More Marriott Bonvoy Devaluation Starting March 2023
UPDATE 8/6/23: Another round of devaluation happened in Summer 2023, affecting Category 1-8. The biggest devaluation happens in Category 8. A V3 chart is added. See how Marriott still assign award categories to their hotels on the backend.
Marriott has released a systematic devaluation across all properties for points redemption. Some time ago, I wrote a post about 2023’s dynamic pricing and explained that all properties were still within their former Categories with slight inflation on the upper limit of points pricing, and that you wouldn’t expect to pay more than 120k points per night at Marriott’s aspirational properties.
Then, the St.Regis & Ritz-Carlton in Maldives would then require 150k points just a few weeks ago. Now, there’s a new systematic change that affect all properties that participates in the Marriott Bonvoy program. How bad is this second round of devaluation? Let’s take a further look.
Marriott Bonvoy March 2023 Devaluation
Months ago, I made a chart that shows the new cap for points redemption for hotels. Remember, Marriott hotels are still within their former Category when award charts were published last year.
|Category||2022 Max Points/Night||2023 Max Points/Night||% Max Increase|
|120k Pts Max||120,000||120,000||0|
Below’s the new chart with the devaluation starting from March 2023 with comparison of previous redemption iterations. Let’s call the March 2023 devaluation Version 2.
|Category||2022 Max Points/Night||2023 Max Points/Night V1||2023 Max Points/Night V2||2023 Max Points/Night|
|St. Regis/Ritz Carlton Maldives||120,000||120,000||150,000||150,000|
|RC Reserve (Higashiyama/Mandapa/Phulay Bay)||120,000||120,000||132,000||132,000|
|RC Reserve (Zadun/Dorado)||240,000||240,000||254,000||254,000|
Back then, Marriott released a PDF file where some hotels would increase points redemption rate by 30k points. All of them turned out to be former Category 7 hotels. Lots of former Category 8 hotels increased by 20k points as well, but none increased by 30k points.
Interestingly enough, former Category 7 with additional 30k points redemption like The Bodrum EDITION and Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay appear to still have the 106k cap, thus unaffected by the second round of devaluation.
Ritz-Carlton Reserve Devaluation
Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties have their own rules outside of other Marriott brands:
- Mandapa (Bali, Indonesia)
- Phulay Bay (Krabi, Thailand)
- Higashiyama (Hokkaido, Japan)
Above properties appear to be capped at 132k points per night. But:
- Zadun (Cabo, Mexico)
- Dorado Beach (Puerto Rico)
Above properties appear to be capped at 254k points per night!
The “good news” is that there are only 5 Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties in the world currently, so it won’t affect the majority of people in the program. At least 3 out of 5 properties are in the attainable range (and cheaper than the St. Regis/Ritz Carlton Maldives), where the Zadun/Dorado Beach are laughably overpriced.
Devaluation Effects on Free Night Certificates
Here are the effects on the usefulness of free night certificates with
March 2023 Summer 2023 devaluation:
- 35k FNC: Heavily affected. Can still be used at former Cat 4 & 5, but would be out of reach in certain periods (46k max on Cat 4 & 59k max on Cat 5).
- 40k FNC: Affected. Compared to 35k FNC, it would still be fully viable for Cat 4 with topups, but out of bounds on certain periods for Cat 5.
- 50k FNC: Heavily affected. With the Version 2 devaluation, you won’t be able to redeem a former Cat 6 at its peak, even with 15k points topup. Just 1000 points short, yikes! With Version 3 devaluation, you may now need to topup the FNC on Cat 5 properties.
- 85k FNC: Affected. 85k FNC has become problematic since Version 1 devaluation as topping up still may prevent redemption for former Cat 8 hotels at their peak. The Version 3 devaluation can make it harder, but we can expect to be able to use them for former Cat 7 hotels even at peak rate with topup. A nerf overall, still.
To summarize, the FNC’s you’d get from the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy/Bountiful and Brilliant/Ritz-Carlton Card become harder to utilize fully than the 35k FNC from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless/Business and 40k FNC that you’d get as the Second Annual Choice after reaching/renewing Titanium Elite.
What You Can Do Now
As the changes are live after this post, the best thing to do is to lock-in rates for the hotels you want now. Since points booking have very generous free cancellation policy, you can periodically check the prices over time before checking in. If you then see lower prices, you can simply update your booking and get some points back from your original booking.
Remember, I’m only showing the max amount of points that may be required, so you can still try to get better value out of your redemption by keeping a constant lookout or being flexible enough on your travel schedules to avoid peak rates.
With the March 2023 devaluation, it’s getting harder to redeem points on the most luxurious properties within the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, but there’s still value to be had for midscale and upper midscale properties, especially international ones. I’d also say that they reduce the value of 50k & 85k FNC since they may at times fall short just a few thousands of points to redeem for the levels of properties they’re intended for. I certainly hope that this is the farthest extent of Marriott devaluation for the foreseeable future.