Marriott offers 30K points to those who were travel-package hosed (Updated with Marriott Q&A)

Travel Certificate Downgrades Q&A

I’ve asked Marriott the following questions about travel certificates and the ability to downgrade or cancel.  In a few cases we have answers from Marriott:

  • Question: When will we really be able to attach certificates to reservations? It’s not working yet.
    • Answer: “We are in the process of training thousands of associates on the new system and new policies. While most associates are fully up to speed, we expect the issues your readers are facing to be cleared up today. If not, they should give it one more day. We are in the middle of the biggest IT system transition in the hospitality industry.”
    • My thoughts: When Marriott says to “give it one more day”, I think that “one more month” would be a safer bet.
  • Certificate downgrade:
    • Question: When will we really be able to request a certificate downgrade? It’s not working yet.
      • Answer: (paraphrasing) It should work now as long as people follow the directions given.
      • My thoughts: This reminds me of the time the realtor told me that my new house was ready for move in. My response: I’d really like things like toilets, door handles, and a driveway…
    • Question: Is there a deadline for doing this?
      • Answer: Expiration of existing Travel Certificate
      • My thoughts: Unless you need the 30K points right away, wait as long as possible to do this.  It’s possible that other options will open up in time.
    • Question: What if members previously attached their certificate? Can they still request the 30K difference?
      • No answer yet
  • Cancel and refund certificate:
    • Question: Is there a deadline for doing this?
      Answer: Expiration of existing Travel Certificate
      My thoughts: Unless you need the points right away, wait as long as possible to do this.  It’s possible that other options will open up in time.
  • Question: Many who attached certificates before 8/18 are asking if they can change the dates of their reservation without detaching and re-attaching? The issue is that if they detach they’ll presumably get the mapped category rather than the category of the hotel they booked. In many cases the hotel they booked is now a higher level category.
    • No answer yet

I’ll post an update once I hear more.

Original post follows:

As Nick reported in the post “Marriott Travel Packages: worst-case scenario, we were far from thrilled with the way Marriott has handled the conversion of old travel packages to new.  Fortunately, they’ve sent us word of a few positive changes to the previously announced diabolical plan…

1) The one month travel package blackout is gone (theoretically)

We had previously been told that we would have to wait until September 18th to attach a travel package certificate to a reservation or to make changes to an existing reservation.  Now we’re being told that we can do so right away:

…due to system capabilities, we had to place a month-long blackout on cancellations and modifications to existing Travel Package certificates. After pressure testing our new system over the weekend, we’re happy to relay that starting today, the blackout period is over.

But they apparently haven’t informed the call center about this yet.  A number of people have reported trying to attach certificates but were told that there’s a one month blackout.  That’s old news call center people.  Don’t you read the blogs?

My advice: The call centers are currently unable to apply these certificates.  Wait until next week to try to attach a certificate to a new reservation (or to change an existing reservation).

2) Those who were hosed the most can get 30K back(theoretically)

Three old categories mapped to the same new categories as cheaper packages.  For example, both old category 1-5 and old category 6 mapped to the same new category: 1-4.  So, those who paid 30K more for old category 6 than old category 5 can now request 30K back.

If you bought old category 6, old category 8, or Tier 1-3, you’re eligible for 30K points back.

Marriott tells us:

…members who purchased a Category 6, Category 8 or Tier 1-3 certificate prior to 8/18 are able to request a one-time exchange for a package one category lower. To submit a request, contact us at https://www.marriott.com/marriott/contact.mi Select “packages – deals” from the drop down menu.

Unfortunately, to-date, the above process is not working.  I’ll update this post once it is fixed.

This is a great policy change.  In a number of posts speculating about travel packages, I suggested (and so did several readers) that one option would be for Marriott to make whole those who were in this situation (where multiple old categories map to the same new category) by refunding the difference in points.  I didn’t think it was likely to happen, though, so kudos to Marriott for that!

With this change in effect, we can ignore category 6, 8, and tier 1-3 (since all of those can be downgraded to old category 1-5, 7, and 9, respectively) and we can see that the mapping from old to new is quite fair from a points perspective.  This is true even when we compare old per night rates to new standard rates:

As you can see above, those who purchased category 9 (or Tier 1-3 downgraded to 9) come out ahead by 5K points per night at standard award rates.  The only category that appears to have lost value is Ritz Tier 4-5, but since 60K points is the top of the award chart until early 2019, it’s not bad at all.  Only those who need to wait until mid 2019 to book their awards are likely to lose out if they bought Tier 4-5.

