If you're eyeing a Marriott property and planning to book with Bonvoy points, book now or forever hold your peace.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 14, Marriott is introducing peak and off-peak pricing, with rates that vary based upon the time of the year.
The change has been in the works for more than a year, and the massive hotel chain warned its members about the official changeover last month, giving them roughly a month to plan and strategize. Marriott’s merger with Starwood Preferred Guest last year set off a cascade of changes for the combined points program, using points for hotel stays, and more.
The introduction of peak and off-peak pricing will create a big swing in award prices for hotels in the same of eight categories, depending on when you stay. For example, a top-tier category 8 hotel – which currently costs 85,000 Bonvoy points a night – could dip all the way down to 75,000 points … or increase to 100,000 points per night.
Here’s how the new pricing structure will look:
Exactly when a stay may qualify for off-peak, standard, or peak rates remains unclear. The hotel chain says it will regularly retool the calendar throughout the year. But it's promised that the bulk of the year will be priced at standard rates, with an even mix of peak and off-peak pricing scattered throughout.
If you've got a Marriott stay at a standard rate and the price actually drops after the launch of this new pricing system, you can cancel and rebook your stay at the lower rate. So it pays to book now, and potentially lock in at the lower standard rate for your upcoming travel.
It’s a big change for Marriott, which has always offered hotel stays at the standard rates year-round – or at least when rooms were made available for booking. But it's not the only change.
More Change on the Way for Marriott
Along with the roll-out of off-peak and peak pricing, Marriott is making some other changes effective Saturday
- Marriott’s “Fifth Night Free” feature – which gets your fifth night free after booking four nights with points – is getting a small downgrade. Marriott is rebranding it as “Stay for 5, Pay for 4,” which means that you’ll now get the lowest-priced night for free. So if you stay five nights at a Marriott and one of them is priced off-peak, that will count as your free night.
- Marriott is tweaking its “Cash + Points” booking option to standardize how much cash you need to pay based on which of the eight categories a hotel falls in.
Book your hotel stays now with Marriott points before the award rates potentially increase!
Lead photo courtesy of Marriott
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.