I was shocked when I saw the extent to which the categories were increased. This was not like prior years where they tweaked a handful of categories to truely reflect recent activity or performance of the hotels. This was a major adjustment/devaluation of the whole program, which must have been a deliberate decision from the very top brass from Marriott.
1. The free-stay certificates are now basically worthless. All of the decent/destination hotels are now Category 5 or greater, and in most cases 6 or higher so I won't even be able to use the anniversay certificate anymore. I can't remember the last time I stayed at any hotel that was less than Category 4 and I am not going to just to use a certificate.
2. All of the nice hotels now will cost 40 - 45 thousand points. Kiss all of your points goodbye if you are thinking about staying a few days in Europe or the Carribean.
3. The Platinum gift bonus of between 250 - 500 is now pretty much a joke. At that rate, I would need to stay a full service Marriott about 40 - 60 times before I earned enough gift points to warrant one free stay at a nice hotel. Forget it, I might as well grab the free bag of chips.