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Marriott Rewards to be rebranded; hotel category changes in 2019

While Marriott and SPG’s loyalty programmes merger that took place last year August was probably one of the biggest event in the industry in 2018, there are still more changes coming.

Marriott Rewards to be rebranded Marriott Bonvoy

This has been widely reported in many loyalty and hotel news sites, and the new brand will take effect from 13 February 2019. The three programmes that preceded this – Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest – will be abandoned after the new brand kicks in.

The other change that comes with the new brand is that the Platinum Premier tier, and the Platinum Premier with Ambassador Tier will be rebranded as Titanium and Ambassador respectively.

The unified tier charts of Marriott Rewards came under fire when it was unveiled last year for having three platinum tiers.

Marriott hotel category changes; new category 8 kicks in March 2019

Another major change coming is the introduction of category 8 award pricing, a new tier above the current 7-tier chart that Marriott Rewards have. The means that the most exclusive properties in the Marriott portfolio will now require a max of 85,000 points, up from the previous cap of 60,000 – a cool 25,000 more points (which you can actually use for a category 4 hotel).

The good news is that while some hotels are already listed as a category 8 hotel, you can beat the price increase by using your points for these hotels before 5 March 2019.

Some popular properties that are category 8 around the world for your consideration include:

  • The St Regis New York
  • Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris
  • The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Tokyo
  • W Maldives
  • The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
  • W Koh Samui

Fortunately (or otherwise), there are none in Southeast Asia save for Thailand (specifically Koh Samui), so that will be of minimum impact if you live in this part of the world. Loyalty Traveler has compiled a full list here, if you are interested.

Every year, Marriott also make changes to the category listing of its hotels globally, mostly to reflect market conditions (or in my words, the popularity).

The full list of category changes can be found here, but some key things to note:

  • About 380 hotels globally will be changing categories (a bit over 5% of Marriott’s portfolio)
  • Of which, 340 will be moving up the category ladder, and
  • About 40 hotels are moving down to a lower category

Also note that Marriott earlier announced the intention of introducing peak and off-peak award charts too, but it seems like this will not be ready in time for a March 2019 launch.

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