Marriott Delays Implementation of Award Category 8 Until March 2019

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The merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest has been challenging to say the least. But one of the positive elements – at least for bloggers or luxury hotel aficionados – has been Marriott’s delayed introduction of its top level of award category (8). From the time of the 18 August merger, until “sometime in 2019”, Marriott encouraged members to spend their points on “Category 8 hotels at Category 7 pricing”.

It also gave substantial advance warning of an award chart split into “peak” and “off-peak” dates. Here’s what the new Marriott award chart looks like:

“Coming 2019” has recently been defined on the Marriott website:

Like the suspense surrounding “coming in August 2018”, we don’t yet know the specific date in March 2019. It’s also fair to assume that the peak / off-peak pricing structure won’t be implemented until then. Besides the confusion that would result from multiple award chart changes, the cynic in me also assumes that the best time to implement “off-peak” pricing is just AFTER the end of off-peak season!

Nonetheless, if you have been saving up your points for an aspirational luxury hotel stay, such as the St. Regis Maldives, you have 2-3 more months to accumulate those points…


Have any readers actually booked a Category 8 hotel in the new Marriott programme? Although tempting, they still cost a lot of points!


  1. Andrew M says

    Have you heard any reports or people being able to use an old Cat 7 travel package certificate against one of the current Cat 7 Hotels? I’m hoping to get the St Regis, Maldives booked before it moves to Cat 8. I was definately promised, when I ordered the certificate, that it could be used against a new Cat 7 hotel after the scheme merger. I haven’t tried it yet but presumably the recording of what I was promised when ordering the certificate would work in my favour.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I would be surprised if Marriott would dig out an old recording and honour incorrect advice given by an agent, but it’s certainly worth trying. Going from an old 7 to a new 7 would be a massively valuable gesture.

      I’ve been monitoring the Flyertalk thread on the subject, and it’s quite difficult to find an agent even willing to upgrade old certificates in exchange for the points difference.

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