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Here’s a Helpful Spreadsheet to Help You Calculate the Bonvoy Damage

Here’s a Helpful Spreadsheet to Help You Calculate the Bonvoy Damage

Marriott’s new rules are here, and we’re just going to say it: it’s pretty bad: unprecedented category changes and more blackout dates bad. And, as you’ve probably guessed, some of your favorite Marriott’s are on the list. How did your favorite properties fare? You can check out Marriott’s 2020 Category Changes page that’s, frankly, getting hard to look at.

OR, you can dive into this Marriott 2020 Changes spreadsheet that an enterprising FlyerTalker put together. Frankly, it still contains a ton of bad news but it’s a lot easier to search so you can rip that bandaid off a little bit quicker. In the mean time, let’s take a look at what’s changed.

The Category Changes in Broad Strokes

Every year, major hotel loyalty programs adjust their awards. Sometimes its a small change, sometimes its a large one. This time, it’s a major one. The changes will officially take place on March 4, 2020. Roughly 30% of Marriott properties will be changing categories. The bad news is that that’s a high percentage. For reference, only 6% of Marriott’s properties changed in 2019. The worse news is that most of those properties–22%, roughly 1,500 hotels– are moving into a higher, more expensive category (and that’s before you factor in peak and off-peak pricing). Only 7% of Marriott properties will be moving to a lower category.



The Ritz Carlton Vienna Bonvoy

The Ritz-Carlton Vienna (and most of the Ritz-Carlton’s) went up a category.

Some of Your Favorites Got More Expensive

While it will take some time to go through all 1,500 properties to asses the damage, if you’re a frequent stay-er, some of these category changes are going to sting. As one FlyerTalker noted, “At the hotels at which I’ve used points in the past two years, the redemption price in points has now gone up 40-50% over that time, without even accounting for peak pricing.”


“The changes in Japan are brutal.” Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station went up to Category 6, Westin Tokyo went up to Category 7 and the Westin Kyoto moved up to Category 6.


“Nearly everything in Mexico City is going up a category.”

United States

“For me, the bloodbath in NYC is a dealbreaker once the renewal comes up on my card.” There are only four category 5 hotels left in Manhattan: Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village, Residence Inn New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center Area, Courtyard New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center Area and New York Marriott Downtown.

“As is all too common with category changes, the ones going up are the ones where you’d want to vacation. For example, search for ‘beach USA,’ and 36 of those are changing. 33 up, 3 down. so 11:1. Search for ‘resort USA,’ and it’s 27 up, 2 down, so about 13:1.”

“This really hits hard as I’m mainly a domestic USA traveler and all the properties worth using in the big cities (Boston, NYC, LA, Seattle, etc) mostly went up a category. The only properties that went down a category are just mostly properties in rural USA.”


“All Marriott hotels in Vancouver, BC, are going up a category. These increases effectively annihilate the value of the Amex Canada Bonvoy card’s free night since it is limited to 35,000 points. our cards are coming up for renewal in a few months. I seriously doubt that we’ll keep them.”


Most hotels in France, Spain, and Italy went up.

The Ritz-Carlton’s

Almost every single one we checked has gone up. Sorry.



The St. Regis Tianjin went from a Category 3 to a Category 4

Look on the Bright Side?

OK, now that the bad news is out of the way, it might be time to look on the bright side and maybe adjust some of your travel plans where your Marriott points are concerned. Not ALL of Marriott’s hotels went down. Some dropped a category. Several properties in Asia (and Canada, and a few lower-tier Moxy’s in the UK) are now a category cheaper.
A Few Hotels That Dropped a Category:
A Few Hotels That Remained Unchanged:

Now for Some Medium News: Blackout Dates

Previously, only legacy Marriott brands could restrict award inventory on certain dates. Now (as in today, these changes won’t be postponed to March 4) all properties have that power.

How many blackout dates? It isn’t clear. Each property will be limited to “a predetermined number of days annually.” Could those properties you really want to book (and have probably gone up a category but were always blacked out anyway) finally be available?

Maybe! It’s unclear but, if you’re looking for space to be hopeful about the new Marriott changes, this is it.


But that’s it. That’s all the news. The bandaid’s off. How’d you do? Share your story and come kvetch in the 2020 Category Changes thread.


View Comments (12)


  1. drvannostren

    February 5, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    I’m not someone who cares about hotel redemption much, EXCEPT, I also have the canadian Bonvoy Amex.

    The max is 35,000 points for the single night annual award. I recently booked a hotel for a 1-nighter in London that I have coming up in a few weeks. It was something like a $450CAD property, somewhere I’d never even approach and I could’ve gone more expensive if I was willing to stay further away from transit.

