Marriott Will No Longer Give Hotel Guests This, as of Oct. 31
Traveling may feel a lot like it's all about getting somewhere during the planning process, but in practice, it's just as much about where you stay when you get there. That's why for many, Marriott is an easy choice: As the world's largest hotel chain, it operates properties at both the luxury and affordable ends of the spectrum with a large global footprint that makes it likely you'll find one no matter where you're going. But while many travelers appreciate the company's consistent service, it can still make changes over time that can rub some visitors the wrong way. Now, Marriott has just announced that it is doing away with one popular hotel guest perk. Read on to see what the iconic hospitality chain is getting rid of by the end of the month.
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Marriott currently operates a company-wide loyalty program called Bonvoy.
Many regular road warriors tend to choose one or two hotel brands they stay loyal to over time, not only to help provide consistency in quality but also to form a relationship with the chain, earn status, and potentially collect rewards over time. Marriott's in-house loyalty program Bonvoy is no different, providing a single platform for managing and redeeming points across the company's 30 brands, including W Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Sheraton, Courtyard, Aloft, Fairfield, and more.
Guests who sign up for the program receive benefits ranging from free WiFi and late checkout for entry-level Silver Elite members to lounge access, room upgrades, and welcome gifts for higher-tier Platinum and Titanium Elite members. And similar to airline frequent flyer programs, members can also collect points redeemable for free nights or upgrades when they travel.
Bonvoy is also one of the many robust rewards programs that have formed partnerships with other companies to help patrons collect and redeem their points faster, including branded credit cards and major airlines. Notably, members can even transfer their hotel points to be used toward booking flights.
Marriott has announced they're getting rid of one loyalty partnership perk for hotel guests.
While fans of the program have long appreciated the flexibility to use their earnings when and where they need them most, a change is coming that may affect the way many loyal customers choose to spend them. In an email sent to select customers on Oct. 17, Marriott announced that it would be doing away with the long-running bonus incentive it offers hotel guests transferring reward points from Bonvoy to airline partners, The Points Guy first reported.
As of Oct. 31, guests will no longer receive a 5,000 miles bonus for every 60,000 points they transfer from Bonvoy to the company's airline partners, a Marriott spokesperson confirmed to the travel news outlet. Specifically, the company says it is ending the extra miles for all transfers to American Airlines AAdvantage points, Avianca LifeMiles, and Delta SkyMiles.
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Experts say the change devalues Marriott Bonvoy points for some travelers.
Besides shortchanging Bonvoy members on miles they would've previously seen, the move will also devalue the hotel's loyalty points. Currently, guests that transfer 60,000 points to an airline partner receive 20,000 miles plus the 5,000 miles bonus for a ratio of 2.4 points per mile, The Points Guy reports. However, without the bonus, this transfer rate will drop to three points per mile when the bonus disappears at the end of the month.
The move comes months after Marriott announced it would switch its award pricing system for Bonvoy away from its previously held fixed award chart to a dynamic pricing system at the end of March. Critics argued that the change significantly devalued the points by making it harder to use them at some of the chain's higher-end properties, travel rewards site Loyalty Lobby reported at the time.
Some loyal customers are already upset with the planned changes.
Although Marriott did not cite a specific reason for dropping the Bonvoy transfer bonus, some have pointed out that the changes appear to be another step towards the company hollowing out the rewards program—even if it's a service only some guests utilize.
"This sets a concerning precedent since the ability to convert Marriott points into airline miles helps create a floor value for the program," Ben Schlappig, founder of travel rewards news site One Mile at a Time, wrote in a post discussing the policy change.
Other Bonvoy loyalists agreed the changes were part of a troubling trend. "There goes the last reason for even considering Bonvoy points," one commenter replied to the One Mile at a Time post. "It was a reasonable route to acquire AA miles when Marriott had a 50 percent off sale on points like last week. The stinking 20 percent devaluation on AA transfers puts paid to that scheme. Bonvoyed again!"
Some said the change justified their newfound pessimism about the program, with one user commenting, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's that the floor can always fall further with Marriott."