Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program will be introducing off-peak/standard/peak award pricing starting 14th September. While the category of the hotels stay the same, expect to pay more or less in future – depending on the demand of a particular hotel that you are interested in.
To gain a better clarity on how the Marriott Bonvoy will work in future, you need to understand the following points when it comes to booking an award stay:
i) If you have enough points, this is the redemption chart that you should refer to.
This is how the award booking calendar will look like (see below screenshot) when you try to book an award room at any point in time from 14th September onwards. As mentioned earlier, the points you see on the award booking calendar is subjected to changes – based on the demand of the hotel at any point in time.
Note that the above booking calendar is a screenshot taken from the explanation video posted by Marriott Bonvoy. As the seasonal award pricing will kick in on 14th September, we cannot tell if the screenshot is a true reflection of how the distribution of the pricing will be like in future.
ii) If you do not have enough points, you can opt for points+cash redemption.
Same rule as mentioned earlier, the cash+points you see on the booking calendar will be subjected to changes – based on the demand of the hotel at any point in time. If you do not catch it, here is a 1 minute explanation video:
iii) If you do not have enough points, you can also choose “Points Advance”.
“Points Advance” allows you to lock in a room but not the rate as you continue to earn your points until it is sufficient enough to secure the reservation. Confused? Watch this 1 min video here:
Note that “Points Advance” works for both i) points redemption and ii) cash+points redemption. For the latter, the cash component is fixed but the points component varies (peak/standard/off-peak rates) until you have enough points to secure it – depending on the demand of the hotel at any particular point in time.
The seasonal pricing that Marriott Bonvoy is introducing is a double edged sword. Although it offers us i) more room availability at more expensive rates and ii) cheaper rates on off-peak period, Marriot may have the interest to use this seasonal pricing to conceal their intention of raising their redemption rates (more redemption = more cost for the hotel).
Nevertheless, rules always come with loopholes. Perhaps we can use “Points Advance” to lock in the room when the redemption rate is high and discard this soft booking and book solely with points when redemption rate switches from peak to off-peak/standard.