Marriott Has No Plans On Letting Us Know What They Plan On Doing With Current Travel Packages, But Don’t Let That Stop You From Taking Advantage Of Them!

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Marriott pleasantly surprised the travel community when they announced that Starwood points would convert into 3 Marriott points. Everyone’s biggest fear in the merger was that they would value Starpoints at just 1 or 2 Marriott points each and that didn’t materialize.

The ratio made sense for the most part, though it made Marriott’s top-tier hotels cost less (50-70K points) than SPG’s top-tier hotels (90-105K points). In August we’ll get a new award chart that drops the cost of SPG’s top tier hotels down to Marriott levels (60K points), but in February all top-tier hotels will climb back up to SPG levels (70K-100K points). One amazing thing Marriott will do is bring SPG off-the-chart hotels back onto the award charts, which will make for some insane bargains.

The 1 for 3 ratio made Marriott’s miles+nights travel packages a ridiculously good bargain, so it’s no surprise that they will be massively devaluing those packages in August.

For now though you can still buy a travel package, but Marriott refuses to say what exactly what will happen with the existing certificates and the new combined award chart.

I asked the official SPG rep on Flyertalk and got this response, basically saying that Marriott isn’t going announce anything until after they stop selling the current travel packages:


Marriott has been forthcoming about most aspects of the change, but everyone at Marriott refuses to say how they’ll deal with travel certificates.

One of the few data points that we do have is this:


There are several ways Marriott can handle current hotel certificates:

  • Option 1: The worst case scenario is that they can refund 45K points for the unused category 1-5 travel certificates. Higher categories would also get a refund for the difference between what they paid and what the category 1-5 travel certificates cost. In other words 90K Starpoints converts into 270K Marriott which would convert into 132K United miles or 120K miles with an airline like American or Alaska and 7 nights in a category 1-5 hotel. If you cancel the travel certificate today they give a refund of just 45K points. If Marriott refunds 45K points that will mean you’ll pay 225K Marriott (75K SPG) for 132K United miles (0.59 miles per Marriott point or 1.76 miles per SPG point).
    • Personally I think that it is extremely unlikely that Marriott would still be selling packages now and would force the hotel certificates into just 45K points.
  • Option 2: Marriott could give a points refund equal to the current value of the certificates. A category 1-5 package costs 270K Marriott points and the 7 night package is good for a max of 150K points. A category 9 package costs 390K Marriott points and the 7 night package is good for a max of 270K points. A tier 4-5 package costs 540K Marriott points and the 7 night package is good for a max of 420K points. Notice a pattern here? The amount spend for the airline miles part of the package is always 120K points. If Marriott refunds the hotel certificate part of the package into points that will mean you’ll pay 120K Marriott (40K SPG) for 132K United miles (1.1 miles per Marriott point or 3.3 miles per SPG point).
    • This is a good possibility, but would be generous given that Marriott would be giving a lot of points back.
  • Option 3: Marriott could keep the hotel certificates valid for a certain amount of points per night, though they would have to smooth out the edges for the numbers to make sense for each category. I calculated 3 scenarios for this option in this post and the winners are the tier 1-3 and tier 4-5 certificates. With this option you would likely get between 1.1-4.4 miles per Marriott point and 3.3-13.2 miles per SPG point.
    • I think this is a very good possibility. It’s generous, but keeps the nights as certificates that can expire rather than points.
  • Option 4: Marriott could keep the hotel certificates valid for specific categories. This was my original guess from this post, but it will be difficult to map all of the current certificates to the new categories.
    • This option is a possibility, but would make some people unhappy based on how multiple current categories would map to the same new category.

There are other options of course, but I’d guess that option 3 is most likely, followed by option 2, option 4, and finally option 1.

Of course there are other unknowns as well:

  • Will Marriott continue to allow certificates to be extended for a year just for the asking?
  • Will Marriott continue to allow people to upgrade and downgrade categories using the existing award chart if they want to make changes after August?

My thoughts are that Marriott will handle these certificates generously and that’s why they are staying mum. Announcing that they will do options 2, 3, or 4 would create a massive amount of demand for the current certificates. By not announcing anything they will keep demand down until it’s too late to buy the current certificates. I don’t think they would keep selling packages today if they planned on pulling the rug out from underneath everyone with option 1.

I would definitely recommend buying current travel packages while they’re still being sold.

