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Marriot recently announced two new changes to the Marriot Bonvoy program.  First is the 2020 category changes to the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio of participating hotels and they are coming next month.  Secondly, there will be an update related to inventory controls for all hotels across the Marriott platform.  Let’s look at each of these changes in more detail.

What are the Category Changes?

As we have seen over the past few years, more properties are going up in category rather than down.  If you are planning a hotel stay with Marriott in the next few months you should look now to see if you can lock in rates since stays booked on or after March 4 will be subject to the new categories.  It’s unlikely, but you may be able to wait to take advantage of a hotel that is moving down in category.  Unfortunately, it looks like the majority are moving up.  The full list can be found here.  A few key points are listed below.

  • 71% of hotels will remain unchanged
  • 29% will be affected by the 2020 annual category change (this is 2,185 properties)
  • 7% (or less than 25% of those changing are decreasing in points needed for a free night)
  • 22% (or nearly 75% of those changing are increasing in points needed for a free night)
  • Most of the 2020 annual category change movement (84%) takes place between categories 1-5 for a standard redemption stay.

What is Happening with Inventory Controls?

Inventory controls will be extended to ALL hotels.  This appears bad at first glance since it means all properties will be able to limit the number of rooms available for redemption when they see fit.  However, the number of days that inventory controls can be used is being reduced.  This could potentially open up space at some hotels that are going to have fewer days to put under inventory control.  It remains to be seen whether the overall effect is positive and only time will tell.

What are your thoughts on the 2020 changes to the Marriot Bonvoy program?  Let us know in the comments!


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