I’m currently on safari in Africa, but I had to take a break from my break to cover today’s major news. Marriott will join Delta, United, IHG, and Hilton in eliminating award charts.
Once upon a time award charts gave members and assurance that they knew how many points they would need to save up in order to book an aspirational flight or stay. Then programs added peak and off-peak redemptions to better align the award cost of a flight or room to the paid rate.
And now the trend continues to move to variable rates that take away the most valuable redemptions. Loyalty programs make this switch at their own peril. Eventually their members will switch over to hybrid cards that offer the ability to accumulate bank points that can be used for their choice of redeeming points directly for paid rates on any flight or hotel or transferring points only when it makes sense to do so.
Effective in March 2022, award charts will be eliminated. However for stays in 2022 the vast majority of stays will be within the off peak to peak range of their previous category. However 3% of hotels will see immediate price increases starting for bookings made in March, so you’ll want to make speculative bookings before then.
For stays starting in 2023 prices will be fully variable with no cap and will align with paid rates. That’s even worse than Hilton’s elimination of award charts as they maintain a range and maximum rate that a hotel can charge. Aspiratonal Marriott properties will surely become unaffordable when using points.
There was little reason to use a Marriott card for earning points after the SPG merger other than to earn a signup bonus, and this change means there’s even less reason to do anything but have a Marriott card buried in your sock drawer if you want the annual free night certificate.
- Marriott also announced that:
- Your current status, regardless of when it was earned, will be valid through 2/28/23.
- Points won’t expire until 12/31/22.
- Certificates that were set to expire before 6/30/22 will be extended until 6/30/22.
- Suite night awards set to expire this year will be extended until 6/30/22.
- Starting in 2022, you will be able to add up to 15K points on top of certificates. That means if you have a 35K certificate you can use up to 15K points on top of the certificate to use it at hotels that cost up to 50K points and 50K certificates will be able to be used at hotels up to 65K points. Unfortunately, this only applies to base rooms, not upgraded rooms.
Those are all nice kickbacks, but Marriott has officially pulled the rug out from under their members.
Now the only question left is when will Marriott devalue their airline transfer ratio?