After taking advice from MRIs etc, I made a booking at West India Quay for December 2014 for 5 nights using points. I did not have enough points at the time (and won't for a few weeks), but as the hotel was going from 6 to 7, I made the reservation. Fortunately, I had the foresight to take a printout of the reservation which shows 120,000 points, which was made on 19th March. I agreed an upgrade price for the room, but this was on 24th March. I checked with Marriott at the time of booking about the points, saying
"I have made the above reservation, stating I will use Reward Points. I do not at present have quite enough points, but will have long before the arrival date.
The hotel is about to go from Cat 6 to 7, so I have booked at the old rate of 120,000 points for 5 nights before the cut off date of 7th April. Please confirm that my reservation will be honoured at 120,000 points once>I have sufficient points."
They replied in an email "Any reward redemptions booked before the category change will be honored at the category they were booked at."
I have made no amendments to the booking since. But today I was reviewing my upcoming bookings and it has been changed to category 7 and 140,000 points! So what happened to "we will honour all bookings etc"?
Also, I would suggest other MRIs check their advance points bookings as well.
I haven't made any reservations without having the point balance (although, like you say, it's quite common and has been effective for others in years past), so I'll wait along with you for the 'official' answer from the Marriott team. But I'm posting to give you a little peace of mind; it's probably not as ominous of a situation as you might be concerned it is, because the past several years when I did reserve increased Cat. hotels in advance, my point balance was deducted at the old amount (and my e-mail showed it) but the reservation on Marriott.com showed the new rate charge (as if to warn me if I dared to even breathe on that reservation it would be at the new rate). So I think you're fine, it's just a matter of the Insider Marriott reps telling you how to protect yourself (which, of course, is always a worthy goal in dealing with the many ambiguities of rewards travel). Good luck.
tommo781 - please send me a direct message with some details and how you'd like to be contacted. We'll make sure someone follows up.
I am aware of a few quirks being sorted out which may be related - however I can say with absolute certainty that you'd need to earn enough points for the 2013 category by the time of your reservation. As mentioned in the announcement, "All redemption reservations booked on or before April 7, 2014 will be honored at the current point price, even if the stay occurs after April 8. 2014"
Message was edited by: communitymanager
This is completely normal. There is no way for them to display the reservation at the "old rate"
I do this EVERY SINGLE YEAR and I spelled out in the previous thread what to do.
When you have enough points to have the certificate issued at the old rate: Call. They will issue the certificate at the old rate.
I concur with others. I had a 7 night cert for a Cat. 8 prior to an increase, but later when I looked, it showed the Cat. 9 amount of points. When I contacted MR customer support, they explained that the reservation was at the old points amount, regardless of what was subsequently shown on my reservation page. I opined that it was a bit confusing and unnerving. They agreed and said it was an imperfection with the system, but assured me that I had secured the old rate. But perhaps call them and let them tell you that so you will be more assured.
Vickisocal, I did take note of your advice on the previous thread, and was grateful for it. What I did not realise was that my reservation would be automatically amended to show the new points. I don't think Marriott make that clear, as Pluto 77 also thinks. It is confusing, especially to someone like me who has never done this before. I have used points of course, but never before I have quite earned enough and there is a category change.
I have had an email from Marriott now which says "We apologize we are unable to alter the confirmation of your reservation however, Marriott Reward agents along with Marriott Customer Care agents are well aware of the changes in hotel categories.
We would be able to retrieve reservation information as it relates to your booking dates, arrival date, and any changes made.
The difference would be Marriott Reward agents would have the capability to produce a Free Night electronic certificate which would be accepted by the hotel for the prior category for your Redemption Reservation."
So I have it in writing now which is a comfort.
Again, thanks everybody.
I know I am resurrecting an old thread, but I just wanted to thank vickisocal for her advice. I just got enough points for my original booking before the categories changed. I contacted Marriott and they immediately took the old number of points from my rewards account and updated my reservation details.
Thanks again vickisocal. I really appreciate your help.