Marriott Takes The Low Road, Chooses Worst Case Scenario For Unattached Travel Certificates

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Marriott has published the following travel package conversion chart and the following statement,

For members with existing Travel Packages (booked prior to today and not yet attached to a reservation), today we are able to share how they will convert within the newly unified program. Please see the full chart below.

No existing Travel Package certificate is losing value in terms of points and, with the new Free Night Award Chart that goes live today, 70% of our hotels either stayed at the same redemption rate threshold or moved down. As we structured the conversion chart, we considered the introduction of peak and off-peak redemption rates, which will be introduced in early 2019. This means that if you have an existing Category 9 certificate, which converts to Category 6 starting today, holders will still be able to attach the certificate to a stay when redemption rates within that category are at their highest.

Well that’s a whole lot of spin.

The chart above is a direct hit with the worst case scenario that I wrote about in Option 4, which was my original guess from this post back in April.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
120K (1.1)
0K (Zero cost United miles)

I wrote that “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.”

I also created an 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.”

Except Marriott doesn’t want to keep anyone happy. They kept everyone in the dark about their plans and then released a plan with the absolute worst case scenario. They rounded everything down a category so that even people who bought a top-tier 4-5 certificate won’t be able to book a top-tier hotel past January when they introduce an 8th category:

 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--

Worse yet, they’re making zero effort to keep people who overpaid for a category 6, 8, or tier 1-3 certificate happy. They are lumping those together with category 5, 7, and 9, despite charging them 30K more points.

Marriott claims to live by the #GoldenRule, “Treating others like we’d like to be treated. It has always been our guiding principle.” However they absolutely took the low road here, there is no way anyone would want to be treated like this. They purposefully hid their intentions and took advantage of their most loyal members with this conversion.

It’s bad enough that they took the worse case scenario, but it’s an absolute slap in the face that they haven’t even offered to refund the 30K points to those who redeemed for a category 6, 8, or tier 1-3 certificate. And it’s ridiculous that they won’t convert tier 4-5 certificates into category 8 certificates.

All of the above applies to certificates that are not attached to hotels. Marriott has not yet announced what will happen with certificates that are attached to hotels as far as how date changes or hotel changes will work.

Marriott has killed the SPG AMEX with a 33% devaluation that they are spinning to cardholders as earning 2 points per dollar and they have acted deviously with these travel packages. I sure hope that they reconsider both positions or they’ll watch their members head for the exits. It’s a really poor showing for day 1 of the merged programs.

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110 Comments On "Marriott Takes The Low Road, Chooses Worst Case Scenario For Unattached Travel Certificates"

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SPG Lurker



Paid 360k for Category 8;(


Me too


Same boat, buddy.


Yep…me too. Not happy.


Did the same


I got 1 cat 8 and 1 tier 1-3 🙁 RIP


And the fact that the published merger date was the the 18th, and all systems were down and the purchase of travel packages, were no longer possible on the 17th.


Not true. I bought one last night at 11:45pm CT


that was because it was shabbos already lol


I was very inclined to upgrade my category 1-5 unattached to a category 6. Somehow did not go through that, and seeing this chart, am so glad I didn’t.

Marriott fan

Oh well. Glad I didn’t make speculative bookings. Do not pass GO, do not collect anything free.

Ah well

Guess it’s time to cancel the SPG AMEX as well. Status matched to Hilton, and finishing my existing reservations w Marriott for this year. All new reservations are going to Hilton.


I can’t believe it!! I have a category six and never dreamed they would risk losing me for such a small gain on their part! Did they say if they will still give 75000 points for canceling a category six or will they only give 45k?


Shavuah tov.
Do we know yet what will happen to attached certificates that were purchased at category 9 and attached to Domes?
Also, do we know if anyone had had success booking regular nights at top-tier S Regis properties with 60k Marriott?
Thanks, Dan.


Marriott said they will honor existing certificate that are attached.


Category 9 is the big winner here… Glad I bought one last week (I attached it to Domes of Elounda just in case).

