I’m traveling to Peru next month and I’m really excited to stay at the JW Marriott Cusco. At 35,000 Marriott points per night, it’s a decent value for what looks like a gorgeous hotel. I already booked this hotel on points, but the account anniversary just came up for my husband’s Marriott card from Chase. I figured I could cancel one of the nights booked on points and rebook with the certificate since the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase comes with an annual free night award valued at up to 35,000 points. Boy was I disappointed when the free night certificate was issued and it was only good for properties up to 25,000 points.
So why was the free night certificate worth 25,000 points rather than 35,000? Turns out we don’t actually have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, but rather the inferior Marriott Bonvoy Premier. Since we applied for the Marriott Premier card last March before the release of the Premier Plus, and we never bothered upgrading to Premier Plus, the card converted to Bonvoy Premier instead of Bonvoy Boundless (I can’t with these names…). The annoying thing is that if the free night certificate rule had stayed as it was originally stated with the Marriott Premier, the free anniversary night would have covered a Category 1-5 hotel. Here’s where it gets tricky and I’m not sure if this is another example of Marriott’s stinginess or if it’s actually a “fair trade”. Category 5 used to correspond to 25,000 points, but with changes to the award chart, it now corresponds to 35,000 points. I guess I’m technically getting what I signed up for under the old rules. But I can also see the side that if it was for Category 1-5 originally it should still be for Category 1-5. It was their decision to devalue the award chart after all.
It’s no secret that the merging of Marriott and SPG into Bonvoy has been somewhat of a shitshow. My main gripe is how confusing all of these changes have been. At the end of the day, I’m still getting a free night at a Marriott, just a worse quality one than I was anticipating.