Minor Marriott Changes: Fewer Award Bookings For Others, Reinstated Ambassador Spending & More

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Marriott has made a few changes to the Terms & Conditions of their Bonvoy program to kick off the New Year.

These changes will be of little-to-no significance for most members, but it’s always good to be aware of changes like these, especially if you use your account to book award stays for other people as that’s something you could be impacted by.

You can find a full list of Terms & Conditions here; here’s a quick summary of what’s changed.

1) Reduced Number Of Transferred Awards

The change most likely to affect more people is that Marriott is reducing the number of awards you can transfer to other members.

This is separate to their policy allowing you to transfer up to 100,000 points to another member each year. Instead, this policy lets you use your points to book award stays on behalf of other people and transfer those.

Up until now you were limited to transferring 20 awards per calendar year, but that’s now been reduced to 5 awards per year. Their official policy hasn’t changed in that you’re only allowed to transfer awards booked with points, not free night certificates.

2) Reinstated Ambassador Spending Requirement

In order to earn Marriott’s top-tier Ambassador status, you used to have to earn 100 elite nights and spend $20,000 in a calendar year. Marriott reduced that spending requirement to $14,000 last year due to COVID, but also removed the benefit of receiving a Marriott Ambassador (somewhat similar to a Hyatt Concierge), making a bit of a mockery of the status name.

That reduced $14,000 spending requirement was only temporary and so the full $20,000 spending requirement has been reinstated for 2022.

3) Homes & Villas Counts Towards Ambassador Spending Requirement

Although you now need to spend $20,000 again to earn Marriott Ambassador status, it’s potentially being made easier because stays with Marriott’s Homes & Villas program will now count towards that spend requirement.

h/t Loyalty Lobby

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LarryInNYC

It’s worth pointing out that, while it may be highly inconvenient to have this (having the hotel demand the primary guest’s presence) happen if you yourself are trying to book someone else into the room that it’s to your advantage for it to happen if the points have been stolen (which we’ve heard a lot about).

jeffk

I don’t really understand what you are saying regarding using points or certificates for other people. I have always put another person as an additional guest when I use my certificates (like an adult child of mine) and they check in and have no issue. As for points, I just use them for another person when I want (like an adult child of mine). So, has that changed???????

Nick Reyes

The “additional guest” thing works most of the time, but booking a room like that for someone else where you have no intention to go to the hotel is officially against policy. I once in Europe that refused to let my family member check in for a booking made with my points and we ended up getting charged the cash rate for it.

When you say “As for points, I just use them for another person when I want”, it’s the same thing as your certificates — there is no way to change the name of the primary traveler from you and a hotel could insist that the primary traveler needs to show up at the desk at some point. Again, what you do will work more often than not, but not always.

Unbeknownst to me, Marriott actually allows you to transfer an award booking to someone else though, so there is an official way to do it (I thought there wasn’t). That’s what this change is about — they are limiting the number of times per year that you can do that.

jeffk

Well thanks. I have been in this game for decades and never knew this data. No idea. At least I now know there is a legit way to do it. I run into the same thing with IHG certs. No way to put someone else as the primary guest, only secondary. But, it has always worked for me when I book a family member instead of myself. But, like you said, there is a risk to it. Thanks for your response.

Denise

I actually had a Marriott hotel call my husband when I was trying to check in as the already-named guest–in a reservation that was in his name. Most Marriott’s have gotten very strict about that. We were checking in a Renaissance hotel last week. I tried to check in while he unloaded the car with the bellman & valet. I could not check in until he came in with his ID–and we had already checked in online. And in another one, while we were both standing at the counter, the agent said “I need the ID of the person who’s on the reservation.”