New Marriott Travel Packages: a first glance

As you may have read this morning, Marriott has released its new program award charts. We now also have the new chart for Marriott Travel Packages (found here). There is definitely some devaluation here, though the packages are simpler, which represents a smaller devaluation for some airlines. Most people would be much better off redeeming for a Travel Package today, though the hits to travel packages probably don’t destroy their value in the future. Don’t misunderstand that: this is a devaluation. However, if you intend to use your full 7-night certificate (and if it works at peak value), it’s not all doom and gloom either.

New Travel Packages Chart

Here is a look at the new chart:

As you can see, the new chart is much simpler, with all airlines fitting into one of two packages:

7 nights + 50,000 miles or 7 nights + 100,000 miles.

The exception will continue to be United — packages transferring to United will receive 10% more miles (i.e. 55K / 110K). Oddly, the chart says you’ll receive up to 12K bonus United miles, but I think that’s just an error left in the chart from the current packages.

Speaking of the current Marriott Travel Packages, you’ll remember that there are several different charts depending on which airline partner you intend to package for miles. For example, a number of airlines award up to 120,000 airline miles under the current packages.

As a reminder, if you are interested in booking one of the packages at current rates, you’ll want to see this post that Greg did the other day to save yourself a lot of time and hassle: Navigating Marriott’s phone prompts to book a Travel Package. I followed Greg’s instructions to a T the other day and was off the phone with my package in 20 minutes and 43 seconds. YMMV.

As you can see above, the new chart obviously presents a devaluation of the packages. New Category 4 is roughly equal to old Category 5 (hotels normally cost 25K points per night either way). A 7-night stay at new Category 4/Old 5 would normally cost 150,000 Marriott points (25K x 6 since the 5th night is free on award stays). This means that the new Cat 1-4 travel package, for example, is charging an effective 180K Marriott points for 100K airline miles.

That remains a slight deal in the sense that Rewards points in the new program (beginning in August) will normally transfer to airlines at a rate of 60K Rewards points to 25K airline miles. That preserves the current SPG ratio of 20K:25K. In other words, 180K Marriott points would be worth 75K airline miles if transferred directly to an airline outside the scope of a travel package.

  60K Rewards points –> 25K airline miles
60K Rewards points –> 25K airline miles
+60K Rewards points –> 25K airline miles
180K Rewards points –> 75K airline miles

With the Cat 1-4 package for 7-nights and 100K miles, you can look at it as getting an extra 25K airline miles — if you would already consider spending the regular points price for 7 nights at your chosen category level. The deal isn’t as strong as today’s packages. That said, here are a few key thoughts I have at first glance:

Will the 7-night certs be valid at “peak” pricing?

The chart mentions a 7-night certificate at each of the 8 categories of the new Marriott award chart, but it makes no mention as to whether the certificates are valid at “peak” pricing or only “standard” pricing. That certainly makes a difference in the math.

For example, Category 6 hotels have a “standard” price of 50K per night in the new program. That would mean a 7-night stay at standard pricing would be 300K Marriott points. In order to get 100K airline miles, you’ll need to pay an additional 210,000 Marriott Rewards points. At that point, the deal starts to really thin.

However, Category 6 peak pricing is 60K points-per-night, making a 7-night stay during peak dates ring in at 360K Rewards points.

If the 7-night certificate is also valid at peak pricing, you are paying an effective 150K Marriott points for 100K airline miles (510K package price – 360K “value” of 7-night certificate = 150K additional points). That represents a much better deal – again, assuming you’d otherwise pony up for a 7-night stay. 150K Marriott points would normally be worth 60K airline miles:

  60K Rewards points —> 25K airline miles
+60K Rewards points —> 25K airline miles
+30K Rewards points —> 10K airline miles
150K Rewards points —> 60K airline miles

A new travel package wouldn’t look so bad at that redemption ratio. Of course, that relies on both finding 7 nights of availability in peak season and being able to use your certificate during peak season.

I do think these will work at peak pricing. My rationale for that is the difference in cost between a Category 5 package (390K) and a category 6 package (510K): 120K points. That’s the difference in cost for a 7-night stay at peak pricing (the difference at off-peak or standard would be less).

Former 85K packages become take less of a hit

ANA Business Class

I’ve recently become enamored with ANA, both for my recent excellent experience flying with them and their super reasonable star alliance award chart. While ANA partners with Marriott for travel packages, it previously fell under a chart awarding only 85K airline miles.

Previously, a category 1-5 package with the airlines above awarded 85K miles and a 7-night certificate for 270K Marriott points. Again, subtracting the value of the certificate in terms of the normal points cost of a 7 night stay, the ratio of Marriott points to airline miles wasn’t amazing:

 270K Marriott Travel Package
-150K (normal 7-night cost of old Cat 5)
120K Marriott points —> 85K ANA miles

Under the new chart, here’s how the math works out:

 330K Marriott Travel Package
150K (normal 7-night cost of new Cat 4)
180K Marriott points —> 100K ANA miles

The net cost is 60K more Marriott points for 15K more ANA miles. That’s not a good deal since 60K Marriott points would normally transfer to 25K ANA miles. If you’re after ANA miles, you are better off redeeming for a 7-night package today and then transferring SPG points now or Marriott points later for an additional 25K miles (coming out 10K ANA miles ahead).

