Here Are All of the Marriott Category Changes for 2019

Dec 30, 2018

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Each year, most hotel programs realign their property categories — dropping rates on some properties and usually raising the rates on a higher number of properties. And Marriott is no exception. From 2016 to 2017, nearly 1,100 properties changed categories. For 2018, more than 1,600 of the Marriott and SPG properties were shifted.

For 2019, there are just 5 properties changing.

Of course, there’s more to the story this year. Marriott and Starwood just realigned their entire property portfolio effective mid-August 2018 — with a whopping 5,718 properties changing price levels. Based on number crunching by TPG’s Nick Ewen, we found that:

  • 2,174 properties increased in price (31.67% of the combined portfolio)
  • 1,146 properties remained the same (16.7%)
  • 3,544 properties decreased in price (51.63%)

At the time, it was expected that the same pricing would apply to 2019, with one notable difference: category 8 properties would jump from 60,000 points per night up to 85,000 points per night on standard nights and up to 100,000 points per night during peak dates. Thankfully, we now know that this pricing won’t go into effect until March 5, 2019.

However, on the latest list of categories for Marriott’s 6,800 properties, there have been a few changes since the massive realignment in August 2018: three increases and two decreases. Here are the five properties that are changing:

The Park Central San Francisco

  • August 2018 category: 5
  • 2019 category: 6

This San Francisco Westin property has already jumped from a Category 5 property at 35,000 points per night up to a Category 6 at 50,000 points per night for standard nights. And this pricing isn’t waiting until 2019 to kick in. An award night for Dec. 30, 2018 is pricing at 50,000 points per night:

Hotel Talisa, Vail

  • August 2018 category: 6
  • 2019 category: 7

Likewise, this Luxury Collection property in Vail has already increased from Category 6 (50,000 points per night) up to a Category 7 (60,000 points per night) property. There’s no award availability through the end of the year, but 2019 dates are already pricing at 60,000 points per night:

Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, a Member of Design Hotels

  • August 2018 category: 7
  • 2019 category: 8

In June, Marriott listed 61 properties that were supposed to become category 8 properties in 2019. Now, we have another to add to the list. This NYC Design Hotels property will continue to price at 60,000 points per night until March 5, 2019 at which time it will jump to 85,000 points per night for standard nights. (70,000 points per night on off-peak dates and 100,000 points per night on peak dates)

But, it’s not all bad news. Here are the two properties whose categories have already decreased:

Pine Cliffs Hotel, Algarve, a Luxury Collection Resort

  • August 2018 category: 7
  • 2019 category: 6

This Luxury Collection property on the south coast of Portugal has already been dropped from a Category 7 property, costing 60,000 points per night, to a Category 6 property at 50,000 points per night. This price is already in effect, even for tonight:

If you’ve booked this property for an upcoming stay, you might be able to cancel your award and rebook at a lower rate.

11 Howard, New York, a Member of Design Hotels

  • August 2018 category: 8
  • 2019 category: 7

One of the 61 properties listed as a future category 8 property was this boutique hotel in the heart of SoHo in New York City. While there’s no difference to the award pricing now, this property will remain at 60,000 points per night through 2019 rather than jumping to 85,000 points in March.

Overall, these are fairly incremental changes. Marriott Rewards members looking for a stay in New York City got some good news (11 Howard won’t increase to category 8 until March 5, 2019) and bad news (Gramercy Park Hotel will jump to category 8 on March 5, 2019). However, it’s particularly painful for members looking to stay at The Park Central in San Francisco, as the unannounced category shift has already increased award prices by 43%.

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