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Marriott Bonvoy Points Devalued

Marriott has decided to drop award charts starting March 31st, 2022. The change to dynamic pricing will be eased in by Marriott, so the complete switch from award charts will not go into full effect until early 2023.

The change to dynamic pricing means the value of Bonvoy points will be much lower on average. Long story short, the cash price compared to points redemption will be closer in value.

Who’s Affected

The Aspirational Trips Taker

When the dynamic pricing takes place, aspirational trips will be most affected! Some of the top redemption locations like the Al Maha in Dubai, the JW Marriott Los Cabos, and the Half Moon Bay will change immediately.

The majority of people in the miles and points game look to take aspirational trips for two main reasons. First, get the most cents per point as possible. Second, stay at top places that you usually wouldn’t pay for in cash.

For example, my wife and I stayed at the Hilton Seychelles Northolme on points for ten nights because we didn’t want to pay $550 per night for the room.

The Occasional Traveler

The new change to dynamic pricing will also affect those who don’t travel often enough to rack up many points.

Dynamic pricing will negatively affect those who don’t travel enough to earn a considerable amount because the dynamic pricing will make you spend more points than in the past.

To counter this problem would be to use a Marriott Bonvoy credit card to earn points on daily spending.

Positive Changes

FNC Top Off & Low Price Redemptions

The two semi-positive changes with dynamic pricing will be the ability to top off the Free Night Certificate (FNC) given through credit cards, sign-up bonuses, and reaching Titanium status. Also, use your points on low-priced properties.

I say it’s a semi-positive change for both topping off FNCs and having better value for points with low-priced properties because both can be unfavorable.

Hotel credit cards are most known as sock drawer cards (sock drawer explained) because you get at least the value of the annual fee from your FNC attached. If you need to add points to every FNC to use it, is the FNC still worth it?

The positive of the ability to top off FNCs with points is that it gives you the option just in case you want to stay in a higher redemption property.

The ability to use points at lower-priced properties is a semi-positive change because you should not use points at low-priced properties anyway. Yes, it’s understandable if you want to save money, but it’s a lousy redemption for points.

Final Thoughts

There are a few reasons why I’m not considering leaving the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program even with the significant changes happening.

#1 Not Significant for Normal Use

While this change is negative for aspirational trips and the overall value of points, it may not significantly impact most Bonvoy Elite members like myself.

Most of my stays at Marriott properties are for shorter, occasional trips. We usually stay for convenience, quick getaways, weekend trips, and business trips. On these stays, we rarely use points unless it’s in a big city, which drives up the price, or we don’t want to save money on that trip. We rarely get top value out of our points on these stays, so we accumulate so many Bonvoy points.

#2 Elite Members Treatment

When the news dropped about the devaluation coming, many Bonvoy loyalists said they would jump ship. If you’re with Marriott only for the value of Bonvoy points, I guess it would make sense to leave. The treatment we’ve gotten 98% of the time from Marriott staff, customer service, and the overall appreciation makes it pretty challenging to walk away from the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Here are just a few examples of why we love Marriotts overall customer service:

Example #1

In Egypt, at the Mena House, we booked the lowest room rate and were upgraded to a room that was two levels higher. The room with the best view was another two levels higher, so I politely asked if it was possible to be upgraded to that room specifically. The staff obliged with no issues.

Example #2 & #3

This is a three-part example of our most used Marriott hotel, the Sheraton Milan Malpensa Hotel. We had a one-day trip to Marrakesh, where we only needed carry-on bags. Tash had a flight two days later to Germany with a big suitcase. We asked if it was possible to leave the suitcase at the hotel and pick it up upon check-in (via app chat), and it was no problem.

While in Marrakesh, we decided to extend our trip one day. The rate we chose was non-refundable, but we needed to push it back for a day. Against Marriott's policy and ultimately losing them money, the staff at the Sheraton allowed us to change our check-in date one day later free of charge. Our entire conversation was through Marriotts app-chat.

The last interaction of our Marriott app-chat experience was maybe the most fantastic part. Tash's flight was at 21:00 (9 pm). Late check-out for Bonvoy Platinum Elite and higher is at 16:00 (4 pm). Though we have Priority Pass lounge access, you cannot access the lounge until three hours before takeoff. That gives two hours of no lounge access, and let's be honest, wouldn't you rather stay in your hotel room up until the flight instead of a lounge.

I asked the Sheraton Malpensa via Marriott app chat how much it would cost to extend the late check-out until 20:00 (8 pm), and they said no problem, you can extend free of charge!

Also, I forgot to add that the Sheraton Malpensa upgraded us to a junior suite from the lowest room rate room via Marriott's app.

#3 Marriott’s Footprint

Overseas and domestically in the US, Marriott is located in most places we visit. Marriott has a presence in 110 countries with over 5,700 properties throughout. It’s pretty hard to miss one with that big of a footprint. Hilton is a close second, but we prefer staying in Marriott properties.

This post was to give you information about what’s happening with Marriott and to show you that it’s not the end of the world! Of course, the decision comes down to you. How much do you value points, availability, treatment, etc.?

Until next time, before you pack your bags, don’t forget to PACK YOUR POINTS!

I am not a financial advisor and highly recommend doing your own homework about the credit card you want to apply for! All of the content on my website, page and channel are for entertainment purposes only.

If you’d like my opinion or help in forming an idea of what works, I’m here to help.

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