My Theory On How Marriott Will Handle Existing Travel Packages

Marriott’s new loyalty program will kick in at some point in August. It could be August 1, or could be August 31. So we’re potentially just over a week from a new program being introduced.

For those of us who want to maximize our existing balance of points, one big question is how Marriott will handle existing Travel Packages. I promised I’d keep you guys updated about my strategy with these, so here are my thoughts at this point.

The Marriott Travel Packages question

Just over a week ago I wrote a post about how we still don’t know how Marriott will handle existing Travel Packages. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, check out the previous post. To briefly summarize:

For example, here’s one of the options for Marriott Travel Packages:

Possible Marriott Travel Package outcomes

I think the following are the most likely outcomes for Marriott Travel Packages being converted:

  • Marriott could honor existing certificates, and transfer over the award levels generously; in other words, a Category 1-5 certificate might still be valid at the new Category 1-5 hotels, which includes a lot more properties
  • Marriott could honor existing certificates, and transfer over the award levels less generously; in other words, a Category 1-5 certificate might only be valid at a Category 1-3 or Category 1-4 property
  • Marriott may just award members points and invalidate the issued certificates, due to the program changes; the question is how many points they’d award

Perhaps the best indicator of how they’ll handle this is based on how they’re handling the conversion of other free night certificates:

  • The Marriott Premier Business Card is going from offering a free night certificate valid at Category 1-5 hotels to offering a certificate valid at hotels costing up to 35,000 points per night (which is a Category 5 hotel in standard season)
  • The Marriott Premier Plus Personal Card is new, and is offering a free night certificate valid at hotels costing up to 35,000 points per night (again, equivalent to a Category 5 hotel in standard season)
  • The old Marriott Premier Card (no longer open to new applicants) is going from offering a free night certificate valid at Category 1-5 hotel to offering a certificate valid at hotels costing up to 25,000 points per night (which is a Category 4 property in standard season); this is the only certificate that’s being devalued, and I suspect that’s because the card is no longer open to new applicants and they want to encourage people to upgrade the card

My theory as to what will happen

I’ve asked Marriott representatives repeatedly about how these certificates will be handled, and they still don’t know, and also don’t have a timeline for when they will know. I know they’re working through a lot of things, yet the new program is potentially just over a week away.

However, I can’t imagine they haven’t actually decided how they’ll handle these certificates, given that the program is almost here, and given that they’ve decided how they’ll handle all the other certificates.

Generally speaking Marriott has done a good job communicating with members and being fair with the transition (at least when you consider the scale of what they’re doing), which leads me to the only possible outcome I see: Marriott intentionally isn’t telling people how existing Travel Package certificates will convert, since they plan on being generous, and they want to minimize the number of people redeeming.

That sort of makes sense when you think about it. I think there’s only one “fair” thing for Marriott to do here, and that’s to have the certificates convert at a reasonable amount. If they didn’t do that, there would be a lot of backlash, and also anger about the lack of communication.

At the same time, obviously they don’t want to encourage everyone to redeem their full balance of points now under this spectacular deal, so I get why they’re not wanting to communicate this in advance. Travel Packages are already the best use of Marriott points, and if they convert favorably, booking them is even more of a no brainer.

If they announced that existing Travel Packages would be honored in the same category as now, you can bet people would be redeeming literally hundreds of millions of points. That’s a big expense for them, especially since they’re presumably directly paying for the airline miles.

It’s possible that I have a completely wrong read on the situation, and that they screw everyone over. Please don’t book a Travel Package based purely on my perspective. But I have a lot of points at stake, and I’m going to be using that assumption when redeeming points.

How generous will Marriott be?

As a reminder, here’s Marriott’s new award chart (keep in mind they won’t add Category 8 or peak and off-peak pricing until 2019):

My inclination is that Marriott will do a direct category conversion, which is to say that a Category 1-5 certificate will continue to be valid at Categories 1-5. That would be very generous.

I also don’t think it would be unreasonable for them to downgrade each certificate by one category, meaning a Category 1-5 certificate would be valid at Categories 1-4 going forward. But personally I think anything less than that would be stingy and unfair.

So, with this in mind, I’ll share what I plan on doing with my points in a subsequent post, since I’m sitting on a lot of Starpoints.

What’s your take on how Marriott will handle Travel Packages?

Comments

  1. The real question is how the categories are mapped over. A category 9 certificate doesn’t map over since there is no Cat 9 in the combined program and Category 8 doesn’t start until some time next year.

