Marriott 5 Night Travel Packages exist, but they’re secret.

UPDATE: Since this post was originally written, it has become increasingly difficult for those who are not Marriott Vacation Club owners to book 5 night packages. People still report success every now and then, but most report the inability to book these.

Marriott 5 night travel packages

I recently wrote up a comparison between Marriott’s Travel Packages and SPG’s Nights & Flights packages.  I found that both types of packages offer good value in specific circumstances.  One quibble I had with Marriott’s packages, though, was that they were 7 nights long.  I wrote “My family rarely spends more than 5 nights in one location, so the [5 night] SPG packages have a significant advantage based on our travel style.”

Well, well, well…  It turns out that Marriott 5 night travel packages exist, but they’re secret.

In a related post, a reader named Rik commented that he called to redeem points for a Marriott Travel package and was asked whether he wanted a 7 night or 5 night package.  That was the first I’d heard of 5 night Marriott Travel packages, so I Googled it.  I found that 5 night packages do exist, but that they are intended for Marriott Vacation Club (timeshare) owners.  Was the commenter a timeshare owner?

I called Marriott to learn more.  I said that I was interested in Travel Packages and that a friend told me that he was offered his choice of 5 or 7 night packages (Rik: we’re friends now, just FYI).  “Are 5 night packages really available?”  I asked.

The Marriott rep put me on hold for a minute.  When he returned, he told me that the 5 night packages are intended for Vacation Club owners, but since I have Platinum elite status, I can book them.  I said that I wasn’t ready to book right now, but I wanted to know the package prices for planning purposes.  He confirmed that the rates were not available online, but he was willing to read them to me.  Here they are…

Marriott 5 Night Travel Packages

With these Marriott Travel Packages, you can redeem Marriott points for a certificate good for 5 nights at a Marriott property (subject to availability) plus a set number of airline miles.  The certificate is valid for a year, but you can call towards the end of the year and ask for an extension.  The miles go to your loyalty account and can be used at any time for any purpose.  It is the airline miles, that make Marriott Travel Packages valuable.

The number of Marriott points required depends on your desired hotel category.  In general, it’s a good idea to book the cheapest category (1-5) since you can later upgrade to a higher level category when you’re ready to use the certificate.

The sweet spot in this table is at the top, right.  Get 120,000 miles (or 132,000 United miles) plus a 5 night stay for 235,000 Marriott points:

United 5 Nights + 55K miles 5 Nights + 77K miles 5 Nights + 110K miles 5 Nights + 132K miles
AA, Delta, Southwest, … 5 Nights + 50K miles 5 Nights + 70K miles 5 Nights + 100K miles 5 Nights + 120K miles
Category 1-5 165K 185K 215K 235K
Category 6 180K 200K 230K 250K
Category 7 200K 220K 250K 270K
Category 8 230K 250K 280K 300K
Category 9 275K 295K 325K 345K

The following airline miles are available for the same rates as AA, Delta, and Southwest: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Virgin Atlantic.

With a number of foreign programs (ANA, Lufthansa, JAL, etc.) as well as JetBlue and Virgin America, you’ll earn fewer miles than shown in the chart above.  I don’t recommend Marriott Travel Packages for those programs.

7 Night Packages

Full details of Marriott’s 7 night packages can be found on Marriott’s website.  For convenience, though, here’s the 7 night chart in the same format as the 5 night chart:

United 7 Nights + 55K miles 7 Nights + 77K miles 7 Nights + 110K miles 7 Nights + 132K miles
AA, Delta, Southwest, … 7 Nights + 50K miles 7 Nights + 70K miles 7 Nights + 100K miles 7 Nights + 120K miles
Category 1-5 200K 220K 250K 270K
Category 6 230K 250K 280K 300K
Category 7 260K 280K 310K 330K
Category 8 290K 310K 340K 360K
Category 9 320K 340K 370K 390K

Who is eligible

Possibly everyone is eligible.  I asked the Marriott Rewards representative if people without Platinum status and without vacation ownership would be able to book 5 night packages.  He said yes.  He said that they if someone calls and wants to book a 5 night package, they won’t be turned away.  I can’t guarantee that all (or even most) Marriott reps would agree with this, though.  So, the answer is that you probably can book a 5 night package, but you might run into reps that wont allow it.  If so, hang up (politely) and call again.

