Marriott Needs Another Month To Figure Out Travel Package Certificates; Will Option 3 Be The Winner?

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A Starwood representative has just posted the following update on Marriott travel certificates:

On 8/18, our new Travel Package offering will launch along with our new loyalty program. After our loyalty programs become one, our new Travel Package award chart will go into effect and members will be able to book for packages at all 6,700 of our hotels.

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. Please plan accordingly.

In other words, if you have a hotel certificate from a travel package you need to attach it to a hotel stay by 8/17 or else you won’t be able to do anything with it between 8/18-9/18. After 9/18 you will be able to add it to a hotel, though Marriott still won’t tell us which hotels will work with the different levels of certificates.

Phone reps have been telling people conflicting information about what exactly might happen. One commenter even shares that a Marriott rep told someone to check DansDeals for possibilities of what might happen!

In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Marriott doesn’t know exactly how to handle things and if they don’t decide what to do until 9/18.

Last month I wrote a comprehensive post on travel packages and what might happen to them.

  • With this update, it sure seems like Marriott is not going to go with options 1 or 2 from that post.
  • Option 3 remains the strongest possibility, while options 4 and 5 are also possibilities.
  • These packages are highly lucrative and will be going away for good in just a week or less time. I’d still advise attaching the certificate to a hotel where you might want to stay or at a hotel that is going up in cost.

Will you buy a travel package before they are devalued?

Related Marriott Travel Packages posts:

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78 Comments On "Marriott Needs Another Month To Figure Out Travel Package Certificates; Will Option 3 Be The Winner?"

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Jew

I have a cat 1-5 and cat 6 not attached because I don’t know if will be able to ever use it. Bought them for the miles and for the refund. Should I still attach them to something going up (based on this update) or should I continue waiting, leaving them unattached for more of a chance of getting a good refund? Thank you very much!

TheBigEasyTraveler

My issue is that I want to use my Cat 9 at St. Regis. Can’t use until 9/18 now.

Zev

So how do we go about using a Tier 1-3 certificate to book the Maldives Ritz, when you need to attach it to a hotel PRIOR to 8/18 but can’t book current SPG Hotels until AFTER 8-18? And if I attach it to a current Ritz Tier 1-3…then I can’t change it to the Maldives Ritz until after 9/18??

Mergs

So if not traveling and in it only for refund, probably not a great buy at this point?

Brett

This could be disastrous for me! I had planned to use a Cat 6 travel package for a hotel which is currently Cat 8 but will become Cat 6 as of Aug/18. The stay is from Aug/21-28 and there is an award reservation already booked (even though I do not have sufficient points). When I booked he stay, I was told to contact Marriott on the 18th to have the reservation switched over to the travel package. Given many of the reps do not have all the information, how do I ensure I can check-in without any issues on the 21st?

Deal Guy

I have a cat 6 unused. Can I still call and get a partial refund for the points or do you think it pays to wait ?

Deal Guy

What is the gain by attaching it to any hotel going up in value vs one not going up, if I don’t plan to stay at that hotel?

Also, what is the worst case scenario if I attach it to a cat 1-5 marriott hotel that I’m buying to eventually swap to a spg hotel after September?
Can you always swap hotels till now? Thanks

Dave

I have plans on travelling the next year but have no idea the dates or location. I’m guessing I should just hold on to them?

BG

I have a category 9 certificate. Can i downgrade to cat 1-5 and get the point differential refunded?

Shawn

Currently have a Category 1-5. On your last post, you mentioned that Category 1-5 and Category 9 were the two best options (outside of the Tier options). Curious as to why? If they refund to points, it ends up being the same. If it maps, then it seems like Category 8 would be best mapping based on one of your analysis. Dont have a plan for hotel, but most I would consider are Category 8 or 9.

Doug

How does one sell these certificates on the so-called “gray market”?

Are you saying just list it on eBay or something or is there some website where people will actually pay for you to book this for them somewhere?

The way it looks now, I’ll be stuck with 2 Cat 1-5 weeks that I probably won’t be able to use.

Joe Kay

Dan
I just called Marriott to buy a travel package I have 315k Marriott points and the rep I spoke to told me she’s transferring the points1-1 so she’s giving me 315k united miles (she knew nothing about the free nights but I let that go!) is that possible?? Or is that too good to be true??

Zev

What hotel I can use my current Cat 6 at that’s going to be going up to a Cat 7 or higher? Anywhere…

Barak

Dan: For SR or Le Meridien Bora Bora, which certificate should i buy to be able to attached it to those properties post 9/18? There is some confusion whether i should buy Category 7 (or 8?), or Ritz Tier 4-5 certificates…

Also, would it be better to attach the certificate to currently available property (let’s say Ritz Bal Harbour for Ritz 4-5 certificate), and hope that i would be able to change to SR or Le Meridien post 9/18 (or get points refund), if i want to maximize chances of booking those?

thanks!

