Upgrading Marriott Travel Packages

A couple of readers have recently reported problems with trying to upgrade their Marriott Travel Packages.  This is a quick post just to affirm that it can still be done.  I just did it.  And, as expected, upgrading or downgrading has the benefit of extending the expiration date of the certificate.

Marriott 7 Night Travel Packages

If you’d like background on Marriott Travel Packages, please see: 12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages.

Starting from Category 1-5

I logged into my Marriott account to get a “before” picture of my certificate.  Here it is:

Marriott Travel Package Cat 1-5 Exp 1-23-18

Note that the listed Points Value was 270,000 points (the number of points I paid for the package) and that the expiration date was 1/23/18.  Also note that if I had asked to cancel the certificate, they wouldn’t have refunded the full 270,000 points since most of those points were for the 120,000 Southwest points that I got from the package.  Instead, they would have given me only a 45,000 point refund.

Calling Marriott Rewards

I called the Platinum number (800-399-4229) in order to get a person to answer immediately.  She was from Reservations.  I asked if she could transfer me to Marriott Rewards, but she offered to help me directly.  Accepting that offer was a mistake because she didn’t know what she was doing.  If you try this, I’d recommend calling Marriott Rewards directly: In the USA & Canada: 1-800-450-4442.

I asked the first agent to upgrade my certificate to category 6.  About 20 minutes and several clarifications later, she admitted that she couldn’t do it (she said that she didn’t have access to the right system) and she transferred me to a supervisor.

I repeated my request to the supervisor, was put on hold, and about 10 minutes later it was done.

Email notifications

I received two emails regarding the upgrade.  One was titled “Cancelled Award Order Confirmation.” This one shows that my 7 Night travel package certificate was cancelled.  I presumably received 45,000 points for the cancellation (as expected).

The next email was titled “New Reward Order Confirmation.”  It showed the following:

Reward Details
——————————–
Description: 7 Night Partial Package Category 6 Hotels
Reward code: P870
Valid through: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Total points redeemed: 75,000
Confirmed on: Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Reward Terms & Conditions
https://www.marriott.com/rewards/terms/usetrms.mi

Description:

7 Night Partial Package Category 6 Hotels
Reward certificate number: XXXXXXX

Total points redeemed: 75,000

This is a bit misleading.  It appears that it cost 75,000 points to upgrade, but in reality it only cost 30,000 points.  45,000 points came from the cancelled certificate and the additional 30,000 points came from my account.

Ending with Category 6 and a new expiration date

The difference in price between category 5 and category 6 travel packages is 30,000 points.  So, they withdrew 30,000 points from my account and replaced my 7 night certificate with this one:

Marriott Travel Package Cat 6 Exp 5-16-18

Note that the point value is now at only 75,000 points and the expiration date has been pushed forward to 5/16/18.  The Points Value now is the full value of the certificate if I were to cancel it.  It is, as expected, the sum of the original cancellation value (45,000 points) plus the difference in point price between the original and new packages (30,000 points).

Travel Package Pricing (for reference)

You can see in each of the packages below that the difference in price between Category 1-5 packages and Category 6 packages is always 30,000 points:

Air Canada Marriott Hotel and Air Package

Marriott Hotel and Air Package 3

Marriott Travel Package RewardsPlus United

Last updated on October 19th, 2017

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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JB
Guest

Have there been any successful DP’s in changing from a 7 night certificate to a 5 night cert?

I have been successful in pushing out my expiration date by two years at this point with calls to Marriott, but still haven’t found myself in a place for 7 days where it would be worth it. For instance I’m going to Hawaii in October for 8 nights, and splitting that up to 4 and 4 between two islands, but would consider a 5 and 3 split if I could swing it.

SDO
Guest
SDO

Would it be worth it to spend only 3 nights on the second island, considering the travel time between the islands and the additional costs to get to and off the island?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I’ll weigh in on the other side from Barry. I’ve gone to Hawaii a couple of times and island-hopped each time. I personally think I wouldn’t fly that far and not try to see at least 2 islands — not because there isn’t plenty to do for a week on 1 island, but because there is a lot to see and I don’t often have the opportunity to get there. I wouldn’t do less than a 4/3 split as I agree that you lose time in transit and places like The Big Island and Maui are big enough to be hard to see in much less time.

The moral of the story: I think if you ask 10 people, you’ll get 10 variations on the answer. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

JB
Guest

Thanks,

Yeah coming from NYC to Hawaii is not a short trip, and our first time there. Ended up booking a Korean Air award ticket since we have a wedding in LA in September. Since it allows multiple stops and an open jaw it was a no brainer for the points redemption.

