. Guys some of the changes are surely frustrating. BUT:
    1. Most loyalty programs have been gradually devaluing their currencies (Hilton anyone? United? Etc….)
    2. Everyone now seems to be forgetting the almost two years we had of bargain deals! Cat 8 were never meant to go for 60k! That was a f* bargain! You want overwater bungalow in Maldives? There you go! Al Maha all inclusive – for you too! These are great bargains even now compared to old SPG – you could have spent 300k PER NIGHT (I’m not joking!)
    3. 50k cert can potentially unlock cat 7! Let’s pause for a moment and celebrate that!
    4. Anyone checked Marriott moments lately? No? Well good. More deals for the rest of us.
    Don’t get me wrong, I still get super frustrated with Marriott, but if you change your perspective you realize there’s still plenty of value to be had.

  23. @Fio

    You gotta understand, it’s not you, it’s us.

    We complain about everything.
    We take things for granted.
    We beat (abuse) the system.
    We go to court when they don’t honor mistake fares.
    We manufacture spending to get free points.
    We like deals.
    We squeeze every perks till they run dry.
    We buy giftcards in lieu of incidentals.
    We churn credit cards.
    We buy pudding for miles.
    We paid a bargain to fly across the globe just to fly back in 2 hours so we can keep our super elite status.
    We fly 3 stops in the wrong direction instead of nonstop just to get more miles.
    We somehow manage to sit with a broken seat or IFE everytime.
    We have a small side business that generate few dollars but we have dozens of business credit cards with over 200k in credit lines.
    We have way too many Priority Pass card, we lost track which one is which.
    We have miles and status on airlines we never flown with or even seen their planes. We still miss you Aegean Airlines.
    We hate Spirit, trash talk UA, collect AA miles, and fly DL.
    We can’t stand waiting like others, we need elite lines. Elite check in, Elite phone rep, Elite boarding, TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, CLEAR etc.

    And the list goes on.

    If anything stops us from doing the above, we complain and fight eye for an eye.

    So basically, it’s not you, it’s us.

  24. I just switched from 10 years+ Hilton Diamond to Marriott because of Hilton’s horrible customer service and their continued dilution of points (150k points for a Hampton Inn – are you kidding me?!?). Im sorely disappointed to see Marriott following in their footsteps.

  25. My biggest concern is how this impacts the 7 night certificates. Do we need there to be standard rates available for all 7 nights?

  26. I just received a Bonvoy Business card for my Marriott Rewards Business card. Is this an automatic or do I have a choice like the Hyatt card?

  27. Travel Package Certificates are CATEGORY based, not POINT based. As long as there are sufficient consecutive days available at the property in the Category of your Travel certificate, it can be attached. The peak, off peak nightly point value is irrelevant.

    According to the Marriott Lurkers, a Travel Certificate cannot be attached to a PA booking or an existing reservation. YMMV. From September 14th on, a PA reservation is just a reservation that you don’t currently have the points for. Since the points required will not be know until settlement, you are only reserving space with a yet to be determined points requirement.

    James

  28. What a happy exception the World of Hyatt program proves to be when contrasted against this nonsense. While Marriott and Hilton seem to be caught in a never-ending cycle of severely devaluing their rewards currency, Hyatt has for the most part maintained the value of WoH points. Indeed, in some ways they’ve significantly improved the program during the ~6 years I’ve been involved in World of Hyatt. The Hyatt corporation seems to recognize the value of consistency in a program like this.

    As a result, we’ve gone from booking one or two nights at Hyatts to booking well over a hundred nights a year. Our family is kitted out with the WoH credit card, and we tirelessly recommend the WoH program to clients, friends, and colleagues. This is the way loyalty programs are supposed to work: not a game of continually cheapening what is promised, but a symbiotic system that rewards the best customers while incentizing them to direct a steady flow of cash and high-value customers to the company. Hilton, Marriott, and Aadvantage, take some notes.

  29. I am leaving for the UK tomorrow September 14. I have a points and cash stay at the University Arms in Cambridge Sunday thru Wed next week. It will be interesting to see what they do with me on arrival. Hopefully it all just works as booked but you never know. One day over the line, oh my.

    We will be in northern Europe for a month. I have booked a couple Hyatts (all SLH, do not seem to be many actual Hyatts in Scandinavia) but no more Marriotts. This is the last of my Bonvoy points, mostly the remainder of a paid stay at the le Meridien Isle of Pines this past winter. All of our hotels other than this one Marriott stay and the SLH are via Hotels.com. I get a good price and a 9% return on my spend.

