Marriott Travel Packages won’t turn into points, but will go into 1 month limbo

Marriott 7 Night Travel Packages

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?

We learned the following:

  • New travel package pricing begins August 18th (yes, we already knew that)
  • Existing travel package stay certificates that have not yet been used to book a stay will be in limbo between August 18th and September 17th.  If you don’t book a stay before August 18th, you won’t be able to use the certificate until September 18th.
  • If, before August 18th, you apply a travel package stay certificate to an award stay, you won’t be able to modify the reservation until September 18th.

And the following was implied:

  • As of September 18th, old stay certificates will become new certificates.  But we do not know how they will map old to new.
  • Despite what Starwood Lurker had said about floater certificates, these certificates will not be refunded for points.

Again, for background on this topic, please see: What will happen to existing Marriott Travel Package certificates?

The Message

Here was the actual message that we received from Dan Forman, Senior Director – Loyalty, Digital, Marketing Innovation PR at Marriott International:

Hot off the presses…

When our loyalty programs unify on August 18, our new Travel Package award chart here, will go into effect and members will be able to book for packages at all 6,700 of our hotels.

However, if you currently have a Travel Package Certificate that’s not yet attached to a hotel reservation, you have the following options:

  • If you know when you want to travel, make a new reservation or attach your certificate to an existing one prior to August 18, 2018.
  • If you are still trying to plan that perfect trip, you can hold onto the certificate and will be able to add it to a reservation starting September 18, 2018.

Please note that you will not be able to modify your certificate for an existing reservation or attach it to a new one between August 18 and September 18, 2018.

So… What should we do?

I’m just beginning to digest this news, so I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this topic soon, but for now:

  • If you want to book a Marriott hotel with an existing travel package stay certificate and you want to book it before September 18th, you should do it now (before 8/18)
  • If you want to book a Starwood property with an existing travel package stay certificate, you’ll have to wait until September 18th.
  • If you have no idea how you want to use the stay certificate, consider using it to book a hotel that will be going way up in award cost in the new program (see: Banking travel certificates for future luxury).  It’s unlikely, but there’s a chance that this will increase the value of your certificate.  Update: the more I think about this I realize that this really won’t help unless you book a place you want to stay.
  • If you haven’t booked a travel package yet, but you intend to do so before new pricing goes into effect on August 18th, then see this post for ideas: Marriott Travel Package Arbitrage

This shows possible mappings from old to new categories.

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.

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AndrewOnTheRoad
Guest
AndrewOnTheRoad

This kind of stinks. It eliminates a full month from the possibility of planning a trip. It also locks people out of being able to book SPG properties before availability dries up from everyone else snagging those great new redemptions.

Anyone else thing this is just a kick the deadline for their IT solution down the road sort of thing?

Jim Lovejoy
Guest
Jim Lovejoy

Currently Marriott allows you to book reward stays even if you don’t have the points. Perhaps you could roll the dice on which category Travel Package to get now, After August 18th make a reward booking for the property you want, and September 18th do what you need to adjust the hotel certificate and attach it to your award stay.

I repeat, that strategy is rolling the dice, so don’t blame me if it doesn’t work 🙂

Kimbra
Guest
Kimbra

Well,I rolled the dice hoping they would convert to points. No plans to use 2 – 5 Night Cat 8 certificates. Maybe they will convert to new Cat 6, but I would rather Cat 7.

Narayana S
Guest
Narayana S

How did you get the 5 night certs

Kimbra
Guest
Kimbra

Marriott Vacation Club owners can purchase 5 nights. But the Cat 9 does not have the 5th night free in the calculations which is a bummer. I may need to upgrade to Cat 9 to lock in before Aug 18th. Not optimistic they way things are looking

Tigris23
Guest
Tigris23

Greg, I’ve read Marriott was pretty lenient previously in extending the 7-nights cert. to another year. With all these changes, do you think this will change? I have two 7-night certs. and don’t know what to do with them now as I have no plans to use any for next year.

seeking
Guest
seeking

I think if you have a legitimate reason as to why you cant use them they’ll be generous. Otherwise, no. This is the vibe two reps have given me.

Julia
Guest
Julia

Interesting message and my tingley spider sense suggests that they’re trying to maneuver people into using the certs asap. One has to ask the question why? I still think the return the points option is probable. It goes on to say we have the following options but it doesn’t say those are our only options. Looking forward to your next article on this Greg.

Ben
Guest
Ben

I agree – I’m not sure this really obviates the points return option.

Angie
Guest
Angie

Does any of this affect the certificates from the Ritz cc signup bonus? Do you have a post on those certificates and what categories we can potentially book? Thanks in advance.

Scott
Guest
Scott

Will they still let you refund the hotel certificate for 45k points?

Chris
Guest
Chris

Is there any confirmation what will happen to Chase Free Night Certificates after Aug 18? Thanks

Paul
Guest
Paul

Well, like everyone else has posted, that stinks. I had finally decided to use my cert for a nice SPG property right where I had to be for a 7-day meeting in October. There were a couple properties there, but they were all SPG or Marriott category 7/8 and they would all become Marriott category 5 on August 18. Given that it’s a big meeting, I’m SOL.

Blue
Guest
Blue

Why? Book the Marriott and wait until after September 18 to attach the certificate.

Paul
Guest
Paul

My Marriott certificate is a category 1-5 certificate. I should have specified that before.

Blue
Guest
Blue

Since they are being converted to new certificates you should be able to bump it to a new cat 5 for 60K.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Did I skim over this post too quickly? I assumed it would stay a cat 5 certificate.

I had to get them to renew it recently, so it is ow listed as a 45k value cert, which is different than what it used to be and it has a different code.