    If we redeem for a current Category 7 will that still be a Category 7 in the combined program or will they map it to the matching category of the combined program?

    Marriott definitely has defined what they’re doing with the certificates and they are holding that information back on purpose.

  2. If they downgrade categories for the certificates then they should give an option to get points instead in a generous way

  3. @ Hal — Using my logic (which may or may not be right), I imagine all Ritz certificates would be valid at the highest tier of properties, since my assumption is that a Category 8 certificate (which is cheaper) would be valid at all hotels as well.

  4. YOU THINK THEY WILL HAVE EQUAL VALUE? — OLD TIERS THAT COST 370K OR 490K, DEPENDING ON TIER WITH A CATG 8 THAT COST 310K– -I DO NOT THINK SO -YOU MAY BE 1/2 RIGHT AS THEY MAY REBATE SOME POINTS ON TIER LEVELS — BUT THIS WOULD MAKE EXPLAINING TO ALL MEMBERS DIFFICULT — AS EVERY CATG HAS A TWIST TO IT – THEY WILL SOMEHOW DO- SIMPLICITY TO PREVENT REVOLT

  5. I will be shocked if they just keep the categories on the TP certs as is. It’s just too generous and too expensive and the CEO said it’s about reducing their costs of the program. They’re definitely hiding their plans as you said.
    I think that they’ll map the cats down to where they’re minimally generous or break even.
    Present Cat 1-5 —> new cat 1-4, present Cat 6 and cat 7 —> new cat 1-5, present cat 8 and cat 9 —> new cat 1-6. In their eyes even this will be ‘too generous’.
    What worries me even more is what happens next year with the high and low season thing. I sure hope there are strict, enforced guidelines for properties regarding this or most properties will say most of the year is high season to get more cash from MR on reward stays. Maybe something like they can only have as many high season days as there are low season days.
    Do you know if they’ve said anything on this issue? I could be giant going forward if properties are left to their own devices.

  6. My situation

    the hotel I like was a category 9 that cost 45k a night , now a 7 and the new rate is going up to 60k a night

    7 nights at 60k will cost 360k without a package —no miles

    if I buy a category 9 package at 320k–the deal is “too good” if buy a tier 1-3 at 350k still too good — if I buy a tier 4-5 at 470 overpaying

    any new thoughts?

  7. good points Tom–

    Also, some hotels in resort areas are not open all year — In summer ( most people take vacations )many open May-close at end OCT — JUNE JULY AUG and part of Sept WILL BE AT HI SEASON –plus can now only book 51 weeks out or so — even if made a reservation now can only go up to July 15 or so

  8. How do you square this with Starwood Lurker’s repeated statements that “floater” travel package certificates will be converted to points in the new program? Or to his statement that the certificates should be attached to reservations if members want to maximize their value?

  9. Lucky, out of curiosity, what categories are you redeeming your points for? Are you buying cat 1-5 packages, or focusing on cat 6/7/8/9?

  10. @ Alex — I think the point was that the certificates will be converted to points-based certificates rather than outright receiving points for them.

  11. A phone rep stated certificates would transfer “at the same level.” However, she didn’t sound very confident.

  12. I think the real question here is whether or not to go with a Category 8 or a Category 9 certificate. Given that the difference between the two is 30,000 Marriott Points (10,000 StarPoints), I think my husband and I are just going to go with Category 9 to be on the safe side. The risk here is that the “Tier” certificates are converted into a higher category than the other certificates…

  13. @Lucky, I too was initially thinking they would be converted points based certs, but the more I read his comments (more so the recent times he has mentioned it on the SPG thread) it seems more likely that it will be straight out points.

    This does seem to fly in the face of logic, and certainly subject to change or interpretation.

  14. @Lucky My dilemma is that I need to book a hotel stay for September 2019. If I get the travel package now will I still be able to book a date 1 month following the expiration of the package (as long as it is booked prior to the expiration date)?

  15. @ Tom

    Marriott VP of something said in a Q&A that each property will have the same number of peak as off peak days.

    Which is very fair in my opinion.

