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Marriott Increases Award Prices at 36% of Hotels

Marriott has released its annual award-price changes, and Marriott Rewards members aren't likely to find anything to cheer about.

The executive summary:

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  • 36 percent of the hotels will increase by one or more categories.
  • Only 1 percent of the hotels will decrease by one or more categories.
  • 63 percent of the hotels will remain unchanged.
  • 73 percent of the hotels will remain in Categories one to four.
  • Categories one through eight will remain the same.
  • A new Category nine will be added, requiring 45,000 points per night.

The 13 hotels elevated to the new Category nine level are as follows:

  • Boston Marriott Long Wharf
  • Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Beach Hotel & Spa, Santa Monica
  • London Marriott Hotel County Hall
  • London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square
  • Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel
  • London Marriott Hotel Park Lane
  • St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel
  • JW Marriott Essex House
  • New York Marriott Marquis
  • Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square
  • Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees
  • Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel
  • Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel

The list of hotels that will increase or decrease in price is here.

The changes take effect for bookings made on and after May 16. Until then, program members may book at the current rates.

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

As always with award-price changes, program members are best served by booking before the changes take place in cases where prices are set to rise, and waiting to book those properties that will benefit from a price decrease.

Longer term, there's no sugar-coating a price increase affecting an eye-popping 36 percent of Marriott's properties. That's substantial enough to cause discerning Marriott Rewards members to rethink their loyalty to the chain and consider alternative hotel networks and programs.

This is the most significant devaluation of Marriott Rewards points I can recall. Bottom line: If you have banked Marriott points, they will be worth less on May 16.

Reader Reality Check

Are these price increases enough to jeopardize your loyalty to Marriott?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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