Package Details

When you redeem Marriott points for a Travel Package, a certificate for the stay is added to your Marriott Rewards account, and a fixed number of miles are transferred to your frequent flyer account.  Note these additional details:

  • Airline miles are not transferred instantly.  The rep I spoke with listed the expected transfer times for a number of airlines:
    • 3 Business Days. British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, United, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic
    • 1 to 2 Weeks: American Airlines, Hawaiian, JAL, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France, and Alaska
    • 2 weeks or longer:  Frontier, Lufthansa, Air China.
  • Airline miles cannot be returned.
  • Airline miles do not have to be used for the same trip as your Marriott stay.
  • The Marriott property must have nights available to book with points in order to book with a Travel Package certificate.
  • If you want to stay in a higher category property, you can pay the difference in points to upgrade your Travel Package certificate.
  • If you want to stay in a lower category property, Marriott can refund the difference in points to downgrade your Travel Package certificate.
  • If you do not use your certificate at all, you can return it for points.  However, since you cannot return the airline miles, the points returned will be far less than those spent.  The rep I spoke with said that they would refund 75,000 points for the category 1-5 7 night + 50K miles package (original price: 200,000 Marriott points).  He did not know the return values for 5 night packages.

Why 5 Night Packages are Important

Obviously, 5 night packages are better than 7 night packages if you only need a 5 night stay.  Also, since award nights need to be available for your stay, it should be much easier to find 5 nights available than 7.

Even if you’re not interested in staying at a Marriott hotel at all, the 5 night packages might be of interest to you as a relatively efficient way to convert Marriott points to airline miles.  This can be particularly lucrative if your goal is to earn a Southwest Companion Pass.  I’ll expand on this and other similar concepts in future posts.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Pingbacks

  1. […] Marriott’s 7 night travel packages have long been one of the better deals out there – allowing you to transfer Marriott points to airline miles at essentially a 1:1 ratio.  The only downside has been that it required a 7 night stay at a single hotel.  Now Frequent Miler has discovered that there are also “secret” 5 night travel packages out there! […]

  2. […] 5 night packages exist, but they’re intended only for Marriott Vacation Club (timeshare) owners.  Some people have been able to book 5 night packages despite this restriction, but most who ask are turned away.  In other words, don’t count on being able to book these.  If you can somehow book one, they do offer tremendous value.  See: Analysis of Marriott Travel Packages: 5 Night vs. 7 Night. […]

  3. […] Over a year ago, a reader had told me about 5 Night packages that are intended only for Marriott Vacation Club (timeshare) owners.  I then called Marriott to ask about it and was told that they would allow me to get a 5 Night package because of my elite status.  I wasn’t ready to book the package at that time, so I asked for assurance that I could book it later.  The agent I spoke with put me on hold to speak to his supervisor and then returned to the line to say yes, I would be able to book the package at any time.  I then broke the news about these packages through a blog post: Marriott 5 Night Travel Packages exist, but they’re secret. […]

Comments

  1. I would argue that the sweet spot for the 5 night packages (assuming you actually care about the Marriott stay of course) is either Category 6 or 7.

    The reason is that for the Cat 1-5 level, you’re essentially converting 65,000 Marriott points to 50,000 miles (165k package price – 100k base price for just getting 5 nights at a Cat 5 property). At 6 and 7 that cost is only 60k (180k – 120k). 8 and 9 get gradually worse, costing 70k and 95k, respectively.

    Interestingly, all of the 7 night packages are priced such that you are essentially paying the same cost for 7 award nights at the property, then getting the airline miles at a 1:1 ratio.

    In my estimation, then – if you would spend 7 nights somewhere anyways and want to squeeze every last ounce of value out of the package, the 7 nighters are the way to go – otherwise with the 5 nights look for Cat 6-7 properties first.

