What will happen to existing Marriott Travel Package certificates?

Marriott 7 Night Travel Packages

Everyday, Nick and I are asked about Marriott Travel Packages.  What will happen to unused certificates when Marriott and SPG merge programs sometime in August?  Which packages are the best to buy?  Should we upgrade or downgrade our existing packages before the merger?  When is the deadline for buying the packages?

Unfortunately, we don’t know.  Marriott has been extremely secretive about what will happen with existing travel package certificates when the programs merge.  In my earlier post “Potential huge win with Marriott Travel Packages before August,” I detailed the possibility that the certificates will be converted to the number of points needed to book the same 7 night stay.  I quoted a Starwood representative who wrote “Floater certificates, including outstanding Marriott Travel Packages, will be cancelled and converted to equivalent points, credited to the member’s account for future redemption.”  That would be awesome, but at the time I estimated the chance of that happening at only 20%.  For background on this topic, please read the prior post.

As time has ticked away, I’ve revised my probability estimate upwards.  The primary reason that I can think of for Marriott to stay so quiet is that they know they’ll be very generous with the travel package certificates, and they fear that leaking that information will cause a run on the market.  Everyone with enough points will buy them.

One of the reasons I had been hesitant to believe the Starwood representative’s statement was that it didn’t make much sense to me.  After all, Marriott has already publicly stated that existing free night certificates would be converted into points-based certificates of equivalent value.  Why not do that with travel package certificates as well? Let’s play out that scenario and a few others…

Points-Based Certificates

Converting current category-based travel package certificates into points-based certificates isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.  The following chart shows how I previously tried to map travel packages based on categories from old to new:

As you can see in the above chart, only three types of certificates map one to one to the new program: Category 1-5, Category 7, and Ritz Tier 1-3.  In all of those cases, Marriott could replace the certificates with certificates for new categories 4, 5, and 6, respectively.  But if they issued point-based certificates for those that don’t map exactly, things get weird…

Consider if a current category 9 certificate were converted to a certificate that can be used at any hotel costing up to 45,000 points per night.  Then look at the new award chart (above).  There are never any hotels worth 45,000 points per night.  At best, you could redeem the certificate for a 35K hotel (until peak and off-peak pricing appears and then you can use it for a 40K hotel).

OK, so Marriott could be generous and give you a points based certificate that matches the next higher category (50K in this example).  But then the new travel package certificates would really be category based rather than points based.

And, it makes sense that they’d want to offer category based certificates since that’s what they’re planning to offer for new travel packages bought within the new merged program (see: New Marriott Travel Packages: a first glance)

This shows pricing for travel packages in the new program. The main point of interest here is that the new packages continue to be category based rather than point based.

Category-Based Certificates

Ideally Marriott would map old certificates to new certificates in such a way that nobody loses.  As discussed above, some are perfect one to one matches:

  • Old category 1-5 is the same as new category 1-4 (Good for hotels costing up to 25K points per night, either way)
  • Old category 7 is the same as new category 5 (Good for hotels costing up to 35K points per night, either way)
  • Old Ritz tier 1-3 is the same as new category 6 (Good for hotels costing up to 50K points per night, either way)

The problem is that several old categories do not match up with the new categories.  The current values are in-between new category values.  If Marriott wants to keep customers happy (and I think they do), they could bump up the value of their certificates to the next higher level.  If they did so, they would map the other categories as follows:

  • Old category 6 (worth 30K points per night) would map to new category 5 (35K points per night)
  • Old category 8 (worth 40K points per night) would map to new category 6 (50K points per night)
  • Old category 9 (worth 45K points per night) would map to new category 6 (50K points per night) or new category 7 (60K points per night)
  • Old Ritz Tier 4-5 (worth 70K points per night) would map to new category 8 (85K points per night)

One problem with the above plan is that people who paid more for old category 7, would get the same new package as those who bought old category 6.  But Marriott could make the category 7 people happier by refunding the difference in points between old category 6 and 7 packages.  That would be a solid but complicated plan.

Category-Based Certificates, Map Higher

Could Marriott be extra-generous and always map to a higher category?  If so, it would look like this:

  • Old category 1-5 (25K) –> new category 1-5 (35K)
  • Old category 6 (30K) –> new category 1-5 (35K)
  • Old category 7 (35K) –> new category 6 (50K)
  • Old category 8 (40K) –> new category 6 (50K)
  • Old category 9 (45K) –> new category 6 (50K)
  • Ritz Tier 1-3 (50K) –> new category 7 (60K)
  • Ritz Tier 4-5 (70K) –> new category 8 (85K)

This would have the same problem as the previous scenario: in several cases, people who paid different rates would get the same packages.  Marriott could fix this in the same way: refund the point differences of the original purchase price.

Point Return Option

The simplest option for Marriott is to exchange existing un-attached travel certificates for the number of points needed in the old program to book the same number of nights.  This would mean exchanging 7 night category 1-5 certificates for 150,000 points, category 6 certificates for 180,000 points, etc.  This is an extremely generous solution, but it’s also nice and simple.

My new estimate: 60%

By detailing various options Marriott has for dealing with existing un-booked travel certificates, I’ve concluded that exchanging the certificates for points makes a lot of sense.  Other options are unnecessarily complicated and/or will piss people off.  Merging multiple rewards programs is a huge task.  By simplifying this one part of it, Marriott would save themselves and their members lots of aggravation.

It’s possible, of course, that Marriott will return some other number of points than the numbers I suggested.  That would be simple too.  But if they offered less than the number required today to book a 7 night stay, they’re going to make us mad.  They don’t want us mad.

So, there you go.  My latest guesstimate is that travel package certificates that haven’t been used to book a stay will be converted to points as follows:

  • Category 1-5: 150,000 points
  • Category 6: 180,000 points
  • Category 7: 210,000 points
  • Category 8: 240,000 points
  • Category 9: 270,000 points
  • Ritz Tier 1-3: 300,000 points
  • Ritz Tier 4-5: 420,000 points

Questions answered, 60% guaranteed*

If we take as a given that travel packages will be converted to points as described above, we can answer the common questions we’ve been asked:

  • Q: What will happen to unused certificates when Marriott and SPG merge programs sometime in August?
    A: They’ll become points!
  • Q: Which packages are the best to buy?
    A: Always pick from the packages on the right side of the charts (the packages that return the most miles). Then, if the points-return really happens, your net cost will be 120,000 points regardless of which category package you buy now.  So, go for the category 1-5 certs so that you’ll have more points on hand for other uses in the meantime.  One exception: if you have a specific use in mind, go for a package that maps closest to the category that your hotel will be in after the merger (just in case the point-return option doesn’t happen).
  • Q: Should we upgrade or downgrade our existing packages before the merger?
    A: Downgrade if that would give you enough points to buy another package. Otherwise, only upgrade or downgrade if you have a specific use in mind where upgrading or downgrading will get you closer to the package you’ll need.
  • Q: When is the deadline for buying the packages?
    A: My guess is that they’ll stop selling packages on August 1 even if the new program isn’t introduced until later in the month (this guess is unrelated to the other guesses above and doesn’t have the 60% “guarantee”*)

* Despite the guarantee, readers are not entitled to recompense or apologies if/when Greg is proven wrong

More Info

More info about Travel Packages:

More info about Travel Packages as they relate to the merger:

More info about the Marriott SPG Merger:

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 »

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JustWingIt
Guest
JustWingIt

Wonder when they are going to make details about the 5-night packages available? I cannot see how all this secrecy helps any of its members.

