It's time to finally talk about Marriott's category changes for 2020. Most Bonvoy members are already used to the fact that Marriot makes adjustments to its categories each year based on things like company performance and market conditions. However, 2020's changes are looking a little more drastic than usual.
Almost 30 percent of Marriott's hotels will be changing categories this year. Just 7 percent of Marriott's hotels will see price decreases in 2020. That means that 22 percent will be seeing price increases. The fact that nearly 30 percent of the hotels in the Marriott portfolio will be changing categories in 2020 looks even more extreme when you consider that only 5 percent moved categories in 2019.
Another potential thorn in the side of all Marriott customers is that the hotel brand recently introduced capacity controls for standard award redemption for rooms at legacy Starwood hotels. In addition, peak and off-peak award pricing was recently introduced across the Marriott portfolio. This setup can greatly increase the cost to book an award stay during peak periods of the year. The combination of peak pricing and higher redemption prices for 2020 may leave a lot of Bonvoy members very unhappy. One bright spot is that Bonvoy members who have select Marriott-branded credit cards can look forward to earning free nights after each account anniversary year.
It's okay if you need a minute to glance over the new Bonvoy rewards chart to see where your travel plans for the rest of 2020 fit in. You still have a few weeks to book stays before the category changes become effective. Marriott's updated rewards chart kicks in on March 4.