Another Guess At What Will Happen With Marriott’s Miles+Nights Travel Packages And Which You Should Buy Now Before It’s Too Late!

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Related Marriott Travel Packages posts:

This is a highly technical, advanced level post, but in it I will show you how it’s possible to get crazy value out of Marriott’s current travel packages. Be sure to first read this all about post about how to redeem points for these travel packages. Then try reading through this post a few times and finally, ask questions in the comments and I’ll try to answer them.

In August, Marriott will massively devalue their lucrative miles+nights travel packages. That was one of the predictions I made in April, but it still stings bigly.

Currently the 7 night hotel certificates expire after a year, but Marriott is happy to extend them for another year just for the asking. That means you don’t need to have current travel plans to book these packages as you can always book the hotel later on.

Clearly it’s worth taking advantage of the current packages now, but which one should you buy?

Marriott still hasn’t announced what will happen to people who have 7 night certificates from the existing packages that are still for sale. Perhaps they don’t want to announce something and either have lots of angry customers or have lots of people rushing to redeem for an overly lucrative award. Marriott’s stated objective with this merger is to keep customers whole and do right by them, so I don’t think they’re just going to toss 45K points to everyone with an unused certificate and say too bad.

I took a stab at figuring out what would happen with them back in April based on the old certificates being valid for specific categories.

But now I’m inclined to change my guess based on this post by Starwood’s official representative to Flyertalk:

A Chase Marriott category 1-5 certificate is currently valid at properties that cost up to 25K Marriott points. Under the new award chart, properties in category 4 will cost 25K points. So the category will change, but the actual points value will not.

Here is a comparison chart that I put together. All prices here are in Marriott points as I have tripled the prices in the Starwood award chart to help make things a little easier to compare.

 Previous Starwood ChartPrevious Previous Marriott ChartAugust 2018 Combined ChartFebruary 2019 Combined Chart
Category 16,000 (Weekends)
9,000 (Weekdays)
7,5007,5005,000 off-peak
7,500 standard
10,000 peak
Category 29,000 (Weekends)
12,000 (Weekdays)
10,00012,50010,000 off-peak
12,500 standard
15,000 peak
Category 321,00015,00017,50015,000 off-peak
17,500 standard
20,000 peak
Category 430,00020,00025,00020,000 off-peak
25,000 standard
30,000 peak
Category 536,000 off-peak
48,000 peak
25,00035,00030,000 off-peak
35,000 standard
40,000 peak
Category 660,000 off-peak
75,000 peak
30,00050,00040,000 off-peak
50,000 standard
60,000 peak
Category 790,000 off-peak
105,000 peak
35,00060,00050,000 off-peak
60,000 standard
70,000 peak
Category 8-40,000-70,000 off-peak
85,000 standard
100,000 peak
Category 9-45,000--
Ritz Tier 1-30,000--
Ritz Tier 2-40,000--
Ritz Tier 3-50,000--
Ritz Tier 4-60,000--
Ritz Tier 5-70,000--

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):

Previously, I tried to figure out which new category each old category would map to.

But there are lots of other possibilities. Marriott may simply refund a certain amount of points for outstanding certificates that aren’t attached to a reservation.

Or they may assign a points value for each certificate. If you purchase a 7 night category 1-5 package for 270K Marriott points (90K Starpoints) now you can redeem for 7 nights in Marriott hotels that cost up to 25K points per night. Thanks to the 5th night being free, the total value of that certificate is 150K points (instead of 175K points) and you also get 132K United miles or 120K miles with 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.

If you use 270K Marriott points for the travel package and value the 7 nights at the full 150,000 Marriott rate that it would cost to book them, that means you are using 120K additional Marriott points for 132K United miles, so you are getting 1.1 United miles per Marriott point redeemed. That’s equal to receiving 3.3 United miles per Starpoint redeemed. Those are a great value.

If you just transfer points to United without a travel package you’ll need 56,000 Marriott points to get 25,000 United miles. That’s just 0.45 United miles per Marriott points redeemed. In August it may require 60,000 Marriott points to get 25,000 United miles, or 0.42 United miles per Marriott points redeemed.

Under the new travel packages, the maximum value will be 0.61 United miles per Marriott point redeemed.

But depending on what Marriott decides to do with 7 night certificates from the current travel packages, the value can be significantly greater.

Let’s assume that rather than assigning a valid category in August (as I did in April), that Marriott will assign a max points value per night. I think that it’s likely for many categories, the current certificates will be worth the same number of points per night in August as they are today. A category 1-5 certificate will be valid for hotels that cost up to 25K points per night, just as they are today. As the 5th night of an award is free, that means the total value would remain 150K points.