Barak

Maifriend

This is where I got confused. Le Méridien and st Regis in Bora bora are cat 7 but you can’t boook them with a Marriott certificate yet. They are supposed to become cat 8. So I’m thinking about redeeming my Marriott points for a cat 8 certificate. And I don’t know why Dan and some mentioned booking these two properties with a tier 1-3 certificate.

Barak

Maifriend: since you can’t book them yet, do you plan to attach them to some other Cat 8 hotel (and hope you can change it to Le Méridien or st Regis in Bora), or take a chance and leave them unattached?

Maifriend

The post from the SPG rep is clear. If you have a certificate then book before 8/18 or wait until 9/18. I’m afraid that on 9/18 they will tell you that the hotel you wanted to book was a cat 7 but is now a cat 8 and you will need a cat 8 certificate. They could also be nice and allow a one time exception but I doubt.
Interestingly Marriott will still sell these packages after 8/18 but very expensive. I don’t think they will reimburse the certificate and give you points back. It’s like buying a gift card at Best Buy. They won’t give you your money back because you don’t know what to do with the gift card.

maifriend

Ok I found this. Although the properties at Bora Bora are cat 7, you might need more to book them: https://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/account/starpoints/categories/index.html?spgCategoryCode=7&language=en_US

Al

Mainfriend and Barak: What do you intend to do?

Barak

Mailfriend: so what do you plan to do? Looks like you plan to use your Marriott points to buy Cat 8 certificate; how do plan to use it to buy Bora hotels?
since you can’t book them yet, do you plan to attach them to some other Cat 8 hotel (and hope you can change it to Le Méridien or st Regis in Bora), or take a chance and leave them unattached?

Dan – can we get your poo t if view on this?

Thanks, Barak

maifriend

I have 960K Marriott points and want to redeem all of them as I don’t want to leave points behind. I’m also targeting the 132K united miles.
So it’s either:
1) one cat 1-5 plus one cat 7 plus one cat 8 certificate but will I be able to book Bora Bora, maybe not. I called Le Meridien and they wanted 270/280K SPG points for 5 nights for a regular bungalow not overwater which I don’t qualify because I have young children (that’s what I understood from their policy).
2) one tier 4-5 (assuming it’s required for Bora Bora) and one tier 1-3 but what am I going to do with tier 1-3 and I will be leaving 132K United miles on the table.
3) one tier 4-5 and one cat 6 (to go to Maui) and left over points.

I think I’m going with option #1. With a cat 8 I can go to Fiji, cat 7 with Ritz Carlton in Maui or Westin Opera in Paris and JW Marriott Phuket with the cat 5.

A lot of SPG properties look nicer than their Marriott counterparts and can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children which is not always the case with Marriott where there is availability only if you book for 3 people.

I’m going to attach as many as I can as you must find availability.

Maifriend

I called Marriott Rewards to buy the travel packages. 1st question I asked was “can we book SPG properties?”. The rep said not until the merger is completed (8/18) as SPG properties are not in the system. So that confirms what we already know beside the one month between 8/18 and 9/18 where we can’t do anything.
2nd question I asked was “if St Regis Bora Bora becomes a cat 8, can I book that hotel with a cat 8 certificate or do I need higher certificate?”. The rep said yes you can cook with a cat 8 cert.
If he’s right then we are good with a cat 8 certificate. If he’s not then I’ll go somewhere else.
He said it takes 3 days to deposit the united miles into your united mileageplus account.

Barak

Congrats!
I also have 2 small boys (age 7 and 4), do you know if both Meridien and St Regis doesn’t allow overwater bungaloos with kids?
Which hotel did you book Cat 8 for?

Thanks,

Barak

Maifriend

I read somewhere on SPG web site that they don’t allow you to book over water bungalow if you have young children for safety reason.
I called again tonight (8/16) and asked the rep if unattached certificate will be cancelled after 8/18. She asked a supervisor and said that they won’t be cancelled so not sure who is right/wrong. I didn’t want to attached the cat 8 cert to Fiji Marriott Momi bay (which will become a cat 5) and cancel it later. Dan on his latest blog said he attached a certificate to the domes of Elounda in 2019 but you can’t book DoE even with money so don’t know if attaching is different from booking.

Maifriend

I called Marriott and bought #1. The Marriott rep said I can book Bora Bora properties using a cat 8. I guest that is true as long as I book outside of peak season. I’m only interested in beach resort so I have to find quickly a few resorts in Hawaii/South east asia and attach the cat 8 and 7 certificates. I see that the Marriott in Fiji is a cat 8 becoming a cat 5 so I’ll wait until 2019 to book with the cat 5 cert. Most of the properties I like are SPG like the Westin in Maui.

Itsy

Selling on the “grey market” is going to be much more difficult. Marriott is not stupid. They were anticipating breakage from all those out there that thought they were going to game the system and get a windfall of points. These people are not getting a windfall and now have all these certs with no plans to use them. Any International property will need to see the passport of the person who has redeemed the cert and the person who purchased the cert on the grey market will not get away with saying they will be checking in later. Be happy with the miles you got a don’t kvetch about not getting what you thought you were going to get.

jew

and what about not an intl hotel?

