Bonvoy's Pleasant Surprise for rewards stays Australia, NZ and Indonesia

by Neil McPherson

3 October 2020

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As summer holiday time approaches

It’s about this time of year that folk in the southern hemisphere are planning their summer vacations. The Coronavirus crisis means that Australians’ holidays this year are likely to be staycations closer to home (or perhaps New Zealand once the travel bubble is finalised).

Some Bonvoy Surprises are Discovered

A pleasant surprise for some Bonvoy members this summer will be the point savings from property re-classifications that have been deferred. When I spoke with Bonvoy Member Services, there was no confirmation of a formal deferral.

However…

When looking at properties in Australia for stays in February 2021 (by when we can hopefully travel more freely), I discovered that properties due for a reduction in category from March 2020 had seen that occur.  However all the properties slated for a rise in category (more points required for a free night) had remained unchanged !

Further digging found the same to be also true for relevant properties in New Zealand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia – decreases had been implemented, but not one of the announced increases.  This was consistent across a number of brands.

Here Is the list of relevant counties’ properties from when the announcement was made, Changes were due to take effect from March 4th and have been implemented in the UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere. But not for these ones.  All of which benefit Bonvoy members.

Countries With Deferred Property Category Increases

Bonvoy Property Brand Country Current Category Points Requirement (standard) Proposed Category Points Requirement (standard) Scheduled Change Change Made
Marriott Vacation Club at Surfers Paradise Marriott Vacation Club Australia 5 35,000 6 50,000 15,000 0
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast Sheraton Australia 5 35,000 6 50,000 15,000 0
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas Sheraton Australia 5 35,000 6 50,000 15,000 0
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa Marriott Australia 5 35,000 6 50,000 15,000 0
The Ritz-Carlton, Perth Rirz-Carlton Australia 7 60,000 6 50,000 -10,000 -10,000
The Westin Perth Westin Australia 5 35,000 4 25,000 -10,000 -10,000
Aloft Jakarta Wahid Hasyim Aloft Indonesia 2 12,500 1 7,500 -5,000 -5,000
Fairfield by Marriott Bali Legian Fairfield Inn Indonesia 3 17,500 2 12,500 -5,000 -5,000
Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Ungasan Four Points Indonesia 4 25,000 2 12,500 -12,500 -12,500
Four Points by Sheraton Jakarta, Thamrin Four Points Indonesia 2 12,500 1 7,500 -5,000 -5,000
Four Points by Sheraton Surabaya Four Points Indonesia 1 7,500 2 12,500 5,000 0
Four Points by Sheraton Surabaya, Pakuwon Indah Four Points Indonesia 1 7,500 2 12,500 5,000 0
JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta JW Marriott Indonesia 4 25,000 3 17,500 -7,500 -7,500
JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya JW Marriott Indonesia 2 12,500 3 17,500 5,000 0
Keraton at The Plaza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jakarta Luxury Collection Indonesia 6 50,000 5 35,000 -15,000 -15,000
Le Méridien Jakarta Le Meridian Indonesia 4 25,000 3 17,500 -7,500 -7,500
Moxy Bandung Moxy Indonesia 2 12,500 1 7,500 -5,000 -5,000
Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel Sheraton Indonesia 4 25,000 3 17,500 -5,000 -5,000
Sheraton Lampung Hotel Sheraton Indonesia 2 12,500 1 7,500 -5,000 -5,000
Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort Sherton Indonesia 4 25,000 3 17,500 -7,500 -7,500
Sheraton Surabaya Hotel & Towers Sheraton Indonesia 2 12,500 3 17,500 5,000 0
The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta Tribute Portfolio Indonesia 4 25,000 3 17,500 -7,500 -7,500
The Westin Jakarta Westin Indonesia 5 35,000 4 25,000 -10,000 -10,000
Yogyakarta Marriott Hotel Marriott Indonesia 2 12,500 3 17,500 5,000 0
Four Points by Sheraton Auckland Four Points New Zealand 4 25,000 5 35,000 10,000 0
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa JW Marriott Vietnam 5 35,000 6 50,000 15,000 0
Le Méridien Saigon Le Meridian Vietnam 3 17,500 4 25,000 7,500 0
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers Sheraton Vietnam 4 25,000 5 35,000 10,000 0
Courtyard Hong Kong Sha Tin Courtyard Hong Kong* 2 12,500 3 17,500 5,000 0


It doesn’t appear to be extended to all of APAC - Japanese and Indian properties have had their increases applied. Some, but not all of the scheduled increases for properties in Greater China have also occurred

Malaysia, Singapore and New Caledonia properties only had decreases scheduled, so I can’t say whether it extended to them as well.

So the consistent pattern looks to be confined to only the above 4 countries and Hong Kong. 

How to take advantage

Given an increase of only 1 category means an increased points requirement of generally at least 33%, now is a good time to snap up your preferred destinations (or perhaps an aspirational one) before increases to categories (and price increases) do take effect.

The timing of this isn’t known, so acting sooner rather than later makes best sense. 

To lock in your cost, you should:

  1. Points.com is an advertiser of ours.  Should you use this to their website, at no additional cost to you we may receive compensation which helps us to keep this site running. You don't have to use our links, but we appreciate your support when you do.
  2. If only a small number is required, you can buy just enough to make a points-only booking; otherwise
  3. purchase only enough points to allow you to make a cash + points booking. Generally, cash + points bookings are better than buying only points.

Note that using Points Advance won’t be helpful, as this locks in your room reservation, but not the price, so limit yourself to the above options.

For more details on how to use these Bonvoy program features, see our Guide to Marriott Bonvoy.

How much will you save?

It varies depending on which category you are looking at and whether your dates are in standard or off-peak season (or peak if there is a rush to make bookings now Melbournians can finally escape lock-down !).

Table - Increased points requirements from a 1 category increase.

Current Caregory

Off-peak

Standard

Peak

1

-

-

-

2

100%

67%

50%

3

50%

40%

33%

4

33%

43%

50%

5

50%

40%

33%

6

33%

43%

50%

7

25%

20%

17%

8

40%

42%

43%


As an example, the Sheraton Grand Gold Coast is one of the properties that was scheduled to move upwards from Category 5 to Category 6.

For a stay during peak season, the increase would be 33% more points.  During standard season, the increase is 40% and it’s an eye-watering 50% increase for off-peak bookings.

So the savings you can make by acting soon are huge.

Conclusions

Not sure what has created this opportunity, as I’ve received no confirmation of a formal, systemic deferral.  But it does appear to be quite consistent and region-specific.

As there is no set date as to when the slated increases will now occur, I assume it could be any time that demand in the region starts to show signs of recovery.

So I recommend that Bonvoy members who expect they will be able travel for a much needed vacation in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia or Vietnam should grab this opportunity quickly before it disappears.

I know what I will be doing...

If any of the destinations that haven't had their increase put in place yet are of interest to you, better jump in quick too !