Points Pinnacle
Guest
Points Pinnacle

I doubt there are any changes there so really nothing to announce IMO. 5 night packs stay for timeshare owners only.

JustWingIt
Guest
JustWingIt

They will stay, but I am talking about details that are missing (cost, # miles, etc)

Rob
Guest
Rob

What I don’t understand is how does StarwoodLurker factor into the discussion of what Marriott is going to do with the Travel Packages? I mean, the guy identifies himself as management at Marriott and has stated that the floater certificates will be converted to equivalent points. In my wall street analyst days, that was enough to write the headline “Marriott management confirms certificates will be converted to points” and they would be legally on the hook. Why isn’t more weight being attributed to his proclamations?

Blue
Guest
Blue

The confusion really swirls around his statements that people should attach these certs to maximize value and that point exchange would be “equivalent.” Some people have convinced themselves this means they’ll just cancel and give 45K + 30K per tier. This seems unlikely.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Ya, agreed, that would be like converting 7 night certificates into 1 or 2 night certificates. I can’t see how they could get away with that even if they wanted to.

Vet&Banker
Guest
Vet&Banker

Lurker *does* get a lot of weight. But let’s not forget that Marriott’s head of rewards said one thing publicly in the spring and the company changed course within weeks. Corporate pronouncements aren’t necessarily binding, especially when T&Cs state that changes can be made at the company’s discretion.

jan
Guest
jan

I was told I couldn’t downgrade. I bought the CAT 6 travel package . The Count yard HK I want to stay at the end of the year will be a Cat 4 for at 25k per night. What should I do?

Bryce
Guest
Bryce

Do we know if we’ll be able to use old/current Marriott Travel Packages at old/current Starwood properties?

For example, I am planning a trip to Mexico in December and want to stay at what is currently a Starwood property. If I buy a Marriott Travel Package today with the current rates, will I be able to use that certificate at the Starwood property once the programs merge in August? This all assumes that they don’t just give us equivalent points as you forecast.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Assuming they give you an “up to X points” certificate, I would expect that you could use it at any property in the Marriot/Ritz/SPG system that charges up to that many points. Since we don’t “know” what is going to happen to the current Travel Packages, it is hard to “know” how they will be usable in the future — but I’d certainly expect them tow ork at all properties charging up to said point value. As Greg shows, the “new” travel packages are going to be tied to a category rather than point value and will be usable at any hotel in said category – won’t matter if it was previously Marriott, Ritz, or SPG.

James
Guest
James

Its an absolute disgrace that Marriott have not told us what will happen with existing Travel Package certificates. An absolute disgrace.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I agree with your analysis, Greg. The secrecy does help Marriott avoid mass redemptions for travel packages, while making a few risk-takers very happy. I do feel for those clinging on to their Rewards points hoping for an aspirational redemption– there simply cannot be enough to go around for even 5% of the members hoping to get one between August and December, and then it will be too late to cash in on the current Package certificates. You can’t say you didn’t try to warn everyone.

Blue
Guest
Blue

I’m booking good, solid value new Cat 5 places (e.g., Residence Inn Midown East NYC).

Points Pinnacle
Guest
Points Pinnacle

Since we are guessing here let me throw my hat in the ring. I think they will just do a straight category to category conversion. So if u have a category 7 cert now you will be able to use it at any Marriott property Aug-end of 2018 (since thats the max category thru 2018).

I think it might piss people off that are redeeming for higher category packages today that they could have saved some points but they too wiill be able to book for any hotel Aug-EOY.

Im booked for 7 night non travel package stay in hawaii at a current category 9 that i booked many months ago but im going to cancel my reservation soon and use the points for a category 7 package with United(i have accumulated more marriott points since I originally booked this). My bet is i can rebook that hotel +132,000 united miles and if not it opens up tons of other potentially better properties however it is a slight gamble.

Bryce
Guest
Bryce

I just talked to two different customer service reps who said that a current category 7 travel certificate will be usable at any property in the future….not sure if they are crazy or if that’s true. One of the reps did mention that she’s “brand new at this” so it could be incorrect.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I should add that not long after making a few package redemptions, Marriott sent me an online survey asking if I’d be “willing to give Marriott a try” in the future (on a 0 -10 point scale). Maybe there’s no connection between the survey and how existing floater certificates will convert, or possibly they’re trying to gauge how worthwhile it will be to be generous. Has anyone else received this survey?

Julia
Guest
Julia

Thank you for this, it’s quite a head scratcher. I’m curious why Starwood have had so many buy points pushes these last few months and can only think they either need the money or, customer’s will need extra points for what’s coming. Tend to think that they’re going to offer certificate holders the same or next level up with those extra point pushes and then release that as this quater’s ‘Autumn Megabounus’ with a combined dash of Marriott Moments pushing on the side for those without certs. I just can’t see them refunding the points if they can find a way of not doing so and without upsetting all those involved. Comforting to know we are all in the same ‘waiting’ boat though.

Dee
Guest
Dee

Thanks, Greg.
I will be delighted if you are right, but I’m ready either way. I’m sitting on a Cat 1 – 5 certificate. The Marriott where we want to stay in Brussels next May is a Cat 6 right now, but changes to a Cat 4 in Aug. Also a Design Hotel, that used to be a monastery, will be a Cat 4. We have our first 3 nights booked via Hotels.com (Discover gift card) in a very cool neighborhood, on the square where they have the antique market. Of course, I can cancel if I have to. We’d love to move around the city, a few nights in each place.

If the certificates remain certificates, we pick either the Renaissance or the Dominican – and will be happy about it.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Greg: My question (which probably can only get a more speculative answer than your predictions above)? What about attached certificates that one is considering “unattaching?” When should they do that, and how will this be handled if it’s done after the August change over?

Nick Reyes
Editor

That’s a very good question that adds a wrinkle of complexity. As time has gone on in the merger and questions like this have arisen, I’ve gained an appreciation for how complex this stuff is on Marriott’s end.