My advice: Wait a while before asking for the 30K refund.  It’s unlikely, but possible that Marriott will re-issue the certificates when they do this, and that will give you a new, further out expiration date.  It’s also possible that additional options will be made available.  I don’t see any downside to waiting to see how this shakes out.

3) Trade stay certificates for points

Marriott has also informed us that those who bought travel packages prior to 8/18 will be able to refund those packages at the old rates (45K for category 1-5, 70K for category 6, etc.).  Packages bought 8/18 or later, will only be eligible for 5K points back regardless of category!

This is great news for those who bought travel packages primarily for the miles and don’t care about the hotel stay.  By cancelling your pre-8/18 certificate you can go from a very good points to miles exchange rate to an excellent exchange rate.

In the above chart, you can see how each package mapped from old to new categories.  The third to the last column shows the categories that are due a 30K “make whole” refund.  Or, if you decide to cancel altogether, you can look at the second to last column to see how many points you can expect to get back.  The final column shows that your final price after refunding the certificate will be the same regardless of what category you originally purchased.

Reminder: If you opted for a package offering 120K miles or 132K United miles, you got a great deal for your points even if you’re not happy about the final certificate category.  If you don’t refund the certificate, then your points to miles exchange rate was a very good 3 to 1.33 (or 3 to 1.46 for United).  If you do refund the certificate, then your points to miles exchange rate was phenomenal: 3 to 1.6 (or 3 to 1.76 for United).  Compare this to the new standard exchange rate of 3 to 1.25 (60K points to 25K miles) to get an idea of how good this is.

My advice: Unless you need the points right away, wait to see how this all shakes out.  It’s unlikely, but maybe Marriott will bring additional options to the table that will work better for you than cancelling the stay certificate altogether.

Those left behind

At this point, the remaining losers are those who had specific hotels in mind and guessed wrong about which packages to buy.  So far, we’ve been told that Marriott won’t allow us to upgrade our packages.  If they hold firm on that, then lots of people will be left trying to find uses for certificates other than what they had hoped.

I’m thrilled that Marriott is allowing the one time downgrade of packages for certain certificate holders, but why not go one step further and allow one-level upgrades?  Just as we can request 30K back to downgrade, why not allow us to offer 30K more to upgrade to the package we really need?

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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Nathan
Guest
Nathan

So I bought 2 Cat 8s and attached them to hotels pre8/18. I can request 30K refund. Do I need to do anything like remove it from the hotel first?

Ivan Y
Guest
Ivan Y

Would also like to know an answer to this question. Marriott could have made it so much easier by allowing upgrades to certificates.

frugalman
Guest
frugalman

As of now (9pm EST, 8/20/18), I still can’t book a SPG hotel with either points or my FN certificates. I did read someone managed to do so (e.g. St. Regis Maldives) but those data points were rare and not comparable to the majority failed cases as well as my own experience. Before typing this comments, I did one more call to SPG (888-625-4988). Still no dice. I am also told there is no way to hold a reservation (book without certificates in the account), though Marriott allows that.

P-nope
Guest
P-nope

I didn’t think they would do this even though they should, so I’m glad that they have.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

So yes, I have my verte attached to a New Cat 5 (35k). So really I shouldn’t even have to detach. I could of course detach and then request because Marriott allows you to keep an award reservation with or without the points (cert).

Tony Huynh
Guest
Tony Huynh

I like your last paragraph : ” I’m thrilled that Marriott is allowing the one time downgrade of packages for certain certificate holders, but why not go one step further and allow one-level upgrades? Just as we can request 30K back to downgrade, why not allow us to offer 30K more to upgrade to the package we really need?”. Hope Marriott will come through clean one more time.

craig
Guest
craig

so the question is do you think they might eventually allow a one level up upgrade if we wait a few more days because I am guessing once you accept the 30k points back there is no chance of it than.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Greg, I thought I read somewhere already not to ask for the refund of the 30k yet if you have one of the impacted certificates and to wait a while, as they will reissue the certificate and thus extend the 1 year…if you do it now, you may not be able to extend close to a year from now if you do this now….thoughts on that?