  16. Lucky you have the same idea as I thought in that Marriott doesn’t want to say what they are going to do because they don’t want everyone redeeming for travel packages that may end up being more generous than we would expect. If they were just going to be “fair” then there wouldn’t be a good reason not to tell us. Only really if they were going to be “more than fair” would they not want to telegraph that intention to the world of Marriott points holders. I am sitting on 360K Marriott points right now which will be exactly the amount I would need to stay a week in the new Marriott programs top award level 7(at least until the end of the year). I would like nothing more than to be able to redeem those points for a stay at one of the Bora Bora resorts or Maldives resort that will be in award level 7. The question I have for you is do I risk it and wait for the changeover and try to book one of these resorts straight up and forgo the airline miles? I would go any week that they would have an opening at any of the 4 resorts(St. Regis Bora Bora, Le Meridien Bora Bora, St. Regis Maldives, or W Maldives).

  17. I think MR has an ulterior motive: they want to become the one leading travel company that made a decent (great) loyalty program merger.

    And: they want to keep things simple.

    So, in order to keep members whole and to keep things simple the categories will remain unchanged. Cat 9 and the Tier certs will be good for the new Cat 8. Even in peak season.

  18. Bottom line to me is convert to a book an airline and hotel package now before the whole package devalues. I have enough points for 4 packages and will worry about the hotel aspect later. I will book for any 2019 stays now if I see a CAT 5-7 that I want to stay at as my reservation will be in place, but inevitably I will have 2-3 that I will not have booked and may get an extension on. The nice thing about waiting also is to see what soon to be formerly SPG hotels will fit in to my certificates and CAT upgrades. That’s the upside to the change.

  19. Would you consider it a good use of Amex MR to transfer them to SPG to purchase a travel package?

  20. @grahme – you would need to have an awful lot of excess MR points since they travel to SPG at 3:1 ratio.

  21. I think they will give back the point value, 150k for a 1-5 cert for example. That doesn’t cause any grief for them as it would if they downgraded certificates, you’ll have the same amount of points as before. It also doesn’t give an absurd windfall for us. I think they are being a little cagey because they don’t want everyone who can to max out the amount of travel packages they can buy, essentially converting a ton of MR points to airline miles at a 1-1 ratio for free.

  22. “Marriott intentionally isn’t telling people how existing Travel Package certificates will convert, since they plan on being generous, and they want to minimize the number of people redeeming.”

    Given that Travel packages are going to be more expensive to redeem going forward, you would think everyone is going to redeem now. I don’t think people are holding back their their pointscso that they can redeem at the new program rates. So not sure your theory holds true…

  23. Lucky, you are wrong about replacing the unattached old cert with a point based cert. This is not what Lurker has said, repeatedly. It will be simply points but how to calculate the points is a top secret that would not be revealed until it actually happened.

    I just redeemed another Cat 5 TP. The rep strongly “urged” me to attach the cert before August 1st as “all unattached certs would be canceled, points refunded.” Note – Points refunded. This matches to what Lurker has been saying, as well as personal experiences either self or from friends.

    On top of that I have a Cat 6 cert already attached weeks before the new category charts came out. The hotel will go DOWN from 30K a night to 25K a night and become the new Cat 4, i.e. the old Cat 5.

    I asked if there would be any refund of the point difference even though I have to call to get it done.

    Guess what is the answer? Marriott will look at the new certs i.e. the then available in the system, to determine which cert (the attached, old Cat 6 TP cert) would cost less points, and it would be the option for the member to use the less cost cert.

    I guess anybody has a brain would realize there would be NO new cert that cost less than the old TP cert for the same 7 nights. The new TP hotel cert portion actually would cost 1.5x than the point cost if redeeming for hotel alone!

    So here you go. Make whatever speculation / wishful thing / misleading write up, as you would. The reality is, the floater certs will be canceled and points refunded. There will be NO point based certs reissued, not even on an existing reservation of a hotel which point level goes down – because the new certs would cost MORE pts than the existing TP cert for the same 7 nights. Does anybone still not get it?

  24. @ Robert Blake — My point isn’t that a lot of people are waiting to redeem Travel Packages until after the change, but rather that a lot of people would redeem Travel Packages who wouldn’t otherwise do so.

  25. @ fll — I get that Starwood Lurker keeps saying that, though let’s keep in mind that we’ve gotten endless incorrect information from all kinds of executives at Marriott. I’m not saying they’re trying to mislead us, but clearly there’s a lot of confusion here.

    So it’s entirely possible that Starwood Lurker is correct, but I simply don’t think so. When I’ve asked Marriott executives about this they’ve refused to confirm the points conversion thing, which makes me suspicious.

