Major: Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts, Introduces Dynamic Award Pricing

Major: Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts, Introduces Dynamic Award Pricing

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It’s a huge day for Marriott Bonvoy. In addition to the program announcing that elite status will be extended, it has also been announced that major changes will be made to Bonvoy award pricing, and odds are that OMAAT readers aren’t going to be happy…

Marriott Bonvoy is eliminating award charts

Marriott Bonvoy will be eliminating its current award charts, instead moving towards “flexible points redemption rates.” With this change, rates when redeeming points will more closely resemble rates when paying cash. As far as the timeline goes:

  • Marriott Bonvoy will transition to dynamic award pricing as of March 2022; prior to that, the current award chart will fully remain in place
  • Between March 2022 and the end of 2022, award pricing at more than 97% of properties will continue to range between off-peak and peak redemption rates; that means just under 3% of hotels will have redemption rates in a higher range than what they currently are for 2022
  • Starting in 2023, there will be no more limits on award pricing across the board
  • Marriott Bonvoy will be keeping around the fifth night free feature, whereby your fifth night is free when you redeem points for four nights

It’s claimed that flexible points redemption rates will mean that more rooms overall will be available for redemption stays, because hotels will be able to better manage room inventory. I’m not sure I understand what that means in practice, because Marriott Bonvoy’s current limit on award rooms will still remain in place, so not all standard rooms will always be bookable with points. Furthermore, there are no immediate plans to roll out redemptions for more room types.

For context, up until now Marriott Bonvoy has had an award chart, where all hotels fall into Category 1-8, and then each property has off-peak, standard, and peak pricing. With this, an award night can cost anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 Bonvoy points per night.

In the future, there’s no limit to how much a Bonvoy award night could cost. Only time will tell how high pricing can get for a standard room…

Expect redemptions at top hotels to get more expensive

What’s the logic for this Marriott Bonvoy award pricing change?

For background, it’s probably worth understanding the economics of hotel loyalty programs:

  • Marriott doesn’t own a vast majority of properties, but rather just has a management or franchise agreement with them
  • When a member redeems Marriott Bonvoy points, the loyalty program pays the hotel some amount for that stay
  • The amount reimbursed is dependent on a combination of how full the hotel is, and what the average daily rate is; if a hotel is nowhere close to full, the reimbursement rate is low (just enough to cover the incremental costs of serving that guest), while if a hotel is close to full (think 95%+ occupancy), the hotel is reimbursed at pretty close to the average daily rate

In other words, the most costly redemptions for Marriott Bonvoy are when members redeem at expensive, full hotels, since the program is paying close to full price for that stay on behalf of the member. It seems pretty clear that these award program changes are intended to address that, and to eliminate any overly costly redemptions for Marriott Bonvoy.

Expect hotels that are consistently full with high average daily rates to be the most negatively impacted by these changes.

The busier the hotel, the higher I’d expect award costs to go

Just how dynamic will Marriott Bonvoy award pricing be?

In reality Marriott Bonvoy is just following the lead of so many other travel loyalty programs. Hilton Honors eliminated award charts several years back, and IHG Rewards also recently switched to fully dynamic award pricing.

What should we expect from Marriott Bonvoy? It’s my understanding that award pricing won’t be directly and consistently correlated to the paid cost of a stay, meaning that a Bonvoy point won’t consistently be worth a certain dollar amount towards a hotel stay.

Rather there will be more of a general correlation between how much a stay costs and how much an award costs, much like with Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors unofficially has a maximum number of points that an award stay will cost (150,000 Honors points for a standard room), so I guess when this change goes into effect we’ll see if there’s any maximum number of points that Marriott Bonvoy will charge.

For the highest end hotels, I have to wonder how much award pricing can even go up. Peak season stays at top properties already cost 100,000 Bonvoy points per night. At a valuation of ~0.7 cents per point, that’s like “paying” $700 worth of points. Yes, some Marriott properties retail for more than that, but they’re few and far between, and probably not consistently full.

We’ll see just how expensive some properties get

This is a negative change for those maximizing value

Those of us into the miles & points hobby are all about getting outsized value. That involves redeeming points at properties that get us the most value for every point redeemed. Suffice to say for people like us, this change is awful. A five night stay (with the fifth night free) at Marriott’s top properties will no longer cost at most 400,000 Bonvoy points.

Is there any silver lining here? I think Marriott executives would argue that the new award pricing is more rational:

  • There are situations where hotels cost a disproportionate number of points, especially in the off-season, and where the category doesn’t really make sense; in those situations, pricing might now be more reasonable
  • The reality is that a vast majority of people aren’t redeeming for the St. Regis Maldives or Al Maha, and I don’t think these changes will actually be that bad for those with more “average” redemption patterns
  • Even for other programs that have shifted to dynamic award pricing, there are generally limits on how many points top hotels cost; most loyalty programs recognize that there’s value in keeping some aspirational redemptions reasonably priced, to give people something to dream about, even if it never materializes
This might not be bad for more “average” hotels

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy will be introducing dynamic award pricing as of March 2022. With this, the program will eliminate award charts, and instead use flexible redemption rates, with no minimum or maximum number of points required for redemptions.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it — for those of us who like maximizing our points by redeeming for aspirational Category 8 properties, this will almost certainly be terrible news. The only question is how high Marriott’s award pricing will get.

