Today marks Marriott's annual category realignment of their hotels. This year was particularly brutal to those members looking to the get best value for their points. In total 1330 hotels change categories, however 1083 (81%) went up a category while only 247 (19%) hotels went down a category. The top end categories were hit particularly bad with 111 Category 7 and above properties going up while only have 19 went down a category.
Why this year's was so bad is up to debate but if we had to guess it has to do with Marriott's point redemption disparity between Starwood at their higher end hotels. Specifically Marriott's Category 9 hotels cost 15,000 less SPG points a night per redemption that Starwood Category 7 hotels.
This airport hotel in Maui jumps to a Category 8 while 30 mins away you can stay at one of Marriott's nicest properties in Hawaii for same cost.
Breakdown of Category Changes
- Some categories changed much more than others, however unsurprisingly every category had more hotels move up than down.
- Category 1 - 88 moved up
- Category 2- 242 moved up / 29 moved down
- Category 3 - 264 moved up / 63 moved down
Category 4 - 185 moved up / 42 moved down
Category 5 - 124 moved up / 49 moved down
Category 6 - 69 moved up / 45 moved down
Category 7 - 90 moved up / 17 moved down
Category 8 - 21 moved up / 2 moved down
Category 9 - 0 moved down
This unassuming Courtyard in Anaheim is now one of Marriott's highest category hotels. (Source)
Significant Hotel Changes
When looking through the list there are some that really stick out whether as negative changes.
1. Courtyard Kahului moves to Category 8. After this move it is probably now the highest category Marriott airport hotel in the world. Besides maybe availability there is no reason to not stay at the newly renovated Wailea Beach Resort about 30 mins down the road which is the same category. Even the category 8 Residence Inn Maui - Wailea would be a significantly better option.
2. Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance moves to a Category 9. That's correct, a Courtyard by Disneyland now holds the highest Marriott category possible. Given the amount of hotels in that area there are plenty of comparable options available for much cheaper.
3. Hotel Park City, Autograph Collection moves to Category 9. This was destined to happen, as it's winter rates provide one of the best possible redemption rates and the hotel is all suites. Luckily the change only is only 5,000 points a night so a great redemption is still obtainable.
4. JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa moves to a Category 6. This has huge implications for people looking to use Marriott Nights + Flights at this property as it now requires an upgrade out of the base Category 1-5 hotels available for it.