Here are Marriott’s top miles+nights travel packages for 7 nights in a hotel and United miles. With these you can get up to 132K miles and it’s always worth getting the 132K miles package if you can afford it. Prices are in Marriott points (divide by 3 for the price in Starpoints):


Here are Marriott’s 2nd best miles+nights packages for 7 nights in a hotel and Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Southwest, or Virgin Atlantic miles. With these you can get up to 120K miles and it’s always worth getting the 120K miles package if you can afford it. Prices are in Marriott points (divide by 3 for the price in Starpoints):

  • You must call Marriott at 800-321-7396 if you want to book a miles+nights travel package. They can’t be booked online.
  • The miles will post within a few days of the transfer, regardless of when or if you use the 7 night certificate. You may also be able to pay to expedite the mileage posting.
  • The 7 night electronic hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them.
  • You don’t need to choose the hotel at the time of a nights+miles redemption.
  • The certificate must be used at one property for 7 consecutive nights.
  • You can have the certificate issued in anyone’s name.
  • You can currently upgrade your hotel certificate by paying the difference in points later on.

Will you buy a travel package before they are devalued next month?

Until 7/20 only, you can still buy Starpoints on sale for 35% off for the final time. This will be an absolute BARGAIN for these packages!

Related Marriott-SPG merger posts:

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93 Comments On "Marriott Has No Plans On Letting Us Know What They Plan On Doing With Current Travel Packages, But Don’t Let That Stop You From Taking Advantage Of Them!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Dan, do we know exactly when in August the new scheduled rates and category changes will take effect? will it be the 1st of August?


Dan – if I want to use it at Disney Swan or Dolphin (which are going way up in points on the new chart), should I upgrade my voucher now? If so, to what level do you recommend? Thanks!


Dan, was there an answer from Marriott on what will happen to those Marriott gold, that got the gold for being United Platinum or 1K?


Thanks @Dan for the reply 😉


If one has no immediate plans to use the hotel certificate, which category would you recommend buying?


Same q


I dived in and bought a Tier 1-3 cert, hoping that if I book by Feb I can get into Cat 8’s with it. Fingers crossed!


You possibly could have gotten in with a lower one especially if you booked in Aug.


A Cat 9 cert would work for Cat 8 hotels come August? @Dan in scenario 2 & 3 made clear only a Tier 4-5 and hopefully a Tier 1-3 would work for Cat 8 hotels…


I have around 140k starward should I sell not going anywhere anytime soon…


I just spoke to ritz caralton representative and she said the Marriott certificates will be converted to points ayltbthe hightest category.


Would like to stay in a CAT8 for 7 nights, do I wait to book a Cat 8 for 7 nights at the Aug-Feb reduced rate, or should I purchase a Tier 1-4 cert. risking it not working in CAT8 hotels?


If I wanted to stay at the St Regis or similar hotels in Bora Bora or Maldives, do you recommend buying a 7 night package now? Would that equate to a category 9? What would be the best airline to include I the 7 night package?

help pls

if no hotel or redemption in the near future- or at least nothing fancy- what would be the best option? keep spg the way it is or get a bunch of packages ?


How do you know Southwest is included in the “Hotel & Air Package 1” their website only mentions: Participating Airlines: Aeromexico, Air Canada*, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Virgin Atlantic

*Bonus miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) offers are not applicable.

am I missing something?


Hey Dan – any idea if I buy a cat seven 7-night cert and book a cat seven (future cat eight) hotel between Aug-Dec, will it be honored? Or would I have to buy a Tier 4-5 cert?


What category certificate should I buy for St Regis Bal Harbor between Aug-Dec?


thanx for e/t wanted to know have app 60,000 spg points and not plannining on travel in the near future whats the best thing to do with the points book something and then get refund or sell now or sell later
also thanx for the mouse ordered it just in time cause see now nothing left


what’s the number to contact for the vacation owners to try and get the 5 night certificate? Also how does that change the calculations?


Dan, what will happen to SPG points to Airline Transfers? Will those remain the same value to Alaska Airlines for example? or Should I deplete my SPG and transfer to airlines now before the end of July?

help please

is there a way to link 2 spg accounts to transfer into one marriot account? or delink an old spg account and relink a new one? Im trying to transfer in points i bought from the starwood sale to grab a room and my brand new spg accoutn is not 30 days old yet please help thanks


Would Ritz Herzaliya be Tier 1-3 – for for 7 nights and 55k united miles it would be 350k Marriott miles?


Under “Option 2”, you write: “you’ll pay 120K Marriott (78.3K SPG) for 132K United miles. If 1 SPG=3 Marriott shouldn’t that be 40K SPG?


Dan why is it a must that they will have to make changes to the certificate?
They can’t just let it all the categories based on the new award chart ?


Dan if I only have 60k starpoints you also recommend to redeem it for travel + nights?


I want to play this speculatively and buy 3 of the cat 1-5 packages for 270k each. I’m betting on spending these 810k points to get 360k airline miles and then 450k back in points (I know it is a gamble). The advice I am seeking is: if you believe this version will happen, as I do, should I get 360k Alaska points or 396k United points? In the next couple years I am hoping to book our family of 3 in premium cabins for trips to Johannesburg and Sydney, Australia. I know United miles come in handy for star alliance awards including South African airways and Alaska miles come in handy for Qantas awards to australia. But if Qantas never releases 3 business class seats on awards anyway, it may make more sense to go with United miles is what I was thinking. Am I missing anything? And which would you choose Alaska or United?


