Reader Questions: What Makes The Marriott Travel Packages So Lucrative And Which Category Should I Buy? A Comprehensive Guide.

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Related Marriott Travel Packages posts:

I feel like I’ve said all that needs to be said about Marriott travel packages, but the questions keep on pouring in.

Let’s rewind for a bit and explain why the packages are so lucrative.

The Starwood AMEX and the SPG program won accolades for having points that were valuable for hotel stays and airline miles. Over the years SPG did kill the value of their cash and points chart, but they never did major damage to their hotel award chart and value proposition. They also maintained their famous 20K to 25K airline mileage transfers.

Alaska Airlines miles are among the most valuable in the industry. With 100K Starpoints (300K Marriott points) you can get 125K Alaska miles. That’s 1.25 Alaska miles per Starpoint or 0.42 airline miles per Marriott point. For example their award chart on airlines like Cathay Pacific is very generous, though you need to call Alaska to book travel on Cathay Pacific. Those miles are enough to fly round-trip on Cathay Pacific business class to Israel or one-way Cathay first class to Asia plus one-way Cathay business class back from Asia.

United miles are also very valuable thanks to their breadth of partners, easy online redemptions, and lack of fuel surcharges. If you transfer 93.3K Starpoints into 280K Marriott points you could get 125K United miles. That’s 1.34 United miles per Starpoint or 0.45 United miles per Marriott point

Please don’t do that.

If you want airline miles you have until August 17 to do much better than that thanks to Marriott travel packages.

Here are Marriott’s top miles+nights travel packages for 7 nights in a hotel and United miles. With 270K Marriott points (90K Starpoints) you can get 132K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. Ignoring the free nights completely, that’s a value of 1.47 United miles per Starpoint or 0.49 United miles per Marriott point. This makes buying a travel package a no-brainer if you want United miles. You can use fewer hotel points than in a regular airline transfer, get more United miles, and get a free 7 night hotel stay on top of that!

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 270K Marriott points (90K Starpoints) you can get 120K airline miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. Ignoring the free nights completely, that’s a value of 1.33 airline miles per Starpoint or 0.44 airline miles per Marriott point. This makes buying a travel package a no-brainer if you want airline miles.

Yes, that means you can get more airline miles per hotel point with the travel packages, even if you value the 7 nights in a hotel at zilch!

If you want to redeem your Starpoints or Marriott points for airline miles you’ll want to do it with these packages by 8/17. Full stop.

Where this gets all crazy and convoluted is trying to figure out what Marriott will do with these 7 night certificates after they merge their award chart with Starwood’s award chart on 8/18.

If you want to book a Marriott hotel then this is no big deal. Go buy a certificate according to the level that it is now and go reserve dates at a hotel. You can search for current and future point rates here.

  • Want to stay at the JW Marriott Houston? Book the category 1-5 option.
  • Want to stay at the Residence Inn Miami Beach Surfside? Book the category 6 option.
  • Want to stay at the Renaissance Tel Aviv, Marriott Wailea Beach Resort Maui, Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons, or the Beverly Hills Marriott? Book the category 7 option.
  • Want to stay at the Atlantis Royal Towers? Book the category 8 option.
  • Want to stay at the Boscolo Venezia/Grand Hotel Dei Dogi Venice? Book the category 9 option.
  • Want to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya? Book the Tier 1-3 option.
  • Want to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour? Book the Tier 4-5 option.

Let’s take a look at 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--

There are lots of ways that Marriott can solve this problem and there is contradictory information coming from Marriott about how it will be solved. Everything written below is conjecture as there are no guarantees about what may happen.

Once again, let’s look at the most likely options that Marriott has:

  • 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.
    • In this scenario it makes no difference which package you buy, the refund will be the same.
  • 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 and seems to be backed by Starwood’s representative on Flyertalk (Click to enlarge):

 

In other words, if you have a travel package certificate and have it assigned to a specific hotel stay then it will remain valid, though it’s unclear what will happen if you want to make changes after the program merger. If you do choose a Marriott hotel that is going up from a Marriott category 5 to a category 6, clearly it will be advantageous to assign it now rather than waiting, which is why he recommends assigning that certificate now to maximize its usage.

If the travel package certificate is not assigned to a hotel stay then it will be considered a “floater certificate” and will be cancelled and converted into “equivalent points.”

Starwood Lurker says that he no information on what “equivalent points” means and that he is just passing on information from the loyalty team in charge of the merger.

I think it’s more than clear that option 1 above isn’t “equivalent points.” Marriott couldn’t sell travel packages now in good faith if they plan on cancelling everyone’s unassigned 7 night hotel certificates and refunding just 45K points. There will be lawsuits if Marriott would even think of trying to pull a fast one like that and nothing Marriott has done so far indicates they want to burn members and goodwill like that.

That would leave option 2 as the best option for refunding points. In this scenario it makes no difference which package you buy, the refund will be the same.

  • 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 this post.

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, but it will be very 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. Therefore I don’t think this is a very likely scenario.
  • Option 5: Marriott may decide to cancel and refund all hotel certificates that aren’t, but what will Marriott do with attached hotel certificates if you want to change dates, hotel, or the category? Will they refund them or find a way to map them to the new award chart? If you buy a tier 4-5 certificate and attach it to the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, will you be able to switch it to the W Maldives after 8/18 even if Marriott cancels other tier 4-5 certificates? Or will Marriott refund the price of the hotel in the new program? Starting in February 2019 those category 8 hotels will cost 510K points for 7 nights, meaning that the cost of the 132K United miles would be just 30K Marriott points or 10K Starpoints (4.4 miles per Marriott point or 13.2 miles per SPG point)!

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

  • You can wait until closer to August 17 to see if Marriott has a change of heart and does announce what their future plans are for these certificates. You do run the risk that Marriott decides to stop selling these certificates though after that point.
  • 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 don’t have a hotel you want to stay in you can buy the base category 1-5 certificate to get into the game and leave it unattached. If Marriott goes with options 1 or 2 you’ll get a refund of the hotel certificate and a great ratio of airline miles for your points. Leaving a certificate unattached to a hotel reservation gives the greatest odds of getting a points refund.
  • 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. 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 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 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. Perhaps you’ll be able to then change for the 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, 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 1-5, category 9, tier 1-3, and tier 4-5 certificates, depending on what you’re looking for and how much of a risk-taker you are. All 4 of those look very tempting to me and I’m still on the fence about which way to go.
  • 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.
  • In general, you should leave your certificate unattached to a hotel stay if you want to try to get points back or you should attach it to a hotel getting more expensive if you want to use it for a hotel stay.
  • If Marriott doesn’t refund unattached hotel certificates, hopefully they 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, but there’s no guarantee of this going forward.

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 next month? Which package will you buy?

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123 Comments On "Reader Questions: What Makes The Marriott Travel Packages So Lucrative And Which Category Should I Buy? A Comprehensive Guide."

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

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BigAl

Hi Dan,

Thanks as usual for going out, spending the time educating the masses, it’s much appreciated! For someone that has 850,000 star points, does not go away to hotels, likes to fly to Israel with family, would you still recommend transferring it to United Via the methods outlined above? They’re not the greatest when it comes to award seat availability conducive to planning getaways with the family.

Abka

Az der Rebbe {Dan} Shluft… Simple: Afilu doo shluft a chusid!

refoelaron

Do you have to commit to certain dates and can you change the date or cancel?

chaim

I know you have to call to get a package but can you select the hotel for the 7 nights online, or is that also only over the phone?

Yo

which card are you planning on using as your primary spending card

brooklynDan

How do you think I should handle a 7 night reservation at Sheraton Rhodes starting on 8/19? I currently have it reserved with 60K Starpoints.
It is going up in category from SPG 4 (10K=30K/night) to new marriott cat. 5 (35K/night).
Since it’s SPG, I can’t assign the Marriott cert to this reservation until 8/18 merger. There’s also no guarantee (and according to you, unlikely) that current cert. cat. 1-5 will be enough for new cat 5.
Do I buy a cat. 5 package or cat. 6?
Will I have enough time to assign it to my reservation since system will be down 8/18, (which is Shabbos, btw) and deadline to cancel my current reservation is 8/18?
Maybe there are just too many unknowns to pull it off with such a small window, although it would be a shame to not take advantage of package when I have 7 nights booked anyway.

Joe

do you think the St Regis Maldives will be bookable using the Tier 4-5 certificate? I see mention of the W Maldives but no mention of the St Regis.
Thanks Dan!

Chesky

How can I use the certificate for someone else

Yossi

Is there free cancellation for reservations booked by a certificate?

Ten Bucks a Week

I think this finally beat the dead horse and everyone got it. In for 2 then ditching Marriott fur Hyatt.

bobby

i sure hope they don’t go with option 1. i have 16 certificates right now. i think there would be a huge outcry if they did that and so far they seem to be generous in how they have handled the merger.

Chaim

The only currency I currently have is Chase and amex points and ba miles. Would it make sense to transfer from chase or amex to Marriot/spg to take advantage of this offer?

oldguy

If I want to do this as an investment, if I understand right I should do the top tier Ritz category 4-5 package. Am I correct?
If its option 1 I didn’t lose anything, if its option 2 and 3 then I gained more than any other package. If its Option 4 then I can prob sell the certificate. are any of my calculations wrong?

Mergs

I really want to do this but I’m at 85k. What’s the best way to get that 5k? Both my amex cards just closed…. should I transfer chase? Buy?

Gb

When it’s stated that the hotel certificate expires in 1 year, does this mean the stay must begin within 1 year, end within 1 year or be booked within 1 year? For example, if I buy the travel package on July 31, 2018 does my stay have to begin on or before 7/30/19? Or could my stay start on 7/30/19 and run for 7 days? Or could I make a reservation on 7/30/19 for a stay running almost 1 year later from say 7/24/20 through 7/31/20? I realize it might be extendable by 1 year but my question would still stand with just all my scenarios and dates pushed out 1 year. Thanks!

Mergs

Wow so you think it’s worth that just to get this deal? What about changing my brother’s address to mine and transferring from him?

New York jets

I have 2 questions –

1. I am looking to book a one week hotel stay at a Marriott tier 5 hotel.
Is it better to book it with a certificate and also get the miles or should I just book the one week stay using points?

2 if it’s better to get the certificate and I already have plenty of united miles should I still take united miles or should I choose the Alaska miles? (I have no Alaska miles currently)

Thanks!!

Michaek

Spoke to a representative at Marriot and they patched in a manager that confirmed the certificates will be valid after the 18th at the current catagory. Meaning, if you buy a catagory 7 certificate it will be good at catagory 7 hotels after the mergers. Dan can you clarify?

YesThatsMe

Dan, what makes you believe that if the certificate is unattached to an hotel it will not be usable?

Deals dealer

I highly doubt it that option 2 is still a possibility. I don’t think Marriott would still sell those packages for the masses until August 18..

fjdo

Thanks a mil for clarifying it all. 1 question – If I just redeemed my starpoints and have just 70k left, does it make sense to purchase 20k Starpoints to be able to take advantage of this offer? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Dee

Dan,

If I purchase starpoints (40,000) after Aug 1, but before Aug 15, would they still be converted at 1:3 ratio, or will they just become 40,000 Rewards points?

George

I am a Marriott Vacation Club Timeshare Owner & I bought a 5 nite package about a year & a half ago. In January, 2017, I transferred the miles to Southwest Airlines to get the Southwest Companion Pass for 23 months. If I buy a 5 nite package before Aug 16th, do I have to transfer the 100,000 miles to Southwest in August or can I delay transferring till January 2019?

Bobzilla

purchasing these certificates will for sure be discontinued after 8/18?

Sky121

Fam member has 70k Starwood sitting around. Do you recommend buying the 55k United package at that point?

ktc

have a cat 6 cert, would like to use for a cat 5 (new chart) SPG property, what’s the best way to do it? attach to a marriott cat 6 & change later?

Simcha

What’s more valubel points United or thouthwest?
When do they each expire?

Glushtygiz

How is Starwood lurker and rep with tweets diff than the 5 answers u wud get from phone reps

ds

Dan, I need your advice. I have 820k Marriott points and 265k UA miles. Travel from now and for next 18 years will include 4…
The hotel we used to stay in and might stay again is old cat8, new cat5. But we currently have no solid plans to travel, especially for 7 days.

So should I speculatively take MTP(UA) for cat5? cat8? We will use the miles, its the hotel portion I dont want to miss out on.

Ryan

Do you get night credits when staying at a certificate? It might be worth it just to check in a local hotel and leave. That gives 7 nights. Especially now that it’s harder to earn status after changes.

ANT

Just wanted to thank you Dan for the best coverage and the single best post on this topic I have read yet (and I’ve read many)!

Shulamit

Anyway to transfer points (accounts have different addresses) in time?

I only have 120spg points so am unable to take advantage of the top tier all suite hotels. Ideas?

mark

Does it make sense to transfer 90k amex mr’s into 30k spg points to get the 90k needed? even though i have no travel plans until yeshiva break january 2020?

Mergs

Thanks for all your help again. To spend 175$ to get the last 5k to get to 90 doesn’t appeal to me that much. I moved up my amex closing date to the 9th. What’s the best way to spend it and get it that way?

Izzie

Hi Dan, I have exactly 90,000 starpoints. I really like United miles. Should I spend all of them to maximize the amount of United miles I can get or should I save some Starpoints for a rainy day? Thanks!

YS

Thanks Dan for the great write-up

I have 75K SPG points and will have another 71-30K posting on the next close and the SPG points typically post on the 21st, is there a way to get it posted earlier (in order to buy the certificate)? or is it worth transferring Chase/AMEX points to get to the 90K?

Deal Guy

Beautiful write up!

1-One thing I didn’t get, is why did you say to attach it to a dummy hotel that is going up in value like Calgary Airport Marriott? Why is that better then attaching to any 1-5 even if it’s not going up?

2- where was your source again that if I attach it to hotel (even if dummy) it will remain valid and I can then switch to another hotel? You can always do that, that you ou attach to one end then call them to switch, even after you attached it? Worst case if they say no?

3- if i want to attach it to Four Points Miami Beach, which is going up to a cat 5 in August, which package do you recommend? Do I do the Cheapest package, Calgary option, and then later ask to switch and show them that they are both the same? They were both cat 4 that went up to 5.

Thanks again

ns

Bottom line
i have a 1-5 certificate and i want to go to a cat 7 hotel next year should i upgrade my certificate now ? What would you do Dan ?

ME17

Just wanted to say thank you for all the information these past few months especially the coverage on these certificates. I got a 1-5 category.

Daniel W

Thanks Dan for assembling what may be the most comprehensive and judgment-free collection of (limited) information available about this exciting topic.

I redeemed 270k for a TP last week, crediting the miles to AA (blasphemy, I know), to be redeemed for a JAL itinerary to Tokyo. Thinking I didn’t have any specific uses in mind, I just redeemed for a cat 1-5 and planned to leave it unattached to see what happened. I’ve come to learn that all of the Marriott properties in Tokyo are Category 7 or 8, and the SPG properties are 5-7. Realistically I only need a 5-night stay certificate, not a 7. Is it possible to upgrade to a cat 7/8 package, while simultaneously downgrading the length of stay? Alternatively, do you think it’d be worthwhile to top up the Marriott balance with the points I’d need from Chase, to upgrade the 7-night package, even if I won’t use those extra two nights?

Having experienced quite a bit of phone delays even booking the TP in the first place, I’m hesitant to even try to call in and ask the question from the phone reps…

Elina

Dan, you keep saying that miles + nights cert is the best value and the best step to take now. I am wondering, however, what is the next best thing to do with my marriott points before 8/16. I practically never vacation in one place for 7 days, and I find redeeming points for hotels much more flexible than flight redemption. (e.g. United may not have availability when I need it and award redemption may not be that great on high demand dates, while hotels have only few blackout dates, and are mostly available with one flat points rate as per category). I will need to buy additional SPG for 132 United package, and I would burn all my marriott points. I’d rather have points for hotels than flights. Is there anything else to do with my points now that you can suggest for me? Thank you!

Keri

Hey Dan
1. I am deciding whether to take package with 132,000 United or one with 120,000 of other airlines. I know you said Chase Trifecta makes it easy to earn United miles so that might steer someone towards the 120,000 package with other airlines, like Alaska. Wouldn’t Chase Trifecta make it just as easy to earn miles on those airlines listed for the 120,000 package?
2. I assume the United miles can be applied to any airline that it is partnered with, right?
3. If you do the second package 120,000 miles – do you have to specify which of those airlines points you want when you buy the package or do you just get 120,000 and wait till you are ready to use them to apply them to one of the listed airlines e.g., Delta?
TYSM for all the info!!!

lindnuck

I want the certificate for the Wailea resort, but I can’t decide which miles to collect. I want them for an LAX-Europe-TLV trip coming up (still too early to book) and it seems like Aeroplan is going to be the best option for us, but who knows if something like United or BA might be a better option.

Would you pull the trigger on one or just hold off?

Avi

I called to order a travel package and they said the system was down all day today for ordering them. Has anyone been able to purchase the travel certificates?

Shawn

I currently have a Category 1-5 certificate. I have nothing in mind as far as hotel stay goes at this point. I’d say an 80% chance of not using it and 20% of using it for a Category 8. None of the category 1-5 options are appealing for me, and if I were to use it, it would be for something that’s higher category.

It seems like most of the Options that you listed make no difference on whether you do Category 1-5, Category 6, Category 7, etc. What’s your rationale for preferring Category 1-5 and Category 9 over Categories 6-8? I’m assuming it’s because of Option 3 and that I’d be stuck with whatever a Category 8 certificate converts to. But in that case, there’s still a fallback of what currently happens if you can’t use your certificate, which is Option 1. And with this, it doesn’t matter whether you have a Category 1-5 or Category 8, you’ll still get whatever poor point equivalent back (45k for Category 1-5, 105k for Category 8).

Sorry if this doesn’t make sense, I feel like I didn’t do a good job of explaining it.

Shim

BE”H
Shalom Dan Great post as usual
a)I will have around 50-53k spg points. what should i do to get the most airlines points including United and others. including buying if needed. don’t plan on using hotel stays
b)BE”H Should i use a package and which.
c)should the transfer be done 20k spg to get the 25k spg.
d)when would be the best time to do so
THX again and be blessed. will appreciate your prompt reply

Yitz Weiss

Dan, thanks for spelling this out! I guess I’m a slow learner but this FINALLY makes sense to me. I’ve got 95k Starwood points between myself, my wife and a business card. I’ll also have 100k Marriott points in a few days (all those thanks to you! You ROCK!). Here’s what I’m thinking and I’d love feedback:
Transferring everything to Marriott should net me 388k points (assuming I can transfer them all to one account).
If I get the Category 7 option (330k), we can book the Kauai Lagoons and probably use the United miles to get us enough miles for two RT first/business tkts to Hawaii from EWR! With the extra 58k Marriott points + buy 5k points, we can get 3 additional nights at 21k each + $90 per night. That’s an AWESOME anniversary vacay getaway! We can’t book for the end of August 2019 now, but I’m guessing if we book it for earlier, it’ll be less complicated to have them just push off the reservation in the same hotel.
Does that sound like it could work?
Would you recommend anything different?
Thank you so much for all you do! Woo hoo!

Yitz Weiss

I think my info about the United rates for Business/FC was way off. Is there a way to swap some of the 132k United miles into Korean & try to book thru them?

danfan

Hi, Dan. I’m one of your chassidim and have been so for years. I follow you religiously and have gotten many good deals by being so devoted :-).
Now, no matter how many times I read your Marriot miles and hotels deal, I don’t understand what I should do to benefit. After transferring my spg points to marriot, which I haven’t yet done, I will have 371,661 points. What is the best way I can benefit for myself and my husband?
Thank you!

CtownBin

Will we be able to upgrade these certificates after Aug. 18? I know that as of now, you can call to upgrade them anytime and just pay the difference in points. But will this still be possible after Aug. 18? I ask because I only have enough points for a category 8 certificate, but I’m sure within a couple months or so I’ll have enough for Tier 1-3 once I sign up for one of the new CCs and have do some MS. But if I won’t be able to upgrade later, maybe I should transfer in Chase points to get enough for the Tier 1-3 now? (I know that in general transferring Chase->Marriot is a horrible deal.)

SN

Dan,

What do you suggest if I typically don’t stay in the same hotel over a 7 night vacation?

Yitz Weiss

Help please – need some advice. If I’m looking to book 2 first class tkts to Hawaii from the NY area, which airline miles would you recommend grabbing with one of these travel packages?
Thanks!

Joe Kay

Dan
I just called Marriott to buy a travel package I have 315k Marriott points and the rep I spoke to told me she’s transferring the points1-1 so she’s giving me 315k united miles (she knew nothing about the free nights but I let that go!) is that possible?? Or is that too good to be true??

Leo

DP: Just redeemed 270k for an 120k Alaska package. Call took a total of 21 minutes — very smooth. The agent was very helpful and talkative…but he directed me to Dan’s Deals when I asked him what might happen to certs on Aug 18

Joe

The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa is currently a category 6 says its going to change to category 5 on Aug 18 I have a certificate for cat 1-5 should upgrade it now to a category 6 certificate and book or wait till Aug 18. Not sure how to play this out.
TIA

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