In September Marriott’s Bonvoy frequent traveler program will be implementing dynamic pricing. This basically means they are raising the prices by up to 33% on the number of points it takes to redeem for a free night during the busy season and lowering them during the low season. Even before this change goes into effect on September 14, 2019, Bonvoy points have been watered down so much that they are worth about a half-penny a piece. Now they will be worth even less. For example a room at a Courtyard in New York City (Bonvoy category 5 hotel) this week costs $224 if you pay in dollars and 35,000 if you pay in points. That means your points are worth about 0.6 cents. With the new Bonvoy dynamic pricing increase the price could go up to 37,500 for a one night stay. This is about 1/3 the value you can get by collecting and using airline miles. Let me put this in perspective. For about the price of a two-night stay ($448), you could use airline miles and get 3 domestic airline tickets ($1350). The value of Bonvoy points will be worth even less for category 6 hotels (Westin) as points required will increase from 50,000 a night to up to 60,000. For the same number of airline points, you could fly roundtrip to Europe. I think Marriott is about to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. CLICK HERE to read a good article on Marriott Bonvoy.
United and Delta are moving to dynamic pricing –
Several years ago Delta Air Lines was the first major airline to implement dynamic pricing to the frequent flyer program. As mentioned above they are pricing higher during the busy season and lower when demand is less. When Delta did this in many cases it costs twice as many miles to redeem for a free ticket. Delta has made the requirement to redeem for a business class international ticket so high that it is cheaper to simply buy the ticket than redeem miles for a freebie. United Airlines is moving to dynamic pricing of their MileagePlus frequent flyer program on November 15, 2019. I am holding my breath that United does not cannibalize their program the way Delta did. CLICK HERE to read more about Delta and CLICK HERE to read more about United.
If you see the words “Dynamic Pricing” you know you just got screwed –
Whenever a travel brand announces with excitement they are moving to dynamic pricing you need to read between the lines, “My points just got less valuable”. The airlines are doing away with a chart showing you how many miles it takes to redeem for your free tickets and using unpublished new point requirements for every trip based on availability. The airlines and hotels have billions and billions of frequent traveler points on their books and they are trying to make them less valuable and less costly for them. The airlines and hotels will tell you that the good news about dynamic pricing is that in the low season the number of points needed for a free flight or hotel night goes down. If you really think that the airlines and hotels are implementing dynamic pricing to make your points move valuable and help you out then I have some swampland in Louisiana I would like to sell you.
Frequent traveler points will soon only be able to be used during the low season –
It is very obvious what the airlines and hotels are trying to do with the implementation of dynamic pricing. They want points only to be redeemed during the low season of September to March, excluding the holiday seasons. Basically, when the planes are full they don’t want people using miles to take a seat away from a customer who will pay. So if you are planning to use your miles for your summer family vacation you can forget it. It will be cheaper to buy the tickets than to waste using them at a redemption rate that devalues your miles below one penny each point.
Don’t let hotels trick you to think you can only find their lowest rates at their web site –
Many hotels have launched aggressive advertising campaigns with the hope that they can get you to book directly on their web sites. Some of their advertising to their loyalty club members says one of the perks of joining a loyalty program is accessing lower member rates and when users book directly with the hotel they are guaranteed the lowest possible rates. These statements imply you can only get their lowest rates on their web sites. What the hotels are not telling you is that travel management companies like Executive Travel also have access and can make reservations for those exact same prices. Famous radio personality Paul Harvey used to say “Now you know the rest of the story”.