    Why would I participate in this race to the bottom? I get gold status at Marriott and Hilton thru my cards, for what it is worth (decent breakfast for two this past winter at the Adelaide Hilton) and I just cannot figure out why I would bother with enhanced status at either chain. Hyatt, sure, but not these guys. And the IHG program has been just dumb for a while now. I like good hotels and do not mind paying for them. But I do like a rewards program that spins a decent return. Not many of those left.

  30. @Kendor goes on a rampage:
    1. “What a happy exception the World of Hyatt program proves to be when contrasted against this nonsense. While Marriott and Hilton seem to be caught in a never-ending cycle of severely devaluing their rewards currency, Hyatt has for the most part maintained the value of WoH points.”

    — Have you missed where Hyatt has been quietly acquiring 40K points/night hotels, especially in Europe, and building a sizable inventory of category 8 hotels, which thus constitutes a rather significant devaluation of the program? Yes, you have? That’s what I thought…

    2. “Indeed, in some ways they’ve significantly improved the program during the ~6 years I’ve been involved in World of Hyatt. The Hyatt corporation seems to recognize the value of consistency in a program like this.”

    — Since you claim to have been involved with Hyatt for the last ~6 years, were you aware that until just two and half years ago World of Hyatt did not exist and that Hyatt’s loyalty program was called Gold Passport? Are you also aware that the difference between Hyatt’s old Gold Passport and their new World of Hyatt programs is like night and day. Given those two facts, which encompass the ~6 years that “you have been involved with World of Hyatt”, do you still maintain with a straight face that “The Hyatt corporation seems to recognize the value of **consistency** in a program like this” since the reality is clearly inconsistent with the claim?

    3. “As a result, we’ve gone from booking one or two nights at Hyatts to booking well over a hundred nights a year.”

    — Considering how many hotels there are in Hyatt’s legendarily small footprint, has your 50-fold increase in Hyatt stays been again and again at the same hotels, or were they mostly at different hotels? If the latter, was it a challenge finding the different hotels or did you select your destinations because they had Hyatt hotels rather than because they were destinations that you actually wanted to visit?

    Last question: Are you perhaps a bit myopic about how truly great Hyatt is and how awful other programs are?

    Inquiring minds wanna know…

  31. @DCS yes, of course the “new” Hyatt program is a downgrade from the old one, and the small footprint makes it a bit of a challenge, but IMHO things are getting better as they expand their reach. We are booked at the Bank Hotel in Stockholm in a couple weeks, an SLH property, for 20 K points per night. Standard rooms go for > USD 300. Got the Park Hyatt Sydney this March for 30 K per night, standard rooms listing for > USD 800. And they upgraded us to a view room. I’ve been favoring Hyatts for a few years now since a great stay at the Centric Montevideo.

    I do like Hiltons and Marriotts, I use them frequently. But mostly I book them thru Hotels.com because 9% return. And I do like finding local hotels that don’t belong to the giant chains; we discovered SLH a few years back after a stay at the Quinta Das Lagrimas in Coimbra, Portugal; followed it with a stay at the Palacio Estoril and loved both of them. We will bunk at the Hotel Kamp in Helsinki in a few weeks, one of my favorites, which I booked thru Amex to take advantage of a 16,000 point bonus they threw at me along with a free dinner for two (the resto at the Kamp is very good).

    Get out of the rut. Stay somewhere else. Enjoy the scenery. The party is largely over. There are bits and pieces left scattered around the market (e.g. Hyatt) but by and large hotel loyalty programs are pretty barren. Don’t even ask me about IHG. Stayed at the Indigo Krakow a while back, very nice hotel, booked it thru Hotels.com and got a better price and return than using IHG. Go figure.

  32. @DCS I can’t get that excited about status wars: I will go with what works. I’m a Hilton Diamond and HGVC owner (on resale) as well, so I’m inclined feel a bit agnostic and objective about all of this. What I can do is tell you is my experience, recognizing that my experience is not the same as everyone’s.

    Yes, I know WoH didn’t exist until two years ago, and there have been some changes. For me, those changes haven’t represented a substantial devaluation, the way, say, my 500,000 Hilton points have slowly but surely devalued, or the exchange value of my HGVC ownership has devalued. Formerly with Hyatt you could qualify on stays, for instance — they got rid of that. That change was irrelevant to me as the number of nights we spent in Hyatts naturally increased.

