12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages

Marriott 5 Night Travel Packages

Now that we have until March 31st to convert hotel points into Companion Pass qualifying Southwest points, I expect that readers will have more interest than ever before in Marriott Travel packages.  After all, until March 31st, Marriott Travel Packages offer a fantastic way to get the Southwest Companion pass that will be good for an unlimited number of flights for almost two years!

Here are 12 things that you need to know

1. What are Marriott Travel Packages?

Marriott travel packages are awards in which you exchange Marriott Rewards points for airline miles plus a certificate for a 7 night stay.  You do not need to use the airline miles as part of the trip in which you book your stay.  The number of Marriott Rewards points required depends on which package you select (e.g. which type of airline miles you want), how many miles you want (50,000; 70,000; 100,000; or 120,000), and which category of hotel you plan to visit.  More details can be found on Marriott’s website, here.

Marriott_hotelplusAir_SouthwestRapidRewards.png

2. What about 5 Night Packages?

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. Do I have to select a specific hotel before I redeem points for a travel package?

No.  When you redeem points for a travel package, you get a certificate that’s good for a full year.  In most cases, Marriott reps have been willing to extend the expiration date even further for those who have been unable to redeem their certificate in time.

4. Do I have to know which category of hotel I want before I redeem points for a travel package?

No.  My recommendation is to get a Category 1-5 package.  If you later want to redeem the 7 nights at a category 6 or higher hotel, you can simply pay the difference in package price at the time your redeem your certificate.  For example, if you spend 270,000 Marriott points for a 7 Night Category 1-5 package and later decide to use the certificate in a category 9 hotel, you’ll simply pay the difference in price between the Category 1-5 and Category 9 packages.  Since the Category 9 package costs 390,000 points, you would pay the difference: 390,000 – 270,000 = 120,000.

5. Which packages offer the best value?

Until March 31, 2017, Hotel + Air Package 3 offers the best value for those who fly Southwest because Southwest points will count towards the Southwest Companion Pass.  By purchasing the 7 Nights + 120,000 Rapid Rewards Points package, you’ll get a Companion Pass good for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018!  If you go this route, I highly recommend purchasing the package at least a week before the March 31st deadline to ensure that you receive the points by March 31st.

Marriott_hotelplusAir_SouthwestRapidRewards.png

The next best value is arguably the United RewardsPlus package since it offers the most miles (thanks to the partnership between United and Marriott):

Marriott_hotelplusAir_RewardsPlus.png

Depending on your mile-needs, Hotel + Air Package 1 may be the best.  With this package you can choose from a number of valuable airline programs including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta.

Marriott-Hotel-plus-Air-Package-1.png

Avoid packages 2 and 4 since they offer poor value compared to the others.

6. How many miles should I get?

If you value miles over Marriott Rewards points (and you should!), then always choose the package that is furthest to the right (e.g. 120,000 miles with packages 1 and 3).  A good rule of thumb is to first pick the type of miles you want, then pick the package that is in the top, right of the chart.  If you don’t have enough Marriott Rewards points it can make sense to buy SPG points to top off your balance (see answer 10 below for more options).

7. Is it hard to use the 7 night certificates?

Unfortunately, yes.  To get full value, you have to find a hotel with 7 nights of standard room award availability.  Even if you don’t want to stay the full 7 nights, you must book 7 nights in order to use the certificate.  You can’t use some nights at one hotel and some at another.  You can split up the nights at the same hotel, but only if you book paid nights in-between and on the same reservation.  For example, suppose a hotel has award nights available on weekdays, but not weekends.  You could then book a 9 night stay and use the certificate to book Monday through Thursday night, pay yourself for Friday and Saturday night, then use the certificate for Sunday and Monday night.

UPDATE 1/23/2017: In a conversation with a Marriott Rewards supervisor, I was told that you can book fewer than 7 nights, but the certificate will have no left over value.  This can be very important in situations where the hotel you want to stay at has award nights available for 5 or 6 nights in a row, but not for 7.

8. What are my options if I can’t ever use the certificate?

First, it makes sense to call Marriott Rewards and ask them to extend the validity of the certificate for another year.  If you’re sure you won’t use the certificate, though, you can try to get a partial points refund.  If you book a 7 Night package costing 270,000 Marriott Rewards points, you should get back 45,000 Marriott Rewards points.  If you cancel a higher category package, you’ll get back 45,000 points plus the difference in package price between your package and the Category 1-5 package.

9. Can I use the 7 Night Certificate at SPG properties?

No, not yet.  It seems likely that there will come a time when you can, but I can’t promise anything.