HoKo
Guest
HoKo

Greg, in the new program do you know whether or not I’d be allowed to book a stay for a date that occurs after my current certificate expires? I.e. my expiration date is March and I’d like to book a stay for May. (I already extended my expiration by 1 year once, not sure if that matters)

Mary Jane
Guest
Mary Jane

Hi Greg, this is great news. Would you happen to be familiar with the following situation: I made a reservation with starwood points at the Westin Pazhou (7 nights/60,000 points) and want to cancel it. If I cancel it, do you happen to know if I will get back 180,000 points since starwood points were valued at 1 to 1 but now everything is 1 to 3? Any info would be appreciated from anyone.

Charlie
Guest
Charlie

Like yourself I attached my Cat 9 certificate to Domes Of Elounda which is now a Cat 7 and soon to be Cat 8. Is there any info on what is allowed as far as changing the reservation to another Cat 7 or 8. Sorry if I missed it

TheBigEasyTraveler
Guest
TheBigEasyTraveler

Charlie, same boat here. Following.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Me too. Would love some details on how changes will be handled.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Let us know if you change it 🙂

Jan
Guest
Jan

When will we see the converted travel package in our account? Also , can the package be used by someone one else such as a friend? If so, how do you book this?

Lucy
Guest
Lucy

This is good news and definitely a step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t make everyone whole. There was a lot of misinformation provided by Marriott reps in the days leading up to the merger and many people bought travel packages in a particular category based on that misinformation. If Marriott had released the mapping before merger day, as it should have, it would have allowed folks to make informed decisions about which package to purchase (or whether to upgrade existing packages before the merger). Marriott acted in bad faith by not releasing the mapping in advance. It should now do the right thing by allowing folks with old travel packages an opportunity for a one-time upgrade at old package prices.

Darlene
Guest
Darlene

IMHO I think that Marriott should be called to task for not allowing upgrades on the certificates like in the past. They refused to just explain upfront what we would be getting, and many people spend hours trying to analyze and guess what the mapping might be, This was patently wrong of Marriott unless they had intended to be generous. We should be all grandfathered in to the old rules, allowing upgrades. It seems like the bloggers have to cry out for justice in order to get anything done. Can you please speak up for us. It seemed like your blog pointing out the 30,000 point discrepancy got some action. Now let’s ask for the rest of what is needed to get close to making us whole.

DaveC
Guest
DaveC

I called Rewards to see if I can change the date on my reservation at Poipu. I booked it with my cat 8 cert a week ago, but now it’s a cat 6 and my cert will drop to a 5 if I attempt to reschedule. So I’m stuck with this date if want to stay there.

Gold
Guest
Gold

Emailing didn’t work. Got this back.

“Please know that in order to change this if we are able at this time you will have to contact the reservations team directly as that request is not handled by this department or via email.”

Julia
Guest
Julia

I still don’t see this working for me. I have a Cat 6 which I want to attach to a now Cat 5. Does this mean I can ask for 30k points back and get a Cat 5 or does it mean I can get 30k back but get a Cat 4?

AlexL
Guest
AlexL

You will get 30k back and get a Cat 4. However, you will not have 30k back and left with a Cat 4 three days ago.

Julia
Guest
Julia

Cust services have said I will get a Cat 5 and 30,000 points back. I asked her supervisor to confirm this and she did.

However I spoke to another customer service person who confirmed what you said.

I have again spoke to Marriott customer service who have said I won’t get points back, I will get points back, I can’t book SPG properties, I can book SPG properties, I can’t attach TP certs, I can attach TP certs. Basically you can’t rely on anyone at Marriott anymore 🙂

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

Same question as some others. Have a category 9 currently attached to what is now a cat 7. Has Marriott said how they will handle date changes for current reservations, etc?

TomC
Guest
TomC

One or the main blogs should fact check Mr. Flueck in this video he did with TPG about the combined Marriott / SPG loyalty plan. I stopped counting lies about 10 minutes in.

https://youtu.be/dWfgPgiWlqU

Tigris23
Guest
Tigris23

@ Greg, is there a deadline to trade these 7 night certs into the 45k pts? Eg. One of my 7 night cert. expires in 12/2018–would this also be the deadline to trade for points? Thanks!

Sayeed
Guest
Sayeed

What about those that had already made a reservation? Can they get 30k points back?

AlexL
Guest
AlexL

For unattached certificate

FliesALot
Guest
FliesALot

Diabolical? LOL I love how people think they are entitled to rewards points. Most of the programs, buried in their fine print, say that they can be canceled at anytime.