    I simply don’t think refunding very few points for a seven night certificate is fair, and if they knew they were going to do that, I think they would have communicated that, because a lot of people will be very angry and disappointed otherwise. So I really don’t think that’s what they’ll do, though I could be wrong.

    But please, this isn’t a “misleading write up” and it’s not about whether or not “anyone still doesn’t get it.” We’ve gotten so much conflicting info here directly from sources at Marriott over the past few weeks, so that certainly isn’t the case.

  26. I think the solution is quite straightfoward:
    Refund 120,000 for a Cat 1-5 Certificates. No more, no less. Everyone happy.

  27. @Lucky, I eagerly await hearing your strategy. And I strongly suggest all of us need to be aware that Marriott Rewards line is swamped. I fully expect it to be unbearable as August 1st approaches.
    I’m also curious which Airlines you are selecting? I’m going for Alaska (120k) and United (132k).
    I have just bought a Cat 8 and a Cat 9. Tomorrow I plan to buy another one of each category (1-5, 6, 7, etc.). That will still leave me with 7 figures of points which I may still deploy (if it becomes clear what Marriott is doing in time for me to call MR for the packages before 8/1). And for me, 7/31 is my drop dead date due to some extensive travel. Ymmv. Cheers.

  28. My strategy has been very simple. I cashed in a few weeks ago for 2 Cat 7 5-night certificates (270k each). For me, it’s first and foremost about the miles (before devaluation). I took 132k x 2 (264k) United miles and ran. In terms of the hotel certs, I’ve attached one to a planned NYC stay before the end of this year, leaving the second cert unattached. I feel that gives me flexibility to swing whichever way is best once we find out what Marriott will be doing. It’s about hedging right now . . . then quickly reacting when the conversion terms are known.

  29. Reiterating what Jeepie said….Im also eagerly awaiting your strategy….Ive been a longtime reader of yours and trust you the most out of the main bloggers so Im a bit disappointed that you have been playing Marriott’s game by delaying publishing your strategy and continue to egg us on for a “future post” coming into the last week of July. You even said in a previous post that its the most common question you are getting on a daily basis so there is obviously a demand for your insight into this……I suspect that Marriott lines will be swamped this week and getting a hold of a rep will get increasingly difficult next weekend so it would be nice to see your post sooner than later….

  30. Y’all, FT and Reddit have written straight up tomes upon tomes on this topic.

    If only the all mental brainpower and concern dedicated by everyone to this was used to solve a pressing world issue. 😉

    132K UA miles was freakin’ sweet. Then I get 7 nights on top? Take it, run, and do not over complicate. Worse case, if you book now, you aren’t going to face some overwhelming proposition of loss. I really only see mass concern about this being valid by someone where the value of 90K Starpoints is something they do not have the means to easily replicate.

  31. I played this the conservative way…I had a reservation made months a go for a week at the Aruba Marriott (cat9) in Feb. I was willing to pay 270000 Marriott points anyways (45000 a night or 15000 spg for a $700 a night hotel, 1 night free for the 5th night ). Bought a cat 9 package (390000 Marriott or 130000 spg) attached the certificate to my week, and justified paying an extra 40000 spg points for 132000 United miles. It took me a good hour on a Tuesday morning to do this. I have also had to deal with hours on the phone with Marriott representatives because a 20000 referral bonus that shows on my chase statement for weeks has not shown in Marriott (still dont show after many promises)…so I dont trust that this process of floating certificates is going to be smooth with thousands of people calling Marriott rewards once the outcome is clarified…just playing it conservative. I understand that there is a chance of a super generous Marriott bonanza here, but I doubt it.

  32. Hi Lucky,

    If I do attach the cert to a reservation, would it still be possible to make changes to the travel dates or even property if my travel plan changes post August?

  33. @ mechu — Unfortunately we don’t know, since they haven’t fully shared how they’ll handle these certificates.

  34. I too have been inclined to believe that the reason that Marriott has not disclosed what they will be doing with floater certificates is because they have made an honest effort at trying not to alienate members and they are planning to be generous with how the certificates will transfer. If they really want to make everyone feel “whole,” they should offer a choice between new certificates at the same level or a certain number of points that would feel fair to most members. This would go a very long way toward generating goodwill with its members. Why would they want to blow it now? I think they’re anticipating enough flack as it is when people find out that availability for the aspirational redemptions from August through December of this year are few and far between. I suppose for now we cross our fingers and wait. I’m hoping for the points, if you’re reading this blog, Marriott.