Deal Guy

Sad part is I believe Marriot knew exactly what they were doing pre conversion date to hype people up before just to screw them. As they call it in the stock market. “Pump And Dump”


Imo they figure they could piss the relatively small percentage of mile junkies off but still do a great markating job convincing their average customer how it’s “getting better”.



Flying Jew

Dan not sure why surprised….overall trend has been devaluing rewards programs. Flights and nights has been awesome for years…but all good (free) things come to end. Do think they should have refunded the 30k point differntial…for non mapped categories.


Completely agree with you Dan.

Very disappointed in Marriott. At the very least they should refund the 30k points to those with certificates in the Cat 6, Cat 8 and Tier 1-3.

This would be a start but even with that move this whole merger has been disappointing. Makes Hyatt’s Passport change to World of Hyatt not so bad.

Hilton is already making fun of Marriott regarding their lack of free breakfast for elite members.


I’m so upset! I spent all day on the 17th trying to book an award ahead of this and even upgrade my cat 8 to cat 9 to hedge against this. Of course, the “system was down” and couldn’t do either.

@dan – can you detail a post on how to best voice our frustration to the highest level with Marriott? I know I’m not the only one upset.


Spent 4 hrs trying to attach cert to no avail – no availability for 6 months in 4 properties!?!?

Class action an option?


I’m disgusted with the way Marriott has handled this conversion. I hope they will see how many people they have upset today. With any luck Marriott will let people upgrade on downgrade a category


to all you haters
how come your getting all mad at marriott ? they tried their best to accommodate the transition properly.
not everyone can always be happy

Deal Guy

I don’t see how they tried to accommodate “anyone” but themselves.


Umm just announce what the conversion would be before August 18th…that would be trying their best. Now they can eat 30k from each of the Category 6, 8, and Tier 1-3 holders


Marriott basically said ‘screw you’ reward members. We do what’s good for our pocket books. So, yeh, you are 100% accurate in that they are being very accommodating…that is, accommodating to themselves and shareholders. Reward members are just blind disposable sheep.


Do we have one year of date of issuance to use these travel certificates (actual hotel stay) or only one year to make a reservation (which could be made 1 year in advance)?


plus 1 whats the answer to this q


I have an unattached cat. 6 certificate I bought yesterday. I was trying to attach it last night with no luck, but I never imagined they would steal 30,000.


I am in the same boat
welcome to the new world of Marriott

Dinged by Marriott

Bought the Tier 1-3…This makes very little sense to punish the Cat 6, 8 Tier 1-3 folks. But at least I got two tickets on HK Air Business Class that was confirmed.


I have a category 8 currently booked for a property that just turned to category 6. I won’t be able to stay on booked date but I do want to say at this property. If I reschedule the reservation for a later date, can I keep the same property? Or will my certificate reset to category 5 if I attempt to reschedule? Also, any word if the certificates can still be extended a year?


Well as Dan posted several times it was still an exceptional opportunity to buy miles at an incredible value even without the hotel


Oh no… losing loyal members that churn their CCs and never pay full price for rooms (ie everyone here)


Only smart people don’t pay full price for their rooms.


Because I valued SPG and SPG credit card, all my work travel was in spg and 75k year on CC. And even staying at the hotels would have dinners at hotel periodically.

I wouldn’t say they got zero value at all.


Yeah, but you are forgetting that is exactly who a loyalty program is targeting. You seem to forget they have a choice to even have a loyalty program at all. They could just compete directly on price couldn’t they? The point of a loyalty scheme is to attract exactly who they are pissing off. Which makes the pissing off part really baffling.


what would the tier 1-4 cert.from the cc be valid for?


up to 25k points




I get it. you totally misunderstood his question………


Im another person that upgraded to Category 8. I should have played it safe knowing Marriott could screw me and expect worst case scenarios. Instead of having wasted 30k on an upgrade, I have 0 chance now to redeem at a new Category 6. Shame on me

Ahmad Ali

These hotels are terrorizing us by devaluations. No forgiveness!


that makes whoever bought category 1-5 , 7 and 9 the winners at the end of the day ….