    But Hyatt’s program changed in positive ways as well, and those changes added real value. The ability for Globalists to book space-available from a standard room into suites has surprised me time and time again. In Asia I was comped an upgrade into a suite that runs more than $4000/night (it was more like a house…); in SoCal we’ve been upgraded three times to an $800/night suite in one of Hyatt’s best beachfront properties.

    The managers in various Hyatts have surprised us by consistently extended benefits that substantially exceed what the rules of program require them to do. For example, when booking several rooms in NYC, the Hyatt manager also extended my Globalist and club benefits to my family even though I hadn’t booked their rooms with points per Hyatt’s “Guest of Honor” program. One time we were staying in SoCal with a friend who had booked a room at a Hyatt on a business trip: they acknowledged my Globalist membership *even though I wasn’t the person who booked and paid for the room*, and upgraded us to a gigantic suite as a courtesy.

    I visit several cities regularly on extended visits (NYC, Shanghai) and so Hyatt’s footprint works well for me. I have top-tier Hilton status as well, and I grossly exceed Hyatt’s minimum night requirement, so no, the quest for status doesn’t at all limit my choice of hotel or destination. Other travelers have different needs in hotels and loyalty programs and that is fine, they should pursue the hotelier and program that best suits them. If you think Hilton is awesome then by all means enjoy that. Hilton has a great footprint and some really nice properties.

  33. @Kendor — You said absolutely nothing that proves that Hyatt has not devalued their points or program. I get comped huge suites in Asia as a HH Diamond, an experience that I have had for year but which Globalists are only now beginning to enjoy. I have no idea why you claim that your 500,000 Hilton points have devalued. I have been spending yearly ~1M Hilton points to spend 2-3 weeks at top Hilton properties in Asia and I am still able to do the same. Any devaluation of HH points is no worse than that in any other program… really (well, except for BONVoY because they have tried to split the difference between previously reasonably-priced Marriott Rewards awards and exorbitantly-priced SPG awards).

    I am glad Hyatt’s small footprint works for you, but its does not work for many others. So, while I will grant that Hyatt likely works for you, you have to also realize that other people find their respective programs to work for them just as well as Hyatt works for you. Therefore, making a statement like:

    “What a happy exception the World of Hyatt program proves to be when contrasted against this nonsense. While Marriott and Hilton seem to be caught in a never-ending cycle of severely devaluing their rewards currency, Hyatt has for the most part maintained the value of WoH points.”

    is not consistent with “I can’t get that excited about status wars: I will go with what works.” That statement simply expressed an opinion that others may or may not agree with (I definitely do not agree with it).

    In short, don’t just talk to talk; you need to also walk the walk, or the statement that “I can’t get that excited about status wars: I will go with what works” is just, well, a lie and you do get excited about status wars….

    Cheers!

  34. @Lentoasema — All you just said is “YMMV” and I agree. Hyatt works for you and Hilton works for me. Often Hyatt works for me as well and I will go with them, as I am doing at the end of this year with award stays at Grand Hyatt Taipei and Hyatt Regency Tokyo, paying extra points to secure a club room and free breakfast in each case.

    I’ll go with “YMMV”, especially with folks who really know how to take advantage of opportunities that are available in every program (read: those that play the game with a “full deck.”)

  35. @DCS As a top-tier elite in both Hilton and Hyatt’s program and a former top-tier in Marriott’s, my opinion as worded in my original post stands: “Hyatt has for the most part maintained the value of WoH points.” My opinion is that other programs have devalued the values of their currencies far more. Your opinion and experience may differ, that’s fine. Why not make your case based on your experiences, that would be useful and interesting. More useful and interesting than arguing a straw man case that I somehow suggested that Hyatt has not devalued anytime, ever. I didn’t say that.

    To be fair, the most significant recent devaluation of Hyatt’s program IMHO has been limiting the effectiveness of cash+points rates: they now float the “cash” portion based on demand, which is a bummer. Offsetting this has been allowing points stays to count as eligible nights, and the availability of suites when booking into standard rooms. Hyatt’s program now works particularly well for people who spend a lot of money on points earning cards like the WoH card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve/Freedom Unlimited combo, which can convert to WoH points: if you have the time for travel, you can qualify to Globalist relatively cheaply.

    For many of our uses, WoH points have actually increased in value. One of our most common redemptions is at the Manchester Grand in San Diego. Earlier this year, Hyatt downgraded it from a category 5 hotel (15,000 points/night) to a category 4 (12,000/night). This has made it cheaper to book with points, as well as opening it to category 1-4 promotional certificates; free parking on free stays is the icing on the cake.