What do you make of Marriott Bonvoy switching to dynamic award pricing?

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  1. Graeme Guest

    Sorry for my ignorance, but I had been saving points for an October 2022 honeymoon. Does this mean that this is almost certainly no longer an option, or does this mean that if I book before March 2022 that I still could have a chance at booking a top tier 5th night free hotel for 400,000 points.

  2. Marc Jordan Guest

    No doubt Marriott will hail this as a "thrilling" change when they make the official announcement, just as they did in 2009 when they devalued the program by 30%. At that time they called the changes "exciting".

  3. Dan Guest

    What will happen to the 5 night category 5 certificate now? Mine doesn’t expire until Sep 2022 since it got extended several times now. Should I use it before March 2022 or? Thanks

  4. TravelZ Guest

    This change actually gives me a very good reason to be done with Marriott and hotels loyalty programs in general! It’s liberating in a way!!
    I’m currently Ambassador with Marriott and if I don’t change an upcoming trip, I’m gonna renew my status by hitting the $14k. If points = cash, I’m def switching to other local and more authentic hotels as well as Airbnb. One downside of being elite with a hotel chain...

    This change actually gives me a very good reason to be done with Marriott and hotels loyalty programs in general! It’s liberating in a way!!
    I’m currently Ambassador with Marriott and if I don’t change an upcoming trip, I’m gonna renew my status by hitting the $14k. If points = cash, I’m def switching to other local and more authentic hotels as well as Airbnb. One downside of being elite with a hotel chain is that u get free breakfast… which in all seriousness fills you up and prevent you from trying different restaurants and flavors during the day… I spent 3 weeks in Spain this summer, and I only had lunch once or twice because I was full from breakfast every day…and couldn’t eat until 7 or 8 at night! I know it’s my problem but I can’t pass on a good breakfast at The Palace in Madrid or Alfonso in Seville! Anyhow, good run with the program but moving on to something more adventurous!

  5. Dave David Guest

    I wonder if this will shift folks more towards sites like Hotels.com? I go between Marriott and Hotels.com for my travel. I am a Gold for Life ... formerly SPG loyalist (which I assume Bonvoy will one day do away with as they continue to cut and purge any benefits) so it stings to give away an up-percentage each stay, but when Bonvoy took away Gold breakfasts, it became easier. Hotels.com gives 1 free night...

    I wonder if this will shift folks more towards sites like Hotels.com? I go between Marriott and Hotels.com for my travel. I am a Gold for Life ... formerly SPG loyalist (which I assume Bonvoy will one day do away with as they continue to cut and purge any benefits) so it stings to give away an up-percentage each stay, but when Bonvoy took away Gold breakfasts, it became easier. Hotels.com gives 1 free night for every 10 nights booked, which equals about 10% back ... which would be 10 cents per dollar valuation? I love it because 90% of the time, there are no hotels which don't accept the reward nights on Hotels.com, unlike the brands. I like it because I can pick ANY hotel when Marriott decides to price all their hotels 30% over other brands in NJ, or when I want to stay somewhere unique. I hate it because you cannot use tax-exempt forms for business travel on Hotels.com and they don't let you split the room costs between personal and business. So, if I am on a trip and want to stay somewhere nicer outside of my business travel budget, in most cases they won't let me split the difference. However, Hotels.com is starting to offer tiered benefits at certain hotels, such as late check-out, room upgrades, free breakfast, free parking or free drinks at the bar. Often the prices are the same (or oddly sometimes lower!) than the actual Marriott site. As travel booking sites start to offer the perks most of us are used to getting with companies like Marriott, it may entice some of us in the Gold/Platinum range to switch over. I can 100% tell you after I spend the Bonvoy points I've been hoarding for years before the switch-over in 2022, Bonvoy WILL be in my rear view mirror! No way am I going to deal with dynamic pricing. Too confusing and the value of points is going to drop like the stock market soon will.

  6. Michael S Guest

    Interesting...I am at 35 nights right now for this year and was debating pulling the trigger on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant to get the last 15 nights and qualify for platinum while earning that 150k bonus and the 2 free 85k and 50k night certificates. The platinum status would now stay in effect through Feb 2023. Worth it or just forget Marriott at this point?

  7. Mark Guest

    I guess no need to keep the Bonvoy AMEX card any longer.

  8. Jose Guest

    Currently I am Titanium with 8 years lifetime platinum, this year I have earned 53 nights so will add one more lifetime platinum year in 2022 to make it 9, in 2022 I will maintain as Titanium due to the gesture of Bonvoy just announced, would I get another lifetime platinum year in 2023 make it 10 years in total? Thanks!

  9. Jaye Guest

    meh, does this lend any credence to the idea of just staying "loyal" to a credit card ecosystem? Specifically talking about Chase/Amex/Citi points here?