We’re splitting the trip up between Kauai and Maui. The flight between the islands is 50 min, so it’s really not that bad. The costs are minimal at 6k united points for a direct flight.

Barry
Guest
Barry

I’ve been to Hawaii a number of times and I wouldn’t recommend hopping between islands. You’ll loose a significant part of a day in the process. There’s enough to do on one island that you’ll easily spend a week without running out of things to do. For the record, Maui is my favorite island. Oahu is my least favorite island with all of the traffic jams and the large number of homeless people.

Tommy
Guest
Tommy

Your description of Oahu plus my experience of it as well is plenty reason why I wouldn’t do anymore than 3-4 days there. My wife and I did 5 nights there once (did not island hop), and we thought that was too many. We figured we could’ve seen all that Oahu has to offer in about 3 days, 4 days max. Day 1: Diamond Head in morning, Pearl Harbor mid-day, luau in evening. Day 2: Drive around island seeing sites like Dole Plantation, North Shore, Waimea Valley, Hanauma Bay. Day 3: Perhaps some other nature excursion (ziplining, hiking, surfing, etc.). You could insert a relaxing day in there if wanted to, but I’d prefer a rest day on another island island with a more quiet, laid-back atmosphere.

Loyd
Guest
Loyd

As a timeshare owner, I recently booked a five night travel package and during the conversation I asked the rewards rep what would happen if I was unable to use the package before the expiration date. She replied that I could call back in a year and have it reissued for another year without any cost or penalty. She went on to say that I could do this indefinitely until I was able to use the package.

I don’t know if this is only because I am timeshare owner or if she was even accurate in her comments, but she sounded very confident in her ability to extend as necessary.

Lori peters
Guest
Lori peters

I wad about to sign up for the travel package today. I want the category 1 -5 hotel and 120000 SW points. Two questions…will i get a companion pass? And second…i cant use 7 nights in a row. Will i loose them?

Erika Hamilton
Guest
Erika Hamilton

No companion pass.

Barry
Guest
Barry

1. You won’t get the Southwest companion pass anymore. Southwest ended counting hotel points for the companion pass on March 31st.
2. You need to use all 7 nights in one trip. I’ve read that somebody was able to have a gap in their trip with the 7 night certificate, but you need to use all of the nights in the same location. If you checkout early, you’ll loose any unused nights.

Nick Reyes
Editor

1) As someone else said, no — you will not get a companion pass. Southwest stopped counting these points toward the Companion Pass as of March 31st.

2) The certificate is for 7 straight nights. If you only use 3 nights, you don’t get the other 4 back. There are also 5-night packages, but these are restricted to timeshare owners. In the past, it was possible for anyone to book these sometimes by just asking — but that changed over the past year. At this point, your only option is a 7-night certificate unless you are a timeshare owner.

Lori peters
Guest
Lori peters

So maybe its better just to get 100000 southwest RR points and save the rest of my marriot points for when i need them?

Barry
Guest
Barry

I’d go for the 120,000 Southwest RR points and 7 night certificate. The Southwest points are more valuable than Marriott points (1.4 cents per point for SW RR vs. 0.8 cents per point for Marriott points). You’ll gain an extra $120 of travel value by trading the extra 20,000 Marriott points for the extra 20,000 Southwest points.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Barry is absolutely right that you’d be better off trading that last 20K Marriott Points for 20K Southwest points in almost any scenario.

That said, are you sure you want Southwest points? Remember that there are tons of airline partners. If you’re mostly looking for domestic/Caribbean/Mexico travel, it’s hard to beat Southwest (especially with legacy carriers having such little saver availability domestically). But if you’re interested in international travel, 120K miles is enough for a nice business class RT to many parts of the world using some of the other airline partners. Just food for thought.

Lori peters
Guest
Lori peters

Yeah for me SW is a must…for where i go ..florida , Mexico and new Orleans. At the 5/24 on so i cant apply for thw SW card for a while again.

Nick Reyes
Editor

That makes sense then. As Barry said, take the 120K Southwest points. You’ll get about $300 towards Wanna Get Away fares with 20K Southwest points. You’re unlikely to get that kind of value out of 20K Marriott points.

Carl
Guest
Carl

sub

Eugene
Guest
Eugene

Hello All,

I am in need of some guidance with a trip that I’m planning. My wife want to go to Hawaii(March 2018). I am trying to figure out accommodations. I currently have the 7 night Marriott Package ( I would have to upgrade to either a cat 7 or 8). I am also trying to redeem 2 nights (from Fairmont credit card sign up). However I am only staying 7 days. Which hotels and order would you guys recommend?

