The Marriott 2019 Award Category Changes Hit Hong Kong Hard

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On March 5, 2018, Marriott makes two sets of changes to award categories:

  1. Category 8 pricing takes effect, whereby a bunch of hotels currently bookable at 60,000 points/night go up to 85,000 points/night.
  2. Award category changes for a number of hotels, announced this week, take effect.

You can check the changes here. If you are planning to book stays for hotels that will go up in price, do so by March 5. Those short on points can use Points Advance, a layaway plan for awards.

Note that Peak and Off-Peak pricing will not take effect until a date later in 2019, yet to be announced.

Hong Kong Hit Where it Hurts

Hong Kong is a tough city for value on awards at points hotels.

Marriott award categories 1-5 are slim pickings if you want to be anywhere in the main business and tourist areas of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

Category 5 is important because several of the Amex and Chase Marriott card issue anniversary certificates up to Category 5 (35,000 points/night).

The current choices are:

Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Lobby Cafe

We spent a week at the Renaissance in January. The location is great for tourists, next to the Star Ferry Wanchai Pier. Marriott Platinums and above have access to the 3-level club lounge as well as the sumptuous restaurant breakfast. Rooms are small, typical for Hong Kong. Don’t let them upgrade you to a Harbour View Room unless you enjoy jackhammering for the multi-year massive rail station construction project. Stick with the Garden View rooms.

The Courtyard Hong Kong has a club lounge and per Marriott terms, Platinums and above get lounge access at Courtyard’s in Asia.

The Miras are part of Design Hotels and delight in not providing elite recognition.

Unfortunately, on March 5, 2019, the Renaissance will go up to Category 6, out of reach of all credit card certs except the premium cards.

The Courtyard will go up to Category 5, no longer bookable with legacy Marriott Travel Packages that are now only valid at Category 1-4 or with annual certificates from the legacy Chase Marriott Premier credit card.

Looks like for our annual trip next year we’ll be trying Mira. Good thing for us that we eat 5 or more meals and snacks a day in Hong Kong and hardly touch the club lounges except as places to work or hang out when the other is resting in the shoebox rooms. It should be a prosecutable offense to take your meals in the club lounge in one of the world’s great food cities.

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Clare Neuman
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Clare Neuman

Marriott has really gutted their program. I’m a leisure traveler and am thinking of giving up my Marriott and SPG cards and not bothering with their new card.

Marshall
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Marshall

Hawaii, Manhattan, Florida and Los Angeles/Anaheim in the USA are getting slaughtered too. I hate that Marriott bought Starwood. They’ve destroyed Starwood. They made it seem like it was going to be a great merger/addition but it’s horrible. I will be moving over to Hilton first and Hyatt secondary. No need for any Marriott credit cards either.

Jacob
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Jacob

So glad that my wife and I both canceled our SPG cards last year. Marriott is despicable with how they are backstabbing their loyalists with these devaluations.

Debit
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Debit

It’s hitting Singapore, bali, Phuket, Bangkok, Seoul pretty hard as well.

They just devalued all the packages. Eff marriott.