  10. Paul Guest

    Marriott acquired SPG and destroyed the loyalty and benefits…now they are taking their crappy Bonvoy program and making it worse.

    1. Mark Guest

      Agreed. Starwood was the best and the program has sucked since Marriott took over.

  11. Tom Guest

    I was going to re-evaluate loyalty programs anyway, as business travel starts again in 2022. This makes the decision to look away from Marriott easy. I guess my Lifetime Platinum status will become a dusty trophy on the shelf. Thanks for the memories Marriott!

  12. Ingo Guest

    I took the time and read the comments (actual 58) and I’m not surprised what I read…

    I have the impression that most of the comments are about “blame” and the threat never to set a foot into a Marriott again. Some Says they will move to Hilton…

    OK, that is everybody’s choice… but just remark: Hilton was the first to introduce dynamic rates as now introduced by Marriott. Hilton has changed the breakfast rule...

    I took the time and read the comments (actual 58) and I’m not surprised what I read…

    I have the impression that most of the comments are about “blame” and the threat never to set a foot into a Marriott again. Some Says they will move to Hilton…

    OK, that is everybody’s choice… but just remark: Hilton was the first to introduce dynamic rates as now introduced by Marriott. Hilton has changed the breakfast rule in US…

    I don’t want to say Marriott is the best… all companies are looking only for them, their owner and shareholders.

    So, please do not *bs* about one company and say others are so much better, even they have the same policy

  13. David Diamond

    Glad for Marriott to reinforce my decision to become a Hyatt/Virtuoso mercenary.

  14. Sam Guest

    Perfect time for Airbnb to come up with a disruptive rewards program! I have been a 'so-called' top elite in all of the top 3 hotel chains and frankly I am disenchanted. Benefits are pretty much non-existent. I would rather choose independent best hotels with good benefits from my credit card or hopefully Airbnb. For now, staying more at Hyatt, till it devalues the 'elite' benefits as well. I already have stopped sticking to one...

    Perfect time for Airbnb to come up with a disruptive rewards program! I have been a 'so-called' top elite in all of the top 3 hotel chains and frankly I am disenchanted. Benefits are pretty much non-existent. I would rather choose independent best hotels with good benefits from my credit card or hopefully Airbnb. For now, staying more at Hyatt, till it devalues the 'elite' benefits as well. I already have stopped sticking to one airline and now just fly that is the most convenient for me.
    So long... age of points.

  15. Bruce Guest

    So much for being a loyal Marriott customer. You give them your business for 30 years and they "take" from you "again" with this change. We all have earned the points over the years based on the program that exists and stayed loyal because of it. Corporate Marriott is not being a good partner at all!

    1. Jordan23 Guest

      Guessing cash prices have gone up too over 30 years. They supposed to wait til u no longer need them, to make changes?

  16. Jack Guest

    If there's no penalty for NOT doing something, why are you doing it? If there's no penalty for NOT having a redemption chart, why do you have it?

  17. Reno Joe Guest

    Why is this a surprise to anyone? The next thing will be removal of any points guidelines -- some properties will charge 150k points per day. Just watch. There is a systemic assault on hotel loyalty program members by both the property owners and the programs themselves. As I've said repeatedly in other comments, hotel loyalty programs are a mug's game and we're the mugs.

    Since Marriott went to low / mid / high-season points...

    Why is this a surprise to anyone? The next thing will be removal of any points guidelines -- some properties will charge 150k points per day. Just watch. There is a systemic assault on hotel loyalty program members by both the property owners and the programs themselves. As I've said repeatedly in other comments, hotel loyalty programs are a mug's game and we're the mugs.

    Since Marriott went to low / mid / high-season points pricing, some properties seemed to be predominantly in high season. At the same time, it eliminated to "true" no-blackout-date feature, which allowed property owners to "manage" award inventory -- maybe you get to redeem at the property you want and maybe you don't. Breakfast for elites seems to have become coffee and a doughnut. Room upgrades are illusive.

  18. CB Guest

    Bend me over and Bonvoy me more, I love it!

    ...Said no one ever

    This program is such a dumpster fire.

    1. Ryan Guest

      Couldn't agree more. I was saving for an aspirational redemption, and I'll probably be crawling towards the finish line at this rate thanks to the last 2 years.

      I'm going to dump Marriott as soon as I'm done, and concentrate elsewhere.

  19. Dominic Guest

    So, I work for Marriott (and have for a long time) so I don't really collect Bonvoy points since I tend to stay on non-earning rates/discounts. What other loyalty program would be best to focus on? I'm leaning Hyatt, but Hilton also looks interesting. Thanks!

    1. relidtm Gold

      this says a lot Id definitely go Hyatt since Marriot has a huge footprint, you can choose them secondary. I get treated better mid-level at Hyatt (chasing globalist) than I did as titanium at bonvoy, I'm ready to cancel my card after this it's so hard to use those certificates.

  20. Sathiakumar Arumugam Guest

    Marriott Rewards goes from the frying pan to the fire! Disappointing to say the least.

