Marriott Bonvoys Its Award Chart – Going Fully Dynamic Pricing

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Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts

Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts, Will Be Fully Dynamic Pricing

A mere day after Benjy professes his new found love of Marriott they smack him in the face with it. Talk about bad timing Benjy 😁! To be honest, this is something we all saw coming from miles away. After seeing Hilton and IHG do it did you really think Marriott wouldn’t follow suit? Heck, even Hyatt went mini dynamic with their peak and off peak pricing…Hyatt is always a step behind on the devaluation train which is a good thing for us. With the news that Marriott Bonvoy eliminates award charts we have some questions left to answer. What does that mean for us and when does it actually happen?

Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts – Details

The current system in place for the Marriott Bonvoy program is an award chart with peak, standard and off peak pricing. This is similar to the system Hyatt is moving to starting today.

Going forward Marriott is kicking the award chart to the curb and will be transitioning to flexible points redemption rates per One Mile at a Time. Here are some key dates:

  • Dynamic pricing, or flexible points redemption rates, will go into effect in March of 2022.
  • For the rest of 2022 the pricing of the vast majority of hotels will hover between the old peak and non peak pricing.
  • Once 2023 rolls around there will be no more price ranges for hotels.

So it will be very similar to what we see now with a slight variance in 2022 but it will be the wild wild west starting in 2023.

Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts
We stayed at the W Maldives using our Marriott Bonvoy points & free night certificates.

What This Change Mean For Us?

As we have seen with other programs, once a program goes to dynamic pricing the value of the programs currency is diminished.  This will make your points worth less overall. There will be instances where it works in your favor for sure, but it will be a negative more often than not.

When other programs like Hilton Honors and IHG, who switched to dynamic pricing over the last few years, there still seems to be some relationship to the old award chart. Even though prices can fluctuate depending on the season, location and popularity of the hotel the prices usually hover around their old category rates.  They are not as static as they were before but they are usually in that area at least. I would expect Marriott to do something similar. They may float more towards the peak pricing end of things but cost should be somewhat in line with previous levels a lot of the time.

There will be hotels that play games for sure. I noticed it with IHG where a hotel I used to use my 40,000 point free night cert at all the time routinely has award prices of 41,000 points.  I think the Marriot Bonvoy category 5 free night certificates are going to get a lot more difficult to use in the future personally.

The good news is the 5th night free on award stays perk is sticking around for now. You will be able to continue to reduce your cost going that route, especially if you find an underpriced hotel.

I do think there will be some hotels that drop in price since their category ranking never quite matched up to the quality of the hotel. Hopefully we can crowd source some of these options when everything goes fully live in 2023.

Bears

Marriott Bonvoy Eliminates Award Charts – Final Thoughts

When award charts are eliminated it is never a good thing for the end user. That makes it harder to maximize value because the award prices are no longer static as cash prices fluctuate.

I get the change from a business perspective on Marriott’s end. They often get stuck paying the higher cash rate when points are used which increases the cost of the program for them. If they can charge more as cash prices fluctuate then it reduces their exposure overall.

However, there is value in keeping a program towards the top of the market. Something Marriott has not done a good job of since taking over the SPG program and portfolio. You need people interested in the program to be able to sell the points to banks and credit card companies etc. Maybe they assume they have enough business travelers locked up, or a big enough footprint, that it is a moot point.

At least you still have some time to maximize the points left in your account.  You should be able to find similar value to what you have now until 2023. After that point you will need to decide if the value is there to continue giving your loyalty to the program.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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12 COMMENTS

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting…I am at 35 nights right now for this year and was debating pulling the trigger on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant to get the last 15 nights and qualify for platinum while earning that 150k bonus and the 2 free 85k and 50k night certificates. The platinum status would now stay in effect through Feb 2023. Worth it or just forget Marriott at this point?

    • I don’t think any major changes will happen till 2023 so if you have a lot of Marriott travel planned next year and could use the status I still think it is worth it. The increased offer on the card is probably worth it alone over the next year.

  2. Since Hilton and IHG went to dynamic pricing I’ve canceled both their cards even my legacy ihg card. I also can’t find a use for a 40k cert and it’s stressing me out having it.
    With dynamic pricing I have never spent or earned another Hilton or ihg point and without dynamic pricing I rarely find a good Marriott redemption except before a category increase.
    They must really think ppl are stupid! who would give up 2% cash back for these worthless deflating points? And anxiety causing complicated programs?
    Oh and try to get a decent bft from Marriott as Plat or Titanium or Hilton gold. I’d rather get 2% cash back from food I actually want to eat. My Marriott elite friends get a coffee and a muffin now. Oh and Good luck on a upgrade suite even now when the hotels are empty.
    What’s the end game with dynamic pricing?
    Are ppl really that stupid?

  3. Marriott hasn’t had any interest in providing value with their Bonvoy system since they bought SPG. If you’re stuck with them due to corporate travel, I get it. But other than that you’d have to be pretty stupid to use them as your primary hotel loyalty program. Their points are worthless, the cards have horrible earning rates, the free nights certs are hard to use and their elite status offers nothing until you basically live at their hotels.

  4. Maybe I’m being naive here but I’d thought that the most basic premise of a loyalty program is to have potential customers make irrational decisions that favor your company. The way to do this is by providing value to your engaged customers. Marriott has done the diametrical opposite, viewing the customer as adversaries. I’d love to hear the new CEO explain how driving away loyal guests is beneficial to the company.

    For me personally, this kills off my willingness to achieve lifetime Platinum. I was ready to put in another 3 years to get it but considering how badly Marriott has Bonvoyed us in the last 3 years, that seems like a singularly poor investment. I’ll stay at a Marriott if that’s my unmitigated best bet but otherwise, I’m out.

    • I think there will be a lot of people that feel exactly the same way. You would think a pandemic where they all struggled would have them revaluate loyalty but the cost cutting won out instead.

  5. Why is this a surprise to anyone? The next thing will be removal of any points guidelines — some properties will charge 150k points per day. Just watch. There is a systemic assault on hotel loyalty program members by both the property owners and the programs themselves. As I’ve said repeatedly in other comments, hotel loyalty programs are a mug’s game and we’re the mugs.

    Since Marriott went to low / mid / high-season points pricing, some properties seemed to be predominantly in high season. At the same time, it eliminated to “true” no-blackout-date feature, which allowed property owners to “manage” award inventory — maybe you get to redeem at the property you want and maybe you don’t. Breakfast for elites seems to have become coffee and a doughnut. Room upgrades are illusive.

  6. I really still to this day don’t understand why this shitty company bought Starwood which was the best company out there. Starwood If you have Platinum status all Starwood hotels would give you breakfast and all benefits even the St. Regis. But with Platinum at Marriott you don’t get those benefits with Ritz, Edition, Courtyard and other hotels. Marriott should have just gone out of business. This company sucks!

    • I do think Hyatt would have been a much better landing spot for SPG. The programs, points system and hotels matched up so well. But Marriott was just after expansion.

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