I’ll venture a guess: if you unattach it before August 1st, you’ll get whatever resolution everyone else with a floater certificate gets. If you unattach it after….it’s harder to say. *Maybe* they’ll code these things to be worth X amount of points and if you cancel you’ll get those points back? That’s my guess — just like if you book a category for 15K points today that goes up to 20K points tomorrow, you get back the 15K you paid if you cancel even after it’s gone up. But I’m not confident enough to place a big bet on it.

I’ll go a bit harder than Greg and say I’m at least at a 68.5% belief that unattached certs get cashed in for points and assuming they do, I think you’ll get the points if you later cancel a previously attached cert — but 31.5% uncertainty is nothing to sneeze at and I’m not sure I’d want to be the data point on that one in case the cancellation doesn’t pan out the same way as unattached certs. If you have a hotel stay that matters to you, I’d leave your reservation alone and be happy with it as you got a good value with a travel package. If you want to gamble, leave it unattached.

james
Guest
james

Can I get a TP and then ‘attach’ it to a hotel currently in that cert category ??? So its not a floater !!
My thinking is that if I can then whatever they do with the category of that hotel and the TPs I should at least be able to still book dates at that specific hotel.

Or am I a crazy man ?

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

I’m in the same situation. Have a cat 1-5 cert attached to a hotel that I’m not as excited about staying at now that my old gold benefits (matched from SPG from Amex Platinum) won’t get me executive lounge access, free breakfast, etc. Wrestling with whether it is better to have an attached or unattached certificate during the transition.

James
Guest
James

Will Gold still get free breakfast at JW Marriotts ?

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

Current Marriott gold that was earned through stays will become Platinum Elite in August and qualify for breakfast. If you currently have Marriott gold from being matched from SPG, which is what I was, you become Gold Elite in August and will not qualify for breakfast.

James
Guest
James

Nuts. I have the Amex Plat which got me Gold in SPG so then I matched across to Marriott so I guess I lose the breakfasts I had planned upon at the JW Marriott.

NUTS.
Cheers.

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

Yes, that is exactly what is happening to me at a 7 day JW Marriott stay in KL in September.

James
Guest
James

That is a HUGE loss as breakfast isn’t cheap 🙁
And the hotel I’m looking at (Phu Quoc) is blooming miles from anywhere else to eat.

Think that has actually put me off staying there now.

James
Guest
James

Yes, it has.
Have to rethink where I want to stay 🙁
Then whether to get a TP to cover it or not.

My brain hurts.

Alex Z.
Guest
Alex Z.

Have to ask for your advice before it’s too late )
I have 150K SPG points. As I understood from reading your articles for several months it is best to convert them to Marriott travel package. So I opened a Marriott rewards account. What are my next steps ? Transfer 90K to Marriott ? Is it instant ?
Then call Marriott, what number is the best ? Can they do a SPG->Marriott transfer on the phone ? Then tell them I want Package 1 for Cat 1-5 with 120K miles. Should I chose airline right away or can change it later ? I have no immediate plans for travel and can’t decide between Virgin, AA and Alaska. Since they are all in the same group, can I appoint airline later ?
Thank you in advance for your answers.

Sam Palmer
Guest
Sam Palmer

THeres lots on the web about how to do this. The transfer happens very quickly. And then once you have the points in Marriott, you must CALL them to book your travel packagae.

OR97
Guest
OR97

Transfer from SPG to Marriott is almost immediate. Need to choose the specific airline when choosing a package. See Frequent Miler’s articles on these topics for more comprehensive info and greater detail

Alex Z.
Guest
Alex Z.

I value everyone’s time, so I read all the articles related to SPG and Marriott on this forum but didn’t find certain answer so I asked for help. Some folks reported being on the phone with Marriott for many hours, that’s why I asked for the best phone number. I’ve read Nick’s article about best airline for Marriott package, but my question was – is there any way to buy travel package #1 and decide about airline later if I don’t have certain travel plans yet ? Or do they ask for the airline frequent miler number and transfer miles immediately, so there is no way back ? I hoped that someone who bought those travel packages in the recent past could write a short to-the-point answer without referring me to search or Google. Thanks !

OR97
Guest
OR97

You need to choose the specific airline, with your airline mile account, at the time of redeeming the package. Can’t be deferred.

Alex Z.
Guest
Alex Z.

Thank you ! I’m starting to hate Marriott ( They take flexibility away from SPG points. If just let them convert to Marriott points, I’ll lose on future transfers (5k bonus on 20k), if I’ll buy package now, will stuck with certain airline, that might not be the best choice for my future travel.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Alex, if the airline transfer bonus is your primary concern, you need not worry. Currently 20k SPG points = 25k airline miles. After the merger, 60k “points” = 25k airline miles. Since your SPG points convert to “points” 3:1, your airline conversion ratio is unchanged.

Alex Z.
Guest
Alex Z.

Thank you !
Decided to gamble with the hope that certificate will convert to points and try to maximize miles by purchasing Cat 1-5 package with 132K United miles. Interesting, that Marriott agent first booked me 5 days package for 235K points (Reward code: 530T), when I noticed the error, she apologized, cancelled that one and booked correct one for 7 days (Reward code: 830T).
Chose United over Alaska cause there is zero availability for CX on Alaska website. Tried BA website too.

Sam Palmer
Guest
Sam Palmer

Lost in your cogent argument, Greg, is Marriott employees. Can you imagine the clusterFrick of complexity the mapping scenario would be for the customer service staff?!!! The phone calls that would come in demanding to know why, for example, a customer signed up for a Cat 1-5 and only now has a Cat 1-4??? The $$$ spent on man hours explaining this crap would not justify the complex mapping route. After all, this merge of three programs is going to be complex enough without the mapping mess. So….you’re 60% estimate might even be too convservative!!!

Elias
Guest
Elias

Thats a really good point. I guess the points refund is the one thst makes more sense like Greg said.

Points Pinnacle
Guest
Points Pinnacle

Thats one of the main reason i think the old cert numbers will just work across the board. Its easy for customers, its easy for employees, its easy for IT. A 6 now is a 6 later and to be generous a 7 and above is good any property.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Hi Greg,

Here’s something I haven’t heard addressed.

Is it still a good idea to get ANY travel package if you value staying in CAT 1,2 or 3 hotels?
We travel international full time and love the way we get treated in the lower end hotels, and mostly resorts.

I’ve been trying to crunch the #’s if I will get better value by simply staying in the lower CAT’s then having to stay in the mid CAT’s to get my value? I could always get more UA points from a Chase transfer or more AS points by purchasing them but where will I get a good deal on Marriott points?

Thoughts?