  21. etravelstheworld Guest

    Honestly I’m done with Marriott. Will burn my points and become a free agent. Done are the days where I stay at a crappy courtyard on business trips so that I can save points to go on aspirational trips.

    When the airlines had award charts, I was loyal to one airline/alliance. When they got rid of them I became a free agent and used points wherever I saw fit for premium redemptions.

    I...

    Honestly I’m done with Marriott. Will burn my points and become a free agent. Done are the days where I stay at a crappy courtyard on business trips so that I can save points to go on aspirational trips.

    When the airlines had award charts, I was loyal to one airline/alliance. When they got rid of them I became a free agent and used points wherever I saw fit for premium redemptions.

    I will do the same with hotels. And just an fyi, hotels have a lot more competition than airlines so Marriott is foolish to think this will work. This just incentivizes more and more to stay with competition and Airbnb.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I agree. Part of the points game was you stayed at a dumpy old Fairfield or Courtyard in the middle of nowhere because the say earned points toward that big stay at the St. Regis in Rome or wherever. There was some value. Now, there's no real value to roughing it at the Courtyard, especially if there's a brand new Holiday Inn Express, an
      awesome independent property or a nice Airbnb.

    2. Brett Guest

      C'mon, most of the time when staying at a Courtyard it's just across the street from a Hampton Inn and a Holiday Inn and they're all about the same.

    3. Ryan Guest

      This started for me with the last few trips I've taken. Only 3 trips, a significant drop in stays, but I now look for the best value/comfort as points with Marriott are becoming more useless by the year. A free agent who's done with Marriott after my next big redemption

  22. Joe Guest

    Thank You Marriott Bonvoy
    This is excellent news

  23. Ken Guest

    Points have already been badly devalued through excessively widespread peak pricing this year- generally speaking it seems like:
    - off peak dates = standard or peak pricing.
    - standard dates = peak pricing.
    - peak dates = blacked out.
    Some hotels are even worse- the Ritz Kapalua has essentially declared that they have no standard rooms and all rooms require an extra charge for an "upgrade" even though it is the...

    Points have already been badly devalued through excessively widespread peak pricing this year- generally speaking it seems like:
    - off peak dates = standard or peak pricing.
    - standard dates = peak pricing.
    - peak dates = blacked out.
    Some hotels are even worse- the Ritz Kapalua has essentially declared that they have no standard rooms and all rooms require an extra charge for an "upgrade" even though it is the base level room.
    Marriott points were generally valued around 0.9-1 cents each 3-4 years ago. That's already dropped to more like 0.7, and I could see it dropping to more like 0.5 like hilton/IHG with this change. Except at least hilton gives you far better earning rates on credit cards, point transfers, and elite bonuses - you earn 1.5-3x as many points for equivalent activity at hilton.

  24. Art_Czar New Member

    One redeeming fact (for now) is that you can still transfer MR points to a range of airlines' mileage programs at a fixed conversion rate with a 15k bonus for every 60k points.
    In recent years, award availability at desirable properties was rare anyway. I am a lifetime Platinum, but it's time to say bye bye Bonvoy!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Art_Czar -- Indeed, that at least means Bonvoy points maintain some sort of a floor value, assuming that redemption isn't eventually devalued.

    2. Dee Guest

      I am full-on travel next year with my new job and am 2 years away from lifetime platinum status.

      I am not sure if I should chase a lifetime status with Marriott. After years of Enhancement to the loyalty program has been a downgrade from what it was in 2018. This update is a nail to the coffin.

  25. Nancy Guest

    What's going to happen with the bonvoy certificates when this change takes place?

    1. Art_Czar New Member

      Unfortunately the certificates will not have dynamic value and will therefore offer even fewer options for valuable redemptions.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Nancy -- Nothing is changing there, they'll still be valid for hotel stays up to their current maximum points amount. Furthermore, starting in 2022, you'll be able to redeem free night certificates and up to 15,000 points for a stay. In other words, if you have a free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 50,000 points, you could redeem at a hotel costing 65,000 points by paying a supplement of 15,000 points.

    3. Luis Guest

      Woah that's good news! So all the 35k certs that I struggle to use can be used at properties up to 50k points?

    4. relidtm Gold

      ha, good luck with that.

    5. Dan Guest

      @Ben Schlappig Hello Sir, what will happen to the 5 night category 5 certificate? Will it be lost if not used before March 2022 or what do you think might happen? Thank you for your help.

  26. Reader Guest

    So are all the bloggers who sell credit cards going to stop referring business to Marriott? That’s the only way to get them to reverse this. How is anyone just starting now ever supposed to get enough points for a stay in the Maldives or a honeymoon in Hawaii or Paris? You’re never going to get enough points under dynamic pricing, especially if there is no award chart. Moreover, how equitable is this? What’s to...

    So are all the bloggers who sell credit cards going to stop referring business to Marriott? That’s the only way to get them to reverse this. How is anyone just starting now ever supposed to get enough points for a stay in the Maldives or a honeymoon in Hawaii or Paris? You’re never going to get enough points under dynamic pricing, especially if there is no award chart. Moreover, how equitable is this? What’s to say you pay 300,000 points for one night because you booked when rates were high but I paid 150,000 points because rates dropped and the hotel wanted to fill rooms?