That said, if you’re redeeming in the future, those airlines that currently award 85K miles are less of a bad deal in the new program (if that makes sense). If the 7-night certificates works at peak pricing (30K for the new Cat 4), the deal is even better:

 330K New Marriott Travel Package
-180K (normal 7-night cost of peak Cat 4)
150K Marriott points –> 100K ANA miles

The math isn’t really so simple

As Greg is crunching the numbers on the full award chart, it’s worth noting that the math isn’t really as simple as I made it above. I know if Greg were writing this post, he would compare Marriott points to miles differently: he would only value the 7-night certificate in terms of its trade-in value if you were to tell Marriott you’d like to give it back in exchange for points. Under the current Marriott Travel Package program, that is possible. A 7-night Cat 1-5 certificate could be traded in today for 45K Marriott points (note: I wouldn’t do that). We don’t yet know whether or not it will be possible to do a similar trade with the new program.

The true value of a 7-night certificate today lies somewhere between that value and the normal points cost of the hotel (you obviously wouldn’t consider paying more than the normal points cost). Your valuation may certainly vary some here and we will surely have more in-depth analysis as we’ve had more time to consider the charts. This is meant to be a first look at the Travel Packages.

Bottom line

If you’re eyeing a Marriott Travel Package, the current packages undoubtedly present more value. What’s more, they may turn out to be a huge win depending on how un-redeemed certificates are treated in August (See: Potential huge win with Marriott Travel Packages before August).

Of course, we don’t yet know how that will shake out. And we do know that SPG’s off-the-charts properties are going to become bookable at very attractive rates in August.

Personally, I redeemed for a Travel Package the other day. Had today’s announcement not indicated that the off-the-charts properties are indeed going to be bookable for 60K per night this August, I may have considered booking a second package — though, at this point, I think I’m more likely to hold onto a balance of points to see what kind of outsized value I can get from top-tier properties in August.

More analysis on the new program coming from Greg shortly….

For more of today’s coverage, see:

NOW LIVE: New Marriott SPG Award Category Assignments.
New Marriott award chart: first reactions

And for more on the transition, please see our Marriott SPG Ritz Transition Guide, or click through to the guide via any of these topic links:

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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tina
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tina

It seems to me, that for someone like me that is NOT going to use the 7 nights (or more than 2 nights in a row stay in the next year), that perhaps I am better off sitting pat. If I transfer my points anywhere I lose flexibility. Am I missing something?

David
Guest
David

I currently have a Cat 9 cert in hand, and have a reservation for later this year in Paris. So we don’t know yet how a Cat. 9 cert would be usable on SPG properties at this point for later this year?

Giancarlo
Guest
Giancarlo

The math is wrong. Whether you make extra 25k miles it depends on when you redeem your certificate.

240,000 Marriott points will give you 100k miles, so the free certificate is costing you 90k Marriott points, or 15k x6.

If you redeem your certificate for standard category 3, you’re already breaking even. If you use it for category 4 off peak, you’re only saving little over 2000 points per night (or about $85 combined based on current valuation).

Eric
Guest
Eric

When do the new travel packages pricing take effect? Do we have up until August 1st to book these packages at the old rates?

Frank
Guest
Frank

I don’t see how this is anything other than a huge devaluation. Many people have difficulty using the full 7-night award, so the value was always in the airline miles, with the hotel rooms being the bonus. Previously, you could get 100,000 AS miles and 7-night Category 1-5 hotel for 250,000 MR points. Now, that same deal (new Category 1-4) is going to cost you 330,000 miles — almost 33% more! And it gets even worse as you go up in value on the hotel category chart. How do they justify promising us that the program was going to provide “essentially the same value” as before for all of these months.

Am I missing something?

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[…] some really deep analysis of the new Travel Packages, you can check out the Reddit thread or this Frequent Miler article by Nick […]

George
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George

Is there even really a need a to “do the math?” The new package chart is a massive deval from the 7 night cat 1-5 + 120k mile packages. MASSIVE MASSIVE deval. Combine that with the fact that it will be much harder to earn Marriott points (no more buying SPG points on the cheap and no more credit card gaming).

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[…] New Marriott Travel Packages: a first glance […]

Platinum
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Platinum

So if I have a cert for a cat 1-5 and i try to redeem it after 8/1 will i be able to use it at hotels that are now cat 6 and going down to cat 5 after 8/1. The certificate clearly states category 1-5

Greg The Frequent Miler
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NinjaX
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NinjaX

Nick. Has anyone every told u that have uncanny resemblance to a backstreet boy? Specifically AJ? dude. im on to you…

dont lie.
https://goo.gl/images/T7xRQ7

Sam
Guest
Sam

I think this will kill the Hotel and Miles package game. Huge devaluation.

I got my Alaska/Category 1-5 package. Thinking of doing one more before August.