    • Good points. I think you can look at these packages in many ways. Here are 2 ways:
      1) Assume you will book the stay one way or another, then calculate incremental cost of package over booking nights with points (that was your approach)
      2) Assume you don’t care about the free nights (they’re a bonus) and calculate the conversion ratio of points to miles (in which case, the cat 5 five night package is best)

  2. Wow, as a long-time lurker, but very infrequent poster, imagine my surprise to wake up this morning to find an entire post about my comment! Glad it was helpful. I can confirm two additional facts: A) I am NOT a Marriott Vacation Club member, and B) I AM but a lowly Marriott Silver member (from holding the Chase Marriott Card). This leads me to believe that the Platinum status “requirement” may not be set in stone, so find a friendly rep Also, I can confirm that my Southwest RR points posted to my account the SAME day I called in at 7:30pm EST, (just before Marriott Rewards closed for the day), so word to the wise, I wouldn’t try this on 12/31 hoping to get a brand new 2-year SW Companion Pass to use for a New Years Day flight. Thanks again for the shout out @FrequentMiler, we are definitely friends. Your posts have taken my family around the world for some amazing experiences we could otherwise never afford. Glad I could finally give something back.

    • Would you mind confirming for me that the points actually did count towards the Companion Pass for you (Sounds like you just did this)?

      I have a vacation coming up – I don’t need the airline points, but as I generally slide in at the deadline it would be nice not to spend all 2016 chasing the Companion Pass.

      • Yes, I can confirm it worked. Added my wife as the companion and am using the pass this weekend. You may have to call to tell the folks at Southwest to activate your CP after the points post to your account, apparently it’s a known issue (they’re working on it) that the pass sometimes doesn’t activate automatically upon posting of the points, but points transferred from Marriott DO count, as of 1/7 at least.

        • Great to know – thanks so much!

          My wife is actually already set as my Companion for this year so I’m not in a hurry, but it’s good to know I can basically knock out next year’s in one move – Then SW can have a few months to straighten it out before I get nervous, as long as they eventually get it right. 🙂

    • Rik- Great follow-up. Did you include leading zeros in your SWA RR# when providing it to Marriott? And, from your Marriott order confirmation, do you have the “Reward Code” (usually 3-digits & a letter)? Thanks!

      • You’ll have to actually call Marriott Rewards to book a travel package, as every attempt I made at booking the package online failed. With some googling I determined the phone method to be the only way to book these. I supplied my SW RR number to the phone rep without 0’s and she did the rest.

        • Hi Rik, I do understand that one must call to redeem (I’ve redeemed for 7-night packages before). Sounds like you didn’t give leading zeros. The reward code should be in your confirmation email from Marriott. For example, 830T is the reward code for redeeming 7-nights at Cat. 1-5 with 120k to SWA (the 7-night codes can be ascertained from the link information on the Marriott website).

  3. Ohhhh.. this would be stupendous if a non-Plat Elite could do this 5 night packages. Like you I don’t like to stay 7 nights in any one location… 5 nights would be perfect.. and I already have 300k Marriott points for a cat 8 +120 Southwest points package. I may wait for some more data points

  4. Interesting. When I called to inquire about this several months ago, the rep told me 7 nights is the only length of stay available. At least I’ll know to be persistent the next time around. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Don’t anyone get too excited. I’m platinum and was unable to book. Called 3 times. This is for vacation owners only. 2 reps hadn’t even heard of it and rep 3 read to me verbatim that the rules are very clear that the package is only for owners.

  6. Ahhh!! I wish i knew this last week before i cashed in for a 7 night travel package and the companion pass!! I would prefer a 5 night stay at a higher category property!!

    Wonder if its possible to swap my 7 night cat 6 to a 5 night cat 8??

    Stellar work by the way!

    • I’m also in the same boat. I have a 7 night stay at a 1-5 expiring in March, and had planned on extending it. I wonder if anyone has been able to convert a 7 night into a 5 night?

    • I was in the same boat. Earlier this week I ordered my 7 night cat 1-5 + 120k Southwest miles package. Once I read this post I called to see about exchanging down to the 5 night option. First rep said ‘No way possible’. Second rep tried and asked their supervisor before saying ‘No way possible.’ I then asked to complete a survey and the rep offered that I speak to his supervisor. Supervisor was able to help but noted that this was not normal and he helped bc I was a platinum member. I ended up getting 35k points back too! Thank you for this great article!

      • Yes yes yes! Guys i got it! They swapped my cat 6 seven night to cat 8 five night!!! Same amount of points (300k). I am a gold member due to having previously had the Ritz Carlton card which i have since cancelled. I requested a supervisor review my request and do a favor for a gold memeber. At first the nice rep informed me that the 5 nighters are only vacation club owners. Thats when i requested supervisor review. Im not sure why they just dont offer this as a normal benefit full time. Whats the downside?

