There was a posting by the Marriott Community Manager in Flyertalk that Marriott is changing the rewards categories of many hotels and resort. Fifteen percent of the total hotels are going up in category, and only 3 % are going down. The new categories will go into effect for reservations after 3/15/12. I am a lifetime platinum member, and this is the only communication of this change that I have received. I have not seen anything regarding this on the Marriott Insiders, although I have to admit that I still can't figure out how to navigate the new site.
After Bill Marriott stepped down, I think Marriott is following the same as Disney did when Eisner took over. Their balance sheets will look better in the short term, but they will lose the strong loyalty that took years to establish.