    1. khatl Guest

      You basically lose out, unless you pay attention and check back regularly to see if you can get a better deal. That's how Delta works. Happened to me a # of times recently where I checked back, and could get a cheaper redemption for the exact same flight, and so I changed and did so. I can't imagine Marriott is going to be any different.

    2. DCS Guest

      How is anyone just starting now ever supposed to get enough points for a stay in the Maldives or a honeymoon in Hawaii or Paris? You’re never going to get enough points under dynamic pricing, especially if there is no award chart.

      The same way to any of us would under any program! Would you believe I did have enough points under dynamic award pricing to affford a 5-night award stay (5th night free) at...

      How is anyone just starting now ever supposed to get enough points for a stay in the Maldives or a honeymoon in Hawaii or Paris? You’re never going to get enough points under dynamic pricing, especially if there is no award chart.

      The same way to any of us would under any program! Would you believe I did have enough points under dynamic award pricing to affford a 5-night award stay (5th night free) at WA Maldives from which I achieved an outsized redemption value of about 4 cents/Hilton point (not a typo)?

      Moreover, how equitable is this? What’s to say you pay 300,000 points for one night because you booked when rates were high but I paid 150,000 points because rates dropped and the hotel wanted to fill rooms?

      You lost me. How is that be less 'equitable' than one guest paying $300 for one night because s/he booked when cash rates were high vs. another guest paying $150 because cash rates dropped and the hotel wanted to fill rooms?

    3. Ryan Guest

      Care to shed more light as to how you managed to get 4cents/point with Hilton?

    4. DCS Diamond

      Care to shed more light as to how you managed to get 4cents/point with Hilton?

      Sure. I will just reproduced here what I posted in this space back in February 2019, right after I completed the booking.

      I should note that I was mistaken recently when I seemed to recall that I'd paid 95K HH points/night for the said 5-night WA Maldives award stay. I'd, in fact, paid 120K points/night like everyone else at...

      Care to shed more light as to how you managed to get 4cents/point with Hilton?

      Sure. I will just reproduced here what I posted in this space back in February 2019, right after I completed the booking.

      I should note that I was mistaken recently when I seemed to recall that I'd paid 95K HH points/night for the said 5-night WA Maldives award stay. I'd, in fact, paid 120K points/night like everyone else at the time. Well here's the math as I reported it at the time:

      DCS Guest
      February 11, 2019, 9:50 am

      I just booked a 5-night award stay with the fifth night free:
      Total cost in points: 120K * 4 + 0k = 480,000 HH points

      I also did a dummy cash booking:

      KING BEACH VILLA WITH POOL Non Smoking Room
      BAR Price: $16,480.00
      Taxes: $2,205.36
      Service Charge: $1,648.00
      Total for stay: $20,333.36

      'Nominal' Redemption value" $20,333.36/480,000 = $0.04236

      Yup, that is right: an outsized ¢4.23/point !!!

      G'day.

      Such outsized redemption values are possible only with the 5th award night free perk...

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Reader -- A couple of thoughts. First of all, regarding the program not being very equitable, that's not any different than how things are now. Currently a hotel could shift from peak to off-peak for the same dates over time. For that matter, paid rates fluctuate.

      As far as "referring business to Marriott," I'll certainly be reflecting the program changes in any upcoming coverage of the program, or Marriott's co-branded credit cards. However, we...

      @ Reader -- A couple of thoughts. First of all, regarding the program not being very equitable, that's not any different than how things are now. Currently a hotel could shift from peak to off-peak for the same dates over time. For that matter, paid rates fluctuate.

      As far as "referring business to Marriott," I'll certainly be reflecting the program changes in any upcoming coverage of the program, or Marriott's co-branded credit cards. However, we don't actually know how high pricing will get, these changes only kick in in several months, and for a more "average" traveler, these changes might not be terrible. Personally I'm all for earning and burning, and that philosophy isn't changing.

    6. Jordan23 Guest

      Changes happen all the time and never for the better. Zilch will happen if the bloggers stop pushing brand cards. Neither from the incessant bitching

  27. Alex_77W Guest

    @Lucky: "The amount reimbursed is dependent on a combination of how full the hotel is, and what the average daily rate is; if a hotel is nowhere close to full, the reimbursement rate is low (just enough to cover the incremental costs of serving that guest), while if a hotel is close to full (think 95%+ occupancy), the hotel is reimbursed at pretty close to the average daily rate".
    - That is what I...

