Marriott Hotels, for the longest time, has not had blackout dates for members wishing to redeem a room at their 7000+ hotels. Award redemptions have been permitted throughout the year. This worked in two ways. At traditional Starwood brands, such as St. Regis, Westin, etc., there were no capacity controls and blackout dates. If a standard room at a hotel was available for sale, you could use it against points as well, with no capacity controls imposed. At classic Marriott brands such as Renaissance, Marriott, etc., hotels could capacity control the number of standard rooms available for redemption for select dates each year. Now, Marriott has added the ability to limit capacity at more brands at their busiest times.
Marriott brands used to get ten nights a year that were high demand dates, where they could curtail availability to a subset of their entire pool of standard redemption rooms. This was enabled with this specific text in the T&C enlisting the brands which had this benefit.
Marriott has now changed these T&C, to enable all participating hotels to control inventory at specific dates during a year.
According to a statement Marriott gave ViewFromTheWing,
As outlined under Marriott Bonvoy’s Terms & Conditions, every participating hotel in the travel program offers members standard rooms for award redemptions every day of the year. However, during the busiest times of the year, participating properties may limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption, but only for a predetermined number of days annually. Previously only some brands had access to inventory controls. This tool will be extended to participating properties beginning tomorrow. With this modification we’ve also added restrictions. The number of days properties can use inventory controls is being reduced. This will result in fewer days in total subject to inventory controls portfolio-wide in 2020 compared to 2019. It is still our goal to eliminate inventory controls in the future.
Unfortunately, in spite of introducing Peak Pricing, where members paid more points, this would help the Marriott corporate extinguish more points, but this would still mean a pre-agreed rate for the hotels, and not what they could perhaps get by selling rooms for cash. And this change has been made, again, without notice to members. But they can get away with it because they hope most people won’t notice. And their goal, to return to no capacity controls does not have a well-defined timeline.
This change does not mean hotels can zero out award availability. It just means they can vastly slash it downwards on “busiest days.”
What do you make of the new change to Marriott Bonvoy?