Vet&Banker
Guest
Vet&Banker

Personal opinion: you cannot go wrong buying the 120K packages for *any* stay if you value the miles. 90K SPG points would provide 110K miles at the current transfer rate (80 x 1.25 + 10K= 110); a TP gives you 10K (or 22K UA) extra miles plus the hotel certificate. Now whether you should have purchased SPG points on sale at 2.24 cents each given your stay patterns is your decision, though IMHO it still works out.

Brett W
Guest
Brett W

Greg (and Nick) thanks for the tireless effort you all have given in covering this issue. I know I’ve been one of those asking you all 10x a week about what you think. Right or wrong, I appreciate how you all have painstakingly analyzed and hypothesized on what you think will happen based on what limited information we have. Thanks again!

CuriousGeorge
Guest
CuriousGeorge

Nick,
(I know you know this but for others) Marriott has a FAQ item for credit card based certs: https://members.marriott.com/faq/#i-have-a-free-night-certificate-from-a-marriott-rewards-or-ritz-carlton-rewards-credit-card-can-i-use-it-at-an-spg-hotel-or-vice-versa-after-august

Wouldn’t it be just easier to do the same for travel package certs? Given that there are potentially many more credit card certs out there why would they want to be so much more generous with travel certs? Wouldn’t they just put a max point value with the existing travel certs and for those that fall within the new categories, allow upgrade/downgrade as they do now?

I do however agree with you that it is suspicious that they do not have a corresponding FAQ item for travel certs …

Nick Reyes
Editor

Greg covers in this post why that doesn’t really work. To reiterate his example, a current Category 9 is 45K points. But there is no 45K anywhere in the new chart. If they gave you an “up to 45K” certificate, the most you could actually use that for is a new Category 5 — which is 30K off-peak, 35K standard, or 40K peak. That would seem like a pretty wild devaluation of your certificate since you could previously always get 45K per night in “value” out of it and now you’re stuck reserving a place you could have booked for fewer points otherwise (potentially 15K per night less if you intend to travel in off-peak season). So that’s why he hypotheizes that they will either move the value to a level that more neatly corresponds to the new chart (i.e. “Up to 50K”) — or cash them out for points. Really, if you give this post a second read, I think it makes sense as to why he’s 60% sure it won’t work out as an “up to X points” certificate.

The credit card nights are right now valid at properties that charge up to 25K per night (Current Cat 5). That maps a lot nicer to the new Cat 4. The Travel Packages are a lot more complex since there are so many levels that don’t correspond neatly to new categories.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I have two Ritz-Carlton Tier 1-4 certificates from signing up for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card. Thoughts on what points-based value will be assigned to my certificate after August?

Bob
Guest
Bob

One caution in trying to glean any understanding from how Marriott is treating single free night certs awarded obtained by simply holding a credit card – travel packages are a more complex form of benefit where a much higher percentage of holders are experienced travel hackers. In short, travel package holders are a different type of population that Marriott must deal with – they are more sophisticated and aggressive with accumulating and using points. This alone, I think, causes Marriott to treat travel packages differently. On balance, I agree with Greg and Nick – Marriott’s silence is calculated based on its audience. So, a point cash out for unattached certificates at a fair or generous level would be a “win” that would cause many travel package holders (or would be holders) to make a run on what they see is a good deal, if not a bonanza.The key question is not only when and what, but also how Marriott will roll out their policy to deal with travel packages. What is clear is that travel packages obtained now are far more valuable than they will be in a week or so. But given the uncertainty Marriott has interjected into this by their silence, a hedging strategy (i.e., some attached, some not) with multiple travel packages probably is the best move right now.

doca
Guest
doca

Got a 7 night certificate along with Southwest miles just before SW closed the companion pass hotel transfer window. The certificate was due to expire last Feb but Marriott was nice enough to renew it for me for another year. New expiration is Feb 2019.
However, in my account the certificate description reads: P830 PARTIAL PKG-CAT 1-5 – 45,000 Points
Am I missing something here? Seems like 45,000 points will not come close to covering 7 nights. Wondering if I should call for clarification before 8/1?

Paul
Guest
Paul

That’s how many points you would get if you called to surrender the certificate, if you plan on using the certificate for a hotel stay that value is meaningless.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Paul is correct. See this post for screen shots showing what you’re talking about:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2017/05/16/upgrading-marriott-travel-packages/

doca
Guest
doca

Clarification appreciated from both of you!. Still, as I no longer have anything in my account showing that I own a 7 night package since I renewed the original certificate, it begs the question of whether or not I should be booking a hotel stay before or after 8/1 (or thereabouts).

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

You described my exact situation (bought for the SW companion pass), and extended the certificate. And my Marriott account says the exact same thing, so I was wondering about this also. I just hope that if these go to a point conversion in the new system, it’s not mistaken for 45,000 points total.

LeoM
Guest
LeoM

Hi Greg and hi Nick,

Firstly thank you for your continuous reporting on this topic! Much appreciate it as with all your posts.
I have a scheduled 7 night stay at a Cat 9 Hotel (pre-Aug).
Thanks to your input these past months, I was able to amass enough points to buy a TP at that category, I am ready.
That property will drop to a Cat 6 for the remainder of 2018 (and for our planned stay).

Do I buy a Cat 9 or Cat 6 Travel Package before Aug 1st?
Do I buy Cat 9 TP and use the certificate pre-Aug then downgrade after Aug 1st?

In the meantime I booked the room on points at 45k/night.
Thanks!

Nick Reyes
Editor

New Cat 6 isn’t a drop from Cat 9 — that’s an increase. Current Cat 9 is 45K per night. New Cat 6 is 50K per night. You want to buy a Cat 9 right now and attach it before that propery gets more expensive.

Points Pinnacle
Guest
Points Pinnacle

Leo is in the exact same situation as I am. What if he redeemed for a category 6 right now and the categories transfered over number to number? Then attached it in August to the property, He would save a ton of Marriott points vs buying the category 9 today.

Im sitting on 330k Marriott points im going to roll the dice and redeem for 7 night category 7 package.

I guess Leo if this trip is extremely important to you then book the category 9 today but if you dont have to take it and are flexible and dont mind some risk you could do better holding off.

Nick Reyes
Editor

While I think it would be awesome if you are right about the category numbers mattering more than the actual cost of the hotels and therefore a Cat 6 mapping to Cat 6, I think it is extremely unlikely to pan out that way. Your scenario is akin to Marriott giving away 120K miles to everyone. A current Cat 6 package costs 300K for 7 nights + 120K airline miles. You’re proposing that Marriott is going to give you 7 nights in a “new” Category 6 hotel (standard cost = 300K points). I think that level of generosity is unrealistic. Giving back the 180K points is so generous that Greg is only 60% confident it will happen (precisely because it seems overly generous). Mapping by category number instead of cost and therefore giving you the equivalent of 300K in value is even less likely IMO. Again, I’d love to be wrong….but that would be crazy.

