Marriott Bonvoy has announced that it will be moving to Flexible Point Redemptions from 29 March 2022. This new redemption structure replaces the current off-peak, standard, and peak rate structure.
Under the new structure, Reward Night pricing will move more closely in line with hotel rates and availability. Having said that, Marriott has also stated that this movement won’t be exactly the way price moves. Overall, it suggests that while redemption rates will move in line with cash prices, there won’t be an exact relationship between the two.
A member traveling to a location with more availability can expect to use fewer points. On the other hand, If the desired location is busier at the preferred dates, the point redemption amount may be higher. This is similar to the situation with cash rates.
For stays in 2022, most hotel redemption rates will fall within the same high low range of the current categories. Marriott states that changes in rates for stays in 2023 above or below the high low range for stays in 2022 are planned to be incremental.
There is, however, a small group of hotels, where the redemption rate bounds will be higher than they currently are. The affects approximately 200 hotels or less than 3% of the Marriott portfolio. For those 200 hotels, the redemption rates will be 5,000 – 30,000 points above their current upper bounds.
Furthermore, about 40 of those 200 hotels may rise above the bounds of the previous Category Eight during peak/busier travel times.
Additional Free Night Award Flexibility
Marriott Bonvoy is also planning to allow members additional flexibility in using Free Night Awards. Under the new plan, members will be able to combine their Free Night Award with up to 15,000 points to help access more reward options. This change comes into effect in late April.
Marriott Bonvoy flagged the move towards Flexible Point Redemptions several months ago. At the time, they had not set a specific date.
Generally, the feeling is the number of points required for redemption will increase. However, the movements, appear to be in line with what we may have expected from Marriott’s annual adjustments. we may not see the full effects of these changes until next year. Even then, Marriott are suggesting the changes will be incremental.