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Excellent news coming out from Marriott yesterday – they are providing further extensions to free night awards and points expiration! These changes will be effective as of December 11, 2020:
Free Night Award (FNA): Members who currently have a Free Night Award (FNA) that had an original expiration date in 2020, or which will expire before July 31, 2021, as part of their co-brand credit card benefit, annual choice benefit, promotions or travel package will now be able to redeem it through August 1, 2021. Free Night Awards with an original expiration date prior to 2020 will not be eligible for the additional extension.
Points Expiration: Points expiration won’t resume until August 1, 2021 so they have more time to use them for free nights, gift cards and more. At that time, your points will only expire if your account has been inactive for at least 24 months.
Early on during the onset of the pandemic Marriott announced they will extend free night awards which were due to expire in 2020 to January 31, 2021. Today’s news will see those awards being extended an extra six months. This is very welcome news for those members who have not undertaken travel yet and most likely weren’t going to travel by the end of January. I see this as a good move by Marriott – not only to look good in the eyes of its members but to potentially increase the likelihood of having members return to Marriott instead of other chains thereby increasing potential revenue. That is, having members redeem free nights may add to their revenue in hopes those members may be booking longer stays using the free night and paying for other nights as well as those members eating and drinking on site thereby increasing the revenue stream on the F&B side. Hotels have struggled here in Canada with occupancy rates dropping to below 30% again and worldwide the numbers aren’t much better so the chains are doing anything possible to grow those numbers and these extensions are just one example of that.
We have two Free Night Awards that were set to expire this past September which were extended to January 31, 2021 and should now be extended to that August 1, 2021 date. Our Free Night Awards include those provided as an anniversary bonus from the Canadian Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. The same goes for any Marriott cards issued from around the globe that offer these certificates.
Marriott also realizes those members who haven’t stayed with them due to the pandemic shouldn’t be losing their points balances either so we see the company extend that pausing of points expiry from the previous date of February 2021 to August as well.
Marriott became the second major hotel chain to provide extensions on extensions after Hyatt Hotels. The latter who’s news came out early in October did go a step further than Marriott by providing extension on points expiry and earned awards all the way to the end of 2021. That’s not to say Marriott won’t either. I bet they will be evaluating the use of these awards on a monthly basis and before we know it we may see further extensions. We then see Hilton come out with news today which we’ll be covering shortly!