10. I want one of these!  How do I earn enough Marriott points quickly?

Keep in mind that you can freely convert SPG points to Marriott points at a 1 to 3 ratio.  So, 90,000 SPG points convert to 270,000 Marriott points.  If you still need additional points quickly, the best option is to sign up for credit cards:

More options:

  • Refer others. You may be able to earn additional points by referring others to these cards if you are a current cardholder.
  • Friends can help by transferring points to you.  Marriott allows members to transfer up to 50,000 points per year to others for a fixed $10 fee which is waived for Gold and Platinum members.
  • Buy points. Marriott sells points for 1.25 cents each (limit 50,000 per year).  SPG sells points for 3.5 cents each (1.17 cents per Marriott point) with a limit of 30,000 points (90,000 Marriott Rewards points).  SPG points are often on sale cheaper, so keep an eye out for a good promotion.
  • Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott 1 to 1.  In general I don’t recommend this since you can get better value for those points, but it can make sense when topping off the points needed for a Marriott Travel Package.
  • Transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards to SPG and then to Marriott.  Amex transfers to SPG are usually 3 to 1, so that results in a 1 to 1 transfer to Marriott.  Keep an eye out for a transfer bonus which would improve the transfer rate.

11. Can I combine points with my significant other to book this?

Yes.  When you call Marriott Rewards to book the travel package, you can ask them to pull the points from both accounts.

12. Does it make sense to get a Travel Package even if I don’t want to stay at a Marriott hotel… ever?

Surprisingly… Yes.  The packages in the top right of each Travel Package (except for packages 2 and 4) offer good value for the miles alone.  Let’s take an example using my current Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs).  At this time, the RRV table shows Marriott points worth 0.68 cents each, and Southwest points worth 1.6 cents each.  So, 270,000 Marriott points can be said to be worth 270,000 x $0.0068 = $1,836.  If you redeem those 270,000 points for a 7 Night 120,000 Southwest point package, you would get 120,000 Southwest points worth 120,000 x $0.016 = $1920.  In this example, even if you threw away the 7 night certificate, you would have slightly increased the value of your points.  Plus, of course, if you do this before March 31st, you’ll get the Southwest Companion Pass as well!

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. […] 5) I know that many of you are thinking about transferring SPG currency to Marriott in order to redeem points on 7-night Travel Package. Obviously, the biggest draw for most normal folks is  Companion Pass on Southwest, which would be valid till the end of 2018. Frequent Miler has a good write-up on Marriott Travel Packages and things you need to be aware of […]

  2. […] Yesterday, I called Marriott’s Platinum Elite phone line (800-399-4229) in order to book a Travel Package.  Marriott travel packages are awards in which you exchange Marriott Rewards points for airline miles plus a certificate for a 7 night stay.  You do not need to use the airline miles as part of the trip in which you book your stay.  The number of Marriott Rewards points required depends on which package you select (e.g. which type of airline miles you want), how many miles you want (50,000; 70,000; 100,000; or 120,000), and which category of hotel you plan to visit.  Complete details can be found here: 12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages. […]

Comments

  1. FYI, I was told last night by a Marriott phone rep that I could only transfer up to 50k Marriott points from my wife’s account. So instead I converted her points to SPG, transferred all of them to my SPG account, and once complete, will convert them to Marriott points in my account.
    The woman said that only actual hotel bookings can be made with points from two accounts.

  2. Has anyone tried to split the 7 nights for 2 rooms? As a family of 5 we frequently require 2 rooms and it would be great to do a 4 night stay in 2 rooms with 7 certificates and 1 extra night. Thank you!

  3. @Justin they originally tried to tell me that too but turns out you’re allowed a once-a-calendar-year transfer of more than 50k Marriott points from a spouse or domestic partner. The phone agent was able to transfer 83k of my wife’s Marriotts points to my Marriott account then complete the 7-night air+hotel package.

  4. The math just make sence if you already have Marriott points in your account. Hower, f you plan to transfer from Chase or Amex point, then the rate is really bad.

    270,000 Chase points = 120 United or Southwest point. Please don’t do that.

    • True but 270,000=120,000 + 7 nights cat 5 is an incredible value. Even without CP. But… hopefully they really do honor my transfer and I get CP. Points are transferred, still waiting to see CP.

  5. I read somewhere else that you could get 75k Marriott reward points back if you cancel the hotel part. So I am wondering whether it is 75k or 45k.

  6. I did my transfer on January 2. I asked the Marriott rep for the smallest package “since I could always upgrade it” with 120,000 Southwest points. They have me a 5 night… no problems.

    Now, the 120,000 have shown up at Southwest. How do I activate the companion pass? I don’t see any options.