In the chart below I’ll plot out scenarios for what each level of current certificates could be worth in August, should Marriott assign a points value to each certificate. See the commentary below the chart for more explanation about what is going on here.

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)

Chart explanation:

  • The first column in the chart above includes all of the certificates that are for sale today, along with the cost in Marriott points to buy them. Divide that cost by 3 to calculate the cost in Starpoints.
  • For Scenario 1, I assume that Marriott will assign the exact points value that the certificates have today for the future program. There are a few problems with this assumption. Current category 6 doesn’t clear the threshold to book future category 5, except on off-peak dates. Current categories 8 and 9 don’t clear the threshold to book future category 6, except on off-peak dates. In fact current category 9 has no advantage over 8 as there is no 45K level redemption on the new Marriott award chart. Current tier 5 doesn’t clear the threshold to book future category 8, except on off-peak dates.
    • Off the top of my head, some of these scenarios are quite plausible for Marriott to keep the exact same value of the certificate. Nobody would complain if the current category 5 certificates remained valid for hotels that cost up to 25K points per night. However, many of the categories would need to have added value per night in order for Marriott to keep customers whole.
  • Due to the above problems, let’s make a scenario 2 where Marriott rounds things up to make them more fair. Perhaps they would allow the current category 5 certificate to book category 4 on peak dates by bumping their value from 25K to 30K per night. They could then allow current category 6 certificates to redeem for future category 5 on standard dates by bumping their value up from 30K to 35K. Bumping category 9 from 40K to 50K would allow it to be used at the more comparable future category 6 during standard dates. Bumping tier 3 from 50K to 60K would allow it to be used at the more comparable future category 7 during standard dates. Bumping tier 5 from 70K to 85K would allow it to be used at the more comparable future category 8 during standard dates.
    • Off the top of my head, some of these make the plausible sense for Marriott. This scenario keeps the value for the current category 9, tier 3, and tier 5 certificates valid at comparable hotels for example.
  • In scenario 3 I don’t think category 5 can get any more generous than scenario 2, but perhaps Marriott would allow current category 6 certificates to be used on peak dates for future category 5. I don’t see category 7 getting more generous than scenario 2, but perhaps current category 8 certificates could be used for future category 6 standard awards. Marriott could allow current category 9 to be used on peak dates for future category 6 awards, allow tier 3 certificates to be used on peak dates for future category 7 awards, and allow tier 5 certificates to be used on peak dates for future category 8 awards.

Value of the points:

Based on each of those scenarios, we can now calculate how much those nights will be worth in the new program. For scenario 1 the points are exactly the same as they are now, so the portion of the package used for the airline miles will always be 120K. You can get 132K United miles with those packages, which is 1.1 miles per Marriott point used for the cost of the package, less than value of the nights. For example in category 5 that’s 132K/120K (270K Marriott points used-150K Marriott points value of the nights) = 1.1 miles per point. If you think in terms of miles per Starpoint you’ll multiply by 3 for the ratio, so you’re receiving 3.3 miles per Starpoint, for example in category 5 that’s 132K/40K (90K Starpoints used-50K Starpoints value of the nights).

In scenario 2, the tier 1-3 and tier 4-5 certificates start to perform better. The value of those nights goes up and therefore the portion of the package for airline miles goes down. That increases the miles received per point to 2.2 for tier 1-3 for example, 132K/60K (420K points used-360K value of the nights)=2.2 miles per Marriott point. If you think in terms of miles per Starpoint you’ll multiply by 3 for the ratio, so you’re receiving 6.6 miles per Starpoint, for example in tier 1-3 that’s 132K/20K (140K Starpoints used-120K Starpoints value of the nights).

In scenario 3, the category 9 and tier 1-3 perform best. The value of those nights goes up and therefore the portion of the package for airline miles goes down. That increases that miles received per point to 4.4 for category 9 for example, 132K/30K (390K Marriott points used-360K value of the nights)=4.4 miles per Marriott point. If you think in terms of miles per Starpoint you’ll multiply by 3 for the ratio, so you’re receiving 13.2 miles per Starpoint, for example in category 9 that’s 132K/10K (130K Starpoints used-120K Starpoint value of the nights). Or for tier 1-3 the nights would be worth the full value paid, so the 132K miles have no assignable cost in this scenario, making them essentially free.

If Marriott decides to go the route of assigning a points value rather than a category value, I’d assume there will be a mix of scenarios 1 and 2, though some cases from scenario 3 might come into play as well.

