Marriott Bonvoy releases its latest set of changes – including peak pricing and a reworked fifth night free benefit.
Beginning Sept. 14, 2019, Marriott Bonvoy released the latest in a long line of changes to the loyalty program. Most notably, award nights are now subject to peak and off-peak pricing, which might make it a bit more difficult to score a top deal during busy times of year. Here’s a quick look at all the recent changes:
One of the biggest changes to Marriott Bonvoy is the shift to peak and off-peak award night pricing. Now, instead of being charged a standard rate in points based on hotel category, members will pay varying prices based on time of year and demand. Check out the full, updated award chart below.
|Hotel category||Off peak||Standard||Peak|
Unfortunately, peak and off-peak season can vary by location and property, so you’ll have to search your travel dates to know how much the stay will cost.
A unique option among hotel loyalty programs, Marriott Bonvoy’s Points Advance feature is well known among its members. With Points Advance, you can reserve an award stay before you’ve earned the points to cover the cost – assuming you’ll earn the points you need before the stay.
Beginning Sept. 14, 2019, however, Marriott Bonvoy members who book a Points Advance stay will only reserve the room – rather than lock in the rate. That means if the nightly rate goes up before you can cover the cost, you’ll have to fork over the higher price.
Fifth night free
Not to worry, Marriott’s popular fifth night free perk is not going away – but the program has experienced some changes. First of all, it’s now known as “Stay 5, pay for 4.” This is primarily due to a change in how the discount is awarded.
Previously, Marriott Bonvoy members could enjoy the fifth night free on award bookings. Now, you can still receive a discount on five-night or longer stays, but you’ll only get the lowest-priced night off of the total cost.
A drawback, but not a surprise
The most recent changes to the Marriott Bonvoy program can potentially be detrimental to loyalists of the brand, especially since peak pricing can mean paying much more than you are accustomed to at your favorite Marriot properties. However, the switch has been coming for a while, and it is reminiscent of similar changes across other hotel loyalty programs.
Despite the drawbacks, the new Marriott pricing model still has some benefits. For instance, off-peak pricing presents a unique opportunity to snag rooms for less during slower times of year. You might have to do some digging to find the best deals, but Marriott award nights can still be affordable.