Hey Dan, I have a tier 3-5 certificate. In your post you said they are creating a new category 8 in January. Is this correct? I assume the St. Regis Maldives will move to a Category 8? If I’m trying to book a trip for next June, can I attach the certificate now?

Thank you in advance for all your help!

Ten Bucks a Week

You did the best job you could keeping us informed and telling us to attach. Bravo. I had 2 Cat 1-5 so very little skin in the game.


Marriott beach resort ft lauderdale went from 100k to 190k for upgraded rooms? #wtf


Very disappointed by Marriott. My boss is VP of finance. He was angry at Samsung and decided that the entire company switches to iPhone and we are all carrying an iPhone as soon as we are out of contract. Cant wait to see how upset he’ll be at Marriott and order all hotel booking to be with Hilton or Hyatt. I’m Platinum with Hilton and enjoy their breakfast.
I bought a cat 5, 7 and 8. I think my dream of staying in Bora Bora just vanished.


For certificates that are attached to a booking, I think that knowing what Marriott just did, if you change date or hotel then it’s the same as cancelling existing booking, map your cert to the new level and hahahaha marriott will be laughing.


I booked a 7-day cat 8 hotel + air package with no assigned hotel because you can not book Oct 2019 hotels yet. The properties I wanted were Cat 6 and the CSR told me I would be fine with cat 8. Now I am stuck with only cat 5 options and I get WAY less value. This is just a slap in the face and I am going to switch loyalty to Hilton or Hyatt.


Yep Marriott rep told the same thing: that I can book a cat 8 hotel with the cat 8 certificate I bought prior to merger.


Two major problems.
1. They had this info for a while clearly, why wait to publish it
2. The fact that highest cert can’t redeem for highest category is ridiculous


+1 You hit the nail on the head my friend.


How can they claim %70 of property’s are going down based on standard rates but say my category six hasn’t been devalued based on peak rates?!?! You can’t play two sides of a coin the reality is nothing went down and we lost %30 of bootable hotels. We need to push back if everyone with a cat 6 calls in they will be forced to do something!


Or cat 8 and t1-3


I suspect there’s a ton of availability using points at the Calgary Airport Marriott should anyone be interested…


Glad I took the low road and used my points to get six certificates at the lowest level and banked 792,000 United miles rather than paying for a “downgrade” and not getting as many certificates

Simran Santiago

we should all consider filing a class action lawsuit – what marriott did is unethical

Joe Kay

Here’s my story I called Marriott to buy a travel package (after I was told by a different agent that she was transferring my points 1-1 to United but never did it) for some reason the agent transferred my points to United but never gave me the hotel certificate so I called back on Friday 8/17/18 and spoke to a supervisor who told me he’s going to fix it and call me but as of now Sunday morning 8/19/18 all he did was take my miles back from United and redeposited them in my Marriott account! Any ideas what I should do from here??


Marriott hotel on sanibel island went from cat. 6,to 8.

Dan Bee

Hmm. Most of the commenters were speculating, hoping to get a good deal after transition. Speculation is a gamble. You lost. Man up and stop whining.


everyone hates trolls……..


Hahahaha….. Sounds like you hate when someone speaks the truth. You just don’t want to hear it.


yo nothing to do with losing its not just about speculation here marriott STOLE FROM THOSE THAT BOOKED INTO A CATEGORY 6




Y’all keep telling yourself that.
It was completely speculative… and there is always a downside. You were just wanting to reap an upside.


Marriott changed all the Points Advance reservations to the new amount. That’s crazy!


What do you mean exactly?


I purchased a Category 9 and had attached it to the Marriott Grand Cayman. Can I now change it to the Westin Grand Cayman now that they are the same category?


So if I had a category 9 certificate, it is now a category 6 up to 60k. Does this mean I can use it at a category 7 during off peak periods? Or is it just saying you can use it at a category 6 regardless of peak/off-peak?

I also attached my category 9 certificate to what is now a category 7 hotel so I am anxious to know how they will treat any changes to the existing reservation.