Blue
Guest
Blue

The e-mail seems to indicate that they will come back as one of the new certificates, direct mapping still unknown. If so they should still be able to be adjusted by category.

45K is just the point surrender value of a 1-5 certificate.

Platinum
Guest
Platinum

Didnt try to game the system and didnt buy into all the windfall hype. I bought 2 cats 1-5 and 1 cat 7 all of which I have plans to use. All the peeps who bought these packages with no intention to use them should be happy with the miles as those redemptions will be a lot less lucratuve after 8/18. I am sure there will be a lot of breakage on these TPs and maybe Marriott wanted that all along.

Blue
Guest
Blue

There’s no doubt in my mind Marriott is highly motivated by breakage!

Miller508
Guest
Miller508

Starwood lurkers comments was the nudge that made me get 2 certs 1-5 and a 8, this is why I don’t gamble but got greedy this time

David
Guest
David

So someone like me who didn’t get the cert because I was on the fence, I value the points more for hotel stays than miles, should not get a cert?

seeking
Guest
seeking

If I didnt value miles of hotel points, I personally wouldnt go with a package. This also takes into consideration the fact I dont like to travel for seven days at a time. It think the cat package also could be a factor.

Jimm
Guest
Jimm

Related side question: After buying the cert, how long before the air miles typically post? It’s been three days and I have the certificate, but the Alaska miles still haven’t hit my account…

Lars
Guest
Lars

Mine posted in about a week. CSR had told me that it could take a couple of weeks.

ARNY
Guest
ARNY

I bought 2 certs. 1 for United that posted in 2-3 business days. The one for Alaska took much longer – bought Travel Package on 7/29 and Alaska miles posted 8/10

Miller508
Guest
Miller508

My experience, 3 Days for United (both of my certs) done separately

Miller508
Guest
Miller508

^ Yes, rep did say up to a week but my experience was faster both times with United BUT hotel cert posted to my account minutes after.

Jimm
Guest
Jimm

Thanks for the replies – I’ll just have to be a little more patient ;).

Bob
Guest
Bob

Am I reading this wrong or can I make a points reservation at a Marriott or SPG property now and attach my 5-night certificate after Sep 18th? I’m looking at a NYC property that’s cat 8 now but will be cat 5 starting Aug 18th. I have a cat 7 certificate that most likely will map to a cat 5 after Aug 18th.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Yeah, just make a reservation without the points come Aug 18. Then upgrade, if need be, to whatever cat you need for the SPG property and attach the reservation. Can’t see why this wouldn’t work.

Jim Lovejoy
Guest
Jim Lovejoy

I sure hope so. I’ve made a points reservation at a current Cat 7 hotel that will become Cat 4 after August 18th.

SPG is a different problem. They won’t let you reserve unless you have the points. Does anyone know if Marriott will continue it’s reserve even if you don’t have the points policy after August 18th?

James
Guest
James

Anyone heard when SPG Biz card purchase points will post for August? My statement closed 8/2, still no points.

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JB from San Diego
Guest
JB from San Diego

Why did Marriott just came out with this statement? Shouldn’t this have been done months ago when they were so exited about this merger? Low management credit ability?

JC1
Guest
JC1

Totally agree. But also find it troubling that Marriott is willing to sell new travel packages immediately on the conversion date August 18, 2018 but existing travel packages will not be available to use until September 18, 2018. Even worse, for those who have hotels booked during the blackout dates 08/18 through 09/17 if there plans change they will lose the certificate since they can’t modify their existing reservation which I take to mean cancel as well. While Marriott is within their right to make changes to the program as they see fit according to their current terms & conditions are they allowed to have travel packages which were bought previously not be available for redemption for 1 month?

I also think that management has lost a lot of credibility in how they have handled the integration in the last few months. They were so excited to get the program transitioned mid-year so they could save their franchises money on the rewards program that they moved the goal post on benefits mid-year for those with SPG gold status who were previously matched to Marriott Gold status, and now travel packages which aren’t redeemable for a full-month. They should have just waited to merge the program on January 1, 2019 but I guess management didn’t want to have to work too hard over the holidays and wanted bigger bonuses since they could probably juice returns during the 4th quarter with all of the cost savings they have planned so instead it made more sense to lose goodwill with Marriott and SPG members instead.

JB from San Diego
Guest
JB from San Diego

WoW…impressive write-up!! I strongly agree, unfortunately….

Evan
Guest
Evan

Was planning on jumping in on packages this weekend. Had been thinking Cat 9 prior to this updated info. So is the best play now the cat 1-5 package assuming no real plans for the stay certificate?

king
Guest
king

You can block 7 nights / or any number of award nights without having the points under the current program , but it may not be the case under the new prog. Initially Marriott might have the plans to refund the points , but seeing the demand and rush , they have decided to screw u guys and also block it for a month and also wont allow to block the award nights without points.

ginai
Guest
ginai

Hey Greg or Nick, I recall that you could previously turn in your 1-5 certificate for 45,000 Marriott points, do either of you know if we can still do that? And if so, how do we go about doing this?

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[…] Frequent Miler reports  that existing travel packages that have not yet been used to book a stay will be in limbo between August 18th and September 17th. Somebody on Flyertalk has also posted a leaked copy of “T and C” in the new combined […]

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[…] Packages will be mapped from old categories to new categories.  Stay certificates that haven’t yet been used to book a stay, will be in limbo between 8/18 and 9/17.  On 9/18, they will be converted to new category certificates.  See: Marriott Travel Packages won’t turn into points, but will go into 1 month limbo. […]

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[…] Frequent Miler reports this message from Marriott: […]

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[…] while Marriott had this news ready to drop, no existing packages can be attached to hotels until September 18, 2018 – they somehow need a month to get that […]