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FYI to all Marriott Point Hounds ...

Beverley

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Just an FYI, Marriott up the anti on the levels for all their hotels. Many hotels that were a level 5 are now a level 6 and a number of them that were a Level 6 are now a 7. Check carefully before ordering your travel packages so that you order the package that best matchs your plans.

We just booked a trip for our daughter's honeymoon at the Grand Cayman (level 5) on January 8th. As of the beginning of February, that hotel is now a 6. However, in the past, Marriott will honor existing reservationsat the level the hotel was at when reserved.

Beverley
 

labguides

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Thanks for the "heads up" on Marriott points.

As long as they are honoring reservations made earlier. Fall 2005, I made reservations for Marriott Metro in DC for early May 2006.
 

JonP

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Beverley said:
Many hotels that were a level 5 are now a level 6 and a number of them that were a Level 6 are now a 7.
Beverley

Marriott always do an annual review of there hotels at this time of year, in the past some have gone up a level while some have gone down. However it would appear that most have gone up such as Aruba, Son Antem (Mallorca) :( .
 
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floyddl

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I wonder if Marriott will allow people who have already requested travel packages to upgrade for the additional points if they were planning to go to one the resorts that changed but had not booked the reservations yet. I claimed 2 packages last year to get the bonus miles that were being offered thru American and have not used the hotel certificates yet. It would be nice if they would allow you to exchange up for the additional points required. If not, they should have communicated that the ratings were going to change on a certain date so that people could make sure they could plan for it.
 

Beverley

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Flloyd,

Probably not. Perhaps if you had just requested the packages (for instance January) they might be persuaded. My thoughts are that last year ... they will offer to take back the level five cert and give you only 45K points in your account and you then can reorder at regular hotel point "prices" the level 6. You are in an unfortunate position. Perhaps you can consider a Courtyard if there is one in the area. Courtyards generally are not higher than a 5 (not in all cases)

JonP,

I did find one that went down :)) the Mystic Marriott in Connecticut I think was a 6 last year and is now a 5. Most, however, of the ones that we most want to go to are now 6's and in some cases a 7. I also think the Camelback in Arizona used to be a 7 and is now a 6. Other than those ...

Bev
 

labguides

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Marriott Metro has gone from a category 5 to a category 6. When we made reservations, it was a category 5. Will Marriott notify us that we "owe" more points, do we assume that the points we owe will remain the same, or do I call and hope for the best?
 

Beverley

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My recommendation is that you call Marriott and confirm that your level 5 certificate will satisfy your reservation. Be sure to tell them that you reserved the hotel before the change in level and ask what exactly you will need to bring so as not to have any difficulties at check in/ check out.

Their practice has been in the past that when they change their hotel levels any reservations made ahead of the change will be honored. I would call anyway. I also always print the confirmation and the level description. The date on the printed copy can verify I had the reservation ahead of the change.

We have one for this summer at the Grand Caymen so we will be calling also.

Beverley
 

pwrshift

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http://marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/hotelrew.mi?WT_Ref=mi_header

If you use this site and click on "Hotel Category Chart", then on the top right of the chart that opens you can search for the hotels by level. I did notice some movement in the Cat 7 hotels - there are only 5 mainland USA hotels in this category now and I believe there were more before. I can't believe the JW Margot in Santa Monica is a 7 now - it doesn't even come close to the Loew's next door IMO. With 8 Cat7 in Europe the rating must be based on revenues more than size. I noted the Rome Grand Flora is raised to 7 from 6 probably because it's the only game in town and charges upwards of 600 euros a night...same for Paris and London Cat 7's.

None of the Cat 7's are as lush or large as some of the Cat 6's like Orlando Grand Lakes, JW Desert Ridge, Camelback Inn, Desert Springs. Although I find it surprising the pretty basic Residence Inns in Whistler and Mont-Tremblant scored a 6!

There are some great Cat 5 domestic US hotels too...such as the PGA Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra, FL, JW Buckhead GA, Ren Chicago. There are probably other good ones I've missed. Geez...the Altanta Marriott Marquis is only a Cat4...where you could get a week and 120,000 FF miles for 235,000 points package.

At first blush, I see movement in the categories but can't say that there was any noticeable general 'upward' movement in category levels as some went up and some when down. On the other hand, I saw a news item that says hotel rack rates are up 40% over just the last 2 years...which makes the points and even better deal.

Brian
 

JonP

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labguides said:
As long as they are honoring reservations made earlier. Fall 2005, I made reservations for Marriott Metro in DC for early May 2006.

Marriott will honour previous reservations.
 