Barry
Guest
Barry

Since you’re only staying for 7 days, I’d use your Marriott certificate for this trip and save your Fairmont nights for a future trip.
Which hotel you pick is up to personal preference. Personally, I like the Residence Inn Maui Wailea. The rooms have a full kitchen and there’s an outside area with multiple grills. The hotel also has a complimentary breakfast. When I’m on vacation for a week, I don’t want to eat out everyday. You can save a lot of money on food if you have a Costco membership. The gas is also about 75 cents per gallon cheaper at Costco than anywhere else on the island. The downside of this hotel is that it isn’t right on the beach. It’s about a half mile walk to get to the beach from the hotel.
If you’re looking for a high end resort, this hotel wouldn’t be the best pick.

Gene
Guest
Gene

Looking for somewhat of a nice hotel. (Celebrating 10 year anniversary). Plus the Fairmont nights will expire in May. No other trips are planned to be able to use them by the time they expire.

Barry
Guest
Barry

I haven’t stayed at either Fairmont in Hawaii, but I have had the Fairmont card with the free nights in the past (which I used in the Canadian Rockies). Many times the Fairmont free nights are hard to use. There has to be availablity in the lowest level room at the resort in order to use the certificate. I would check at either the Kea Lani on Maui or Orchid on the Big Island to see if there’s low level availablity during your week. Both hotels have amazing reviews. You won’t go wrong on either island, but I personally prefer Maui to the Big Island.
If you haven’t gotten the Chase Hyatt cards in the past 24 months, I would look at them. They are not subject to the 5/24 rule. The signup bonus is 2 free nights at any Hyatt. If you get a card and your wife gets a card you’d have 6 free nights between the Fairmont and Hyatt stays.
I would then save the Marriott certificate for a future trip by doing the upgrade trick to extend the expiration or by calling in when the certificate is about to expire.

Barry
Guest
Barry

Hi Gene. I keep going back and forth about what I would do if I had the Fairmont 2 free nights and the 7 night Marriott certificate. If it were me, I’d use the Marriott 7 nights in Hawaii. There’s very few places that I’d want to spend 7 nights in the same hotel, but Hawaii is one of them. I think I’d just plan a weekend get away to use the free Fairmont nights. There are Fairmonts in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Austin TX that I would consider for a fun weekend.
Some Marriotts that I’d consider are Koloa Landing Resort (category 8 Kauai), Kauai Marriott Resort (category 8 Kauai), or the Wailea Beach Marriott (category 8 Maui). If you have a lot of Marriott points to burn, you could consider the Ritz-Carlton at Kapalua (Tier 4 Maui).

Nick Reyes
Editor

I also agree with Barry.

One thought based on recent experience: I’d skip the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. I went to Maui last fall and made an effort to try several different places for the purposes of taking pictures and gathering reviews. On Maui, I sayed at the Ritz-Carlton, the Andaz Maui, and the Westin Ka’anapali. I personally wouldn’t go back to the Ritz. The short version of the story is that it’s far from most of what you’ll want to see and do in Maui, it doesn’t have a nice beach of its own, and service didn’t match the price point. I have not stayed at any of the other Marriott properties in Hawaii, but I’d suggest the Wailea area of Maui over the spot where the Ritz is. I think Kauai might be my favorite island, but if I’m spending 7 nights I’d probably rather be on Maui — there’s more to see and do as you can drive a lot more of the island. Of course, that’s just my $0.02.

Tommy
Guest
Tommy

I’d like some advice as well as to how I should upgrade and what properties are worth upgrading to. My wife and I are trying to decide where we want to go for our vacation though we’ll likely only be staying 5-6 nights max. We’re looking at Costa Rica, Rome, or Paris, either the Cat 6 Costa Rica San Jose, Cat 8 Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel, Cat 9 Renaissance Paris Vendome, or Cat 9 Boscolo Exedra Roma (Rome), Autograph Collection. We have the required 120K points to upgrade to Cat 9 if needed, but is it worth it? I feel like we could just go up to Cat 6 Costa Rica, keep the leftover points, and then do Paris/Rome with our (yet to be applied for) Hyatt cards.

John
Guest

Is it possible to use these on starwood properties now or in the future? Perhaps when the programs integrate more?

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Rene
Guest
Rene

I am so torn! I think I’m just having hard time letting go of 90K SPG points to get to a Marriott package. I get that it’s a good deal though so I’m trying to decide if I’d be better off getting the United pkg, with the 10% bonus, or the Southwest pkg, despite missing the window for the CP.
ORD is more convenient, but I previously had a SW pass so MDW is do-able too. I haven’t redeemed very much on United, so I”m not familiar with how available award space is. I know they can be used for other airlines, but does that make them much easier to use than say…. AA, which are ridiculous right now. We do mostly domestic/Caribbean, but like the option of international once in a while. Any advice is appreciated.

