Marriott’s handling of the old Marriott Travel packages was extremely poor to put it charitably. Between an announced conversion that made most package holders losers to an about-face that offered partial refunds for the travel-package-hosed, it just didn’t seem to be the most well-implemented part of the merger. However, Dan at Dan’s Deals might have good news for some of you sitting on unused old travel package certificates: it may be possible to get points back for them as per the old system. To be clear, this post only pertains to those who bought a Marriott Travel package 5-night or 7-night certificate prior to August 18, 2018. If you purchased your package after that date, I think you’ll get 5K or maybe 10K points if you’re lucky if you try to “return” the certificate. But for those who bought the certificates prior to August 18, 2018, read on for a quick recap.
“Old” Marriott Travel Packages
Prior to August 18, 2018, Marriott had an entirely different award chart and along with it entirely different pricing for Marriott Travel packages. In short, the packages were a great value before that date and not exciting after it.
Under the old system, the Travel Packages were potentially attractive just for the ability to convert Marriott points to airline miles at a favorable rate. In fact, many people purchased the package without an intention to use the hotel stay portion of the package. That’s because, prior to August 18, 2018, if you decided that you did not want the hotel stay portion of the package, you could essentially “return” the hotel certificate for 45,000 Marriott points plus any difference between the lowest-category package (Cat 1-5 at the time) and the category or tier you purchased. This meant that refunds ranged from 45K-315K points depending on which category or tier you had purchased as per the following chart:
However, the new travel packages do not work the same way: if you cancel a “new” certificate, I think Marriott has been offering 5K or 10K points no matter which category it may be.
The issue is that many people bought a certificate prior to August 18, 2018 and then at some point in 2019 called to extend the validity for a year in order to find more opportunity to use them (Marriott has always been good about extending certificates one time for a year if you call and ask). In fact, even had you only called to convert your “old” certificate into its equivalent tier in the “new” Marriott Bonvoy program, the certificate would have been extended for a year from the date of your call.
The bad news is that once your package has been converted to a “new” certificate, reps have been saying that it can not be refunded if you do not use it by expiration (or that you’ll only get 5K points or 10K points) and that it can not be extended again (since it was already extended when it became a “new” travel package certificate). On the one hand, most people should have had about 2 years to use the certificate, which at least in theory seems like enough time in which to find a use for the cert. On the other hand, personal circumstances can change without notice and surely there are some folks who intended to use their certificates but now can not. Thus far, those folks have more or less been out of luck.
However, Dan over at Dan’s Deals reports that those in this situation may not be out of luck after all. While the details of his situation differ from someone who simply hasn’t found a use for their cert (in short, an agent accidentally canceled the wrong reservation and now the hotel shows no award availability for him to use it), the response he eventually received from Marriott corporate was that someone with an “old” travel package certificate can call and get the certificate re-converted to the “old” format and then refunded under the “old” scheme as shown above. Finding an agent who knows that and knows how to do it is likely as easy as running a marathon in a potato sack, but it apparently can be done. Dan confirms in the comments that Marriott maintains this policy applies to everyone who has an “old” certificate that has been converted to the “new” format. Again, that means that the refunds based on the old categories would be as shown in the graphic above.
To be clear, I would set expectations exponentially low that any random phone rep will know this or how to do it. Neither would I put much faith in it when that phone rep eventually puts you on the line with the supreme vice overlord of customer placation out of the executive relations VIP MVP ABC department and that person tells you it can’t be done. I’d instead recommend reading Dan’s post and following his lead in getting it fixed if you get nowhere with a phone call or two. The encouraging news is that it apparently can be done. See his post for more.