    @Lucky: "The amount reimbursed is dependent on a combination of how full the hotel is, and what the average daily rate is; if a hotel is nowhere close to full, the reimbursement rate is low (just enough to cover the incremental costs of serving that guest), while if a hotel is close to full (think 95%+ occupancy), the hotel is reimbursed at pretty close to the average daily rate".
    - That is what I thought. I just burned my 25K free night certificate at Fairfield, Boone, NC. Because this is a Fall season for the Blue Ridge Parkway the hotel prices are sky high. Fairfield was $315/night or 20K points (and the nearby Courtyard was $465). The room was freshly remodeled, the Fairfield breakfast was plentiful, and my total bill was $0.00. However, on the printout I did see room charge of $51.00 +tax that was taking out. Hotel was completely full that night. $51.00 is about 16% of the going rate. Perhaps, the hotel will be reimbursed more once they submit their occupancy data. I am also wondering that those $300-500/night prices is simply an attempt of hotel owners to get $$$ back from Marriott program. The breakfast crowd did not look anything like the one spending that much on hotels ... but who knows.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alex_77W -- Thanks for the data point. I suspect the higher reimbursement rates go on in the background after the fact, to reflect occupancy. As you guessed, odds are that the rate you saw was the standard reimbursement rate not factoring in the occupancy.

  28. Jeff Guest

    How much of these out-size redemptions are really happening? How much is it truly hurting Marriott and its properties?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jeff -- That's a great question. I think one important point is that it's presumably not just Category 8 redemptions in the Maldives and Bora Bora where Marriott is trying to control costs. As Alex_77W notes in a comment, it could also be a Fairfield Inn that's bookable for 20,000 points per night or $315, because that redemption could be at least as costly to Marriott.

  29. Hank Tarn Guest

    Yet more reasons to book using the third party Booking.com, Hotels.com/Expedia.

  30. jfhscott Guest

    This is a terrible idea on Marriott's part.

    While i understand the business rationale, Marriott seemingly does not get that they get incremental business (you know - I'll stay at a less convenient Courtyard over the more convenient Hilton on account of the points) by giving members something concrete for which to aspire.

    I cannot aspire when award pricing is dynamic and undependable.

    1. jfhscott Guest

      I will add . . . . this is a particularly poor decision given that, as business travel picks up, people may be reevaluating their loyalty program decisions. Unlike airlines, where elites are often "hub captive" and cannot effectively move their loyalty, hotels do not enjoy such a position.

    2. DCA Will Always Be "National" Guest

      This. 100%. My company pays for my stays and airfare. So now it looks like I can move to WoH or Hilton - need to make that decision sooner rather than later - and just liquidate my Marriott points for airline miles. Even more apropos because I just spent 4 days in a Renaissance that looked like a run-down Courtyard, and I'm currently at a Westin that could double as a Holiday Inn Express. Really disappointing.

  31. Anthony Diamond

    Unfortunate move, but inevitable I guess. I am thinking more of points and miles as just a byproduct of stuff I am doing already (paid stays / traveling for status, organic spending) as opposed to currencies to actively collect. Also I think more people need to have a strategy of just paying for aspirational properties, often with things like Virtuoso/FHR/Stars. Lucky himself is paying to more hotels directly.

    We will see how long Hyatt can...

    Unfortunate move, but inevitable I guess. I am thinking more of points and miles as just a byproduct of stuff I am doing already (paid stays / traveling for status, organic spending) as opposed to currencies to actively collect. Also I think more people need to have a strategy of just paying for aspirational properties, often with things like Virtuoso/FHR/Stars. Lucky himself is paying to more hotels directly.

    We will see how long Hyatt can hold out before moving more dynamic

  32. Anthony Diamond

    Arguably the Bonvoy Brilliant card becomes even more useful - because the 50K cert can now be augmented by up to 15K in miles. But it is useful just for a Marriott credit, the cert, and putting paid Marriott stays on the card, little else

    1. Francois Guest

      Soon "augmenting" with points will be required to receive equal value of a 50k from before this change so I don't think so.

    2. Rico Guest

      @Francois You're optimistic. The most you can "augment"is 15,000 points. So that hotel that you used to stay at for 50K points will now be dynamically priced at 67K.

      Looking at you Kimpton Sawyer Sacramento that used to be 40K or an IHG free night. I did that a couple of times. Now it's 44K. Hello Hyatt Regency 12K/night.

  33. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    I just emailed David Flueck to complain. [email protected]

    1) Extending status for people who haven’t stayed at a hotel since March 2020 does nothing for customers who have legitimately stayed throughout the pandemic
    2) You still haven’t fixed guaranteed benefits like breakfast
    3) Getting rid of the categories for points isn’t just a complete devaluation of the program, it’s a completely new program. This will make my points effectively worthless.

    1. AmericanGrunt Guest

      Is there really not a market for a high-end business focused hotel chain with a solid loyalty program and a major city footprint? Are the economic fundamentals of the industry really that low margin? I started my consulting career just as SPG was being bought out by Marriott and although I only experienced a year and a half of the sweet sweet SPG life, I would definitely pay more for that experience if the alternative...

      Is there really not a market for a high-end business focused hotel chain with a solid loyalty program and a major city footprint? Are the economic fundamentals of the industry really that low margin? I started my consulting career just as SPG was being bought out by Marriott and although I only experienced a year and a half of the sweet sweet SPG life, I would definitely pay more for that experience if the alternative is the horrendous service I receive as an "Ambassador" at Marriott.

