Marriott’s Remaining Travel Package Options: Will They Go With Points Or Category Based Certificates And What You Should Do Now

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2 weeks ago I wrote a comprehensive guide to Marriott’s travel packages explaining why they are so lucrative and what Marriott’s options are. They are currently an amazing way to get a ton of airline miles and a week in a hotel from your Starwood or Marriott points, so start by reading that post.

On Friday, Marriott all but confirmed that they will be figuring out a way to map the existing packages to the new categories rather than refund any points as had been speculated due to several posts from Starwood Lurker, an official Starwood representative for online forums.

That pretty much eliminates options 1 and 2 from the comprehensive guide.

Note that you can purchase and attach travel certificates to hotels until 8/17, but you won’t be able to make any changes or new bookings from 8/18 until 9/18.

I wouldn’t wait until the last minute as Marriott can stop selling these at any time. If you do want to make sure that you can buy them you should do it now!

Here are the remaining 3 options from that post, along with another option just for kicks.

  • 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. 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.

Starwood’s official representative to Flyertalk has also given this option some credence:

Here are the potential outcomes for each category is Marriott goes with option 3. In most cases the middle scenario makes sense, but there are exceptions as noted in my original post about this option.

Current Travel Package Certificate and cost(Scenario 1)
Current hotel value per night and guesstimated worst case in new program
Comparable level in new program(Scenario 2)
Potential better case in new program
Comparable level in new program(Scenario 3)
Potential best case in new program
Comparable level in new programValue of nights based on the 3 scenariosPoints used for 132K United miles and United miles received per point.
Cat 1-5 Certificate: 270KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 25k pointsCategory 4 standard (25K)Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 30k pointsCategory 4 peak (30K)
Category 5 off-peak (30K)
Same as Scenario 2.Same as Scenario 2.150K
180K
180K
120K (1.1)
90K (1.47)
90K (1.47)
Category 6 Certificate: 300KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 30k pointsCategory 4 peak (30K)
Category 5 off-peak (30K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 35k pointsCategory 5 standard (35K)Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 40k pointsCategory 5 peak (40K)
Category 6 off-peak (40K)
180K
210K
240K
120K (1.1)
90K (1.47)
60K (2.2)
Category 7 Certificate: 330KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 35k pointsCategory 5 standard (35K)Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 40k pointsCategory 5 peak (40K)
Category 6 off-peak (40K)
Same as Scenario 2.Same as Scenario 2.210K
240K
240K
120K (1.1)
90K (1.47)
90K (1.47)
Category 8 Certificate: 360KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 40k pointsCategory 5 peak (40K)
Category 6 off-peak (40K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 45k pointsCategory 5 peak (40K)
Category 6 off-peak (40K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 50k pointsCategory 6 standard (50K)
Category 7 off-peak (50K)
240K
270K
300K
120K (1.1)
90K (1.47)
60K (2.2)
Category 9 Certificate: 390KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 45k pointsCategory 5 peak (40K)
Category 6 off-peak (40K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 50k pointsCategory 6 standard (50K)
Category 7 off-peak (50K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 60k pointsCategory 6 peak (60K)
Category 7 standard (60K)
270K
300K
360K
120K (1.1)
90K (1.47)
30K (4.4)
Tier 1-3 Certificate: 420KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 50k pointsCategory 6 standard (50K)
Category 7 off-peak (50K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 60k pointsCategory 6 peak (60K)
Category 7 standard (60K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 70k pointsCategory 7 peak (70K)
Category 8 off-peak (70K)
300K
360K
420K
120K (1.1)
60K (2.2)
0K (Zero cost United miles)
Tier 4-5 Certificate: 540KGood for 7 nights at hotels up to 70k pointsCategory 7 peak (70K)
Category 8 off-peak (70K)
Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 85k pointsCategory 8 standard (85K)Good for 7 nights at hotels up to 100k pointsCategory 8 peak (100K)420K
510K
600K
120K (1.1)
30K (4.4)
0K (Zero cost United miles)

 

  • Option 4: Marriott could keep the hotel certificates valid for specific categories. This was my original guess from this post back in April. I soured on this option, but it’s back as a good option thanks to Marriott’s update.

