Now that Marriott has announced the new categories for hotels, it seems as though the good hotels are going higher and higher in the categories - I get that. They are in demand. I have the Visa Signature Marriott CC. My question is, does anyone know if the category 5 free nights will be increasing on that as well? It seems like it's getting really difficult to cash in on our "free" nights from that card. I don't mind paying the annual fee because to me, it's like getting a free night. But if I can't use the free night in a relatively decent hotel, it's not so worth it to me anymore. Does anyone have any insight on if the free night category 5 limitation will be raised for credit card holders? Thanks in advance!
You bring a great post to the forum here, katraveler.
I'm not sure anyone has framed the category changes in this way before, and I thank you for taking the time to share this with us here at Insiders. I'm going to pass this perspective to our team, as this is something the team should consider.
I do think a lot of people are wondering just the same thing, that is, what's the point of the credit card with it's annual fee (which has also increased in the past few years) if there is no return on investment. A certificate that is unusable is worthless. 5 Marriott points/dollar spent with Marriott helps, but depending on my annual spend, the extra points earned may not be enough to offset the annual fee.
Now that (at least it appears that) Marriott is no longer offering certificates as a mega bonus reward, the only certificates left out there are from the credit card. That being the case, if Marriott doesn't want to lose any co-branded business, I would think they might consider increasing the certificate by one category so that it actually provides value to the cardholder.
I've begun to wonder about whether or not I should continue to hang on to the credit card... well, honestly so long as I have a lifetime status goal still to be met, I will probably lean towards keeping it for the 15 nights annual credit (for now, but will see how the category increases play out next year, plus depending on whether or not my travel increases upon retirement - I may not need the extra nights), however I think there are many lifetime elites out there who may be wondering the same thing.
Thanks for passing this along to the "greater team" though I'm sure all of this has been carefully considered by the good folks who get paid to analyze these calculables.
Still... If we can't get our moneys worth in benefits to sufficiently offset the annual fee, the credit card is pointless. Lifetime people don't need nights. Urban stayers can't use worthless certificates. Business stayers are already getting a ton of points and nights, so platinum and lifetime come to them easily and quickly... Where's the carrot? (And upping the sign up bonus just won't cut it.) It would be interesting to know over the next year if the co-branded credit card retention rate remains static.
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed post, pluto77.
I'm also going to make sure the team receives your post. If I am informed of anything as a result of sharing this material, or provided with any updated information, I will certainly inform you and the rest of the community.
I have definitely felt the squeeze with being able to use the certificates less and less... and less... over the past 4 years. It's really getting down to slim pickin's. If it continues, I can only imagine that there will come a point when I'll be forced to throw in the towel with the credit card, though I hope not.
You made some excellent points. Many Reward Members feel the Credit Card Certificate benefit should have increased a couple of years ago when some major category changes were made. Currently I still find value in the card as I'm working my way to Lifetime Platinum status. But I can definitely see for those who have reached Lifetime Platinum Status there is less incentive to keep the card when Category 5 certificates are harder to redeem at the more desirable properties.
Like you, vaboywnder, I still have no trouble using the category 5 certificates. I do sometimes ask for the expiration dates to be extended (since I tend to pay for rooms during MegaBonus time), but I have yet to let one go unused. I will admit that my travels tend not to involve the most popular destinations where finding a room below category 6 has become nearly impossible.
I guess you could say I'm also working toward Lifetime Platinum. As a relative newcomer to MR, I'm still working on getting to Lifetime Silver (though having the Marriott Visa makes that particular goal meaningless ). Still, one must cross that threshold to get nearer to the next level.