Marriott Rewards recently released enhancements, and I’m really going to call them enhancements… Heck, I’m not even sure if Marriott called them enhancements, but by golly they are!
Others have written about these Marriott Rewards enhancements, and normally, I’ll leave it to the more mainstream bloggers, but I’m a Marriott guy. When most folks scoff at Marriott because of their 75 night requirement for top tier status, I actually do it. I’ve shared my thoughts of Marriott before, such as, questioning whether Marriott was the red headed stepchild, I’ve also shared a collection of Marriott promotions, policy changes, and other initiatives, not to mention having reviewed a ton of Marriott hotels, including JW Khao Lak, Cairo Marriott, The Doha Marriott, Renaissance Seoul, Renaissance Bangkok, and the list goes on. All that, to say that Marriott has made some positive changes for those Marriott loyalists, and, those that aren’t, I’d recommend you take notice.
Marriott is calling this the Fabulous Four, why? Because they’ve got four enhancements that are just fabulous!
Lets break each one out on its own, because just like the Fantastic Four, each of the Fabulous Four has its own personality.
Marriott Rewards Enhancement: The NEW Cash + Points
Marriott had previously introduced a similar feature, however this is the new version. First, here’s the good news, the NEW Rewards cash + points chart for both Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels:
Now here’s the bad news:
- It doesn’t start until sometime in 2016.
- Like other hotel programs, Participation will vary by hotel
- You will not earn points on the cash portion of the new cash + points
- The new cash + points will not count toward “redeem 4 nights, get the 5th night free.”
Here’s the good news:
- Cash + Points rates will not fluctuate, they will be consistent with hotel categories (similar to other programs)
- You will finally earn elite night credits with the new cash + points.
Marriott Rewards Enhancement: Redemption Stay Credit
This is a simple one: Starting November 1, 2015, you will earn Elite nights credits for award redemptions aka stays using points! For me, this is pretty huge, as I recently stayed two nights in Singapore on points. Alas, I was like 45 days early on this one, but seriously, this is, in my opinion, a big deal!
Marriott Rewards Enhancement: Points Sharing
You will be able to share your Marriott Rewards points with any other Marriott Rewards member you want, however, only up to 50,000 points per year. There are unfortunately some terms and conditions, quoted below:
- This Member benefit is available between any two accounts in good standing whether sending or receiving points. A Member may authorize the transfer a maximum of 50,000 Points per calendar year into the Rewards Program account of friends or family provided the recipient account is also in good standing. Once per calendar year and only at time of Reward Redemption a Member may exceed the 50,000 Point maximum into the Rewards Program account of a friend or family member in order to qualify for a specific Reward in accordance with this section.
- Immediately prior to Reward Redemption and only once per calendar year, a Member may authorize the transfer of the necessary number of Points into the Rewards Program account of a friend or family member, in order to qualify for a specific Reward. This transfer may exceed the 50,000 Point maximum per calendar year.
- In the instance of transfer exceeding the 50,000 Point maximum only the necessary number of Points needed to redeem the specified Reward, rounded to the nearest 1,000 Points, may be transferred — no more, no less.
- Authorization to transfer Points must be initiated by the account holder with the Points to be transferred by contacting Rewards Program Guest Services by calling Rewards Program Guest Services at 1-801-468-4000 (Marriott Rewards Program) or 1-866-922-6882 (The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program). The account holder requesting the transfer must provide the Marriott Rewards account number of the Points recipient at the time of the Point transfer request.
- Once the authorization for transfer is received and processed, the transferee relinquishes all rights to the transferred Points, and they become the recipient’s Points.
Looking at the above terms, it looks like there is a once per calendar year opportunity to exceed the 50,000 point maximum to transfer to a friend or family member (interesting that friends are before family, but I digress). This could turn out to be a huge point, I think.
Marriott Rewards Enhancement: Points Advance
While a points advance was a previously unadvertised benefit, it is nice to see that Marriott is advertising it now as a public benefit. So many times, people don’t bother to ask, as I mentioned in a previous weekly post, if you don’t ask, you don’t know.
Of course there is more to this, you can find the terms and conditions, however I’ll summarize below.
- You need to purchase, receive from a friend, or accrue the necessary points 14 days in advance.
It looks like the other terms and conditions that follow are more high level terms, or requirements that relate to non-points advance reservations/redemptions.
Overall, I think Marriott’s Rewards Enhancements are truly enhancements. For me, the biggest two are (1) cash + points earning elite night credit, and (2) redemption stays earning elite credits. Obviously I’m a minority, in that I strive for Marriott Rewards Platinum status each year, but even those that strive for Marriott Rewards Gold status can benefit from these wonderful enhancements. Perhaps this doesn’t make Marriott as competitive as programs such as Hyatt’s Gold Passport, or Starwood Preferred Guest, but it at least shows that Marriott Rewards is in fact trying. For that, I salute them.