JonP

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pwrshift said:
http://marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/hotelrew.mi?WT_Ref=mi_header

There are some great Cat 5 domestic US hotels too...such as the PGA Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra, FL,
Brian


I was browsing for my annual golf trip with friends for Feb 07. Normally we go to Mallorca or Costa del Sol (Spain) but thought we would try US; this looked a great option. Does anyone have any comments about the resort?
 

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We were at Sawgrass twice for two nights going & coming from NJ to Hollywood.

This is a nice hotel/resort/ with timeshare apartments they never sold. Free beach shuttle to their ocean beach with snack bar, olympic pool, family restaurant, and expensive fish house (all this on the beacjh...which they share with the Renessance Resort at World GOlf Village).

Across the street from the main resort (Sawgrass) is a Publix, and a small shopping center. The resort has several pools (at the hotel) one is an adukt only pool...but I don't think kids understand, a mini golf, bocce, and the shuttle to the golf courses (which I didn't see). THere is a compass kids club, they had things going on all day & PM. They had a drive in movie for the kids one eve. Also a few kids night out. Since the T/S units appear to have been lock outs, it looks like most rent a studio or one bedroom if they want that area.

We had a standard (simple, but clean and neat) room. I think Brian had a much better room than we did, when he went.

The restaurant at the hotel has the regular AM Buffet, but when we went, had a nice Friday PM fish/seafood buffet...everything EXCEPT LOBSTER....clams, scallops, oysters, crab legs, 5 or 6 flesh fish....no LOBSTER....but about 3 years ago(?) the price was more than 1/2 that of the Seaview Marriott which did (Does?) have lobster ($65.00 Seaview then- $23.00 approx Sawgrass)

I liked the place...but I can't help with the golf. And our room was a standard regular (due to the rate we paid)
 

pwrshift

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Ken...I think this is a pretty fair rate for this hotel...with full kitchen, etc.

Marriott Senior Discount Villa Suite w/ 1 King Bed, BreathtakingLagoon views from Kitch, Lvg Rm & Patio, Must be 62 yrs or older $267

http://www.sawgrassmarriott.com/gallery.cfm

Brian
 

camachinist

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Had a conversation with Marriott about this very subject two days ago...

Some highlights...

The reservations made before the category change will be honored at the prior category level.

If a customer ordered a certificate (like a travel package) prior, and then make a reservation for the property at the new category level, they can "buy up" by calling MR.

The customer informs the hotel, upon arrival, that the certificate for the stay exists in their MR account and the hotel accesses the points electronically.

Travel package hotel certificates can be extended for one year at no cost.

I realize most of this is common knowledge, but wanted to confirm it from a recent contact. A perennial favorite value of mine, the Sydney Harbour Marriott, changed last week.

A tip....once you start getting within a month or so of your desired stay, start making rolling points reservations as inventory becomes available a year out. That way you'll stay on top of this and know exactly when the property changes category, if it does. I did this with Sydney, and currently have reservations from mid-December through January 21, 2007, except for New Year's weekend, when there was no availability at standard award levels.

I also booked the new Residence Inn at Time Square on points, using the same procedure, as soon as it was available for booking last year. Outstanding value for a Cat6, considering the BAR for this October is 390.00/nt. I doubt it'll go Cat7, but, since Cat is based on what Marriott pays the property, not location, ammenities or popularity, it just might. I remember when the Courtyard in upper mid-town (53rd/3rd) went from a Cat5 to Cat6; the rates went from 159.00/nt to 289.00/nt overnight :( Luckily, I booked it at the lower rate a year in advance...

Playing the Marriott points game is just like timesharing, eh? :)

Pat
 

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camachinist,
Certainly happy you posted this:

"A perennial favorite value of mine, the Sydney Harbour Marriott, changed last week".

We'll be there for 2 weeks March 10-24. I was a bit late getting FF seats, but did get them anyway, using AA miles on Quantas:
LAX to Brisbane, then on to Sydney. Back to LAX, Quantas to Auckland, then Air Tahiti Nui. All Business Class.

Any hints?
 

camachinist

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ZCar said:
camachinist,
Certainly happy you posted this:

"A perennial favorite value of mine, the Sydney Harbour Marriott, changed last week".

We'll be there for 2 weeks March 10-24. I was a bit late getting FF seats, but did get them anyway, using AA miles on Quantas:
LAX to Brisbane, then on to Sydney. Back to LAX, Quantas to Auckland, then Air Tahiti Nui. All Business Class.