Here is a chart outlying the possibilities for this option:

Current Travel Package Certificate and cost Current valueWorst case scenarioBest case scenarioValue of nights based on the 2 scenariosPoints used for 132K United miles and United miles received per point.
Cat 1-5 Certificate: 270KGood for 7 nights at category 1-5 (25K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 1-4 (20K-30K points/night)Same as worst case180K
180K
90K (1.47)
90K (1.47)
Category 6 Certificate: 300KGood for 7 nights at category 6 (30K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 1-4 (20K-30K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 5 (30K-40K points/night)180K
240K
120K (1.1)
60K (2.2)
Category 7 Certificate: 330KGood for 7 nights at category 7 (35K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 5 (30K-40K points/night)Same as worst case240K
240K
90K (1.47)
90K (1.47)
Category 8 Certificate: 360KGood for 7 nights at category 8 (40K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 5 (30K-40K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 6 (40K-60K points/night)240K
360K
120K (1.1)
0K (Zero cost United miles)
Category 9 Certificate: 390KGood for 7 nights at category 9 (45K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 6 (40K-60K points/night)Same as worst case360K
360K
30K (4.4)
30K (4.4)
Tier 1-3 Certificate: 420KGood for 7 nights at tier 1-3 (50K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 6 (40K-60K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 7 (50K-70K points/night)360K
420K
60K (2.2)
0K (Zero cost United miles)
Tier 4-5 Certificate: 540KGood for 7 nights at tier 4-5 (70K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 7 (50K-70K points/night)Good for 7 nights at category 8 (70K-100K points/night)420K
600K
120K (1.1)
0K (Zero cost United miles)

 

This option has the advantage of being compatible with the new travel packages and will be a lot easier to implement. The biggest problem with this option is that it would make some people very unhappy based on how multiple current categories would map to the same new category. Category 8, tier 1-3, and tier 4-5 would be the winners with this option.

  • Option 4a: Marriott could solve the problems found in option 4 by refunding some points to people who have certificates that map to the same level as a cheaper level of certificate. In other words if both current category 8 and 9 wind up mapping to the new category 6, Marriott could just refund 30K points to people who redeemed for a category 9 certificate to make them whole. This is a good possibility if Marriott want to keep everyone happy.

 

  • Option 5: All of the above options assume that the certificate will have a set value, but given that you can attach a certificate to a hotel that is going up in cost, will Marriott value the certificate at a level comparable to the hotel’s new category? It’s a long shot, but could this be a way to get a free upgrade to your certificate? Most likely Marriott will only allow it to be used at the hotel that you selected or at another hotel at a cost comparable to the original level of the certificate, but there’s a chance they may be generous here and value the certificate at the level of the hotel that you attached it to. 

What’s the bottom line? There are no easy answers here due to the many unknowns, but we can conjecture the following:

  • If you do want airline miles then these packages are a no-brainer, so it’s just a matter of buying the “right” category.
  • If you do have a Marriott hotel you want to stay in, then go ahead and just attach the certificate to that hotel.
  • If you have a specific SPG hotel that you want to stay in, things get tricky. Poke around the award charts above to determine where each certificate might be valid going forward. I’d recommend reading this article on hunting down the hotels that are getting more expensive and attaching the certificate to one of those hotels, just in case option 5 comes true. That post has recommendations for each certificate level. If you want to book the base category and hope that Marriott allows upgrades with points I’d buy the category 1-5 certificate and attach it to a stay at the Calgary Airport Marriott. That hotel will remain a category 5 level as of 8/18, so you may gain some extra value there if you then want to cancel that stay and change it to book an SPG hotel. If you want to stay at a hotel like the S. Regis or W Maldives and you’re a big risk taker you can redeem points for the category 9 package and attach it to a stay at the Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection. That hotel will be in the top-tier category 8 level as of 8/18. It’s not very likely, but perhaps you’ll hit the jackpot and be able to then change for the S. Regis or W Maldives as explained in option 5.
  • If you want to stay in a top-tier SPG hotel and can make your reservation between August-January when all category 8 properties will be priced as category 7 properties, you may want to take the risk and buy a tier 1-3 package, attach it to a hotel like the The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto that will be a category 7 in the new program, and hope that it can be used to book other category 7 hotels before Marriott adds a category 8 in February.
  • If you want to stay in a top-tier SPG hotel and want more time to book, you can buy a tier 4-5 package, attach it to a hotel like the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park that will be a category 8 in the new program and hope that it can book any hotel.
  • In short, I see the most potential value coming from category 8, category 9, tier 1-3, and tier 4-5 certificates, depending on which option Marriott chooses, what you’re looking for, and how much of a risk-taker you are.
  • Normally I’d say to take the 132K United over 120K miles from other airlines, but the Chase Quadfecta makes it so easy to earn more United miles, so that gives a boost to miles from airlines like Alaska.
  • Hopefully Marriott will still allow upgrades and downgrades between categories using the old award chart as they do now, but there’s no guarantee of this.
  • Marriott currently will extend a hotel certificate by a year, hopefully this will continue, but there’s no guarantee of this going forward.
  • Marriott currently will refund 45K points if you can’t use the hotel certificate. Hopefully that option will remain as well, but there’s no guarantee.