    Going up a category, does that affect the points number? I’m a bit confused if Category is just a representation of a point range (say Cat 1 is 0,000-10,000 points, Cat 2 10,001-20,000) or if its just a different delineation for the member’s redemption side of the program or something?

    I live in Vancouver and if all the properties here have gone up, it really doesn’t matter to me. My concern would be that my annual 35,000 point stay would be irrelevant or only crappy hotels or worse, NONE AT ALL in expensive places where I might wanna stay, like Boston, NY, Tokyo, HKG. Have these places going up killed the redemption potential? Or is it just the best hotels are out of reach for me now?

  2. CaptRogerMurdoch

    February 6, 2020 at 4:46 am

    Some may be going up a Category, but were blacked out anyway. Maybe just my luck, but I hadn’t seen Courtyard Tokyo Station available for points for quite a while. Maybe with the category upgrade they’ll actually offer it.

  3. sfcharles1

    February 6, 2020 at 4:48 am

    Very sad.
    They wave rewards in front of you to get your loyalty. You give them the loyalty they seek and beyond, and they lessen the value of the points you’ve got, and then shut you out of the vacation stays you loved. And they got rid of the lifetime titaniam membership…
    Same with the airlines.
    A friend of mine retired and said he was so relieved not to be chasing points and being disappointed all the time. I might just join his efforts.
    I have started with airlines last year, but now United changed the way you get 1K so I don’t feel confident in how many trips I need, etc.
    Really, they are all a bunch of jerks.

  4. whenzuc

    February 6, 2020 at 5:46 am

    So are the annual free njght awards from the credit card pretty worthless now?

  5. edgewood49

    February 6, 2020 at 7:00 am

    It appears that the property owners, made up of mostly equity capital groups have won their way with Marriott International. First it was substandard reflags, aging properties with minimal refresh’s now diminishing point values. Pushing may of us to a “cash and points” redemption to get what we want.There will come a point when we travelers ( especially those of us who travel a great deal will be revisiting our “loyalty” and where we spend our travel money. I have been lucky enough to pass through a few major milestones with airlines/hotels so the need to go out of my way to fly/stay with them has diminished and by the way the world on the “other side ” is not so bad! Our spring trip to Italy this year only has one US Flag with redemption ( cash and points) the balance local hotels. Maybe a trend? Willard must be turning over in his grave with what is going on at Marriott

  6. CEB

    February 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    I would suggest that one of the more important issues is ignored in every review/write up I’ve seen. The category changes do not just impact on redemptions. When a hotel successfully ups their category they invariably also increase their cash cost since the value of the redemption has been reduced. In other words, when the points required for redemption go up 20% (just making up a number) the cash prices generally goes up 10-15%. Why? Because they can!

  7. RaoulM

    February 6, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    I’m a lifetime gold SPG / Marriott member who was well on his way to lifetime platinum. Since getting Bonvoyed I think I’ve spent 3 or 4 nights in a Marriott property in the past 2 years. Now all of my spending (>60 nights per year) has been moved to Hyatt and Hilton and the same is true for all of my colleagues and most fo my friends.

    I don’t think they will notice or care

  8. Sydneyberlin

    February 6, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    RIP Starwood. Was clear from the start it would all go downhill once those Mormons take over. I went from around 50 nights per year at SPG properties to less than 5 Marriott nights this year. Mostly book Hyatt or Hilton instead now.

  9. mc4bbs


    February 7, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    I am done with Marriott. I worked at Starwood, so I knew how god Starpoints were — when Marriott took over they just crapped on all their loyal customers. I’ll NEVER trust them again and I’ll never “invest” in their points. (or similar consolidator website) to get wholesale deep discount pricing is the ONLY way to go these days — all hotel points are worthless now.

  10. Counsellor

    February 11, 2020 at 8:32 am

    It’s not particularly surprising that the category increases are at the more popular properties. Marriott has long said that the number of reward redemptions at a property is a major factor in whether the category changes.

  11. gkbiiii

    February 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    I like or expedia, or etc, to get cash back or free nights based on daily spend. I like “Club Levels” and am willing to spend the cost. I just got back from Club Sheraton Level, at the Maria Isabel Sheraton, Mexico City: outstanding stay, booked expedia, and had all the perks I wanted, without all the Marriott BS!

  12. Lextheimpaler

    February 18, 2020 at 3:29 am

    Marriott is useless. This is how you burn loyal customers. Loyalty isnt the same anymore. Even World of Hyatt isnt that great. Now I just stay at the hotels I want to. I dont go out of the way to be loyal to a particular brand. There isnt any point anymore.

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