Marriott Hid A Major Hint About Dynamic Award Pricing In An Email To Members

by joeheg

Earlier this week, Marriott Bonvoy dropped a bombshell when it announced that in March 2022, the program would be doing away with Off-Peak, Standard and Peak pricing in favor of a dynamic pricing model.

Let’s just say that the blogosphere was not happy with the news.

I’m not one to say anything about hyperbolic titles, as I’ve written several myself. The main focus of these posts was that Marriott was doing away with an award chart and would go to a model closer to IHG and Hilton, where the number of points needed for a room would closely match the cash price. Another negative was that Marriott would do away with a max amount of points required for a free night. Some of the only good news was that the 5th night free on award bookings would remain.

What’s a person who’s Bonvoy point rich to do? Burn those points before the new redemption levels take effect, of course. But is that the best idea?

Marriott Bonvoy finally sent an email to members letting them know about the changes. In it, Marriott dropped a hint about how the new system will work that’s a possible game-changer regarding what people think will happen in March.

In March 2022, we’ll introduce new flexible point redemption rates that move more closely in line with hotel rates, giving you even more options to choose from. Hotels and resorts will still have a minimum and maximum number of points for redemption rates that will more closely align to how they’re categorized today.

The image with the email showed the new program as a slider with the number of points needed varying from night to night.






The big thing going unreported is Marriott Bonvoy saying, “Hotels and resorts will still have a MINIMUM and MAXIMUM number of points for redemption rates.”

While Marriott is doing away with a point chart and categories, they’re not going fully dynamic. Instead, they seem to say that the number of points needed for a single night will fall into a range. This gives the program the ability to charge a price between the previous levels, which makes sense. A hotel isn’t always going to be at off-peak, standard, or peak level. Most times you’re going to be somewhere in between.

I still would prefer to know the maximum and the minimum number of points needed for a hotel, as that would make saving up for a redemption much easier. Even without that, I’m sure that someone will look at every day bookable with points and publish a range for the most popular hotels in the Bonvoy program. (Hint for Marriott: Doing this for us would go a long way to building back some credit you’ve lost with this devaluation.)

While I’m not trying to sugarcoat the changes and say that it’s all good news, this clarification from Marriott Bonvoy in an email to members takes away the worst-case scenario of sky-high pricing for awards that many people feared.

There’s still plenty to be afraid of. We don’t know what the “range” for points is going to be for each property. There’s also nothing keeping Marriott from changing that range whenever it wants. Since there’s no category or chart, we will never know when it happens. Finally, we don’t know if the number of points needed for a free night can change as the hotel books up or if it’s less crowded than expected.

Right now, I think it’s fair to be concerned about the new system since we know little about how it’s going to work in practice. If you planned a stay in 2022 and already have the points needed, it would make sense to book it now. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to book if you don’t have set plans because Marriott isn’t planning to reimburse you if your stay goes down in points. It will be up to you to cancel your reservation and rebook at the new points required if there’s still an award room available.

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Christian October 30, 2021 - 4:05 pm

You have a lot more faith in Marriott than I do. If you look at their loyalty program three years ago – or five – versus now, there’s no question that the program has gotten substantially worse on a plethora of fronts. With the history of pretty much every other company that went with variable pricing working out badly for the customer and Marriott’s well known loathing of loyalty members, I just don’t see this working out well.

joeheg October 30, 2021 - 6:06 pm

I don’t trust them at all. I also don’t want someone making a panic booking because they think a hotel might cost 10x next year.

Robb Homuth October 31, 2021 - 10:12 pm

Just received our Hyatt Visa cards. Letting the Bonvoy points run down. I miss the days of SPG.

Ross October 30, 2021 - 6:39 pm

Is that headline supposed to be a question? You wrote a declarative statement and then put a question mark at the end.

joeheg October 30, 2021 - 7:38 pm

Good catch. The article was originally “Did Marriott” but since I thought they did, I removed the word but never fixed the punctuation.

James Lowry October 31, 2021 - 2:07 pm

Supposedly those ranges are only good for 2022, and it goes full dynamic in 2023. I believe it was a Forbes article I read that stated so.

joeheg October 31, 2021 - 6:09 pm

I looked and can see nothing officially from Marriott saying what will happen in 2023. If the writers of the Forbes Advisor article have inside contacts with Bonvoy, that’s fine but I don’t trust info without a source attributed to it. The only other website to mention such a change says “We interpret this as follows:” at the point where they start to talk about 2023 changes.

Island Miler October 31, 2021 - 12:11 am

The heck? I didn’t get this email! Regardless, is that minimum and maximum only for 2022? I thought they’re doing away with all maximum caps in 2023? They’re simply treating 2022 as a transitory year.

joeheg October 31, 2021 - 6:14 pm

No surprise you didn’t get the email. It’s Marriott after all. As for 2023, there’s a lot of people writing what they think is going to happen like it’s already been announced. I’m taking any 2023 news as speculation until I see something from Marriott

Jeremy October 31, 2021 - 12:13 pm

What do you think happens to travel packages going forward? And how about the ones that are extended through June that have a specific category attached to them? What value will be assigned to them?

joeheg October 31, 2021 - 6:10 pm

I have no idea what Marriott is going to do with the packages tied to categories.


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