    Can anyone guide me here? First time.

    Thanks.

  7. Can you use less than 7 nights? Meaning I book a reservation for 5 nights even though I only want to stay at the hotel for 5 nights. I’d be willing to just throw away the additional 2 nights. I guess I can maybe not checkout when I leave after 5 nights and 2 days later call the property up just to let them know I forgot to stop by the desk to checkout so can they check me out over the phone. Would that work?

    Also does anyone know the answer to Julia’s question about splitting up a 7 night certificate (getting 2 rooms for 3 nights) for families that want to rooms?

    • Yes, as long as 7 nights are available, you can book it as a 7 night stay, but then only stay as long as you want. You can check out when you leave, that would be fine. In fact, I imagine that the hotel would appreciate it since it would open the room for other guests.

  8. Great news! I just got off of the phone with SWA RRs and they confirmed that the CP will be made available to those of us who do the transfer. She said that the reason that it hasn’t shown up is that the systems had been coded to exclude it. She said that they are updating the system, and manually fixing those of us who already qualified. She said that I will have the CP by 1/15.

    Additionally, I explained that since I thought that I had been denied, I had already booked a trip for me and my wife using points for each of us (going to the Big Easy for the annual jazz fest). She said just call and they would adjust and refund the points for my wife! I am really geeked.

    Thanks for this post. I thought that I was just screwed here.

  9. If I book a Marriott with a certificate in my wife’s name (who is gold) and I am platinum and add myself to the reservation.. do I still only get gold recognition for upgrades, etc during the stay or will they likely recognize my plat during the stay as well?

  10. I’ve done this before and had them recognize my better status, even though my wife supplied the points (and hence, the reservation). Just call Marriott Rewards and they should be able to handle it.

    Come to think of it, I’ve also done this directly at the hotel before (they just looked me up), but you’re probably better calling ahead.

  11. I am a newbie here. Is there a tutorial on how to get started? I have a very small number of Marriott points and do not travel for work yet. Is it possible to ever earn enough points to get into the levels described here?
    Not a credit card user either.
    Thanks for your help.

  12. You can do a transfer of over 50,000 points as long as you purchase the travel package at the same time. For example, I was able to transfer 270,000 points to my wife in the same transaction as the purchase of travel package 3. Easy peasy!

  13. Perhaps I’m missing something, but this also seems like the best way to convert SPG points into mileage, even if one doesn’t use the hotel stay. Meaning 90,000 SPG miles into 270,000 Marriott gives 132,000 United miles or 120,000 Delta/American/SW/etc miles. Or am I missing some limitation?

    • I agree, just figured that out myself! If you can get a 5 night package it’s a 22% bump in AA/Delta/Alaska etc miles, but the 7 night is only a 7% bump. But then again you CAN use the certificate to stay somewhere for free.

  14. Data point. Called Marriott – Booked 1-5 and used 270K Marriott on Jan. 8th. Nothing in my SW account on Jan. 9th. Jan. 10th both the 120K and the Companion Pass is activated. Took two days (which is great) and less time than what I saw on other blogs. Companion is good till Dec. 31 2018..:)

  15. Can I book the Marriott Vacation Package using my points and have the airline miles post to my brother’s account, or does it have to be the same name on both?

  16. Do you think it is too late to do this TODAY if I need to get 3 credit cards? I could reach the spending limit in a month. I have never applied for 3 credit cards this close together but could share between my husband and I.

        • Well that makes me feel better! Yes, I asked Marriott (Chase) and Starwood (American Express) and they both refused. In the past, Chase has been accommodating so that was surprising. I was given the Starwood card numbers so I can use for Online Purchases. Hopefully I can meet those minimums while I wait for the other.

  17. Say I have a 7 night certificate but want to stay at a higher level hotel for only five nights. Can I pay the points difference for each night of the five nights, or would I have to pay the difference on 7 (even though I’d only be staying 5 and forfeiting the last two)?

    • Unfortunately, no. My understanding is that you have to pay the difference between the two 7 night packages. I think it would be interesting to try to convert your 7 night package to a 5 night package. See if they’ll let you do that.

  18. FYI, when I called, twice, my Marriott Gold Elite line, I was told you cannot upgrade a certificate at time of redemption. However, when I talked to Customer care they said it was possible. So avoid the elite phone numbers and call Marriott Rewards or Customer Care.

  19. So I need some help making a decision –
    I am definitely in need of a 7 day package (Disney World). The hotels that I need are Category 7. This will save me almost $4k for the week.