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      Hyatt of course - about the same size as pre-merger Starwood, with an equally good (in some ways better) loyalty program

  34. Peter Guest

    Has anyone studied whether award redemption's increasingly having a correlation with an observable price is an invitation to tax the receipt of points earned through employment as a taxable benefit?

    1. relidtm Gold

      agreed i think its time to cancel my bonvoy card I'm over it

    2. Anthony Diamond

      1) Hyatt will eventually follow with a milder, but similar move. Being able to book $2,000 Alila Big Sur rooms for 30K points is unsustainable

      2) Nevetheless, paying 120K or more for properties like Ritz Carlton Bar Harbor / St Regis Rome or whatever just moves Marriott points in value closer to Hilton, and it is easier to earn Hilton points

      3) The move is to burn Marriott points in 2022

      4) Increasingly...

      1) Hyatt will eventually follow with a milder, but similar move. Being able to book $2,000 Alila Big Sur rooms for 30K points is unsustainable

      2) Nevetheless, paying 120K or more for properties like Ritz Carlton Bar Harbor / St Regis Rome or whatever just moves Marriott points in value closer to Hilton, and it is easier to earn Hilton points

      3) The move is to burn Marriott points in 2022

      4) Increasingly the move is to just pay for hotels using Virtuoso, Stars, FHR, etc.

  35. Mark Guest

    Wow...Hyatt couldn't have asked for better timing on this announcement to sugarcoat their new peak/off peak award pricing kicking in.

    1. khatl Guest

      Exactly my thought. Though it's likely the vast majority of people do not pay attention to understanding these devaluations, and won't realize. A bit like all the people at SPG vs Marriott. If you'd asked most of the Marriott folks, they thought they had the best program. The SPG folks knew the reality was much different. So while Hyatt will definitely see some upside, I don't think the swing will be that big.

  36. DCS Diamond

    Get used to it. Dynamic award pricing will soon become the industry standard and everyone will come to realize, like some of us who have experienced it for some time with Hilton Honors and UA MileagePlus, that it is not as awful as self-anointed "travel gurus" make it seem. The sky does not fall.

    About a week ago, when it was announced that Wold of Hyatt would or might be transitioning to seasonal awards I...

    Get used to it. Dynamic award pricing will soon become the industry standard and everyone will come to realize, like some of us who have experienced it for some time with Hilton Honors and UA MileagePlus, that it is not as awful as self-anointed "travel gurus" make it seem. The sky does not fall.

    About a week ago, when it was announced that Wold of Hyatt would or might be transitioning to seasonal awards I made this prediction:

    With this change, Wold of Hyatt takes the first step toward emulating Hilton Honors’ dynamic award pricing system. After toying with this seasonal scheme for a while, the program will take the plunge, which won’t be as bad as feared, provided that it resembles the HH system. All bets will be off if it is a significantly different implementation of dynamic award pricing.

    That is exactly the trajectory that BonVoy awards have followed. First the program's awards were made seasonal, now they will be dynamically priced. The change won't be too bad if the highest-priced BonVoy awards remain roughly like they currently are for the different hotel categories, even though award charts will be no more, and only creep up slowly to adjust for the inevitable inflationary pressures of too many points in circulation.

    Like DL for the airline industry, Hilton Honors is now unquestionably the trend setter for the hospitality industry... for better or worse, but I would say for better ;-)

  37. DenB Platinum

    Dynamic is inevitable. It's better for the program, worse for maximizers, unnoticed by the majority. The program that did this brilliantly was the Mother of all bait-and-switch devaluations, Aeroplan. Bloggers praised Aeroplan 2.0, giving little attention (maybe not understanding) the apocalyptic deval. Aeroplan tamed the bloggers, building excitement about the shiny thing in the magician's right hand. His left hand is now in our Aeroplan accounts, cleaning us out. Bonvoy, less clever, has simply delivered...

    Dynamic is inevitable. It's better for the program, worse for maximizers, unnoticed by the majority. The program that did this brilliantly was the Mother of all bait-and-switch devaluations, Aeroplan. Bloggers praised Aeroplan 2.0, giving little attention (maybe not understanding) the apocalyptic deval. Aeroplan tamed the bloggers, building excitement about the shiny thing in the magician's right hand. His left hand is now in our Aeroplan accounts, cleaning us out. Bonvoy, less clever, has simply delivered the bad news, so they'll get bad press. Bonvoyed, indeed. Welcome to Bonvoy 2.0.

    1. Kevin Guest

      Love the comparison to Aeroplan. I think many bloggers were happy to look the other way for the chance to get views and talk about the new shiny thing. In Canada, we have a blogger behind Prince of Travel and he has become a shill for all things Aeroplan and the banks that line his pockets.

      Which makes me appreciate OMAAT's level-headed approach to changes. Perhaps it comes with the maturity of being in the game for so long.