Any hints?
If on points, request a paid upgrade (even if you didn't book it) to an Executive Suite, if you're not a Marriott Platinum. IMO, it's worth the 150.00 AU per night over a standard room. BAR is 495 AU/nt IIRC. Executive lounge is one of the best in the Marriott system, IMO. I hope you made your reservations before the category change :)

Is there anything specific you're interested in? My wife has a number of friends who live in and around Sydney who could answer better than I. Supposedly, we'll be staying a week at the Marriott, then a week in a tent cabin at some music festival :)

Also, if you still have any open nights, look at the IC Sydney and check the IHG promos on FT. Done right, even close-in, you could put together a cheap weekend there, if needed.

Best wishes for a safe and memorable trip!

Pat
 

stevens397

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I had a reservation at the Rihga Royal in NYC made before they agreed to sell it. My stay was in December 2005, six months after the sale was complete, but the hotel still honored my Marriott Points stay.

I know Starwood also will honor a reservation. We'll be staying in Cabo San Lucas next week. Ordered the stay at Cat 4 and now it's Cat 5, but no problem.
 

camachinist

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Good annecdote, regarding the Rihga. IIRC, customers who booked the Rihga on points with an e-cert, and whose stay was to occur after the change of flag, had to convert the cert to paper to hand deliver to the hotel. Does this jive with your remembrance?

AFAIK, this is one of the few instances where a paper cert is required, at least domestically.

Pat
 

ZCar

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Thanks Pat,

Yes, had reservations prior to change ... but ... I had requested Catagory 6 long before Australia was the destination. My wifes sister/husband had made plans, so we timed it to be there also. I just figured that it would be a 30,000 point loss for the two Catagory 6 certs over the Catagory 5 that was required.
Can't win every time!
Think my wife has printed everything available to do anywhere near Sydney and apparently, the Hotel is well situated.
A long haul, but looking forward to a nice two weeks.
Thanks again.
 

camachinist

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You might want to follow the thread I have on FT on this issue...

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=523026

Note carefully the verbage in the reward rules box I most recently posted. That should help. Also, there is some confusion about whether a paper cert is required. My understanding is no, but others have different experience.

BTW, did you know UA has Y saver award tix for the next two months or so to MEL and SYD for 45K miles? It just became available early this morning, but we FT'ers have been hounding them for a number of days, since one of our sources identified the promos.

Wish I had more vacation time....would love to pop down there.

Pat
 

ZCar

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Hi Pat,
Looked at your link. Thanks.

I have the (2) paper 084 Catagory 6 Certificates "in-hand" for 14 nights.
Also have an e-mail from Hotel, listing all upgrades, from AU$20 up to AU$200 per night ... "To be paid directly to hotel".

Executive Level Suite at AU$99 per night is lowest level upgrade with Executive Lounge access (30th floor). E-mail also has Limo transportation from airport available beginning at AU$82 from Domestic Terminal and AU$94 from International.
 

somerville

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Beverley said:
We just booked a trip for our daughter's honeymoon at the Grand Cayman (level 5) on January 8th. As of the beginning of February, that hotel is now a 6. However, in the past, Marriott will honor existing reservationsat the level the hotel was at when reserved.

Beverley
This hotel was recently renovated due to damage from Hurricane Ivan. Maybe that accounts for part of the increase. However, there are still problems with beach erosion at this end of Seven Mile Beach. It was looking pretty good until Hurricane Wilma that hit Cancun stirred up the surf.
 

Beverley

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Thanks for the info. Sounds like they will have a nice room since they are probably all new.

Beverley
 

pwrshift

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I had booked two of my kids into the Renaissance Chancery Court in London for a week when it was a Cat 6, but about this time last year it was raised to Cat 7. The difference was 20,000 points for the week .. my fear was that their certificate would be rejected when they got all the way to London, so called Customer Service at Rewards.

They handled it OK but seemed like a lot of extra work...I had to give them the ok to draw out another 20,000 points from my account and when they received the Cat 6 certificate back from me, they sent me a Cat 7 certificate and credited my account with the 20,000. So it didn't cost me any more points but seemed like a lot of extra red tape and work.

Brian

I should add that the kids told me it definitely was a classy hotel and better than the other 2 Cat 7's they've stayed in London (County Hall and Grosvenor Square)
 
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ZCar

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Pat,
It was sometime ago, don't remember exactly when, but I think they were extended once. I'll try to search out when. Seems like originally it may have been an AA promotion. Memory fails when one gets old & gray. Or maybe it's selective memory.

Edit: Just found a bit of info: The current Certificates were returned to me April 13, 2005 by DSL. Expiration is April 12, 2006. So, they must first have been ordered April 2004. Sound reasonable?
 
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