More Points for Hilton, Marriott and Starwood Stays
Where: Various Locations
Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood Hotels have all made changes to their reward/loyalty programs as of late, and while there may be a silver lining here or there in terms of hotel participation and member benefits, the long and short of it is that your points won’t go as far. Here’s the down and dirty:
Citing pricing and popularity as the main motivations, Marriott rearranged its tier structure, moving 36% of its hotels into a higher point category while making only 1% less expensive. Marriott also created a new category for its 12 most popular properties, raising the cost of a night’s stay to 45,000 points from 40,000. These changes will go into effect on May 15th.
Changes are coming much earlier for Hilton on March 28th when it will add a 10th category for its top hotels and charge approximately 95,000 points per night. Stays during peak periods (i.e. the holidays) will see the harshest increases in point requirements, but Silver, Gold or Diamond elite status will enjoy a 5th night free when they book consecutive nights.
Starwood’s alterations revolve around its "Cash & Points" program that allows members to book a stay by combining cash and reward points. More hotels and room categories are now part of the program – which is a good thing – but the price of that is more points. For all but one category, the cost of a room was raised by up to 25%.
The bottom line here is that you might want to reevaluate where those points in the piggy bank are going to take you this year. Unfortunately, it might not be as far as you once thought.