    Changing the subject slightly, what are your favorite Hilton properties in Asia? I’m genuinely curious. I was recently trying to book a stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai, but passed it over when the dates I wanted demanded ~130,000 points/night. I’m sure there are way better Asian redemptions out there: I’ll save the points for a better opportunity.

  36. @Kendor — You can claim anything you want. The only thing that would support your claim would be actual data, none of which I have seen.

    Do the following:

    — Do dummy award bookings at **comparable** (cash rate-wise or their rating according to the number of stars) Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt hotels as a top elite in each program in any city (NYC would be a good one).

    — Calculate the nominal redemption value for each booking and then compare them, taking into account the fact that a Hilton Diamond with the AMEX Surpass card earns 32x, a top BONVoY elite with the program’s top earning CC earns 23.5x and a Globalist with the new WoH CC earns 10.5x.

    That is the exercise that you need to do before claiming that Hyatt has not devalued their program whereas everyone else has. The results will surprise, even shock you…

    As for my ‘favorite’ properties in Asia, there are many. You mentioned Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, which is among my favorites. I have stayed there quite a few times, invariably around the Xmas holiday season. In fact, I was there a year ago and will be there again during the upcoming year-end holiday season. Even though my upcoming award stay will be during the holidays, I managed to snatch a 4-night award at the property for “just”:

    67,000 HH points/night!!!

    Because it seems to me that your motivation in pointing out the rate of ~130,000 points/night that you got was to suggest that even in Asia Hilton properties have devalued greatly, I will post a link to my reservation for this property so that you can see for yourself that it is real: my rate was just 67,000 HH per night, almost 50% your rate ;-).

    But, yeah, save your points for STANDARD awards!!! There will definitely be better opportunities. For Hyatt, instead of getting unaffordable premium rates like the one that you got at WA Shanghai, you will get no availability. The point is, you just need to decide for yourself which of those two situations is more annoying: Hilton’s always available but **unaffordable** ‘premium’ award rates, or Hyatt’s total lack of availability when a property prefers to accept cash-only bookings. In my way of seeing it, those two situations are identical for the average player, who won’t be stupid enough to redeem ‘premium’ Hilton awards even though they are always available. Gotta wait for STANDARD awards!

  37. @Kendor — I responded to your latest comment but the response is being held in moderation. Just wait for it to released as it is inoffensive and it addresses your points…

    G’day!

  38. @DCS I actually didn’t mean to suggest anything at all with my comment about the reward redemption rate at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai except that I chose not to book it at that time: it was the very first time I attempted a booking there, and I had no sense of whether that was a “good price” or a “bad price” pointswise. I suspected it was a “bad price” and I was right, based on your experience. I elected to book at the Hyatt on the Bund instead on a cash rate.

    I have had drinks at the Long Bar at the Waldorf Astoria and thought it a jolly good time.

    I would still be interested to know other Asian properties you like staying at, whether they’re Hiltons, Marriotts, Hyatts, or something else. I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Taipei. My motivation for asking is that I’m always interested in trying new places and properties.

    Thanks for the tip on keeping an eye out for Hilton “standard” awards.

  39. @Kendor — Got it. Was there a blues/jazz group playing in the ‘Long Bar’ when you were at WA Shanghai? Nice place, which is extensively decorated for the Xmas holidays.

    It looks like the bad (broken) link to my promised WA Shanghai reservation, rather than its replacement, has been posted. Maybe the right one will post eventually…

    As for my favorite places in Asia, please stay tuned because I will do a post on my upcoming 4-week excursion in Asia in which I will provide the details of how I will redeem Hilton and Hyatt points for award stays at 5 Hilton and 3 Hyatt properties in N and SE Asia, during which I will get around by redeeming premium cabin *A awards. I will then keep updating the post, with photos, as I get from one place/city to another.

    Cheers!

  40. @DCS, @Kendor, great discussion, I think! Please explain what *G, Hilton, Hyatt & trip reports have to with Marriott Peak & Off-peak award pricing?

    Cheers

  41. @James — Everything, for those of us who come here to search for travel ‘hacks’. Weighing and comparing among various options is the nature of both the game and medium. Those who do not see the relevance are free to avoid the discussion…

    I hope I understood your question. My apologies if I did not.

    G’day.

