Marriott Bonvoy updates & major award chart change coming in March 2022

Today, Marriott Bonvoy announced some good (and not so good) news for it’s members. There are some minor positive updates in regards to Elite status, points expiry & Free Night Awards (FNAs). But, also there was some big and disappointing news about the Marriott Bonvoy award chart.

So, let’s start with the good news.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite status extended for another year

Last year, we saw that Marriott Bonvoy was extending members’ Elite status due to the pandemic. Plus, earlier this year, Marriott announced that they would reward members by topping up their accounts with 50% bonus elite nights based on their 2020 Elite status. 

Yet again, Marriott will be extending members’ Elite status for another year until February 2023! No matter if you earned your Marriott status in 2019, 2020 or in 2021, it will now be valid all of 2022 until early 2023.

So, this is good news for those who did not renew their previous Marriott Elite status over the course of 2021. You will be able to retain your Elite status from 2020 or 2019 for another year.

However, this is a moot point for members that did retain or reach Elite status this year as it’s valid until Feb 2023 regardless.

Marriott Free Night Awards (FNA) & Suite Night Awards (SNA) extension

Later in December 2021, Marriott Bonvoy will automatically update members Free Night Awards FNAs (with expiry between Jan 3, 2022 & June 29, 2022) to expire instead on June 30, 2022. This new policy will apply to FNAs from a promotion, annual choice benefit or from a co-branded credit card.

This includes the FNA from the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. This certificate is worth up to 35,000 points, meaning that you can redeem it at category 5 (off-peak and standard rate) or lower category hotels.

Also, in the same vein, Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Awards (SNAs) that are expiring on December 31, 2021 will be extended by a further six months until June 30, 2022. SNAs are useful to upgrade to a larger room or suite at select Marriott properties. Members receive SNAs once they reach Marriott Platinum Elite status or higher.

This is welcome news as it allows members to use their FNAs and SNAs for a Marriott stay in the first half of 2022.

Top up Free Night Awards with points

Also, Marriott announced a new permanent change in regards to Free Night Awards (FNAs). Starting in early 2022, members will be able to combine FNAs with up to 15,000 Bonvoy points to stay at a more expensive property.

For example, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card provides a yearly Free Night Award which is worth up to 35,000 points. With this new change, members can redeem their 35k certificate and redeem up to 15,000 points to stay at a 50,000 point Marriott hotel starting next year.

This is certainly an improvement and provides better flexibility for members to use their Free Night Award certificate.

Extension to Marriott Bonvoy points expiry date

Previously, Marriott Bonvoy paused the expiration of points until March 31, 2022. Now with this announcement, the points expiration date has been extended by another 9 months until December 31, 2022!

This will give members whose accounts have been inactive for at least 24 months even more time for a points transaction to keep their account active and to redeem points in their account toward a stay.

Marriott eliminates award chart in 2022

Now, for the bad & disappointing news. Currently, the number of Marriott Bonvoy points required for a free night is based on the Marriott award chart with 8 different hotel categories.

Here is the current Marriott award chart for reference.

Marriott Bonvoy award chart

Sadly, Marriott Bonvoy will be eliminating their award chart as of March 2022!

Instead, Marriott will be introducing their new Flexible Point Redemption Rates, or dynamic award pricing. In this pricing model, the points rate reflects the underlying cash rate of the hotel. Thus, there will be no set guidance on the number of Bonvoy points required for a free night. Only time will tell how high pricing can get for a hotel room.

Here are more details about Marriott’s new Flexible Point Redemption Rates:

  • Overall, Marriott says that there should be more rooms available for redemption stays.
  • Marriott also expects that redemption rates for nearly all hotels – more than 97% – will continue to range between their current off-peak and peak redemption rates for stays throughout 2022.
  • For stays beyond 2022, Marriott will adjust rates based more closely on hotel rates.
  • Between now and March 2022, the current award chart with off-peak, standard, and peak rates remains in place.

Also, Marriott has confirmed that their 5th night free benefit will still be available next year. So, if you book a 5-night stay with Bonvoy points, the cheapest night out of the five will be free.

Without a doubt, this elimination of the award chart is a negative change on the part of Marriott Bonvoy. With an award chart, there’s clear and predictable pricing for a free hotel night. Plus, you could get good value for your points when you redeemed points last minute or at a hotel with expensive cash prices.

With the new dynamic pricing starting in March 2022, the number of points required per night will likely be unpredictable. Plus, it will become harder to extract good value out of your Bonvoy points. 

For now, it’s best to book any points award stays for the coming year with the current predictable award chart. We’ll just have to wait and see what Marriott’s new dynamic pricing will look like later in 2022.

Summary

With today’s announcement, Marriott Bonvoy is prolonging points expiry and extending members Elite status until February 2023. Plus, current Free Night Awards and Suite Night Awards will be valid until June 30, 2022. This will give Marriott members more time to use their FNAs & SNAs in the first half of 2022.

Also, starting next year, you’ll be able to redeem up to 15,000 Bonvoy points on top of your Free Night Award for a more expensive hotel stay.

Sadly, Marriott also announced that they will be eliminating their award chart as of March 2022. Instead, they will be moving to a dynamic pricing model where the points rate reflects the underlying cash rate of the hotel.

This news comes on top of Marriott’s previous announcements in 2021. This included a 50% bonus in elite night credits for members and their double points & double elite nights promotion.

Learn more about Marriott’s new Flexible Point Redemption Rates and today’s announcement with their FAQ section.

How do you feel about these Marriott updates and removing their award chart next year? Let me know in the comments below.

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