Everyone understands that costs go up and must be passed on the consumer. The new changes that provide no blackout dates are obviously good, but, what is not discussed is the negative side of these changes. 1) no longer do you get reduced point charges for multiple night consecutive stays (in fact, the 5th night free is the same total number of points for a 5 night stay as before; the only change is you do not get a reduced rate for a 2 or 3 night stay). 2) packaged hotel room and airline mile packages have been increased by 35,000 points for a category 5 hotel, 50,000 for a category 6, and 60,000 for a category 7. Since there was no increase in the hotel points, this means the airline points portion of the package went up a huge 48%.
In my opinion, Marriott has the best rewards system of any hotel chain in the industry. I wish they would be more upfront on changes made to the system and not try to whitewash them. Their announcement should talk about both the positive changes for the consumer, as well as those changes which will have a negative impact.