Re: Honorary or Earned???
I don't think the dojochos give away a honorary grading easily if the y wouldn't think it is technically merited. You mention that your second dojo does gradings not very frequently (same in my dojo). So maybe the sensei had you on your list for grading since a time and when you announced that you had to move away he realised he wouldn't have the opportunity to test you but that you merited the degree nevertheless. I got my fourth kyu that way...sensei was eaving the dojo due to health reasons but before handing it over he promoted all those he was no more able to test but thought should get the rank. I didn't feel worse for it, and for 3rd kyu it was again normal testing so as everyone else.
If the sensei just gives the honorary grade without thinking you really deserve it he would make bad publicity for your dojo, wouldn't he? You'd walk around with a grade you are not really up to, and people would question if the standard of the dojo is really that low. So why should he take that risk?