Points Pinnacle
Guest
Points Pinnacle

One thing is for sure, Marriott is certainly making this interesting!

james
Guest
james

interesting !! More like annoying !!
Why not just f-ing tell us what’s going to happen with TP certificates.
Its infuriating.

Richard King
Guest
Richard King

I had to return my Cat 6 certif. because health prevented my trip. Marriott returned 75k points (I understand Cat 1-5 returns yield 45k points). Why should Marriott now return more than that for “floater” / unassigned certifs.? We already get the air miles.

LeoM
Guest
LeoM

Ouch! Thanks Nick. I clearly didn’t understand how it works then… Ah!

james
Guest
james

Aha !!!! How do I ‘attach’ a certificate to a property ?

( extra info

I really want a cert for JW Marriott Phu Quoc but its Cat 6 at the moment (was Cat 5 last year !) and I do not know what on earth is going to happen with the certs or the category of this hotel.

If I buy a Cat 6 cert now I’ve no idea if I’ll be able to use it going forward at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc.

Any ideas ?

I haven’t got enough SPG points for the cert outright so will need to transfer some Amex MR too.
I’ll have to transfer 60K MR points (half my stash) in order to get the Cat 6 cert with 120k airline miles.

I just don’t know whether to just keep the SPG points and try to book a fancy high tier hotel after the change or to get the TP.
I’ve no doubt I’d prefer the TP if (and it is an IF) I can still get the JW Marriott for the Cat 6 TP price.

Grrrrr…………. )

USB
Guest
USB

If this prediction were to be correct, 7 night 1-5 packages would be better than 5 night 1-5. By spending 35K more points, you could potentially get 50K more points.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Love your blog and all you do, but at this point you’re the embodiment of the Observer Effect. Constant trumpeting of this has the potential to affect the experiment. Give it a rest for a while.

JB from San Diego
Guest
JB from San Diego

Sweet! I like my chances here and took you up on getting the CAT 8 this last Friday!

So now, I have my CAT 8 cert!

You are the man Greg! Although, if this 60% chance goes through, you will be beyond the man!!

5150d
Guest
5150d

You guys are doing a great job. Much thanks!
60% – 68.5%.
I go with 100%.
Travel Package (old) cut off 7/31 midnight.
Announce Floaters converted to Points 8/1.

FYI – DP – I have a Mega Bonus one night certificate that was due to expire 8/1.
Marriott automatically extended it to October.
This is a real Floater.
Something is up.

Roshan Advani
Guest
Roshan Advani

Hi Greg,

Thanks for all the super useful info. Have a quick question – I am looking to redeem a Marriott travel package and wondering which category to redeem for. My options:
1) I have enough points for 120,000 miles + a 7 nights Cat 7 hotel certificate.
2) OR I can transfer around 16,000 MR to SPG and then to Marriott to reach the points requirement for a 120,000 miles + 7 nights at Cat 8 hotel certificate too.
3) OR I get 120,000 miles + 7 nights at Cat 1-5 hotel.

Personally, I don’t have an immediate redemption in mind and would like to wait before applying the certificate. Or I could apply now towards a hotel in Hawaii or something for next year and then plan around it. I know there is no clarity on what would happen to the hotel certificate post Aug 1st, but I’ve read that the best value now is to go for the higher category certificates like cat 7,8,9.

Any suggestions on which category package will be the best redemption? Either if I want to apply the ceritificate now and plan something around it, or take a wait and watch gamble.

Appreciate the help and input.

Thanks!

Kimbra
Guest
Kimbra

Any 60% speculations on what happens to the Ritz Carlton Free Nights Tier 1-4 from the credit card sign up? Should I try to earn before Aug 1st? Ty

Kimbra
Guest
Kimbra
Nick Reyes
Editor

Our bet is that they will be converted to an “up to 60K points” value, which means they could be used to book any hotel starting in August. Should you try to earn them before August 1st? I don’t know if it matters, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so I’d try.

Marriott_Plat_Mark
Guest
Marriott_Plat_Mark

Well, I have been watching and posting on Marriott’s Insider blog site and saw this thread here…

All this speculation and guessing is amusing reading but it’s like guessing what the stock market is going to do.

I wish Marriott would just let is know what is going to happen with Travel hotel certs that are unassigned/reserved so we can save all this guessing!

Until the answer is divulged, we will be waiting for the music to stop so we can sit down and get on with our traveling.

….

james
Guest
james

I was thinking that its the same as the stock market too. People putting %ages on certain outcomes and other people ‘betting’ based upon that.
Fingers crossed none of us get burnt.

jan
Guest
jan

I have a 7 night cat 6 certificate. I have a vacation plan for HK and thinking about Courtyard Hong Kong Category 6 for December 2018. However, with the new chart, Courtyard HK will be Category 4 at 25k points. What do you think is the best strategy? Downgrade to Cat 1-5 ? Book the Courtyard HK in the next couple of days? leave the certificate without any attached hotel? OR???

Nick Reyes
Editor

I guess I’d book a Cat 1-5 certificate (so yes, downgrade I think). I guess it somewhat depends on how important the trip is, but I’d probably go for a 1-5.

Buddy M.
Guest
Buddy M.

I have 360k Marriott points; just enough to get 7 nights at the top award level when the transition happens sometime in August until the end of 2018. My question is what are my chances of snagging one of the top tier hotels like the 2 in Bora Bora or the St. Regis Maldives or W Maldives? I was planning on taking the 1st day of the changeover off from work to stay home on the phone to try and snag any 7 days in a row that are available in 2019. I would maybe be able to go in 2018 but not sure as I’ve already made vacation plans for this year. Does anyone know if there’s a low season for Bora Bora or the Maldives? I could ask for that time of the year. Not sure what the capabilities of the Marriott’s reps’ computer system is in terms of searching for availability. I don’t want to waste precious time searching.

Nick Reyes
Editor

I think the chances are slim as everyone with 60K or more Marriott points in their pockets are going to be trying. That said, slim isn’t impossible – somebody is going to score a room or two. Surely, there will be a lot of competition. Honestly, I think chances are going to be better in October and November looking out toward the end of the schedule than the chances are going to be of scoring something when the programs combine in August just because you’ll be competing with a smaller pool. That said, you’ll also be competing for a very small window of dates since the first half of 2019 will likely be booked solid when the programs combine. I don’t think I’d take a day off of work anticipating success….though you can’t win if you don’t play.

Buddy M.
Guest
Buddy M.

I could always try to get one day at a time for as far out the Marriott schedule goes and see if I can get 7 days in a row. I really would like to go to the Maldives in October 2019 so I can combine that with a trip to the Seychelles or Mauritius. I have been successful in the past doing this with award nights at hotels but I’ve only tried to get 4 days in a row as that is all I needed. I just have to find out when(my local time of the day) they add the next day to their award schedule. Thanks, barring any new information from Marriott, I think I’ve made up my mind as to what I am going to do.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I’m having a very hard time buying the Hotel + Air Package 1 for 270,000 Marriott points giving me 7 nights in 1-5 Cat and 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles.