Short on Starpoints/Marriott points?

  • 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 later this week? Which package will you buy?

Related Marriott Travel Packages posts:

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63 Comments On "Marriott’s Remaining Travel Package Options: Will They Go With Points Or Category Based Certificates And What You Should Do Now"

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SHLOMO

I have read this many times but still cannot understand what the worst case scenario would be.
If I buy 7 nights + united miles at category 9, what is the worst scenario possible?

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”

Agoldsc1

Another option is that they convert all certificates into cat 1-4, and refund any points paid to upgrade above that. That way, everyone is on a level playing field, and can choose to upgrade again at the new rates.

BG

Is there any chance that if i book/attach my certificate to the Domes of Elunda that i will be forced to stay there or lose my certificate?

moshe

I cant decide on what is the best option anymore. for me, it was a no brainer if option 2 was still on the table. since I am not planning on staying anywhere in the near future and lav davka need the airline miles right now. however now that you saying its eliminated- do you still think its worth it getting a cat 1-5? I have like 240K spg. what you recommend? thanks for all your help

gswannabe

If you want to stay at a top tier spg hotel, why buy a category 4-5 certificate when you can buy a category 8 or 9 for much less points?

BG

Can certificates be attached to a hotel and specific dates now, and then detached at a later date and used on a different property within that same category, or upgraded/downgraded to a different category?

Nic

If I’m not planning on purchasing a package or redeeming for a top-tier hotel is there any significant reason to rush to book something before February? It seems like the 5 to 6 category is it changing all that much outside of a few hotels

Nic

Edit – cat 5/6 ISNT changing that much

Chaim

Any advantage or disadvantage of locking in a voucher already purchased to a specific hotel?

Enrique

What is your suggestion if I want to stay at the Ritz Herzliya next June/July?

Enrique

Please add any other SPG hotels in Israel to your response. Thanks!

Gabe

What would your recommendation be if I had plans to stay at the Ritz Tokyo next year for a week? Currently it’s 70,000 pts/night but for a short period it would map to a category 7 which would be 60,000 pts/night. Should I just wait and book it at 60,000 pts/night, buy a tier 1-3 certificate, or buy a tier 4-5 certificate? I could use some more Alaska miles but I don’t have to have them. I guess I’m trading a better pt/mile conversion ratio now for future flexibility. Thanks for your advice!

Al

Is there a chance that even if you buy a Ritz 4-5 certificate they could require extra points to use it at a Premium SPG property like Bora Bora or Maldives?

Flying Jew

Did Artscroll come out with Mesechta Marriott Travel Rewards Yet?

Ninjaleh

I only have 46,000 starpoints. United miles are valuable to me. Is it worth it to bridge the gap by converting chase reward points to Marriot points? Or is that not even a possibility anymore?

Vet&Banker

No idea if it’s possible, but you’d be converting 132K UR for 132 United miles + the 7-night certificate. You’d basically be trading the flexibility of UR’s other partners for the 7 day Cat 1-5 cert. Whether you find that trade worth it is up to you.

Dave

Right now if we book a hotel lower than the category of our cert, we get refunded the difference, ie 30k, 60k. What do you think will happen if we downgrade after 9/18 to a hotel lower in category? Refund of 120k? Or maybe the system will map into the existing price differences?

HE

I have read all these posts many many times 🙂 but I ask, whats the worst case scenario if I have now a 7 nights + united miles at category 8 and have no hotel plans yet (I do like a great hotel), and I have enough points to upgrade the package to category 9, should I leave it as is (cat 8) or should I upgrade now to 9?

Bruce

Dan. I bought 2 cat 1-5 certs hoping for a point refund option (I use alaska miles a lot). I don’t see myself staying anywhere for 7 nights. What’s your best advice.

Vet&Banker

Not Dan, but in my opinion use it for 5 nights wherever you’d want to go. Below that is fine too, but you could potentially get easier stays through single night certs, standard points, or cash.