Owen
Guest
Owen

I emailed Marriott last night, and they responded today that they were unable to do anything prior to September 18. No adjustments to my Tier 1-3 travel package yet…

5150d
Guest
5150d

“HOSED” love it. You guys crack me up! Appreciate your help.

Steven
Guest
Steven

DENIED BY MARRIOTT. I RECEIVED THE BELOW EMAIL AFTER TRYING TO GET A PARTIAL REFUND OF 30K POINTS FOR BOOKING A CATEGORY 8 PACKAGE!!!

Thank you for contacting Marriott Customer Care regarding your travel package details.

After further reviewing your account, I see that your certificate is not attached to your reservation. Any certificates that were not attached prior to August 17, 2018 will not be honored. There will be no adjustment of points for the category changes, and you will need to book at the points rate for the new category. There will be a month long black out period ending mid September, where you will be unable to access your certificates. Once access to use them are restored, guests will have the ability to book reservations through http://www.marriott.com.

We appreciate your patience during this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.
Safe travels,

Jeffrey Robinson
Marriott Customer Care

Timothy
Guest
Timothy

I had attached a Category 6 certificate to a reservation prior to the merger. I requested a downgrade two days ago and got this reply just now indicating that “Unfortunately, we have encountered some further systems issues that are not allowing us to currently process the requests to downgrade a travel package certificate…We are asking guests to allow 5 to 10 business days, and to resubmit their requests at a later date.”

tony
Guest
tony

They have serious management & communication issues, not “system issues”. Few folks were able to order the new TP cert and got points adjusted manually.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Has anyone attempted a downgrade/refund on a 5-night package? Have a 5 night, cat 8. Wonder if that’ll be 30k as well or trigger some further negative impact considering I was able to get the package without having a vacation club membership, :-\ hmm.

Frank O’Sullivan
Guest
Frank O’Sullivan

Just got off the phones thiis Supervisor states that none of this is true she supposedly contacted a group at Marriott Corporate and this is what she was told , I was trying to do the same with his Catergory 8 certificate.

Hosed
Guest
Hosed

So Marriott chose to ignore your attempt to get some answers, thru your contacts there?

It has been 2 days now after their Ad Hoc announcement that none of the information in it has been true.

All we are fed are lies after lies and now they dont even bother to come up with more lies and instead just basically brush people off.

This is NOT the old Marriott we were used to.
This is the new Marriott with the corporate greed being its utmost goal.

The handling of the merger and the attempts to fleece customers by defrauding their overpayment on cert redemption, is far worse than any Hilton devaluation history. At least Hilton had the decency to let us know what was coming. Marriott chose to keep everyone in the dark.

trackback

[…] Marriott Travel Package Updates:  Many in this hobby were not happy campers with how Marriott handled travel packages after combining loyalty programs.  Whether this was intentional or expected glitches, Marriott seems to be trying to work through some of these issues. If you’re affected by this, check out the article to find out more. […]

TomK
Guest
TomK

‘Just as we can request 30K back to downgrade, why not allow us to offer 30K more to upgrade to the package we really need?’

Not releasing the new category map and having the CSRs telling lies about upgrades, extensions, what the new category map will be, etc is a feature, not a bug. It is a pump-n-dump scam and a 30K upgrade to make things whole will nullify the gains Marriott gets from the scam.

hood
Guest
hood

Has anyone actually been able to downgrade and get 30k points returned? I try and the Marriott people said they didn’t know what I was talking about????

Justin
Guest
Justin

Has anyone successfully booked a SPG reservation using the the travel package certificate issued 08/18 after the reward programs officially merged?

LA2SF
Guest
LA2SF

I am wondering if anyone has successfully booked a reservation on SPG property using 7-night certs. I have been trying to do that for the last 4 days and was told that SPG can’t see my cert and Marriott can’t book SPG property yet. One of the SPG reps has told me that I have to call the local in-house reservation team to use the cert. Would appreciate if someone could share any insights.

Tigris23
Guest
Tigris23

Greg, I called Marriott 2x today to have one of my 7-night cert. (old version cat.1-5) refunded for the 45k Marriott pts as it’s set to expire on 12/28/18, so I can take advantage of transfer Marriott pts to Aeroplan tomorrow for the 35% bonus, but I was told by 2nd (1st alleged he processed the request but he didn’t) rep told me this can’t be done anymore post 8/18th. Is there truth to this as it seems contrary to what I’m reading on this blog. Thanks!