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marriottRecently Marriott Rewards announced 4 big changes to their rewards program.  Normally whenever a hotel or airline announces “changes” to their loyalty programs, that’s code for “devaluation” and “bad”.  But these changes are not so bad, and in some cases actually are an improvement to the current system.  So…. Yay Marriott!! 😀

Here is a brief rundown of the Marriott Rewards changes

1. You can now share points

Previously, Marriott Rewards only let you share points with a spouse or domestic partner.  Now you can transfer up to 50,000 points a year to any Marriott Rewards member.  This is not a huge deal to me as typically the only person I am sharing points with would be my wife, but I can definitely see how this would be helpful to some people

2. Elite credit on award stays

As of November 1, 2015, you’ll earn elite credit on award stays (including Cash + Points stays, detailed below).  Again, not a big deal for me since I don’t chase elite status, but it’s good to see that Marriott is joining the ranks of the other chains who already give elite credit for award stays

3. Points Advance

Points Advance seems like somewhat of an odd benefit – you can now book an award even if you don’t have enough points in your account.  You do have to either:

  • The amount of points purchased or gifted to the member is less than the 50,000 point annual maximum
  • OR you put in enough points to make the reservation within 14 days

I had noticed Choice Hotels doing this as well earlier this summer, but looking back, I think that was a defect with their new and “improved” website

(SEE ALSO: You can book unlimited Choice Hotels award nights?)

(SEE ALSO: Recent Choice Hotel Rewards stay? Better check for a “System Issue Correction”)

4. Cash + Points stays

Starting in early 2016, you’ll be able to book Cash + Points award stays.  Again, this is something that many of the other chains already allow.  Here is the breakdown for Cash + Points stays at Marriott


At the very low and very high levels I don’t feel like the value is there, but at some of the mid-tier levels (4-7) you’re essentially buying Marriott points for about 0.6 cents per point, which isn’t awesome but isn’t bad either.

Will these Marriott Rewards changes change your interaction with Marriott?  Let us know in the comments!

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