  42. @James: The article is about devaluation and the discussion was about devaluation. Then the discussion went where discussions go, to places of mutual interest. If the discussion is not to your interest you can discuss something else, including conversations narrowly focused on award pricing, Lucky’s penchant for rhetorical questions, whether his dad and Ford really exist or are hired from Hollywood, etc Internet FTW!

  43. @DCS: where do you intend to post your Asian itinerary and hacks?

    I didn’t see any Jazz band at the Long Bar when I visited. I always always spend a lot of time at the House of Blues & Jazz on 60 Fuzhou Lu — I’ve been enjoying that place since 2012. Some great performances over the years, and you can get into the place for the price of your overpriced drink.

  44. @Kendor, Well excuse me! I don’t have a mutual interest in crap totally unrelated and irrelevant to the post. What does the Long Bar & Jazz have to with Marriott Peak pricing? No @DCS, it isn’t everything! It isn’t even related to devaluation. Since the two of you have devalued this thread to total worthlessness while filling my inbox with crap on crap. I will bow out and unsubcribe since you believe Lucky’s posts are a free for all and flagrantly disrespect the nature of the dicussion. In case you didn’t know, there are other more suitable places for such a dicussion. That also includes DM. Perhaps you both can meet at the Long Bar with Jazz inspired Christmas Music while you jointly admire how incredible beautiful it is decorated for the season. Now, what was the topic again? Fill you boots while I get out of here before I start stepping in the S$*@!

    Cheers!

  45. @James — You do not get to tell people what people to post.

    I do not wish to be rude but I am getting tired of people presuming that they can regulate speech in a public forum simply because what is said does sit well with them. You do not have to read what you consider off topic. You are not the moderator. Please get lost.

    Goodbye

  46. @Kendor – I will provide the info to the post on the ‘Anatomy of my 2019 Year-end Asian Escapade’ here and elsewhere. So, please keep reading OMAAT, folks like @James notwithstanding!

  47. @DCS: “You do not get to tell people what people to post (sic).”

    Neither do you, but that seldom stops you from trying.

  48. Hmm, I made 2 reservations before Sept 14. And I got to say i am pleasantly surprised? Out of 3 bookings, 1 stayed the same, 1 has 1 night with higher points, and one has 3 nights with lowered points (one of them is “free” since I booked 5 nights, so 2 nights are lowered).

    If they don’t change this much, as they said on my reservation that “The points rate for your reservation may increase or decrease until you have deducted the points from your account to cover the reservation. ”
    Then I am pretty happy with this. But any move towards dynamic pricing might indicate further devaluation.

  49. @James For once I find myself in complete agreement with @DCS. You’re not a moderator or a discussion leader. The flow of conversation here is really not your business to enforce one way or the other. One person’s “crap” is another person’s tasty treasured infonugget. I’ve learned so much from tangential conversation here. If your inbox is filling with notifications from the, uh, one or two messages where we’ve mentioned the Long Bar, then do as I do and don’t subscribe to follow-up notifications by email.

    You asked me to excuse you so I will, no harm, no foul. But really, you’ll learn interesting things and you’ll get along a lot better with the other kids on the playground if you don’t try to micromanage the conversation. It’s easy enough to ignore the discussion if you aren’t interested in it.

  50. To add on my previous comment. I obviously made a typo (3 stays not 2.) All at Cat 8 hotels in Japan. And interesting despite the high price during my stay (800 USD normally, around 2000 during my stay.) The points cost wasn’t actually all jacked up to 100k points per night as I expected, only 1 night was raised.

    I think it might have something to do with people making the booking. As this reservation is way in the future. So the price might have been raised when I have the points to cover this points advance…. Anyway we will see, if this is as it stands right now it isn’t that bad at all. Maybe Marriott finally is caving for losing loyalty program members? All people I knew either jumped to Hilton/IHG or reducing stays. I am hitting ambassador this year, but if my upgrades rate don’t improve (it was reduced by much after the Marriott merger for my stays in China.) Then I am also switching, already got the Shangri-la diamond challenge going.

  51. Not sure if anyone else realize this. Sheraton New York Times Square quietly change from category 5 to category 6 during the transition to off peak pricing.

  52. Please advice. I am reading that points reservations made BEFORE September 14, 2019 will be at the points rates previously booked. Is this correct?

    I made a reservation at Al Maha last year before merger at 60K per night and I was JUST charged 85K per night but the Marriott customer service says they can’t give me the old rate.

    Is this true? It’s 100K point difference for my reservation. I never thought they could CHANGE the reservation details after I booked.

    Please help.

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