PSA: Book Now Before Marriott Category Changes (March 5, 2019)

The new dynamic pricing for the Marriott Bonvoy program takes effect on March 5, 2019. If you have the points, I strongly recommend booking your stays now before the changes take place.

View the Marriott redemption chart here:

You can typically book Marriott reservations up to 50 weeks in advance, so if one of the properties on your list is going up in price, I recommend securing the pricing ASAP.

When you book before the changes on March 5, you can save up to 25,000 points per night when you book future Category 8 hotels at the Category 7 rate.

The chart below outlines how many points you will need booking right now, and how pricing will change in March for 1-5 nights. For all award bookings, you get the 5th night free.

How to Find Booking Availability

The easiest way to find availability for hotels is via the Marriott desktop website. “Reserve Now” and select the “Flexible Dates” button.

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Select the month you want to travel, and check the “Use "Points” box.

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The dates that are available for points booking will reflect the number of required points. If the calendar doesn’t load, it likely means that there is no more points availability for the month.

Important: To book using only points, look for “Redemption” rates and NOT “Redemption w/ Cash Upgrade.”

Sebby’s Recommendations

I usually use points for aspirational properties that give me outsized value, and most of the Category 8 properties are going from 60,000 points to 70,000-105,000 points, depending on the season.

A few recommendations on places to visit are:

  1. Bora Bora

  2. Maldives

  3. Al Maha (Dubai, UAE)

Bora Bora: Bonvoy 

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

The Marriott properties in Bora Bora are Le Méridien and St. Regis. It’s easier to find availability for Le Méridien than the St. Regis.

a) Le Méridien

  • easier availability

  • runs ~$900 / night in summer (peak)

b) St. Regis

  •  availability is tough

  • runs $1,600 / night in summer (peak)

Maldives: Bonvoy

The properties in the Marriott properties in the Maldives worth booking are the W and St. Regis.

a) Sheraton

  • going from Category 7 to 6; don’t rush to book this

  • tons of availability

  • close to airport; plane noises all day (non-optimal)

b) The W

  • low availability for the high season

c) St. Regis

  • very low availability for the high season

Dubai: Bonvoy

camel riding at al maha

camel riding at al maha

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, in Dubai is an all-inclusive property that’s worth visiting. Think Bora Bora, but in the desert. Each villa has its own private plunge pool. Daily activities and dining are included in the package.

I recommend staying 2-3 nights at the property. Activities include falconry, camel riding, dune bashing, archery, desert drives, wildlife safaris, and nature walks.

The resort is a one-hour drive away from downtown Dubai, and you can book a taxi or Uber to take you there.




Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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