Runnergirl

If I have a tier 1-3 package and want to stay at a current Starwood hotel, is it best to attach it to a Marriott hotel now or just wait until after 9/18 to book the Starwood property?

oldguy

If I bought a tier 4-5 only because I thought they will be refunded. I don’t plan on staying there, My only option is to sell it. Is it worth it for me to downgrade to a category 1-5 and get the difference in points? or keep as tier 4-5 and sell later on?

Itsy

That was a gamble. Very slim chance that would have happened. You rolled the dice and lost. Cash in your chips and walk away. If i were you I would downgrade and salvage the points difference at least. This magical “grey market” for resale is not going to happen.

oldguy

Why would you say that if you can gift the certificate and make the buyer the primary guest?

Itsy

Because it is against Marriott’s T&C. They clearly state free nights/certs cannot be transfered. Some hotels may not care if you are not there others may enforce the rule that you have to be part of the check in. FDAs could be on a power trip and follow the rules and ask your “guest” for payment, which would be refunded when the person in whose name the cert is in shows up. Marriott will clamp down on this as they are counting on breakage from peole who thought they would get a windfall. Go ahead and do it and be prepared for consequences. You may get away with it, you may not.

oldguy

So would you recommend to downgraded the certificate? I’m for sure not staying in the hotel.

jeterhatingjew

I’m interested in your cert. Please message me.

David

Can i change dates after i attach my cert to a hotel ?

Ben

Please excuse the ignorance of my question.. upon purchasing the travel package, am I supposed to receive an actual voucher or voucher number for the 7 day hotel part of the package? I did not after several weeks (thinking they will send me one). How else does one redeem to attach to a hotel stay?

Itsy

Have you checked your account activity lately? It should be there. Did the airline miles post?

Ninjaleh

I only have 46,000 starpoints. United miles are very valuable for me. I do have a lot of Chase rewards points. Anyone know if I can still transfer 15,000 chase rewards points over to Marriot to turn them into starpoints to make up the difference to get the lowest package for United miles, or is that over?

maifriend

Yes you can. Link your Marriott and SPG account and start the transfer. 3 chase UR = 3 Marriott = 1 SPG.

Ninjaleh

Thanks!

Ninjaleh

Oh wait, mistake, I mean 20,000 chase rewards points, and now I see it’s a 3:1 transfer ratio, so seems like it’s not worth it…?

B

will stays after 8/18 count toward platinum? and does it make a difference when it was booked

mickeyg

I got this response from SPG:

“Thank you for your patience while we reviewed your inquiry. It is not possible to redeem your Ritz certificate or hold a room pending the program combination on 18AUG18. Please click here for a link to frequently asked questions. Here is the information we have about your certificate:

Members may book a redemption reservation with an existing Free Night Certificate under the current terms up until August 2018, even if the arrival date is after August 2018. Starting in August, any outstanding Certificates will be updated from Category-based to points-based values in the new combined redemption chart and may be used for stays at Rewards or SPG hotels up to the points value displayed on your updated Certificate. For example, you will be able to apply a Marriott Rewards Free Night Certificate to an SPG stay, or an SPG Free Night Award to a Marriott Rewards stay. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Free Night Certificates can also be applied to Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels.

One the combination of programs is completed on 18AUG18, your certificate value will be converted to a points based value. It can then be redeemed at an eligible property. Please contact one of my Ritz Carlton colleagues at 800-542-8680 for information on the expected point value of your certificate should you choose to redeem it on or after 18AUG18.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Best Regards,

M. Pilar Saenz-St. Clair

Supervisor, Starwood Customer Service

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, LLC”

Itsy

They are referring to the CC free night certs not the TPs. There are still lots of theories on what will happen with the TPs. Some rumors include all certs convert to New Cats 1-4 and refund of points for the higher categories if you redeemed for Old cat 6 or above, That seems fair to me.

David

I just updated a Cat 8 travel package to Cat 9. In my account they showed a refund of 135,000 for cat 8 an a deduction of 165,000 for cat 9 vs the old 240,000 an 270,000. Looks like we may take a heavy hit.
Never seen the before.

JaySean

Dan et al – I’m looking for advise on the following:
I have enough points to buy category 1-5 package however, I would probably not go and stay in the same hotel (especially cat. 1-5) for a week. I do like the redemption ratio of Marriott points to United. My plan is to book St. Regis in Maldives for 4-5 nights for next year and booking this hotel for ~48K points looks more lucrative than buying the Marriott category 1-5 package. Would you recommend saving points to get the St. Regis hotel in Maldives or would I be better off getting the 1-5 package and then trying to upgrade with points later on?

meir

What about 1 night certs cat 1-5 from cc anniversary, Does the same thing apply?

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