Many of us here on MRI have discussed, complained, whined, and questioned the category levels of Marriott properties. This article talks about how you can get two trips worth of hotel nights with one 80K bonus for getting the Chase MR card. At first I was eager to read it. Then as I started to make my way into the meat of the article I realized every example is for properties OUTSIDE the US. While it is great that there are lower category properties out there, why is it a JW in ANY country is a Cat 3? I see them here in the US. for 7, 8 and often 9. I just don't get it. I am not trying to stir the pot simply for fun but I would honestly like to know what people think as to why properties here in the U.S. seem to be higher.
Because the redemption rates at U.S. properties are higher? It's a lot easier and less expensive (particularly in terms of airfare) to redeem points at a property in the U.S. than it is to do so in a places like Indonesia or Malaysia or China. And many properties in Europe, Australia and the Caribbean are in fact set at higher categories as well, simply due to popularity. Supply and demand, baby. I think there is a property in Joplin, MO that is a Cat. 1. Any takers for Joplin?
Hi ks77, I reached out to our team to see if they could provide any insight into why properties in the U.S. may have a higher category. They informed me that the category of a property is determined by the number of people who redeem their points there the following year. The more people who redeem free nights, the higher the category. I hope this helps in answering your question!
This is fairly straightforward stuff, the vast majority of Marriott members are where the vast majority of Marriotts 4,000 plus hotels are to be found, North America. Over 3,600 hotels are there. The rest of the world accounts for around 500. Outside the U.S./Canada it's very difficult to make the nights to maintain Gold/Plat. The UK and Germany are the most likely.
Anyhow, what this means is that outside the U.S. elite activity is lower, hence better upgrades and uncrowded lounges. Also, fewer redemptions, most points are spent in the country they're earned in, and fewer points are earned outside the U.S., since fewer members acheive the higher earning Platinum status. Since categories are set by redemption activity it stands to reason most activity occurs in the U.S. and certain worldwide "pinch points" where members will save to redeem, such as London, Paris, Rome, and of course not forgetting the U.S. own pinch points, NYC, California, Florida and Boston.
We can see the interplay between redemption activity and categories in the latest, broadly inflationary, redemption category changes that took place in Spring. Down went unpopular (due to civil strife) Hurghada in Egypt, now a category 2 option, and also the unpopular (due to politics) Marriott Royal Aurora in Moscow.
Good points. It certainly makes sense. Just the ranting person in me despises the fact a JW can be a cat 3 in another part of the world but a cat 8 here. I understand the economics of it I just like to vent . Overall I am very happy with Marriott Rewards and the program structure. Obviously many others do as well since MR ranks #1 or near the top every year in surveys and the like.