Post the merger, Marriott introduced a new award chart—a total of 8 categories ranging from 5,000 points to 100,000 points a night for a free night. While some hotels actually got slightly cheaper, there were many that got more expensive. Despite some disappointments in the award chart, the real benefit here was that all hotels that were placed as category 8 were only pricing out as a category 7. They capped the award chart at 60,000 points for a free night for an extended time. Originally they stated the category 8 pricing wouldn’t go into affect until the end of 2018, they actually extended it! This means you have until March 4, 2019 to book a category 8 property at category 7 pricing, which is huge!
For those who are still thinking in SPG terms, 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points really equals 20,000 SPG points due to the 1:3 conversion. Prior to the merger, if you were to have booked some of those higher end properties under the SPG program, you would have been looking at spending way more than 20k points—some were even costing 70,000 SPG points! This is a huge opportunity to book some of those luxurious Marriott and Starwood properties at a huge discount. Come March 5th, you’ll be looking at spending 85,000 points—although still less than what you would have spent with the SPG program.
Category 8 Properties
There are a total of 60 properties currently priced at a category 8 as well as a handful properties moving up from a category 7 to 8 with the annual category changes. Of course everyone is going to have different thoughts on which properties are best to book based on their travel patterns, but I have listed the ones below that I suggest paying the most attention to. You can search all of the category 8 properties here.
- Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete (Greece)
- Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection (Greece)
- Mystique, A Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini (Greece)
- Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos (Greece)
- Le Méridien Bora Bora (Tahiti)
- The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort (Tahiti)
- The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort (Maldives)
- W Maldives (Maldives)
- Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui (Thailand)
- W Koh Samui (Thailand)
- The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands)
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)
- The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (Beaver Creek, CO)
- The St. Regis Aspen Resort (Aspen, CO)
- The St. Regis Deer Valley (Park City, UT)
Currently, Marriott only has standard pricing in place, so we do not yet have to worry about peak and off-peak pricing, but I assume we will see that implemented at some point this summer.
Make Reservations Now!
The great thing about the Marriott is that they will allow you to make reservations in advance even if you do not have the points in your account. This is pretty unique and a great policy for the program. You just need to make sure to have the points in your account within 14 days of check-in. This will allow you to continue to earn the points required between now and your reservation taking place—especially since you can book award reservations for 51 weeks in advance. If you wait until tomorrow, you can make point reservations at these properties for a checkout date through February 23, 2020.
Just remember though, if you need to change a reservation post March 5th, Marriott will re-price you at the higher level category. Since you can use Points Advance, you can always make a few different speculative reservations, just make sure there is a flexible cancelation policy.
Do not delay in making your Marriott reservations for those category 8 properties that will cost 25,000 more points per night in just a few days! This might be your one chance to stay at these hotels! Where will you be booking?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As always, thank you for supporting Deals We Like and enjoy traveling on a deal!