My problem is that Marriott always gets an “incorrect number” when entering my Virgin Atlantic number.

I checked with Virgin Atlantic multiple times and the number is fully working, they even did a “dummy booking” to see if it picks the number up, which it did.

I now also created a second account at Virgin Atlantic and get the same error message when trying to book the package on the phone…

The “partner specialist” now has to open a ticket an send it to the corp. tax report to see why the number is not valid.

I’m getting scared that I will not be able to book the package before the 1. August 2018.

Did anybody just recently get Virgin Atlantic miles?

Any other ideas?

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

Make sure name matches between both accounts exactly.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Thanks, but both used names are identical.

OR97
Guest
OR97

Maybe the addresses on the accounts not matching? Just reaching here

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

address is also matching, but thank you.

I’m trying to get a feedback on twitter now, hope that works.

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

kevin. did u know that VS went from 11 digit loyalty number to 10? do you have both? this update happened last year. this is a Y2K type issue with marriott and VS systems not talking with each other.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I checked, I had opened the account recently and it as only 10 numbers.

yesterday I was told that Virign Atlantic doesn’t exist anymore and I should go with delta…

Brandon Sosa
Guest
Brandon Sosa

I’m interested in purchasing a travel package, but having trouble determining the one I need. The hotel I’d like to stay at is currently a Sheraton category 4 and after August will become category 5. Not sure if I should purchase the current Cat 1-5 package or if I need to buy the Cat. 6.

Sorry if this should be obvious.
EDIT: I read the post again and answered my own question, I believe I should buy Cat 1-5 and hope it maps to atleast a Cat. 5 hotel in the new program.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Current Category 5 is 25K points per night — so the max value on a current Cat 1-5 is 25K per night. If your Sheraton is going to be “new” Category 5, that means it is going to be 35K per night. I think you could buy a current Category 6 and hope that if they convert to an “up to” level, Marriott is generous and gives you up to 35K. Or you could buy a current Category 7 since those are currently 35K per night — one would think you’d be able to book a “new” 35K property with those. On the flip side, if they cash in for points, it won’t matter which one you redeemed for.

I don’t think it is likely that a current Cat 1-5 will map to new Category 5, but it’s possible.

Brandon Sosa
Guest
Brandon Sosa

Thank you,Nick. That makes sense.

trackback

[…] Miler has covered this in great detail including today where Greg theorizes that these certs will be exchanged for their maximum value in points. That […]

LAXJeff
Guest
LAXJeff

For me the hardest problem is guessing how they will map the category conversions. If the floater certificate is devalued because it doesn’t map over to where I thought I would be able to use it, then there’s no recourse for me to pay the old amount of points to upgrade it to the proper category. This has turned into a dice roll as I want to book multiple TP’s but might not be able to attach the certificates right away.

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

FYI. marriott-spg-ritz-transition-guide should be updated with the latest posts.

Jay
Guest
Jay

I am planning to book a week at the end of Aug of 2019 so I am not sure if I should wait or pull the trigger now due to your article. Rep told me they will not extend the certificate post Aug 1st but I am guessing they will either give us the 300k points (best case) or re-issue a new certificate that will have a 1 year expiration from the new date of re-issue ?

Current Redemption
420k Marriott travel package
7 night + 120,000 miles
Total cost 420,000

After Aug 1st Redemption
35k/night (level drop in category)
390k Marriott travel package
7 night + 100k miles
Additional 10k miles will run me ~ 24k miles
Total cost 414,000

Thoughts ? Advice ?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I don’t really understand your details.

Your “current redemption” looks like Ritz Tier 1-3. I guess you’re thinking about redeeming for a Ritz Tier 1-3? Ritz Tier 3 is currently 50K per night.

After the programs merge (remember, it’s probably not going to be August 1st), your numbers are a “new” Category 5 travel package. Are you trying to decide between redeeming for a Ritz Tier 1-3 today or a new Category 5 later? If that’s the case, you definitely want to redeem for a package today. The new packages are a much worse value. I think they aren’t completely destroyed if you value the hotel certificate, but they are unquestionably a worse deal. You’re looking at paying more for a less valuable certificate.

I don’t really undersand where you’re coming up witht he idea of an additional 10K miles costing you 24K (24K what?). I’m further not sure why you’re comparing with 10K additional miles.

Overall, I’m confused. What are you debating?

As for a rep saying that the certs will no longer be extended: that’s possible, but I wouldn’t take one rep’s word for it on that. Reps are often wrong about stuff like that.

Jay
Guest
Jay

Hi Nick –

Sorry, let me explain better…

I am trying to decide if I should grab a travel package at the current rate of 420k for 7-night Tier 1-4 package + 120k or wait after Aug 1st to grab the cat5 7-night package for 390k points + 100k miles (hotel maps down to new cat5). Additionally, perhaps it be better to secure a cat7 7-night package now as it seems that it might convert to the new category 5? Thoughts?

My main dilemma is that if I pull the trigger now the certificate will expire exactly 1 year from now while our travels will be in the end of August and I am not sure if they will get extended in result to the Aug merger.

Based on the article I was thinking that if Marriott issues 300k points back to my account we could always grab another travel package in September for the additional 90k and that would be a way better value for us (7 nights at a new cat5 + 220k miles for total of 510k Marriott points) rather than waiting after Aug 1st.

In respect to the airline mile conversion, Marriot would give us 25k miles for every 60k Marriott points transferred to an airline so that would value the 20k miles that at 48k Marriott points. Thus the a 420k Tier 4 package today would cost us 438k at a category 5 after Aug 1st for the same hotel. There is too many scenarios in the air so not sure what is the best/safest approach in my case 🙂 .

Shall we book now/wait and what is the safest category to book?

Thanks for the input/help!!

LTL
Guest
LTL

Greg – I’m trying to make a decision about how to use 150k SPG points. I want to stay at a Cat 8 hotel next year — the kind that will temporarily be Cat 7. Do you agree with this analysis (realizing it’s a gamble):

-140k SPG –> 420k Marriott
-Buy Ritz Tier 1-3 travel package for 420k Marriott and get 120k miles
-The gamble: The Ritz package gets converted to 300k Marriott points, which can be used to book 6 nights at a “Temporary Cat 7” hotel (60k x 6 = 360k with 5th night free)

My logic for buying Ritz Tier 1-3 is that it’s the ‘second highest’ priced travel package, and gambling that it will map onto the ‘second highest’ category of hotels, i.e. Cat 7.