How many points do we get refunded if we choose to cancel the travel package outright? Same as before, or have those values changed?


o,” but it’s an absolute slap in the face that they haven’t even offered to refund the 30K points to those who redeemed for a category 6, 8, or tier 1-3 certificate. ” you mean to say its stealing because people payed for the upgraded certificates and now marriott took them away without even refunding them

not that bad

category 9 is a good sign though that it is redeemable for 60k points hotels top tier unitl january and that could mean maldives st regis or w,,,


Really bad news for me. @dan
Any way we can push them harder to reconsider?
Here is what just happened to my packages

Share if you agree Marriott just defrauded their customers


That’ll show them. Perhaps they’ll look closer at your entire history with them and see how “valuable” of a customer you’ve been. I’m guessing you won’t win on that review.


Maybe I’m just being optimistic because I had several category six certificates, But I don’t think that the table that they posted necessarily means that the category six and eight certificate holders won’t receive a refund of their 30,000 points Or some other compensation. All it’s saying is that a category six will be converted into a category four, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of a refund.


I bought three cat 9 on friday afternoon, took 4 hours and many transfers but i got 240 alaska and 132 united. I attached all three to doma in greece for next year in jone. That said, i have no idea what I did but i had a million spg and did not want to get stuck with all of them. I have. No plans to spend 21 days in greece, what are the next steps. Im in no rush but I am trying to follow this and i have no clue what i am doing! Please advise whenever you are ready for round two!


First rule of this game is never jump in if you don’t know the rules. Good luck


Im already ahead with my alaska and united miles,which i can use to go to Greece, so my first rule is, take advantage when there is onlonly an upside.

Now if i can do better, then I will, but.your rule only applies when I have something to lose, and I just dont have anvthing to lose!


you found availalbitliy in domes of elounda on the 17th? i couldnt find any?


Category 9 is a huge winner in this scenario! You’ll be able to cancel the domes booking and apply those certs to 60k properties. You’re in the best case scenario.


Can I ask why Marriott is able to change the terms of our travel category certificates? Nowhere on my category 6 package info does it say that Marriott has the right to change the category. What am I missing?


Hi. I’m completely new to the credit card points/ rewards with hotels. Recently got ritz award nights as sign up bonus (tier 1-4) 2 nights, with this merger- and i didn’t do anything prior to 18th, did I lose the nights? Thanks


The real sad part is that everyone on this discussion board knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they speculatively bought or upgraded travel packages. And Dan knew this as he advised everyone. You made a gamble and it didn’t pay off in your favor for a big win.
And I doubt Marriott is concerned about losing the Dans Deals readers and all there big spending trips… it’s not like many readers on here spend significant money on hotel accommodations. You’ll just move to Hyatt or Hilton free rooms on points.
In this game, we win some and we lose some. You know what you’re doing1-or shouldn’t do things without doing your homework.


Well said and 100% true. People think they are smart, smart smart, but they are not so smart, as the saying goes

No filter

You tried to maximize your profit by taking a risk and it didn’t work out. Dan mentioned the options. You still did. That’s life. And for those who say that Marriott is stupid for upsetting you / its “loyal customers” — get real! This forum is not representative of Marriott’s customers. Marriott is not looking for schnorrers who are looking to screw them / scrape the barrel for every single point.


Credit card companies (where most people here receive their points) pay marriott for their points. So yes Marriott does gain from people like us.
Just because brought this situation as one of his possible options , there were 4 other possible options. And as mentioned above they could have at least chosen the more honest route of refunding the 30k points.
I bought spy points in order to upgrade from a cat 5 to a cat 6 and now Marriott are my money.


Sucks for us but I agree 100% with your approach. You win some and lose some.


I have an attached booking, but will most likely need to change dates, will I be able to?


