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?
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