If I had to guess which scenario is most likely for each category:

  • Category 1-5 certificates will probably fall under scenario 1, with a small chance of falling under scenario 2.
  • Category 6 certificates will probably fall under scenario 2.
  • Category 7 certificates are probably a toss up between scenario 1 and 2.
  • Category 8 certificates are a real toss-up, this is probably the most likely to swing to scenario 3.
  • Category 9 certificates will probably fall under scenario 2.
  • Tier 1-3 certificates will probably fall under scenario 2.
  • Tier 4-5 certificates will probably fall under scenario 2.

Now that we know which hotels fall into into which future category, you can try to guess which current certificates will allow you to redeem for that category based on the chart and guesses above. It’s a tricky game, but could be quite lucrative.

However, if I had to pick the winning category here, I’d say it’s the current tier 1-3 or the tier 4-5 certificates. Those have the highest value if scenarios 2 or 3 pan out.

Bear in mind that all category 8 hotels will be priced as category 7 hotels from August-February and that peak and off-peak pricing will only go into effect in February.

That means that if scenario 2 of the Tier 1-3 certificates pans out, you can use 420K Marriott points (140K Starpoints) for 132K United miles and 7 nights in a $3,500/night villa at the S. Regis Maldives if you book between August 2018-February 2019 before that turns into a future category 8 property, which would likely require the Tier 4-5 certificates.

If you can’t book before February 2019 then you’ll probably want to buy the tier 4-5 certificate.

Then again it’s possible there will be so much competition at the former Starwood all-suite hotels that booking an award night there will become very difficult, so don’t do this if you’re locked into just one hotel use.

Want to redeem for a travel package? Read this post for everything you need to know about how to do that.

Again, this post contains a lot of conjecture and guesswork, but I do think these are likely scenarios given the information that we know. I don’t assume any responsibility in case things don’t end up as I’m guessing, but these are all educated guesses on where things will end up. Feel free to disagree in the comments 😀

Will you be buying a travel package before they’re devalued?

Short on Marriott/Starpoints?

Related Marriott-SPG merger posts:

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62 Comments On "Another Guess At What Will Happen With Marriott’s Miles+Nights Travel Packages And Which You Should Buy Now Before It’s Too Late!"

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davidmal

Great write up!

“That means that if scenario 2 of the Tier 1-3 certificates pans out, you can use 420K Marriott points (140K Starpoints) for 132K United miles and 7 nights in a $3,500/night villa at the S. Regis Maldives if you book between August 2018-February 2019 before that turns into a future category 8 property, which would likely require the Tier 4-5 certificates.”

INSANE, INSANE, INSANE

Hvaces42

So what to do with a 7 night certificate (cat 1-4) that expires between August and February?

yehudah

Am I really supposed to read through this?

Ak

Hi Dan, great post! I just purchased a cat 6. Would you attempt to update a category 6 to a 7 to guarantee a Cat 5 on the new program? Or would you hang on to the 6.

David

I don’t value 7 nights highly, it’s just too much for me. Most of my hotel stays are 2-3 nights, even on vacation. For 300000 you can do three 5-day vacations at 1-5 hotels as opposed to a one-week at cat 6 + United miles. Sure if you have millions of points it makes sense to burn some on these packages. However for those of us left with few points after buying the package we need to ask ourselves if it is worth it. I have and I think I’m going to pass. As for top-end hotels, others have pointed out that you will probably be assigned the worst rooms in the hotel. So no over-water bungalow for those 60000 marriott points but more like the bedroom facing the parking lot.

Ralph

I have a massive headache
Not a good idea to read on a fast day
Maybe just clarify if people want to just get points back and not sleep in the hotel what’s the best option for that and how to go about doing it

Mosh

Awesome post! Thanks Dan!
Just wondering for some of us who will likely not get to redeem 7 nights at those to tier hotels. The best option would be just to buy a bunch of 270k packages racking up ua points and hope Marriott just gives back 150k points?

Nathan

I have two certs. One Cat 5 & one cat 8. My original thought was to use another 90k to upgrade the Cat 5 to 8. Good idea?

Meir

Hey Dan, I know its a *bit* off topic, but have you ever used “Turo” to rent a car on a vacation? The prices look very good but I read a lot of awful reviews online about them. Any personal experience?

Gavin

Great post.

Quick Q.

Is there potential for a 7 night 1-5 cert to be refunded 25k per night for a total of 175k? Or am I confusing this?

Glushtygiz

Do the 7 night certs expire? And u mentioned that award bookings might get crazy but I thought there’s no capacity control?

Shraga

Dan, Are you fasting today?

Mordechai

If I don’t have any travel plans at the moment should I get the cat 1-5 as I can always upgrade to cat 6 later ?