So yes, I also now have 3 Cat 6 certs where I have lost almost 100,000 MR pts. At first I thought, well I gambled and I lost. But then I got seriously anger. Why should Marriott have even put me in a position to gamble with my hard earned points? They clearly knew they were going to be taking points away from people who purchase travel packages, and they let it happen. Why not publish the chart ahead of time so loyal customers were aware. I have been a loyal Marriott customer for over 25 yrs. I thought I would stick it out thru the merger and see how things went. Well I can honestly say if Marriott doesn’t come thru and make this right, I feel I have no choice but to place my loyalty somewhere else. Maybe Marriott felt they have enough elite members that the loss that this decision would result in was more than made up for in the points they took from people. But I’m shocked at how poorly they handled this Travel Package decision!




Why should Marriott put you in a position to gamble with your hard earned points? Puhleeze. Ever hear of personal responsibility? Marriott didn’t make you do anything. You chose to do what you did. Would you be complaining if it went the other way and you made your point instead of rolling a 7 to continue the gambling metaphor.


@Itsy – Do you have anything to add to the conversation other than belittling / trolling those that lost value on the TPs? If not, get lost. Some of us bought TPs in order to use post-merger and we aren’t happy with the conversions.


My apologies to anybody that bought these certificates with good intentions. To those that bought a cat 6, instead of a cat 7, since they thought Marriott would be generous and let them be used at a cat 5, I have no sympathy. If the idea was to use them at a new category 5 you should have bought a category 7 which are equal values. That is what I did.


Lol @ backhanded apology. Why do you care what people intended? As Marriott wasn’t being forthcoming on information, it was assumed they were going to be generous with conversions.


At least BB now admits that he was all about the con. “Hard earned points” — hahahahahaha. Marriott put no one in a position where they were forced to gamble wit them. You had plenty of notice to already schedule them.


Very disappointed with the company


Everyone here who is saying that Marriott was fully within their right to map the travel packages as they like are correct. However, by mapping two different levels of old certificates into the same level of new certificates, and not offering a refund or the opportunity to upgrade to the higher category, they are slapping the “losing” certificate holder in the face. Nobody likes to be scammed, especially in such a public and preventable way. It’s also silly to Marriott to create such bad-will over a few points, which they collected anyway! It’s not even as if anyone is asking for compensation, just to get back the extra points which were paid. Anyway, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that Marriott will refund those points after they have some time to think it over.


Yes, Marriott can do whatever they want, but nobody would have been complaining if Marriott just released the award charts beforehand. They overburdened their CSRs for no reason. Releasing information early would have cut down on a lot of TP purchases as nobody would have been buying Cat 6, 8, or Tier 1-3 TPs. A lot of people probably won’t have bought any TPs to begin with.

Marriott essentially used the blogs to bait mass redemptions for TPs pre-conversion. All the while knowing they weren’t going to devalue as much as they could.


Yup, I’m in agreement with you. I think that Marriott didn’t handle this well. They should have released the mapping information prior to the merger.


Dan, so is it it worthwhile to buy “now” the package for 260k? Or there’s something better to do with it after the merge?


I have a 7 night booking for a Marriott (originally category 8,) if I need to change the dates, will I be able to keep same hotel?


My cert says 1-5. Is that a 1-4 now? Not just updated yet?


Did anyone try to reach out and request a refund of 30k points for cat6?


I called today to ask for the 30k points back in the allowed one time downgrade of my old category 6 certificate… then requested to convert my pre-merger certificate to the new category 1-4 certificate … then requested to attach the new 7 nt travel certificate to a category 4 hotel that I had already reserved with points for 7 days. One hour on hold…agent said they just started doing these conversions this week and I am her first. Finally I asked if she could complete the requests and email me the results so I would have it in writing and I could hang up. So here is the result: The 30k points did go in my account. The travel certificate is attached to the category 4 hotel. But—now it says that I owe Marriott 65,000 points for the hotel!! I have no idea why that would be. I think I’ll wait and call another day to find out what now needs to be done. Ugh.


Apparently the 65,000 points they show on my reservation where they attached my travel cert to the category 1-4 hotel is the value of the points transferred, not what I still owe them. Not sure where they came up with the points value, but as long as the reservation is good, I don’t care.