This article is being updated.
On March 3, 2021, Marriott will change award prices for 201 of its properties. While that may sound like a lot, this represents less than 3% of Marriott’s over 8,000 properties. And, these changes are mostly good news. Marriott is dropping award rates at 150 properties and increasing at just 51 hotels on March 3.
Let’s look at which hotels you’ll want to hurry up and book before March 3 — and which hotels you’ll want to wait to book.
Which Marriott hotels to book by March 3
The 51 hotels getting a category increase stretch across more than a dozen countries and brands, but each hotel is increasing by only one category. Most of the hotels that are increasing are low-category hotels:
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Marriott Category 1 hotels increasing
The increase from Category 1 to Category 2 means jumping from 7,500 points for a standard night to 12,500 points for a standard night. That’s a pretty substantial increase percentage-wise. So, you’ll want to book your stay at these hotels before the March 3 category increase:
Fairfield Inn & Suites Jasper (U.S.).
Fairfield Inn & Suites Williamstown (U.S.).
Fairfield by Marriott Edmonton International Airport (Canada).
Four Points by Sheraton Edmonton International Airport (Canada).
Fairfield Lima Miraflores (Peru).
Four Points by Sheraton Hefei, Shushan (China).
Four Points by Sheraton Suzhou, Wuzhong (China).
Interestingly, two of these seven hotels are airport hotels near Edmonton International Airport. So, if you need to book an overnight layover or night near the airport before your flight, you’ll want to lock in current pricing before March 3.
» Learn more: The best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points
Hotels to consider booking with a 35,000-point free night award now
There are six hotels that are increasing from Category 5 to Category 6. These are noteworthy as cardholders of two Marriott credit cards are awarded a free night award worth up to 35,000 points each cardholder anniversary.
Category 5 hotels currently cost 35,000 points on a standard night. However, even on off-peak nights, you won’t be able to redeem these free night awards at a Category 6 hotel. If you have a 35,000-point free night award, here are six hotels to consider booking before March 3:
Aloft Ocean City (U.S.).
Residence Inn Ocean City (U.S.).
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort (U.S.).
The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph Collection (U.S.).
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa (Mexico).
JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (Australia).
Each of these hotels is appealing. After all, they’re popular enough for Marriott to be increasing the award rates during a pandemic. The right property for you is going to depend on your travel plans. But the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa looks especially appealing right now:
Use your 50,000-point free night awards at these hotels
There are three luxury hotels increasing from Marriott’s Category 6 to 7. On paper, this might not seem like that big of a deal. After all, standard nights at Category 6 hotels cost 50,000 points while standard nights at Category 7 hotels cost 60,000 points.
However, this increase is notable for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card customers. That’s because cardmembers get a free night award every account anniversary that’s good for a night costing up to 50,000 points. So, you can redeem this free night award at Category 6 properties on standard nights. However, you’ll need to find an off-peak date in order to use a 50,000-point certificate once they move to a Category 7 hotel. Terms apply.
If you have one of these free night awards, consider booking one of these hotels before March 3, 2021:
Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mexico City (Mexico).
The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buckinghamshire (United Kingdom).
The Mesm Tokyo, Autograph Collection (Japan).
The sole hotel increasing from Category 7 to 8
There’s just one hotel that Marriott is increasing from Category 7 to 8: The W Aspen in Colorado. On March 3, standard nights at this incredible property will cost 85,000 points — instead of the current 60,000 points. So, if this slope-side property is on your radar, you’ll want to lock in the current pricing now.
Notable Marriott hotels dropping in price
As we noted at the top, these category changes are mostly good news. Of the 201 Marriott hotels changing categories, 150 are decreasing in price as of March 3, 2021. Each of these 150 hotels is decreasing by one category.
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However, you’ll need to wait until March 3, 2021, before you’ll find these cheaper rates. Let’s check out some of the hotels you’ll want to book then.
Use 35,000-point free night awards at these hotels soon
On March 3, 2021, 11 Marriott hotels are dropping from Category 6 to 5. In addition to being good news for saving on points stays, you’ll be able to use a 35,000-point free night award at these hotels. That’s because you can book a Category 5 hotel during standard or off-peak nights with a 35,000-point free night award. But, Category 6 hotels always cost more than 35,000 points.
The 11 hotels dropping from Category 6 to Category 5 on March 3, 2021, are:
Charleston Kiawah Island/Andell Inn (U.S.).
Fairfield Inn & Suites Augusta Fort Gordon Area (U.S.).
Fairfield Inn & Suites Virgin Zion National Park (U.S.).
The Glenmark, Glendale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel (U.S.).
The Opus, Westchester (U.S.).
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre (Canada).
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort (Curacao).
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong (China).
La Caserne Chanzy Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection (France).
Burj Rafal Riyadh, A Marriott International Hotel (Saudi Arabia).
Moxy Lausanne City (Switzerland).
This is a wide-ranging list with everything from practical stays outside Zion National Park to a JW Marriott in Shanghai. But, perhaps most appealing to anyone tired of the cold is the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort.
If you want to score a free night at this or any other Marriott Category 5 hotel, two Marriott credit cards award a free night award valid at any property costing up to 35,000 points as a cardmember anniversary perk:
Hotels you can soon book with a 50,000-point free night award
There’s also good news for cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. As of March 3, you’ll be able to use your 50,000-point free night award at two more stunning properties. Terms apply.
Both the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic (Autograph Collection) and JW Marriott Parq Vancouver are dropping from Category 7 to Category 6. Once this happens, you’ll be able to use 50,000-point free night awards on standard and off-peak dates.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart
The bottom line
Hotel category change announcements are generally bad news. Most years, these changes include far more increases than decreases. Not surprisingly, this year is a bit different. Marriott is increasing rates on only 51 properties, decreasing rates for 150 and leaving the rates the same at over 7,800 of its other hotels.
Thanks to the heads-up that we're getting about these changes, you can act now to lock in prices at properties that are increasing in price. And, you know to wait to book stays at the hotels where rates are dropping.