  38. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    Wait -- I thought today was the day that AAmerican was going to gut their AAdvantage program. Bonvoyed, too? I guess they figured they might as well destroy their program's value on the same day as AAmerican AAirlines in hopes that the howls and gnashing from AA distracted people from the Bonvoy Bloodletting ...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dick Bupkiss -- Hah, it's a day with lots of news!

  39. pstm91 Platinum

    There goes any "inspirational" bookings with Marriott. Glad I dumped all of my SPG points when they announced the transition.

  40. Brian Guest

    One of the best pieces of advice Ben has ever given to me is earn and burn. It’s basic and yet incredibly true. It’s the ethos to live by. Points and miles have been in constant devaluation for a long time.

    The pressure to squeeze revenue out of the programs is at an all-time high after many corporations borrowed against then heavily during the pandemic. The value is evaporating. it’s now just a shit cryptocurrency...

    One of the best pieces of advice Ben has ever given to me is earn and burn. It’s basic and yet incredibly true. It’s the ethos to live by. Points and miles have been in constant devaluation for a long time.

    The pressure to squeeze revenue out of the programs is at an all-time high after many corporations borrowed against then heavily during the pandemic. The value is evaporating. it’s now just a shit cryptocurrency that doesn’t actually go up in value vs. the dollar.

    I travel an incredible amount even by the standards of this site, I’m not going to list off my statuses but trust me. And right now I see no value in elite status at Marriott. Unless you consider shitty breakfast in a superspreader room great. If every point/mile is 1 cent and you pay the going rate, then loyalty becomes insignificant. The only place there’s value is in credit card signups and after you get those points you might as well switch to Discover and get cash back and put that in a piggy bank to travel with.

    1. Ethan Guest

      The thing is, you can only burn so much during a pandemic.

    2. BWin Guest

      The acceleration of the devalued Marriott point is in direct correlation to Marriott taking over Starwood. There is now almost no other hotel loyalty point programs out there. Lack of competition will always hurt us as the members, because we can't drop Marriott and go elsewhere. I totally agree that you spend those points as fast as possible. I've been holding onto my last 100k for too long, time to take a trip soon!

  41. JP Guest

    This is major and makes the very generous points and certificates given with the recent credit offers make sense.

    I feel the golden age of hotel cards being no brainers due to an outsized value certificate is about to end. Hilton has been rumored to change their too good to be true Aspire card soon.

    Oh, and....BONVOYED!

  42. Matt Guest

    Bye Marriott. Nice knowing you for 10 years of 50+ nights. I'll be over at Hilton. Don't call.

    1. stogieguy7 Gold

      Exactly where I'm headed, starting next year!

  43. Kyle Guest

    This industry trend of dynamic award pricing really sucks. I've gotten some really good redemptions with Marriott (even post-Bonvoy) over the years and they've been really valuable in the summer season, for example, in New England where I could redeem sometimes as low as 27,500-40,000 points in Boston, regardless of how the paid rates were priced.

    When Hilton did this, I really noticed the difference, so I imagine Marriott will be the same way.

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Brian Guest

One of the best pieces of advice Ben has ever given to me is earn and burn. It’s basic and yet incredibly true. It’s the ethos to live by. Points and miles have been in constant devaluation for a long time. The pressure to squeeze revenue out of the programs is at an all-time high after many corporations borrowed against then heavily during the pandemic. The value is evaporating. it’s now just a shit cryptocurrency that doesn’t actually go up in value vs. the dollar. I travel an incredible amount even by the standards of this site, I’m not going to list off my statuses but trust me. And right now I see no value in elite status at Marriott. Unless you consider shitty breakfast in a superspreader room great. If every point/mile is 1 cent and you pay the going rate, then loyalty becomes insignificant. The only place there’s value is in credit card signups and after you get those points you might as well switch to Discover and get cash back and put that in a piggy bank to travel with.

4
DCS Diamond

<blockquote>Care to shed more light as to how you managed to get 4cents/point with Hilton?</blockquote> Sure. I will just reproduced here what I posted in this space back in February 2019, right after I completed the booking. I should note that I was mistaken recently when I seemed to recall that I'd paid 95K HH points/night for the said 5-night WA Maldives award stay. I'd, in fact, paid 120K points/night like everyone else at the time. Well here's the math as I reported it at the time: <blockquote> DCS Guest February 11, 2019, 9:50 am I just booked a 5-night award stay with the fifth night free: Total cost in points: 120K * 4 + 0k = 480,000 HH points I also did a dummy cash booking: KING BEACH VILLA WITH POOL Non Smoking Room BAR Price: $16,480.00 Taxes: $2,205.36 Service Charge: $1,648.00 Total for stay: $20,333.36 'Nominal' Redemption value" $20,333.36/480,000 = <b>$0.04236</b> Yup, that is right: an outsized <b>¢4.23/point </b>!!! G'day. </blockquote> Such <b>outsized</b> redemption values are possible only with the <i>5th award night free</i> perk...

1
Ryan Guest

Couldn't agree more. I was saving for an aspirational redemption, and I'll probably be crawling towards the finish line at this rate thanks to the last 2 years. I'm going to dump Marriott as soon as I'm done, and concentrate elsewhere.

1
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