Large family
Guest
Large family

If you try to use the Cat 7-7 day vacation cert at a Marriott vacation club property that only has 2 bedroom villas, will they make you buy upgrade certs with more points?

Bill
Guest
Bill

This is what posted about a week ago on a travel blog discussion similar to some of this thread. NOT HAPPY.
—————————
Just yesterday, I did the 7 nights – 270,000 Marriott points for 1-5 category certificate plus 132,000 UA miles (+25,000 more miles if UA bonus comes through).
I then went to book a category 5 hotel that happens to be a vacation club location. The reservationist had a hard time using the certificate, but finally got it done, and I got a confirming email while still on the line.

She then asked me to hold, talked to someone, and came back indicating that I needed 70,000 more points for the stay. Two upgrade certificates @5,000 points each per night. Since I did not have that left in my account, I was told to start “earning” more points, or the reservation would eventually be invalid.
When I asked to speak to the person who told her that, she transferred me to him. He was the worst Marriott rep I have ever dealt with. Told me that’s the way things worked, and even though the hotel was clearly category 5, there were no “standard rooms” there. Every room required an additional 10,000 points per night. In effect, the place was actually a category 7.

Actually it was even worse than being a category 7 because if it had been, I could have upgraded it for 60,000 points as someone has indicated above (30K per category).
I protested, and he in-effect told me to take it or leave it. To be fair, he did graciously offer to sell me the 70K points for $875.00. I said I thought this was all a sham, given that I did not see anywhere that a certificate for a cat5 hotel might not actually work for all cat5 hotels.

My wife and I are still evaluating what we want to do.

Bill
Guest
Bill

And back ti Greg’s question — I believe one of the representatives told me that even if I had used 25,000 points for a night at this Category 5 property, I would still need two 5,000 Certificates per night in addition.
Ridiculous from my standpoint. If that is always the case with this property, why not just make it a Cat 7 ?

Bill
Guest
Bill

Greg, thanks for the reply. Your last sentence is apparently the key — all rooms are villas, therefore no standard rooms. . And then therefore, 10,000 more points per night because we are forced into an upgraded room (nice, but actually more than we need).. . 340,000 points all-in for a Cat5 (but, we also will get the UA miles).

john
Guest
john

I’m in a similar situation where i need to upgrade to cat 7 for honolulu but I am short 50k marriott points(I have 10k currently). I just applied for a marriot business card and should have the points in 2 months. does marriott allow the e-certificate of “borrowing” 50k pts to book first on 7 night certificates?

thanks
john

John
Guest

Just upgraded my certificate, the reward number seem to be update to +1-800-450-4442.

Bill Story
Guest
Bill Story

Worked perfectly. I had a cat 1-5 expiring at the end of the month. I called the rewards number and requested an upgrade for points. I was granted the upgrade and the certificate was extended a year to the day. The transaction took less than 5 minutes.

Mats
Guest
Mats

Still working great. Just got off the phone after asking to upgrade my certificate as the initial one was about to expire in a few days. Upgraded with no questions asked and cert extended for a year. The rep even asked if I wanted to make a reservation on the same call, but I told them I was still deciding on dates. Whole call took about 10 minutes of which 7 were on hold waiting for someone to pick up.

Jay
Guest
Jay

I just tried to upgrade from a 5 to a 6 and they wanted me to make a reservation first, reserve with a credit card, and then they would apply the voucher to my account. Should I try calling back later?

Mats
Guest
Mats

Definitely a hang up and call later. Good luck. Just make sure you are calling the Rewards line and not Reservations.

tinytavosa
Guest
tinytavosa

I just called Marriott today and easily extended my 7 day certificate just as a DP as of 01/10/2018, it is still very simple to get a year extension from the date you call – as in mine expires on 01/10/2019 now. I did not upgrade the certificate to get the extension, just asked nicely on the first call. Thought some people might be interested in data points lately.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Awesome. Thanks for the data point!

Sam
Guest
Sam

I just extended my 7-night rewards certificate by phone. It was extended by one year. When I login in online, it said “PARTIAL PKG-CAT 1-5 – 45,000 Points”. What does that mean? Do I need to redeem 45k points extra to use this certificate?

Craig Paddock
Guest
Craig Paddock

I just tried upgrading my 7 night Category 1-5 travel package to category 6 while offering to pay the difference and was denied.
I’ll try again in a few days.

lancaster
Guest
lancaster

Can Marriott packages be upgraded to Ritz?