I feel horrible for Marriott customer service reps. The one I talked to the other day told me half the people shout and yell at the customer service reps b/c the callers think that somehow the reps have some power over the “hold” line.

Marriott better be taking care of their employees. This is a detail management nightmare.

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

a way better title for your post is buried within the first paragraph:

“Most people would be much better off redeeming for a Travel Package today”

boom. ’nuff said. mic drop.

Jake
Guest
Jake

I’m Curious. If I were to cash in 390,000 MR points for a Cat 9 certificate today I would get 132,000 United miles and a 7 night certificate. My ultimate goal would be to get 7 nights at St. Regis Maldives after merger. If they turn certificates back into points at current rates I would get 45,000 points (current cat 9 value) times 7 so 315,000 points deposited back into my account?

That would mean I scored 132,000 Unites miles for 75,000 Marriott points? Is there any way that is correct?

I could then take my 315,000 MR points throw in 105,000 Chase points and book the St. Regis for 7 nights at the 60K per night rates costing a total of 420,000 points??? Then all i need is an additional 40K united (more chase points) miles to fly free and stay free for 7 days at St. Regis Maldives. That is a 35K value.

Matt
Guest
Matt

So if Regis Bora bora after the August dates hat is still to be announced, I would need to get a category 7 certificate correct? As long as I book by December 31, 2018? What makes me nervous is I don’t know what the availability will look like for the hotel there.

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

If I want to fly premium to Asia or Europe, what’s the best airline to transfer my cert for? United, ANA or Alaska? Would like a place with flexibility as I may not use my miles there for a couple yrs or may need to book and then cancel

George
Guest
George

Depends on where you’re flying from. If from USA, I would do Alaska definitely. 50k Alaska miles is enough for a one way biz class ticket to Asia on CX (free stopover as well).

david
Guest
david

Only if you can find a seat. CX availability with AS miles is almost disappeared these days.

5150d
Guest
5150d

Just called for a second travel package. The Rep was nice and expert on these. Took 5 minutes. I asked her if she had many requests for travel packages over the past days since the devaluation was announced and she said nope. Very few requests.

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

its because theres no rush. packages arent limited and there will be no immediate deval to the current structure vs “limited time offer. limited number packages left”. meaning, you can wait until the last day which obv isnt recommended but theres plenty of time. no rush. waiting longer is better for the 7 day certs anyway. start the clock later.

toomanybooks
Guest
toomanybooks

Wow. 15-18 months ago 270k Marriott would get you a week in a cat 1-5, 120k WN points, and a CP for almost 2 years.

Now 390k gets a week, 100k WN, and no CP.

For many people, that’s easily over 50% devaluation. Some from Marriott and some from WN.

Time for another look at Hyatt with its new CC.

meme
Guest
meme

I might be missing something, but why every blogger assumes the SPG direct transfer rate of 20K:25K (i.e. Marriott 60K:25K) will be kept? Is there any solid proof of this belief?

meme
Guest
meme

Oh yes this is stated in https://members.marriott.com/redeem/. 🙂

PSL
Guest
PSL

For those of us who have recently purchased a travel package and would like to purchase another before the changeover, the difficulty of getting away for an additional seven nights within the one-year time limit presents a problem. Now if Marriott agreed on a two-year time limit, a second purchase would be a no-brainer.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Marioot has recently said that there will be fewer standard award rooms available after 8/1. It seems a lot of people are holding on to points hoping to be some of the very lucky few who get these few aspirational redemptions, but I suspect the temporary award chart that goes into effect 8/1 is really just more of an enticement to get people not to redeem for a better mileage return on current travel packages. We’ve been warned.

JustWingIt
Guest
JustWingIt

I thought I read somewhere that capacity control goes away after 8/1. Doesn’t that mean the amount of.standard awards available does not change?

Greg M
Guest
Greg M

Not sure if this is new info or not, but if so, it may shed some light on how Marriott might convert open 7-night certs into points, which is one of the rumors out there. The other day I converted a Cat 7 cert to a Cat 9. My account activity showed +105,000 points for turning in my 7 and -165,000 points for getting the 9.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Hey Nick,

I really appreciate all your knowledge and willingness to share it with us!
One area that I don’t see covered is our main focus is getting a Southwest CP for 2019-2020. Then use the 7 night certificate in Hawaii after they start flying there in 2019. If I get a 7 night certificate yielding 120K Southwest RR points before August! When do these RR points post to our SW account? We currently have the CP through the end of this year?

Thank you!

John
Guest
John

I figured there’d be a devaluation so I ended up ordering a Cat 7, 7-night certificate + 120K Southwest miles about 4 weeks ago for travel in April ’19. Glad I did. That cost me $330k points, which at the current cash rates for booking the same hotel and flights would end up at about 1.12 cents per point. Given this new structure, the same package would cost 570k points AND I’d only get 100k SW miles instead of 120k. That’s a massive devaluation to 0.60 cents per point redemption rate vs cash values. The hotel & flight packages used to be a great value for points redemption but unfortunately now look average at best.