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?
Update 3/28/22: The hammer drops tomorrow so lock up whatever redemptions you may use now.
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.
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.
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.