    I’m stuck on if I get the SW Companion Pass of the 132k points for United (I can get 5.5 flights out of this). I have the 330k points needed to make this happen.

    – I live in COS but can fly out of DEN.
    – COS is services by United but not SWA.
    – I have 2 young kids so we can’t travel as much as we’d like but at minimum 1-2x per year we fly. We always fly with party of 4.

    What would you do? 132k points or SWA Companion Pass for almost 2 years.

  20. Hi Greg, we just purchased the Marriott Hotel and Air package #3 (270,000 Marriott points for 120,000 Rapid rewards for companion pass). The ecertificate was immediately applied to Marriott account, and in trying to book a hotel stay, even in category 4,(which I tried just to see what happens) still shows more points are needed. I am not sure what I’m doing wrong, I can’t seem to find anything that is coming up that I can use this certificate without without paying for extra points in the category 1-5 that it is supposed to be good for. And I was interested in Doral in Miami (a vacation club that is category 5)…are extra points needed for this? Are these certificates only based on hotel availability? Please help! Thanks!

    • The certificate will be attached to your account, so you’re going to have to call to book it for your kids, but you should be able to book the stay for anyone you’d like. Most hotel chains will let you book an award stay for someone else. At the very worst, you book it in your name and add your kid’s name to the reservation so they can check in since they “will be arriving first”. I’ve never had trouble booking an award stay for someone else and wouldn’t expect the certificate to be any different.

  21. Hi FM,

    Thanks for wonderful blog. I need an advice.

    I have got southwest Companion pass for my wife using Marriott 270K pkg. for myself, I got southwest card, thus I already have 63K miles for companion pass. rest I can get through the following 2 ways

    1) Do a 270K Marriott Pkg for 7night/120K SW points. the only reason I haven’t done this yet is after buying this , I will be left with only 105K Marriott points and may not have enough points to upgrade the 7 night stay to Marriot 8-9 category which is where I probably I would be using them.

    2) Since I only need 47K SW points from Hotel xfer, I can reach there by xfering 100K Ultimate rewards to Hyatt and then xfer them to 60K SW points.

    This way compare to option 1, I will save 270K Marriott points (or 90K SPG) but will use 100K UR . but I will get 60K less SW points and will not get the 7 night certificate.

    3) Last option is Xfer 50K Ultimate rewards to Hyatt (which will give 30K SW) and 75K Marriott into 25K SW.
    This way compare to option 1, I will save 195K Marriott points but will use 50K UR . I will get 60K less SW points and will not get the 7 night certificate. Either of options 2 or 3 will leave me more than 250k-300K Marriott points in case I need to upgrade my package.

    Do you think are there any better options ? I do have tons of AMEX MR (300K+), Chase UR (300K+) , Club Carlsons (200K+), Avios (300K+), Thankyou pts (80K) etc. If not, which one would you suggest me to go with ?

    Thanks again !!!

    • That’s a tough one! How about trying to get a 5 night category 8 package for 360K Marriott points? It seems like you fully understand the options, so I think you’re much better equipped than I am to figure out which option would give you the most value.

      As an aside, I’m assuming that you have a need for a second companion pass in the family?

  22. Hi,

    Does anyone know if I can book a package on my mr account, but have the miles transferred to my wife’s swa account?

    I have the mr points and status. I need her to have the companion pass.

    • No, you can’t. You would have to transfer your Marriott points to your wife’s Marriott account first. You should be able to do that since she is trying to book a specific award. The name on the Southwest account has to match your Marriott account.

  23. Hello there – thank you for the post; it’s really useful!!

    I have 2 scenarios about converting SPG points to JAL miles.

    SCENARIO 1:
    transfer 120K SPG points to the JAL mileage bank program. (Resulting in 150k JAL miles)

    SCENARIO 2:
    select package 2 and transfer 90K SPG points (which convert to 270K Marriott points) I will get 120K ‘Marriott’ miles which I can then transfer 1:1 to the JAL program to get 120K JAL miles. And then transfer 25K SPG points to get another 30K JAL miles, resulting in a total of 150K JAL miles.

    So SCENARIO 2 saves me 5K SPG points and gets me 7 nights that I can break into multiple stays within the next 1 year.

    Right?

    • Unfortunately, no.

      Marriott has different packages with different airlines. The number of airline miles you get with each package depends on the airline — on the Marriott Travel Packages page, you see the names of the airlines under each package:

      http://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi

      Japan Airlines is under Hotel + Air Package 2. The highest package there only gets 85k miles. So with 270k Marriott Rewards, you will get 85K JAL miles and a 7-night Category 1-5 certificate.