  35. For stuff like this…It’s probably best to make a guess at the worst case scenario, and make a decision you can be comfortable with in that scenario. For floating certs, it’s hard for me to imagine that Marriott would do worse than refunding points spent on the package, less a 1:1 conversion on the airline miles. Almost no one would argue the 1:1 airline conversion is a bad deal. It’s hard for me to image that Marriott would lock people into a downgraded certificate, without also giving an option for a refund along those lines. Of course the upside (and its huge upside) is that they treat the cert conversion generously. It seems like a very reasonable risk/reward proposition to me, but eager to hear more game plans here.

  36. Just to give you a data point as to how many points we could possibly be talking about for a 7-night certificate Cat 1-9.
    I had bought a travel package for 390,000 points with 132,000 United miles last year.
    Then I called to extend the expiration of the hotel certificate by one year (they generously offer this, it is one year from the time you call in, not from the previous expiration date).
    In my account the extended certificate now shows as „7 nights partial package category 9, 165,000 points“.
    So if they cancel the certificate and I get 165,000 points for a 7 night Cat 9 certificate, I would say the deal is pretty lousy.
    Of course I have no idea if this has any significance for our question.

  37. I bet your cert gets revalued to the new category of the hotel it’s attached to. Book at the Domes of Elounda and you can double your cert value.

  38. 165,000 would be the value if you asked for it to be cancelled at returned for points–45K for the 1-5 portion and 30K for each of the 4 bands above that.

    Some fearmongerers are suggesting that Marriott will cancel and give that amount back, which is absurd. There’s no way they’re going to sell someone a package with a week’s worth of hotel rooms one week and then cut that room portion by 50 percent or more the next week.

  39. @Blue, at least you acknowledge that 165K is the residual value of the Category 9 certificate. Marriott has said that attached certificates will be honoured; therefore, you can be “whole” if you attach your certificate. That should be the intent of a redemption. If any choose not to attach your certificate then you shouldn’t be upset if your “valuation” of the certificate differs from Marriott’s and you don’t get the windfall you expect; think you derserve.

    Marriott, in general, has devalued the New Program by closing up some loopholes for achieving stay equivalents, devaluing Travel Packages and reducing SPG Credit Card points by 50% so it is highly unlikely they are going to grace everyone with additional out-size value on an already out-sized value redemption.

    Thinking an existing Category 5 will convert to a New Category 5 or a Category 7 or higher will convert to a New Category 7 is absurd.

    Your opportunity to utilize your “floater” certificate is quickly coming to an end. While it is within Marriott’s right to cancel “floater” certificates and refund the residual value upon existing program wrap-up, I feel that Marriott, in good faith, will convert existing “floater” certificates as equitably as possible without providing everyone with a windfall that many seem is owed to them.

    I can see existing certificates being converted to point based certificates where ALL “floating” certificates will be converted to a 150K point certificate (Cat 1-5 converts to New Cat 1-4). If you redeemed for a higher category certificates the additional points will be refunded. If you would like to upgrade your New Certificate you can at the new prevailing rates. If you choose not to use the new certificate and want to cancel it, the residual 45K value will be refunded.

    It would be easier to administer and easier to follow. Bottom line: Existing Category 1-5 “floating” certificates are NOT valued/worth 150K unrestricted points in the New Program.

    Thinking Marriott’s silence is indicative of their attempt to quell some kind of upcoming generosity proposal is likely wishful thinking. You could just as easily argue that Marriott’s silence is a way to entice speculators to “float” their certificates so they can “write-down” outstanding liability for hundred, possibly thousands of week-long stays at 45K a piece at program termination.

    We do know that existing attached certificates will be honoured, nothing more. If you want to gamble for something better, please do so, just be happy with your decision and don’t be upset if the outcome isn’t what you expected.

    James

  40. Apart from the Travel Packages I have hotels booked in Dubai and Oman in November and as a Gold member will be interested to see if I get my Upgrade and Club room admission as it appears Gold has been downgraded.

  41. @Lucky – Can I buy a Cat 1-5 package now and apply it to an SPG property that’s moving up to a Cat 6 (presently a Cat 5)?

    I currently have a 5 night stay in September, and would be fine “throwing away” the other 2 nights if it netted me 120 Alaska miles for an extra 42k Starpoints. (Reservation is using 5th night free on points/48k total)

  42. @James I see you are already walking back your fearmongering a great deal and aren’t chortling about unattached certs being force converted to 45K. Expecting that a certificate for 7N at a given class of hotel should be honored for 7N at a given class of hotel isn’t a windfall–and for a 1-5 that means 150K points of valuation whether they are wrapped up in a cert or returned to the account’s point balance.