Rob, I could have almost wrote the same post. I am sitting on 930k points and want the miles for business class for New Zealand/Australia and an African Safari trip. Its a gamble but I am thinking of doing the same thing. Im worried about Alaska getting availability but I know if I am willing to pay 175K one way business on United I can get the seats to New Zealand. I have been tossing up just buy one real package at a current cat 8 to maybe use a week in Aruba and get the miles and then get two cat 1-5 packages, just in case it does not work out. Or get one package with United at the 390K rate, one at Alaska at 270K and hang on to the rest.


Dan and Karen, thanks so much for the advice. I really like your thinking Karen. I too am worried about being wrong and then being stuck with 3 weeks in 1-5 cat hotel certificates lol. Amazing coincidence as I have 939k marriott points, almost exact same as you. I think Dan’s post is right though, I think Marriott is staying mum because they will be generous and don’t want a mad rush for packages. Just my gut, but I think it is worth the risk. We did a safari in 2016 and it was great and we used 160k United miles each to connect through Austria with a nice 2 day stopover to get adjusted, so United worked out well for JoBurg. I think I am leaning toward getting the United miles and can always buy alaska points on a promotion to get to Australia if I need to. There are no limits to how many Alaska points you can buy, while there are limits to buying United points and usually they are too expensive anyway. Ok, I think you’ve helped me talk myself into United points. The extra 10% points makes it quite attractive.


I have no plans on staying at a property for 7 days straight, and probably not even 5 days.
In your opinion, what is the minimum amount of nights for it to be worth getting this package ?


Is there any way to accelerate the process by which Amex grants my SPG points from credit card spend? Will paying off my balance early accelerate the process?


If Option 2 prevails, the value of United miles would be the same (1.1 Marriott/mile or 3.3 SPG/mile), regardless of which “column” is purchased (55K, 77K, 110K, 132K). Correct?


I currently had redeemed my 7 nights cat 1-5 voucher for 2019 stay. If Marriott decide to go with option #2. Can I still able to cancel the booking and opt for the points?


How about them giving us a hybrid 2 and 3 with a choice to either cash for some points but not full value or use at new category x, y or z.


“If Marriott refunds 45K points that will mean you’ll pay 235K Marriott (78.3K SPG) for 132K United miles”. Don’t you mean 225k and 75k respectively?


Dan, thanks for this great post.
If I want to fly LOT to Poland or Hungary, which airline should I choose for the miles, so I can book an economy fare? TY

Elliott Goldstein

I opened 3 credit cards this year
Chase Safire
Amex buisness spg

I opened to get points for each card
At the end of year is it better to keep it open (I can always use the free anaversery night for Both cards and I use the Safire when booking flight Casue it offers insurgence if I get sick
And have to cancel)
Or do I close each account at end of year so it’s better for my credit
Does having those three cards open hurt my credit?
I already have several cards that I have open in my wallet and will continue to use those if I need to cancel those three cards
Question keeping them open… would that effect my credit or close the account before end of year??? Thanks dan
Dan perhaps you should post about this
This is a question we (the general public ) always go back and forth on… how long to keep cards when to cancel when not to cancel what hurts our Credit
It’s worth a post


If I bought a cat 6 package for 300k points and book a cat 5 hotel do I get the 30k difference refunded or do I eat the 30k overage I originally paid?


@Dan would you get a couple 1-5 cat or a tier 1-3 if there are no plans to book in the near future?


I have a Cat 1-5 Marriott Cert that I already renewed once and expires 12/2018. Is this possible to have an additional renewal to the following year and/or with the new Marriott rules, should I book this before August 1?


What’s best way to combine Marriott accts for over 50k? (Is Marriott still allowing Marriott to SPG transfers?)


I’m confused as to why you keep talking about the 7 nights+120,000 mile package for 270,000 Marriott points, as if it were a bargain over the other options.

Is there any reason not to set my sights on the package that costs the least: 7 Nights + 55,000 Miles for 200,000 Marriott points? Is there a mathematical disadvantage to buying this one over the others?


I never go to hotels , does it still pay for me or should I just transfer to air miles ?
2) does the travelpack work with Aegean ?


@dan I bought 3 tier 1-3 packages for 420k Starwood bc dan says that the best value and we don’t question the dan. My only doubt is considering I’m not going to a overwater villa anytime soon and I’m really banking on scenario 2 would I have been better off buying cat. 1-5 for same united miles but less risk on the hotel reward or do you believe that tier 1-3 has better odds of refund?


seems way too risky even if you have the points…unless you have something planned.