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Marriott Bonvoy has announced that starting September 14, 2019, they will implement the peak & off-peak award pricing. This really is not a breaking news because when Marriott merged with Starwood SPG, Marriott introduced the peak & off-peak award chart (see screenshot below) but they just have not implemented it until now. While often time it’s not easy to swallow loyalty program’s changes, it is what it is. While we enjoy this miles and points game, we have to go along with the game changes also and hope for the best. With that said, here are my silver linings to the Marriott peak and off-peak award pricing coming this September 14, 2019.
1). ~ 1 Month Advance Notice
Marriott gives about a month timeframe to members to make any booking prior to the implementation of the peak/off-peak award pricing. This means that, members can lock in any standard award pricing property now and wait until September 14 to decide whether to keep or cancel the reservation and rebook. After September 14, if you are staying at the property that offers off-peak award redemption rate, and your reservation is outside the cancellation deadline, you can cancel and rebook. On the other hand, if you decide to make a change on the dates and the property offers only peak award, you will be subjected to the new award redemption rate.
2). Points Advance Still Here
Marriott’s points advance has always been my favorite. It allows members to reserve a room on points even when the member does not have enough Marriott points for the redemption yet. Coming September 14, 2019, although Marriott will have limits on how many points advance reservations a member can have, Marriott does not completely get rid of this benefit. Members can still have at most three points advance reservation.
I see this policy change as a good change because there are members out there that could be making several speculative points advance reservations and thus the award availability become less to none for other members.
Please note also that points advance reservations that are made before September 14, 2019, Marriott will honor up to five at the standard award pricing after September 14, 2019.
3). 5th Night Free Not Completely Gone
Marriott Bonvoy rewards program offers the “5th night free” benefit that is automatically applied when you redeem Marriott points for minimum 5-night stays. You do not need to hold any credit card or have any high elite status with Marriott.
Coming September 14, 2019, Marriott calls this benefit as “Stay 5, Pay for 4” instead of “5th night free”. The name change basically means that Marriott will give member one free night that has the lowest point redemption. If your 5 nights include peak and off-peak award redemption rates, you will receive one off-peak award point night for free. Again, this change is not a huge blow as Marriott still does not get rid of this benefit and still offers one night free when members redeem points for minimum 5-night stays.
4). Better 50,000 Points Free Night Certificate
The discontinued Chase Ritz-Carlton credit card and the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (SPG Luxury) credit card are offering annual free night certificate that’s good up to 50,000 points. The 50k certificates can be used at any category 6 Marriott properties in the world. Coming September 14, 2019, those 50k certificates can be better if you can find a category 7 hotel that offers off-peak award redemption rate.
This may not be a hopeful case but can be used as a reminder – There are some Marriott credit cards that offer annual free night certificate that’s good up to 35,000 points. Coming September 14, the 35k certificates will only be good for category 4 properties during peak pricing and category 5 properties during off-peak pricing. Therefore, if you have the 35k certificate, you have up until September 14 to book one of those properties now in case that property will have peak pricing during the time that you want to book using your 35k free night certificate. Below are some ideas: