Update: This post has been updated with the correct number of airline miles for each new travel package.
This is a more technical, advanced level post than usual. I didn’t think I’d travel back into the weeds of travel packages, but they’re back again…
Marriott is introducing peak pricing on hotels next month. Worse yet, peak dates won’t be disclosed, but will be dynamic. Plus 5th night free awards will no longer give the actual 5th night for free, rather they will give the cheapest night for free.
Marriott massively devalued existing and new travel packages last year. But in the good news department, travel packages won’t be affected by peak pricing. They will work within a category regardless of the dates. That’s good news for people with existing travel packages and it means we should take another look at the value provided by new packages.
For example a package with 7 nights in a category 1-4 hotel with 55K airline miles costs 255K Marriott points. The better value package provides 100K airline miles for 330K Marriott points. Normally you need 60K Marriott for 25K airline miles (2.4 Marriott points for 1 mile), while the large package gives an extra 50K airline miles for an extra 75K Marriott points (1.5 Marriott points for 1 mile).
If you choose United as your airline you’ll get 55K miles with the 255K package and 110K miles with the 330K package.
Normally you need 60K Marriott for 27.5K United miles (2.18 Marriott points for 1 mile). Marriott only gives that many miles if you transfer in blocks of 60K Marriott points, but for comparison’s sake we’ll use the ideal ratio to compute the value given by travel packages. That means if you wanted 110K United miles you would need about 240K Marriott points. The same math applies for other airline miles, as normally you would need 240K Marriott points for 100K other airline miles at the ideal ratio of 2.4 Marriott points for 1 mile.
Now we can calculate how many Marriott points you would have to use for 110K United miles (or 100K other airline miles) and 7 nights at a hotel. As 7 nights at a hotel would include 1 night for free, we can add the cost of 6 nights onto the 240K points that would normally be needed.
As you can tell from the new award chart in this post, 7 nights at a category 4 hotel would cost 120K points off-peak, 150K points standard, or 180K points peak after the 1 free night.
The chart below compares the value you can get from each package, depending on which category you use and if you redeem for nights during off-peak, standard, or peak dates:
|Travel Package Category:||Cost for 7 nights and 110K miles:||Value if redeemed at off-peak rates:||Value if redeemed at standard rates:||Value if redeemed at peak rates:|
|Category 1-4||330K Marriott||360K Marriott|
|Category 5||390K Marriott||420K Marriott|
|Category 6||510K Marriott||480K Marriott|
(Negative 30K savings)
|Category 7||570K Marriott||540K Marriott|
(Negative 30K savings)
|Category 8||750K Marriott||660K Marriott|
(Negative 90K savings)
If you use the package during peak dates you’ll always come out 90K points ahead of what you would pay if you redeemed for the miles and 7 nights separately. That’s a much better value than what these packages offered until now.
The use case for off-peak and standard dates is more mixed, with better value to be had from the lower category packages than the higher category packages.
Will you redeem for a new Marriott travel package?