  7. I had the same unsuccessful result. The rep told me the 5 night was for timeshare owners only. I’ll keep trying but he was steadfast even when I argued that this had been “documented on a blog”.

  8. It seems like the 5 night package makes the hotel more points than if you were to just book a 5 night hotel stay with points due to the 5th night free? For example, I’m looking at a Cat 8 stay this year, 5 nights for 160k points, 40k per night and 5th night free. If I were to book any of the 5 night packages, I’m paying 162k-175k points for the room?

    • Dave,

      Ya cat 8 is 40k *4= 160k points then add 120k points for the mileage transfer = 280k. Yet they charge 300k for that package. But for ME i am happy with the transaction. I would rather have the 5 nights at a higher category and i am willing to take a 20k point “hit” for this offer. 7 nights is a LONG time in one property and the category 6 hotels were mostly crappy and i was stressing on what propery i could possibly use it on. However cat 7 and 8 opens up many more “LUX” options.

    • The value comes from the airline miles. As long as you value airline miles more than Marriott points, it makes sense to do a travel package. Otherwise, just book a regular stay and save points.

  9. I’m interested in the smallest amount of Marriott points 165K as I would like to get and 80000 point bonus Marriott card and have my wife also get the same 80000 point and combine those plus min spend points into one Marriott account and then hope they will let me transfer to use toward Southwest companion pass. Then I could get by with one new Southwest 50000 bonus card plus 10000 spend.

  10. When you call to book the travel package do you have to have the property and dates already picked out? The rep I spoke with said I needed to but it sounds like you all are getting certificates that you can redeem when you are ready.

  11. ‘nother data point:

    First week of January called in as a Marriott Gold via Ritz card for a travel package. Was offered 5 or 7 nights. Took the 5 night Cat 8 120K miles to WN. Combined 240K points from spouse with some of mine. Miles posted next day to WN . Companion pass day after that. 🙂

  12. This is the most helpful tip I’ve gotten in a while, and very timely! I was agonizing over considering transferring an inordinate amount of Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott to get a 120,000 point package for Southwest. Now I’m only looking at 15,000!

    I’d rather have only five nights anyhow!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  13. I have a 5-night Marriott award stay coming up in March at a category 8 (which will cost me 160k Marriott points with the free night benefit.) I have 55k new qualifying points in my SW account for the CP, but I’m having trouble getting approved for a second Rapid Rewards credit card. I wonder if it would be worth transferring an additional 70k Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott in order to complete my Companion Pass for this year (230 Marriott points would equal 5 night category 8 stay and 50k Rapid Rewards Points.) Given that I could use the CP immediately to reimburse about 32k miles of companion travel in March and April and that I would have the CP for 2 years, I think the answer is YES, it is definitely worth it! My question is: if I get a representative to agree to the 5-day category 8 award, would they then be willing to hold it while I waited the 2 days that it takes for UR points to transfer to Marriott? Does this sound like a sound plan or is there a better option?

    • Yes, definitely. Call Marriott first to see if you can convince them to do this. If so, you can transfer from UR while they wait on the phone. Transfers from UR to Southwest happen pretty much instantly.

      • Great, thanks! But I will need to transfer the additional needed points to Marriott, not SW, right? I had read that it takes 2 days for UR points to post to Marriott accounts, so I would have to get a Marriott rep to agree to put a 5-day award on hold for me I think…

        • Oof, sorry about that. Yes, you’re right of course. You would have to transfer to Marriott. And yes, people have found that it takes about 2 days as you said. I don’t know if they’ll put it on hold for you but its worth asking.

  14. Thank you for the information, I was able too play nice with Marriott rewards redemption line and they gave me the 5 nights after speaking with a supervisor, as I was aware of it (otherwise reserved for timeshare owners). Playing nice and asking for an exception for long time loyal customers helped.

  15. Another data point – I called yesterday and had points transferred from my account to my wife’s. We purchased an additional 24k for $300, which posted overnight. Called back this morning and booked the 5 night travel package in less than 5 minutes. The TP already shows in her account and she said the SW points would post within 3 business days. Thanks so much for posting this. Saved us a lot over the 7 night package as we never could have used that many nights in a row.

  16. Great to hear that this is working for people! When reporting in (which I really appreciate by the way), could you let us know what status you have with Marriott or Ritz, if any? Thanks!

