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Act soon to secure pricing for Marriott category changes

On March 3, 2021, Marriott will change the award prices for 201 of its properties. That sounds like a lot, but it accounts for less than 3% of Marriott’s 8,000+ properties. And these changes are mostly good news. Marriott lowers premium rates at 150 hotels and increases on March 3 in only 51 hotels.

Let’s take a look at which hotels you want to hurry up and book before March 3rd – and which hotels you want to wait to book.

Which Marriott hotels should be booked by March 3rd?

The 51 hotels that receive a category upgrade span more than a dozen countries and brands, but each hotel only grows by one category. Most of the hotels that are increasing are lower category hotels:

Category 1 Marriott hotels are growing

The increase from category 1 to category 2 means a jump from 7,500 points for a standard night to 12,500 points for a standard night. That’s a pretty significant percentage increase. You should book your stay in these hotels before the category upgrade on March 3rd:

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Jasper (USA).

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Williamstown (USA).

  • Fairfield by Marriott Edmonton International Airport (Canada).

  • Four points from Sheraton Edmonton International Airport (Canada).

  • Fairfield Lima Miraflores (Peru).

  • Four points from Sheraton Hefei, Shushan (China).

  • Four points from Sheraton Suzhou, Wuzhong (China).

Interestingly, two of these seven hotels are airport hotels near Edmonton International Airport. So if you need to book an overnight stay or a night near the airport before your flight, make sure to secure the current rates before March 3rd.

Hotels considering booking with a free nightly reward of 35,000 points

There are six hotels that are upgraded from category 5 to category 6. These are noteworthy as cardholders of two Marriott credit cards receive a free nightly reward worth up to 35,000 points per cardholder anniversary.

Category 5 hotels currently cost 35,000 points per standard night. You cannot redeem these free night awards in a Category 6 hotel even on nights outside of peak hours. If you get a free night with 35,000 points, there are six hotels to book before March 3:

  • Residence Inn Ocean City (USA).

  • Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort (USA).

  • The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph Collection (USA).

  • Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa (Mexico).

  • JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (Australia).

Each of these hotels is appealing. After all, they’re so popular that Marriott is increasing premium rates during a pandemic. The right property for you depends on your travel plans. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa looks particularly attractive right now:

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Use your 50,000 point rewards for free nights at these hotels

There are three luxury hotels that are upgraded from Marriott Category 6 to 7. On paper, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal. After all, standard nights in hotels in category 6 cost 50,000 points, while standard nights in hotels in category 7 cost 60,000 points.

However, this increase is notable for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ™ American Express® card Customers. That’s because card members receive a free night bonus on every account anniversary, which is good for a night of up to 50,000 points. You can redeem this free night award on standard nights in hotels of category 6. However, you will need to find an off-rush hour date to use a 50,000 point certificate once you move to a Category 7 hotel. Conditions apply.

If you have one of these Free Night Awards, book one of these hotels before March 3, 2021:

  • Las Alcobas, a luxury hotel in Mexico City (Mexico).

  • The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Buckinghamshire, UK.

  • The Mesm Tokyo, Japan Autograph Collection.

The only hotel that goes up from category 7 to 8

There is only one hotel where Marriott moves up from Category 7 to 8: The W Aspen, Colorado. On March 3rd, standard nights at this incredible hotel will cost 85,000 points – instead of the current 60,000 points. If this hillside property is on your radar, this is the time to check the current prices.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Notable Marriott hotels fall in price

As we noted above, these category changes are mostly good news. Of the 201 changing categories of Marriott hotels, prices will decrease by 150 as of March 3, 2021. Each of these 150 hotels will decrease by one category.

However, you’ll have to wait until March 3, 2021 before you can find these cheaper prices. Let’s look at some of the hotels that you might want to book then.

Take advantage of 35,000 points for free overnight stays in these hotels

On March 3, 2021, 11 Marriott hotels will drop from Category 6 to 5. Not only are they great news to save points, but you can also enjoy a free night at these hotels with 35,000 points. This is because you can book a Category 5 hotel for standard or extra nights with a free night of 35,000 points. Category 6 hotels always cost more than 35,000 points.

The 11 hotels that will drop from Category 6 to Category 5 on March 3, 2021 are:

  • Charleston Kiawah Island / Andell Inn (USA).

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Augusta Fort Gordon (USA).

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Virgin Zion National Park (USA).

  • The Glenmark, Glendale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel (USA).

  • The Opus, Westchester (USA).

  • Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center (Canada).

  • Curacao Marriott Beach Resort (Curacao).

  • JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong (China).

  • La Caserne Chanzy Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection (France).

  • Burj Rafal Riyadh, an international Marriott Hotel (Saudi Arabia).

  • Moxy Lausanne City (Switzerland).

This is an extensive list that spans everything from practical stays outside of Zion National Park to a JW Marriott in Shanghai. But the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort may be the most appealing to those who are tired of the cold.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

If you’d like to get a free night at this or any other Marriott category 5 hotel, two Marriott credit cards grant a free night that is valid in each accommodation and costs up to 35,000 points as an anniversary benefit for card members:

Hotels that you will soon be able to book with a free night award of 50,000 points

There is also good news for card members Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ™ American Express® card. Starting March 3, you can use your 50,000-point reward to free nights at two other stunning hotels. Conditions apply.

Both the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic (Autograph Collection) and the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver fall from Category 7 to Category 6. In this case, you can use 50,000 Point Rewards on free night stays on standard and off-peak dates.

The final result

Hotel category change announcements are generally bad news. For most years, these changes involve far more increases than decreases. Not surprising, This year is a little different. Marriott is raising rates for only 51 hotels, cutting rates for 150, and keeping rates the same at over 7,800 of its other hotels.

Thanks to the heads up we received of these changes, you can act now to lock in prices on properties that are rising in price. And you have to wait to book stays at the hotels where prices are falling.

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