JB

I want to book a current category 8 Marriott hotel. Is the suggestion to get a category 7 certificate now and then book in August when category 8 moves to category 7? Is there a risk of not being able to do that and would I be better off getting a category 8 certificate and booking the nights now?

Alan

@dan I had the same question, for a current category 8 marriot, should I purchase the category 7 or 8 package?

JB

It looks to me that category 8 hotels are mainly converting to category 6. Those will require 50,000 points starting in August. From Dan’s post category 7 certificates may only be valid for hotels that require 40,000 – so I think it is risky to get a category 7 certificate now thinking it will get you a hotel in the new category 6 – you may only be able to get a category 6 off-peak and perhaps not at all in August.

alan

Thank you @JB

yman

thanks Dan for the great post. Not sure how realistic this is for me if I just opened a SPG card in April, and I have about 30,000 points. Looking to buy a property now so don’t have extra money to spend on buying points. But I thought I would let you know my review of this well thought-out post. also open to any “eye-opening” suggestions to take advantage of before August rolls around.

Moshe

Are certs limited to name issued?

dan

Dan what category certificate would work for the Sheraton in Tel Aviv on the new chart?

Jk

Dan, I would like to stay at the St. Regis Bal Harbour with the certificate. Would you recommend I get the tier 1-3 certificate and 132k United miles or should I not take the chance and get the tier 4-5?

DonnaChang

In February 2019, I want to stay at the Westin in Singapore for 7 nights with the certificate that I will buy this week. In your opinion, what category cert should I buy?

Glushtygiz

Its gonna be a cat 6 in new program

Chana

Does the night/miles pay if you are traveling from Israel and not from the US?

Avi

I was just told you are grandfathered in til the end of the year. just got cat 6

Sam

Hi Dan- if you are sitting on a ton of starpoints then what would you do? Which package, if any would you purchase? Thanks

Melanie

I have a certificate for Marriott cat 1-5. I already extended the expiration once. Can I do it a second time and do you think this cert will be devalued ? Also do you see southwest air offering the companion again as a package with Marriott points ?

Stumped

Hey Dan I have a category 7, should I upgrade to a 8 or higher?

Nati

Hey Dan thank you so much!
I’m planning on being 7 nights in November in Maui BH. I have about 140k starpoints now I’m debating which hotel to go to?! Do you think if I buy the nights+miles for tier 1-3 now I would be able to stay at the Rits which is tier 4? And also what miles should I take if I don’t have any specific plans of travel in the near future?
Thanks a lot!
P.s. I see that you posted about the Sheraton and the westin hotels that they are 60k which is 20k starpoints and I just checked it and it was 10k for the Sheraton and 12k for the westin. If I got it right!

Mahyar

How does the calculation change if planning to redeem for a 5 night certificate?

shabbir nathani

hello Dan,
whats the deadline of upgrading the base 7 night certificate to a tier 1-3, or tier 4-5 category with the additional points?

Azar

Hi Dan, thank you for the post. Could you please advise the best way to use 130k SPG points.

Agoldsc1

Hi Dan, hope you are still reading this post!

Once the programs are merged, will it still be possible to upgrade these 7-night certificates? If so, I think that I should just buy a category 1-5 for now (as I’ve been doing) and then upgrade when needed. But if these will be frozen at their purchased category, then it makes the entire proposition more risky, because then you need to hope that the you will find a hotel in the right category when the time comes.

Thanks!

David

Don’t think scenario 3 can happen. If Marriott is willing to offer such a great conversion value, they can just do cat to cat mapping by roundup the non-perfect matched cat. It will save a lot of work by not creating new kind of certificate.

robertw

Can you use these certs for less than 7 nights? Just toss the unused days telling them you need less than 7 nights?

Tzvi

Hey Dan. Just wondering if I should shell out the starpoints now to buy a miles+nights package even if I have no idea when/what I will do with it ATM. Do you think it would be worth it to buy something now and figure out what to do with it in the 2 years before it expires (I’ll find something I’m sure) or to hold off and wait until I know what I want to use it for (post devaluation)?

deamole

Dan, I am a Marriott Vacation Club owner so I am able to purchase 5 night certificates. I actually have 3 unused 5 night certificates for Category 7 hotels (current value). I really want to use them for specific SPG Category 7 properties under new chart and want to book as soon as the programs merge. Would you recommend upgrading the current certs and if so how high should I upgrade?

Leo

Letting my Cat 6 float. Lets see what happens. 10 Days to go!

Judy

Are these theories still valid or has new info come out that changes this? Curious because I have 3 Tier 1-3 certificates and it sounds like based on this I should hold on to them and book between Sept – Feb.
Still the case?

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