  17. I just tried to book one of these 5 night packages. Marriott told me they are only available to Marriott Vacation Club owners. Is this true?

    • Yes, its true, but they have regularly been making the 5 night packages available to people who ask, even if they are not vacation club owners. Try calling again (perhaps a few times) until you get an agent willing to book one for you. Marriott elite status seems to help.

  18. Bummer…just tried and denied. She stated that her supervisor told her that the rules have changed over the past year and they are not allowed to book 5-night travel packages, unless you are a Vacation Club member. We have Gold status from holding a Ritz card. Guess I’ll call again…

  19. Man, this is tempting, even to redeem for UA domestically.

    215K Marriott points:
    5 night package at a Cat 1-5 hotel (throwaway even)
    + 110K United miles
    + 25K bonus United miles (25% bonus, capped at 25K miles through 3/31)
    = 135K United miles. Or, enough for 5 round-trips domestically.

    If you can get any value from the certificate, it’s a fantastic deal to convert Marriott:UA at a ~3:2 ratio.

  20. Marriott rewards bookers just told me they’ve been told to clamp down on 5 day redemptions for non-timeshare owners….because people learned it was possible and started asking too much. Good while it lasted I guess.

    • Interesting. On Feb 29th, Bopha wrote something very similar, but I’ve continued to hear from lots of people who succeeded. Most, if not all, have had at least Silver elite status with Marriott.

  21. Late to the party here, but wondering if anyone can help answer this question:

    Can I use the free night certificate at more than one hotel? In other words, if I book a 5-night stay (or a longer one, I suppose), does it have to be all at the same hotel?

    Thanks!

  22. You mentioned getting the Category 1-5 certificate and upgrade later if staying at a higher category. is there a published points required for upgrading? from Category 5 to 8, for example?

    • You simply pay the difference in points between the two package prices. For example, if the Category 1-5 package is 270K points and the Category 7 package is 330K, then you pay the difference, 60K, to move up to Category 7.

  23. Data point: I’ve talked to 4 reps in the last two days. None of them would book the 5 day package. I’m a platinum elite, spoke to 2 supervisors and no one would budge.

  24. I was curious whether you (or others) have had any experience with attempting to upgrade a 7-day package to a higher category 5-day package. For example, would Marriott allow a person to upgrade a 7-day Category 1-5 cert (originally obtained for 270k points) to a 5-day Category 8 cert (valued at 300k points) for 30k additional Marriott points?

  25. With the companion pass, how many times can you change the companion on the pass? I’ve heard you can change it 3 times during the time you have it. Is that right?

  26. No luck here on the 5 day. 2 supervisors and 3 customer service agents and no luck – confirmed only for Marriott Vacation Club owners. Anyway….Did the 7 night and got my SW miles….CP here i come again! Happy they “made it right” for us. Makes for a more useful home for my excessive Marriott points!

  27. Please remove this as it is incorrect I work for Marriott Rewards and absolutely can’t you cannot book of 5 night travel package and less you are a timeshare owner regardless of status!!!

  28. I’ve added an update to the top of this post as follows:

    UPDATE: Since this post was originally written, it has become increasingly difficult for those who are not Marriott Vacation Club owners to book 5 night packages. People still report success every now and then, but most report the inability to book these.

  29. Note: A reader reports (via email) that he was able to book two 5 night packages. He wrote:

    I just called the Marriott platinum reservations line and was able to book this on both my account and my dad’s (im platinum he’s gold). No questions or concerns about me booking 5 night cat 1-5 certificate. No discussion whatsoever about any 7 night minimum.

    I was going to try calling the Hong Kong reservations line (or any other line other than US) if they said no, but the Rep did it no questions asked.

  30. I successfully booked a 5 night package this morning. I got transferred around a few times and the call quality was awful for some reason, but once I got to the right place I just explained which package I wanted to book and the agent confirmed a few details with me and booked it– no questions asked. For what it is worth, I am a platinum elite and only had 235k in my Marriott account at the time of calling in (making it harder for them to upsell me on the 7 night package, at least in theory!)

  31. I am so bummed. I literally turned in my 270K yesterday for the 7 night, but need a category 7 or 8 for our planned vacation. I could have gotten a category 7 5-night for the same as a category 5 7-night. Oh well.

    • Jill, you can call them again and pay the point difference between category 7 7-night and category 5 7-night, assuming you have enough points left?

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