      To be clear, you don’t get ‘Marriott’ miles and transfer them — when you redeem one of these packages, Marriott transfers X number of miles to your frequent flyer account with the airline. With many airlines, the 270k package gets you 120k miles, but there are a number of airlines where you’d only get 85k (and then there’s United where you’d get 132k….or Aeroplan, which currently has a bonus on points converted from hotels, so you’d get 150k).

      All that said, if your goal is 150k JAL, doing the Marriott package would work out like this:

      90k Starwood = 270K Marriott = 85k JAL + 7 nights
      55k Starwood = 65k JAL
      —–
      145k Starwood = 150k JAL + 7-night certificate

      In the end, you’re spending an extra 25k SPG for the 7-night certificate (over just transferring 120k to JAL). That’s the equivalent of 75k Marriott points — half the price of 7 nights at a Category 5. So that’s still not a terrible value *if* you have a valuable Cat 5 you want to go to and you need 150k JAL miles.

  24. Can you gift the hotel certificate to someone else? (Or book their room but they stay there instead of you?)

  25. I just got off the phone with a Marriott rep. I was trying to book a cat. 6 hotel with my cat. 1-5 7-night cert, and was told that I wasn’t able to upgrade the certificate with points.

    Has anyone else had this problem? I’m going to call again, and see if another rep will know the process better. Maybe I need to word my questioin differently.

    • I just called Marriott again, and was given the same answer when I asked if I can pay the difference in points to book a category 6 with a 1-5 certificate. I was told you can’t do it. Both times the rep on the phone went to ask a higher up if it was possible.

      • Wow, that’d definitely not what all the bloggers say. I wonder if there’s been a change in policy. I just bought a category 7 certificate figuring I could go up or down with it when the time comes. I hope the bloggers do some investigation on this.

    • Jason, it definitely should work. Try these tips:
      1) Make sure to call Marriott Rewards (not the general Marriott reservations or customer service line).
      2) Ask to upgrade your certificate to category 6. You can use the certificate to make a reservation in a separate call, or after you succeed in upgrading the certificate.
      3) If they say no, ask to speak to a supervisor.
      4) If necessary, hang up and call again (and again…)

  26. Does anyone had change the certificate for the 45k marriott? i called more than 10x and they are saying its not possible anymore!!!

    • That’s a total bummer. I bought a cat 7 and decided not to use it for that trip. But I made the change assuming I could upgrade or downgrade in the future.

        • I didn’t cancel. I am waiting to use the certificate another time. I wanted to stay at in a 1BR suite instead of a standard suite (Residence Inn), and thought I’d be able to pay cash for the difference like you could with regular points. But they wouldn’t let me do that with the certificate. All I could do is hope for an upgrade to the 1BR, and I didn’t want to risk it for a 7 night stay.

          Glad to see the recent post by the person who was able to upgrade it to a different class hotel.

  27. FYI: I just successfully upgraded my category 1-5 certificate to a category 6 certificate. The first phone agent said that she was locked out of the system needed to do this, so she transferred me to a supervisor who got it done. Despite the experience that some readers have reported, no one I talked to hesitated in trying to do the upgrade. That is, they didn’t question whether it was OK to upgrade, they just had a bit of trouble in making it happen.

  28. Also confirming that a request made to the Customer Support number on their website got us an upgrade from Cat 1-5 cert to a Cat 6 certificate and immediate reservation booked. A previous call to the number that came with the certificate email resulted in a no, we don’t do that.

  29. How likely is it to upgrade the cert using points or cash for a suite? I have a family of 5 and a standard room or even a bigger room won’t cut it. Would need a suite and I have no issue with points. TIA!

  30. I was going to do that and they told me I couldn’t . I really wanted a 1BR suite and not to risk not getting an upgrade, so I didn’t use the certificate and I’ll have to use it later.

      • No, that’s what I thought would happen, and why I bought the certificate. The 1 BR suite was something like 30GBP more per night than the regular room that is available with points, so i thought I would use the certificate and pay that difference in cash. But you can only do that if the upgraded room is available on the website for cash + points. So if the regular price of the room you want is shown at say 30,000 points + $30 surcharge, then I think you can do it. But otherwise, no.

        • Got it, thanks. In order to actually do it, do you think it’s best to get buy the cert first and then ask or is it possible to see if it’s viable by speaking to someone at Marriott first, before getting the cert?

  31. Greg, do you think the SWA package is still a better value than Package #1 today, even without the companion pass? Trying to decide on the redemption that makes sense for us. We usually fly as a family of five out of PHL, so AA and SWA are equally useful to us, but SWA often has bargain redemptions to MCO and ORD, while AA is good for getting us to the west coast.

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