Al

Hey Dan, can you please tell us what you’re planning to buy?! Thanks

Steve

If they make certificates valid for some amount of total points (and not require 7 night stays) that would mitigate a lot of the frustrations by Cusomters.

Let me use my cat 9 week cert for 5 nights at a top SPG/Marriott property and I will be delighted. And give me the option to use it for a 4 week stay at a basic cat 1 hotel if I prefer. 🙂

Jack

Dan, It seems like there’s only one more day to do anything with your Marriott packages as I got an email from them stating that their site and customer support will be down for August 15 through August 19. I can forward to you. Where should I send to?

JR

what cc should we be using since the whole thing with the change of starwoods? I am still using our business starwoods for every day purchases. thank you

Kachnik

I just talked to one of the highly intelligent SPG reps regarding points being transferred into my SPG account. She stated unequivocally that Marriott is not allowing any transfers from SPG into Marriott from August 1, 2018 until August 17, 2018. How convenient, since they are shutting down for a month from August 18, 2018. When I pointed out that I had just transferred 77,000 Starwoods points to Marriott on August 12, 2018, she had no answer. To me the answer is obvious, according to Starwoods and Marriott, August 12, 2018 is not between August 1, 2018 and August 17, 2018. They live in a different time continuum.

Ekrem

Not true. I just moved 180k from SPG to MR yesterday.

Mike

I transferred 90K SPG to MR today. I called Marriot to order a travel package and waited 45 minutes before someone answered the call 🙁

MR

Hi Dan,

I opened a Marriott card and quickly spent $5k to get the sign up bonus, however I returned almost $4k after my statement posted on Aug 1st.

I have seen 11k points post to my account from standard earnings, however I have yet to see my signup bonus post.

Is it worth waiting a few days to see if they post or should I transfer my 200k Chase UR points now to buy a travel package?

Itsy

You will not get the bonus as you did not spend 5k. You spent 1k and are not entitled to the bonus. Are you trying to scam Chase/Marriott? Not a good idea. Chase shuts down people.

Moish

Just to confirm:
The airline miles transfer will stay the same after the merger, the advantage is in the 7 night stay certificate. Is that correct?
(How much is that certificate worth?)
Thank you

BigAl

Hi Dan,

Thanks again as usual for being so generous with your time and knowledge. As one who is somewhat spontaneous about travel to Israel, I would normally jump at the United miles but being that I am not a United platinum member, I will always get charged $75 for close booking fee which makes these miles so much less attractive. Would you recommend the travel package with the 85,000 Qantas miles which allows you flying to Israel for 42,000 miles each way? Only asking because I’m wondering how long that may last? If you have a tip to avoid the close booking fee that would be appreciated as well.

Motty

Has anyone had trouble getting ahold of this department to purchade the package? I’ve been hold for half hour

Dean

I called 800-450-4442 at 7:24am EST on 14 Aug 18 went through the prompts, got a live person on and was done in 13 minutes buying a rewards package. Reward confirmation came from Marriott at 7:42am.

Victor

Definitely very hard to speak to someone to redeem the travel packages. Also, I
just tried transferring Marriott points from my wife’s account for a package but was told that they are now limiting transfers to 50,000 points maximum. This seems to be an unannounced policy change.
Their “Transfer points” policy has been:
Members who are transferring points in order to satisfy a specific award may exceed the 50,000 limit up to the amount needed to satisfy the reservation.

Cook

On a different note, if I reached the 10k spend threshold on Ritz to hit gold status, and hoping for upgrade to platinum, to then crossover to United Silver, what if chase is taking 6-8 weeks to relay that info to Marriott/Ritz? On what date does my account need to reflect gold for my platinum upgrade to be awarded under the merger?

david

i was just told these would only be able to be used at Marriott hotels since they were booked before the merger. Has anyone else been told this?

Me

Unrelated question: Should I be using my SPG at Marriot hotels now until the 18th (I don’t have a Marriot card)? Or perhaps my CSR?

Rob

Unrelated answer: Yes, the human head weighs 8 pounds.

Leo

😛 hahahha

Sam

I have 330 MR I value United points and don’t use hotels. What package should I buy to get into the game?

LS

these posts make my head spin…and i’m a pretty intelligent person in general

PwC NyC

Do you need to transfer the points from SPG into a Marriott account before calling to book a 7 night cert?

leaf

yes

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