Is it still possible to book Marriott 5-night Travel Packages?

Swimming pool at the Rennaisance Bangkok. The lounge is also nice -- and as of my last stay in late 2015, Gold & Platinum Elite members received a free 15-minute head and shoulders massage!

Swimming pool at the Rennaisance Bangkok. The lounge is also nice — and as of my last stay in late 2015, Gold & Platinum Elite members received a free 15-minute head and shoulders massage!

We have written quite a bit lately on the value of Marriott Travel Packages, whereby Marriott Rewards members can use points for a package that includes a number of airline miles and a certificate for a stay in a Marriott hotel. There are packages with a number of different airlines, but here is an example that applies to a handful of airline partners:

Air Canada Marriott Hotel and Air Package

One of the more popular airline partners for these packages has been Southwest Airlines. Until March 31, 2017, points transferred to Southwest through these packages will still count towards the 110,000 Southwest points needed for a Companion Pass. We have recently written about the prospect of buying points for a package with Southwest or one with Aeroplan (as Air Canada currently has a promotion on converted points).

If you go to the Marriott Travel Packages page, you will see charts for a number of airlines that all include 7-night stays. This has presented some challenge as it can be more difficult to find a hotel with seven consecutive nights of award availability. Furthermore, not everyone travels to one place for seven nights. Last year, Greg wrote about another option that many did not know existed: Five-night packages, costing fewer Marriott Rewards points but still including the same number of airline miles. These packages were not advertised as they had previously been a benefit reserved for Marriott Vacation Club owners, but agents had been willing to book them for members who asked. The charts were not previously published, but that post provided a breakdown of the various packages. A couple of months later, Marriott stopped allowing non-vacation club owners to book these 5-night packages.

However, recently, there have been reports of an uptick in success among people who have requested to book 5-night vacation packages. At first, there were a few reader reports in the comments on last year’s post reporting success, mostly among people who only had enough points for a 5-night package. Then, a friend reached out to say that they had been able to book a 5-night package after some persistence (multiple calls over several days). And then today, this blog post from the Art of Travel Hacking reported success in booking a 5-night package through a foreign office. It seems that where there is a will, there may indeed be a way. This will certainly be a case where your mileage may vary, but the foreign office numbers might be worth a shot if you’re looking to book a five-night package.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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    • I tried calling when they opened up in the morning. called in 4-5 times, got the same response as the US reps that they cannot book it unless they see on their systems that you are a Marriott vacation club owner. Decided to give up when one of their reps recognized that i had called earlier and asked me why i was calling again…. 🙁

  1. I called a few times and all of the operators (all in the US, presumably, I did not get creative with overseas numbers) seemed very well trained with a canned speech about how the 5 night packages are available only to “property owners”. I caved pretty quickly and bought a 7 night package.

    I am also someone who doesn’t stay in one place for 7 straight days. Usually not even 5. However, I have a trip in Sept where 5 nights in Cape Town is just perfect. I was able to easily apply my 7 night package to this stay. The CSR did advise me that there was no way to claim the other 2 nights … they were forfeited, which I knew and was ok with.

  2. Need an expert 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 !!!

    • I’d do option 1. You already have enough points to upgrade the certificate to cat 8. You only need an additional 15K Marriott points should you need a cat 9 certificate, which you can get by transferring 15K UR points directly to Marriott if you have to.

    • so you have 375K marriott points (option 1 you mention buying the 270,000 package and having 105,000 left over)?

      why don’t you do the 7 night package with the 50K SW points since you only need 47K SW points for the companion pass? with the 50K SW point option – you could get all the way up to a Ritz Carlton Tier 1-3 with your 375K points.

      • since the incremental cost for 120K package over 50 K is so less that it is better to get 120K one. in effect you are converting the extra 70K marriott points (0r 23K spg) to 70K southwest.

    • I was told no. I had to transfer my Marriott points to her account and have her book the redemption and now she has the Southwest miles and the hotel certificate is on her Marriott account.

    • I’ve done this but via SPG. Move your points to SPG, from there you can transfer SPG points to others as long as they have the same mailing address as you. Once she get the SPG points, she can xfer them to Marriott.

  3. this is patently wrong…Most data points show it has been near impossible to book unless you are an owner for a couple of years….just because 1% are not willing to take no and call 50 times, even to some other country in the hopes of getting an agent to make a mistake, does not mean these are available to the public…at the very top of this article it should say extremely YMMV, but expect to be denied.

  4. oh and the reason it became harder in the last few years to get a 5 night package??? It was because some bloggers all started blabbing about it all at the same time, causing a dramatic uptick in requests, that Marriott looked to see if these requests were from qualified owners. They found out many people were not and clamped down on this option…see why we can’t have nice things?

  5. @wise2u

    You are exactly right on both your posts.

    I would also add that, the blogger who blogged about the loophole is right here, The Frequent Miler Greg himself!

    Since his blog, the loophole has firmly closed by Marriott.

    Same effect happened after the bragging of getting 6 BofA CC on single day so Greg could spent a week on the Necker Island. Since that blog, the bowtie blogger followed the same act. Needless to say, BofA quickly killed the multiple cards on same day when in the past most could get 2 cards on same day quietly for years.

    Why can’t we have nice things? Because Bloggers want to have click bait to increase page views and other related benefits, to them, in the name of “serving the readers.”

    • Funny that most of the people complaining would have never heard of the deals/”loopholes” had they not stumbled across sites like this. And now the loophole/hack is closed start blaming the bloggers !

  6. With one call I was able to book a five night package last month. I am not a timeshare owner. I guess I was lucky, but know it is possible.

  7. Just got off the phone, no luck, got the canned speech about vacation owners only. Also, Choice Hotels is now saying it will take 6-9 weeks to transfer points to Southwest!

  8. One small suggestion for Platinum elite members would be to try calling the platinum helpdesk. My first attempt calling resulted in nothing after more than 30 minutes of back and forth. Second attempt I had the 5 day package and the call was over in less than 5 minutes.

  9. I want to buy the Marriott package to get the Southwest companion pass, but is it too late? I read on their website to allow up to 6 weeks for airline miles to post. I’ll miss the March 31st deadline if it takes that long!

    • I’m sorry — I thought I answered this last night. The website has always said to allow up to 6 weeks. In practice, it has always taken 3-5 days for the transfer to happen. All reader reports we have received recently have said 3 days. When I redeemed for my Marriott package in January, it took 4 days for the points to show up in my Marriott account.

      I obviously can’t guarantee what Marriott will or won’t do, but based on all recorded experience thus far (both here and on various other websites and Flyertalk), there is still enough time to transfer. I wouldn’t wait much longer though.

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