I think the downside risk here is that the Tier 1-3 package converts to a category-based package *and* it maps to Category 6 *and* it costs an exorbitant amount of points to upgrade to a Cat 7 (if I buy the package at the current price of 420k but they want an additional 150k Marriott points (to total 570k, the new Cat 7 price). Because then I wouldn’t be able to buy a “Temporary Cat 7” hotel and I would have certs, rather than points

How risky do you think my gamble is? (And, do I have the math right?)

Thanks!

Diana
Guest
Diana

I currently have 243,000 Marriott points and am planning a trip to Hawaii for next year. Which travel package would give me the most value for airline miles for a family of four to Hawaii?

Nick Reyes
Editor

This kind of depends where you’re located and which airlines serve your airport. If you’re on the West Coast, you might be best off with British Airways since they charge 12,500 on either Alaska Airlines or American if you can find saver availability from the West Coast. If you’re not on the West Coast, it somewhat depends on when you’re thinking about going. Since Southwest is maintaining that they’ll start selling tickets to Hawaii this year, we expect that they’ll begin flying to Hawaii in 2019. You might be best off redeeming for a package with Southwest, but it’s a bit of a gamble since they’re not actually flying there yet. They do have gate space and I do expect that it will start, we just don’t know when. Otherwise, your best option out of travel packages would probably be United I guess. Really, the best value for getting to Hawaii on miles has long been via either Korean Air Skypass or Air france-KLM Flying Blue for travel in economy class, but those travel packages only award 85000 miles. And now Flying Blue has variable award pricing. Add on to that that you’re relying on finding Delta saver space, whatever that might mean today, and I think United becomes a better pick. It’s definitely not an easy answer. Note that Singapore Krisflyer charges fewer miles for travel on United than United does, but that’s another airline in the 85,000 category.

Diana
Guest
Diana

Thanks for the feedback!! We live in Florida and plan to go in the summer or for winter break in December . My original plan was to get the southwest package and try to get the companion pass for my husband and I again to save on points, but it does feel like I’m kind of gambling with that since we still don’t know how many points it will be to get there and whether we will both qualify to get the companion pass. I thought about the Korean Sky pass package too, but like you said it doesn’t give as many points , so I thought maybe getting another card bonus like chase Sapphire Preferred or business Ink to make up the difference? I also thought about using some our southwest points that’s we have already to get to the West coast and use BA avios via American or Alaska, but I’ll have to look into United as well. I don’t have much experience with flying other airlines other than southwest, so I wasn’t sure which ones have the best chances of finding award flight availablity to Hawaii?

Jan
Guest
Jan

I like the 60% estimate as it seems the fairest. I wonder if Marriot would base the calculation for the off peak rate so Old Cat 1-5 would be new Cat 4 and off season rate is 20k (x6) and those with unused certificate would receive 120k then for every category , 30k ( or a bit less) would be awarded for each category up.
Cat 6 will be 120k plus 30k ( or a bit less)
Cat 7 will be 120 plus 60k
ETC

James
Guest
James

I really want a cert for JW Marriott Phu Quoc but its Cat 6 at the moment (was Cat 5 last year !) and I do not know what on earth is going to happen with the certs or the category of this hotel.

If I buy a Cat 6 cert now I’ve no idea if I’ll be able to use it going forward at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc.

Any ideas ?

I haven’t got enough SPG points for the cert outright so will need to transfer some Amex MR too.
I’ll have to transfer 60K MR points (half my stash) in order to get the Cat 6 cert with 120k airline miles.

I just don’t know whether to just keep the SPG points and try to book a fancy high tier hotel after the change or to get the TP.
I’ve no doubt I’d prefer the TP if (and it is an IF) I can still get the JW Marriott for the Cat 6 TP price.

Grrrrr………….

Nick Reyes
Editor

You can see all of the new categories online. Marriott previously released the full new Award chart. The JW Marriott Phu Quoc is going up to 35k per night. If you want a travel package for that property, I suggest buying a category 6 today and making a reservation. However, it’s questionable as to whether or not it’s worth transferring 60,000 Membership Rewards points for it. You’re getting significantly less of a deal since Membership Rewards points already transfer 1:1 to airlines. The value in the travel package is turning less valuable points (Marriott points) into more valuable points (airline miles). You could do that, because you’re still converting mostly Marriott points, it’s just less compelling unless you’re transferring to an airline like Alaska that doesn’t normally transfer from Membership Rewards.

Entrada
Guest
Entrada

I am interested in using a TP at a Starwood Hotel that will be a CAT 5 (35,000) under the new program. Of course I can not book it via Marriott until August. I was able to find a hotel that is currently a marriott CAT 5 (25,000) and will remain a CAT 5 (35,000) in August (an increase of 10,000). I am thinking of attaching a CAT 1-5 TP certificate to a reservation at this hotel in hopes that I can change it to another CAT 5 hotel in August since I would not be changing categories. I know nothing is certain but am curious what you think the downside might be.

Jan
Guest
Jan

If it is option 2 and those with the Cat 6 certificate including myself would receive 180k , on a 7 night redemption, I would not have enough points for the new category 5 and I would have left over for the new Category 4. (25k times 6 equals 150k) Would I lose the 30k points left over or does it go back into my account if it is converted to a point based travel certificate?

Nick Reyes
Editor

If the certificates get cashed in for points, you would just have the points to do with as you please. You could book a seven-night stay, five night stay, two nights stay, whatever you want. Break it up as you wish.

If, however, they get converted to an up to 30 K per night or 35 K per night, you don’t get anything back for booking a lower category.

Jan
Guest
Jan

If it is converted to 35k , that would be sweet, but if converted to 30k night CERTIFICATE than the best I can do is redeem for 7 nights at the new category 4 and lose out on the 30k points.
Should I just downgrade my certificate to CAT 1-5 then? Also, if I do downgrade, what should I say and the CSR do to make this a smooth transition? What will appear on my Unused Certificate? Will the 30k points come back instantly? would the CSR screw up and cancel the certificate all together? I have had plenty of CSR mistakes recently and just got solved.

Nick Reyes
Editor

This is precisely why we think the 30k certificate scenario is unlikely. Marriott has maintained that they want to keep everybody whole and I just don’t see them essentially taking value away from the travel package certificates that people have already redeemed for.

You certainly could downgrade yours, but I would suggest leaving it. I personally redeemed for a category 6 because I think these packages are more likely than not going to get converted to straight points, but if they don’t I think the next most likely scenario is Marriott bumps them up in value if your package is an in-betweener ( by that I mean something like a Cat 6 30k that doesn’t slide into the new chart easily). I expect Category 6 to then provide a small win. So I figure I’m set to win either way. If they cash in for points, it’s probably the biggest win in miles and points in a long time. If they bump it up in value, that’s great too. I’d take a week at the St. Regis Astana if that’s what they want to give me. And if I could convince my wife to go to Kazakhstan for a week.

