Marriott Will Charge Guests More for This, Starting Jan. 1
Guess will need to pay up a little more for one thing in the near future.
As the world's largest hotel group, Marriott and its related chains are practically impossible to miss on the road, no matter where you're headed. This widespread availability makes it popular with regular travelers who count on the company for reliably comfortable lodging, complete with top-notch service. But just as the hospitality chain stays on top of updating and maintaining its properties, it also can make changes to its policies and pricing. And now, Marriott has announced that it will start to charge guests more for one thing soon. See what will cost you more in the new year.
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Marriott Bonvoy allows regular guests to collect rewards and earn status with the chain.
Rewards programs come in all forms, from your local coffee shop's "buy 10, get one free" punch cards to international airlines offering lounge access and upgrades. For Marriott and its related chains, the Bonvoy program manages customer loyalty over time. With each stay and dollar spent, guests can earn points that can be redeemed for free stays at the hotel—or even used to purchase items or book flights with partner airlines.
Arguably, the most enticing part of the program is that it also allows frequent guests to earn elite status after a certain number of stays with the company. Each member gets better perks as they rise through the ranks, from the entry-level Silver Elite tier earning free WiFi and late checkout privileges to higher-tier Platinum and Titanium Elite members getting perks like lounge access, room upgrades, and welcome gifts.
All told, the program makes it more likely for regular travelers to stick with Marriott when it comes to booking accommodations. But now, the company says it's making a change that could wind up costing you more.
Marriott says it will cost guests more to do one thing starting next year.
After several other changes in recent weeks, Marriott has announced that it's making some changes to the Bonvoy program's highest Ambassador Elite tier. The company says that it will increase the required spending for the tier from $20,000 per year to $23,000 per year, representing a 15 percent markup, The Points Guy reports. The new policy will take effect on Jan. 1.
Spending isn't just limited to the base rate paid for a hotel stay. Any incidental charges—including on-site dining and other room charges—will count towards the requirement.
"To ensure the program is delivering the highest level of service to its most loyal members when it is most important, Marriott Bonvoy is announcing an enhancement for Ambassador Elite members to help make travel planning easier and trips more fulfilling within the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio," the company said in a statement, per The Points Guy.
Some requirements for the top tier are staying the same.
However, even though Marriott will expect more money from guests to reach its highest tier, some requirements will stay the same when the policy changes. The company announced that the number of elite nights needed to unlock eligibility will remain at 100 per year. Notably, these nights aren't necessarily defined just as stays at a property: They can also be achieved with cobranded credit card spending, according to travel rewards blog One Mile at a Time.
It's also important to note that anyone looking to achieve Ambassador Elite in 2022 will still be able to unlock the tier with $20,000 in spending before Jan. 1. Anyone who hits the milestone will earn the top status through February 2024, according to One Mile at a Time.
The latest changes will also bring back a major perk for the top tier.
Even though it will be more difficult to achieve the hotel chain's top status in the future, those who do manage to meet the requirements will be rewarded with a significant perk. Marriott also announced that it had revived its personal ambassador agent program for the top elite guests, marking the first time it's been available since it was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Points Guy reports.
Each ambassador provides guests with one-on-one service to book reservations within Marriott properties. But they also use each member's personal preferences to help with everything from making local dining recommendations and reservations to suggesting and booking special tours and activities.
Guests of the top tier will also still be able to take advantage of the Your24 offering. This perk allows Ambassador Elite members to choose which 24 hours count towards the length of their stay, such as a 9 p.m. check-in to a 9 p.m. checkout.