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Read about previous category changes:
- Marriott 2020 Annual Category Changes
- Marriott 2019 Annual Category Changes
- Marriott 2018 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2018 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2017 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2016 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2015 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2014 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2013 Category Changes
- Starwood 2012 Category Changes
- 2011 Starwood Category Adjustments
- 2010 had no Starwood category changes
- 2009 Starwood Category Adjustments
- 2008 Starwood Category Adjustments
- Starwood 2007 Changes: Launch Of Worldwide Cash+Points Awards (The good old days of Starwood in Israel)
Most hotels chains reorganize their categories yearly to keep them current with the average rates that they charge. Marriott reserves the right to change hotel categories at any time, but most of them are done in March.
This year’s hotel category changes have 51 hotels going up in category and 150 going down.
That’s a tiny fraction of last year’s absolutely brutal changes despite a year that saw hotel rates and occupancy plummet. I lost faith in Marriott after last year’s changes and it’s very disappointing to see that last year’s changes haven’t been corrected.
You can book stays before 3/3 to lock in current rates for future stays at hotels that are going up. You can book stays up to 350 days in advance. Almost all hotel stays are cancellable for free until a certain amount of time before the stay (read the fine print). If you have a reservation at a hotel that is going down then just cancel and rebook the stay on 3/3 when this year’s category changes go into effect.
If you have travel packages, you’ll want to reserve hotels for those before categories go up.
Hotels going up from category 5 to 6 will no longer be bookable with anniversary nights from cards like the discontinued Starwood Consumer AMEX, Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, and the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Consumer Card.
Hotels going up from category 6 to 7 will generally no longer be bookable with anniversary nights from cards like the Marriott Brilliant AMEX and the discontinued Ritz Carlton card. However you can still use these nights at category 7 hotels during off-peak times when they only cost 50K points.
Note that you won’t be able to change the dates on a reservation after the price goes up, your only options are to use the stay or cancel it and get your points back. You can make one night reservations if you’re not sure how many nights you want to stay, though you won’t be able to take advantage of a free night on a 5 night point stay like that.
Unfortunately you can no longer lock in rates with Points Advance if you don’t have enough points to book a stay.
- Zion National Park gains a 35K anniversary night eligible hotel.
- The Opus, Westchester, previously a Ritz Carlton, is now eligible for anniversary nights.
- Vancouver gains a 35K anniversary night eligible hotel and the JW Marriott there drops from 7 to 6.
- Curaçao gains a 35K anniversary night eligible hotel.
- Many Bali hotels go down in category.
- Despite countries like Israel being closed, hotels haven’t gone down in category as they should have.
- The W Aspen went from category 8 to 7 last year. It will go back up to 8 again.
- Despite Kauai’s draconian tourism rules, the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort climbs from a 5 to 6 and won’t be eligible for 35K anniversary nights.
- Ocean City, MD hotels all climb out of reach from 35K anniversary nights.
- There are no Marriott hotels dropping from category 8 to 7.
- Only 1 Ritz Carlton hotel goes down in category.
- No S. Regis or W hotels go down in category.
Sample hotels going up in category:
- Courtyard Hilton Head Island, SC, was 4, now 5
- Courtyard Aruba Resort, Aruba, was 4, now 5
- Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort, HI, was 5, now 6
- Aloft Ocean City, MD, was 5, now 6
- Residence Inn Ocean City, MD, was 5, now 6
- The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph Collection, Cincinnati, OH, was 5, now 6
- JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, Australia, was 5, now 6
- Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Mexico, was 5, now 6
- Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mexico City, Mexico, was 6, now 7
- The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buckinghamshire, UK, was 6, now 7
- W Aspen, CO, was 7, now 8
Sample hotels going down in category:
- Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Indonesia, was 2, now 1
- Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown, Malaysia, was 2, now 1
- Four Points by Sheraton Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, was 2, now 1
- Wuhan Marriott Hotel Optics Valley, Wuhan, China, was 3, now 2
- Four Points by Sheraton Santiago, Chile, was 3, now 2
- Element by Westin Bali Ubud, Indonesia, was 3, now 2
- Four Points by Sheraton Doha, Qatar, was 3, now 2
- Aloft Austin Airport, TX, was 4, now 3
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown, PA, was 4, now 3
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Camarillo, CA, was 4, now 3
- Element Bloomington Mall of America, MN, was 4, now 3
- Courtyard Montreal Brossard, Canada, was 4, now 3
- Element Toronto Airport, Canada, was 4, now 3
- Aloft Bali, Indonesia, was 4, now 3
- Sthala, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali, Indonesia, was 4, now 3
- Sheraton Milan San Siro. Italy, was 4, now 3
- Fairfield by Marriott Kyoto Kyotamba, Japan, was 4, now 3
- Four Points by Sheraton Phuket Patong Beach Resort, Thailand, was 4, now 3
- Marriott Phoenix Chandler, AZ, was 5, now 4
- Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks, ME, was 5, now 4
- The MC Hotel, Autograph Collection, Montclair, NJ, was 5, now 4
- Buenos Aires Marriott, Argentina, was 5, now 4
- Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan, Indonesia, was 5, now 4
- The Slaak Rotterdam, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Netherlands, was 5, now 4
- Sheraton Manila Bay, Philippines, was 5, now 4
- Four Points by Sheraton Singapore, Riverview, was 5, now 4
- The Opus, Westchester, NY, was 6, now 5
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Virgin Zion National Park, UT, was 6, now 5
- Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Canada, was 6, now 5
- Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, was 6, now 5
- La Caserne Chanzy Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection, Reims, France, was 6, now 5
- JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, Canada, was 7, now 6
- Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, Autograph Collection, Switzerland, was 7, now 6
Here is what the Marriott award chart looks like, along with values in cents per points for cash+points stays:
|Hotel Category||Award Chart||Cash + Points Chart||Pointsavers Chart|
|Category 1||5,000 off-peak|
|$55+1,500 (1.57 cpp) off-peak|
$55+3,500 (1.38 cpp) standard
$55+4,500 (1 cpp) peak
|Category 2||10,000 off-peak|
|$65+4,000 (1.08 cpp) off-peak|
$65+6,000 (1 cpp) standard
$65+7,000 (0.81 cpp) peak
|Category 3||15,000 off-peak|
|$80+6,000 (0.89 cpp) off-peak|
$80+8,500 (0.89 cpp) standard
$80+9,500 (0.76 cpp) peak
|Category 4||20,000 off-peak|
|$105+8,000 (0.88 cpp) off-peak|
$105+12,000 (0.8 cpp)
$105+15,000 (0.7 cpp) peak
|Category 5||30,000 off-peak|
|$140+13,500 (0.85 cpp) off-peak|
$140+17,000 (0.78 cpp)
$140+21,000 (0.74 cpp) peak
|Category 6||40,000 off-peak|
|$190+19,000 (0.9 cpp) off-peak|
$190+25,000 (0.76 cpp)
$190+30,000 (0.63 cpp) peak
|Category 7||50,000 off-peak|
|$250+25,000 (1 cpp) off-peak|
$250+30,000 (0.83 cpp)
$250+40,000 (0.83 cpp) peak
|Category 8||70,000 off-peak|
|$440+27,500 (1.04 cpp) off-peak|
$440+42,500 (1.04 cpp)
$440+57,500 (1.04 cpp) peak
Which do you think of this year’s changes? Which hotels will you book before rates go up?