Jan
Guest
Jan

Thanks Nick for your prompt replies. I somehow think Marriott will be generous. Marriott had been generous to give SPG gold the Marriott gold benefit for a while. I guess if Marriott really wants to give us 30k points instead of bumping it to 35k points, the rational could be that we are still able to book the new CAT 5 in the off season for 30k….but the off season definition is up in the air. And this could make people unhappy.
PS. Good to know you have a CAT 6. I will stay put.

Richard King
Guest
Richard King

I had to return my Cat 6 certif. because health prevented my trip. Marriott returned 75k points (I understand Cat 1-5 returns yield 45k points). Why should Marriott now return more than that for “floater” / unassigned certifs.? We already get the air miles.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Sorry you had to cancel! Hope things are better now.

To answer your question, this is different than a “voluntary” cancellation (I’m using that word loosely as I know you didn’t volunteer to be sick). Imagine Joe Business Traveler who has a bunch of Marriott points from business travel, but doesn’t live and breathe miles and points. Yesterday, Joe redeemed for a travel package. Joe knows which hotel he wants, but it’s a stay for next May and he can’t yet commit to exact dates. Since his certificate is valid for a year, he intends to book in a couple of months.

Imagine Joe’s confusion if Marriott cancelled his certificate three weeks after he bought it and gave him enough points for just 2 free nights. From Joe’s perspective, he bought a package that included a 7-night stay. He likely feels like he paid for that stay with his hard-earned points (and he’s not wrong). Joe might not really have a firm handle on the difference in value between hotel points and airline miles — he just wanted the joy of a free vacation, and the miles and nights would give him that.

So I think it would be very difficult for Marriott to cash in Joe’s certificate (and therefore all certificates) for less than the value of 7 nights. They certainly may find a way to convert these to new 7-night certificates worth “up to X points per night”. But if they cash them in, I think it would be hard to explain to Joe Business Traveler why the 7 night stay he paid for yesterday became worth only 2 nights less than a month later.

If they had any thought about doing that, I’d have expected them to stop selling the packages and notify all certificate holders that they need to be used by August 18th or they would be cancelled for 45K + the difference in cost between Cat 1-5 and their package. Even then I think it wouldn’t be worth the hours of confusion and outrage from normal bread-and-butter customers, especially since Marriott sold them a package that Marriott was willing to honor (it’s not like these packages are a mistake — Marriott finds the value in selling you 7 nights plus miles or they wouldn’t be doing it). Since that hasn’t happened and rather they have confirmed that they will offer these packages until August 17th, I can’t see them cashing these out for such low value (unless of course a customer requested it).

Keep in mind that Marriott will usually extend these for a year just by asking and upgrading/downgrading has historically extended the expiration for a year, so for those coming up on expiration before the 18th, it’s worth pursuing how to keep the certificate alive for another year rather than cancelling at this point.

Richard King
Guest
Richard King

I want to stay at the Marriott County Hall hotel in London for 4 nights in Aug. 2019. The booking calendar only goes into early July 2019. Should I book 4 nights @45k=180k now using points alone for July 2019 and as soon that I can move the date as the calendar opens for Aug. 2019…. Or would it be better for me to book a 7 night vacation package @390k for this category 9 Marriott, taking the 132K United miles now, reserving 7 nights in July 2019, and hoping that as the calendar opens I will be able to move the 7 nights into August once available, even though I’m only going to use 4 nights. Which makes better sense assuming booking these before Aug. 1, 2018. Also if I cannot book 7 consecutive nights, does that mean I will not be able to use any of the package? If I can book 7 consecutive nights, is it OK if I only use the first 4 nights without penalty, losing of course the final 3 nights.

Sinfonia
Guest
Sinfonia

Thanks for covering this topic. I am interested in a property that is currently a Marriott category 6. It will become a category 4 with the changes. I am perplexed what I should purchase today – a category 6 and attach it to a reservation? Or a category 1-5 and leave it as a floater, then attach after the changes take effect? If I purchase 6 now and attach it, will I be compensated for the downgrade after the changes? I cannot understand which is the way to go.

Susan
Guest
Susan

I was in the same boat. I bought 2 TPs, cat 6 and 8, several weeks ago for 2 weeks in Paris next spring. Both properties are going down by 5k points/night. But, it was worth it for my husband and me to go ahead and buy the packages at the lower rate, get more miles (we got United), book the hotels, and be done with it. I’ve never bought a TP before and we combined all of our points (Marriott and SPG) to do this. We would not have had enough points to do this at the new rates.

Sinfonia
Guest
Sinfonia

Thanks for responding. I bought a 1-5 package today (before seeing this response) because four different Marriott agents advised me to book 1-5 and then wait to attach it until after the merger. I questioned them, asking if there was a chance the unattached certificate would be canceled before I could attach it, and they all said no. I finally just did what they suggested. I suppose I could call back now and upgrade to a 6, but it seems odd to me that so many agents are advising me to do it this way.

Susan
Guest
Susan

Hmmm, that’s interesting. Maybe they know something they can’t tell. I certainly don’t know what’s optimal. I didn’t even ask the reps, just went ahead and made the reservations with the certificates. We knew we would love to spend time in Paris and were able commit to the dates. If Marriott is generous in how they treat the floater certificates, I may have lost out by going ahead and attaching the certificates to a reservation now, before the merger, but we simply did not want to risk a “bird in hand” by waiting. Good luck!

john cooper
Guest
john cooper

After reading some of your posts, I recently ordered the Travel 3 package category 5. I thought I read that you could upgrade to a higher package by applying additional points. When I spoke to a Rewards rep, they said I was “stuck:” on Category 5 only. Is this true? Can I not add additional points to a higher category? If so, who who i call? Thanks

FlyerDad
Guest
FlyerDad

Hi Greg/Nick: I’ve been thinking about purchasing 4 (yes, 4) Miles & More packages to get 2 round trip first class tickets to Europe. The other option, which has much less risk, is simply transferring 160,000 SPG to Asiana. But–MM has way better availability and, if your predictions (60%) bear out, I will get two F tix for the same mileage with much better availability and without having to wait until 15 days before. Plus, being on the west coast it will likely further open up some options. So my (likely unanswerable) question is–is transferring 360,000 SPG to MM (with the hope of getting 200,000 SPG back) worth the risk?

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[…] Many of us have been waiting until August 18th to learn what will happen to the travel package stay certificates that we acquired prior to August 18th.  This afternoon, we finally got some information from Marriott.  For background on this topic, please see: What will happen to existing Marriott Travel Package certificates? […]

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[…] include: all certificates will be refunded for points back; certificates will be converted from category based to points-based; certificates will all be downgraded to category 1-4 (with the difference in price refunded); and […]