  43. Here’s something I haven’t heard addressed.

    Is it still a good idea to get ANY travel package if you value staying in CAT 1,2 or 3 hotels?
    We travel international full time and love the way we get treated in the lower end hotels, and mostly resorts.

    I’ve been trying to crunch the #’s if I will get better value by simply staying in the lower CAT’s then having to stay in the mid CAT’s to get my value? I could always get more UA points from a Chase transfer or more AS points by purchasing them but where will I get a ‘good’ deal on Marriott points?

    Thoughts?

  44. @Rob

    Pretty sure 132K UA or 120K AS + a “free” 7 night stay even at a Cat 1/2/3 is a no brainer.

  45. @Joel
    But if you look at it this way,
    270,000 points at a CAT1, 17,500 =36 nights individually.(45 nights if I do 5 night stays and only pay for 4)

    Is 45 nights worth 7 nights and 120k/132k airline transfer?
    Same idea for CAT 2 or 3 (which is more realistic for us).

  46. @Rob

    I see what you mean. I think you just need to get the calculator out? Not my forte, but I am sure you can figure it out. I redeemed my Cat 1-5 + 132K UA at a Cat 5 so maybe it was more of a no brainer for me.

    Depends how much you want those airline miles, and compared to how much it would cost to xfer over the Chase miles to United (vs. the opportunity cost of losing the Chase miles, etc etc). And I do not think Alaska is running a sale on miles now, but I guess they’re due for one soon?

    Good luck, I doubt you’re gonna get screwed any way you go.

  47. I booked a certificate back in March for a mid August stay and upgraded to a cat 8 at 40k a night current program but in August the hotel is schedule to be a cat 5 at 35k points a night in new program. We added an extra day at the old rate and wonder if I should use Chase travel at 1.25 to pay for 279.00 rate and save the 40k points since I have no idea when program will change and if I will be refunded points? I called Marriott and all they have is old chart (current ) and had no idea when new chart will be given to them, but we have seen it. Feel bad that the front line is always the last to know but that seems to be case everywhere! Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

  48. The key issue for transiting cat level at the same level is trying to prevent serious backfire from unhappy customers. Since some of the hotels are moving up cat level and some are moving down, it will be very unfair when some customers wanting to book a hotel with certificate and found it moves up cat level.
    Since this is one time event, the price is too high for Marriott to pay over these high profile customers. So naturally Marriott will swallow the cost and play a generous cat to cat transition. In that case, cat 8 is the greatest certificate to book as it practically ANY hotel in merged Marriott system.

    If you agree with it, then it will even more surprising when you hear (likely after 6 months to 1 year) the certificate can be used like 2 or 3 year period with no extension. Without 2 or 3 year, it is unlikely to consume all the existing certificates for 7 days’ stay.

  49. Hello,

    I just attached a 7 nights certificate (Cat 1-5) to a hotel today for travel in March, 2019. If I cancel the reservation after August 1, would I be getting whatever points/certificate under the new program? Is this a good way to hedge the unknown?

  50. @Lucky
    600k point, with no specific hotels in mind, what should I do between two Cat 6s, or a Cat 1-5 and a Cat 7…

  51. @Blue,

    I am not walking anything back, what I said here is what I have said elsewhere. My stand has not changed and will not change. The residual value of current Cat 1-5 certificate is 45K. Like it or not, that is the truth, a known. If you choose to believe that a Cat 1-5 is worth 150K unrestricted points in the new program you are just being illogical. You call it fearmongering, I call it analytics.

    I enjoy following Lucky’s posts and generally he is excellent in analyzing and valuing miles & points so I find it quite different and a little shocking that he has thrown out the “valuation” totally and feels a conversion of a Cat 1-5 to a new Cat 1-4 (same number of points) as being stingy.

    I anticipate you have Cat 7 floaters and are giddy with excitement in anticipation of booking your week-long stays at the new Cat 7 level. Good luck with that. I wish you luck.

    The current valuation of a Marriott point is 0.9 cents, SPG Starpoint 2.7 cents according to one blogger. Lucky, feel free to chime in here. It makes sense with the 3 to 1 conversion MR->SPG now.

    In SPG an airline FF Mile is a 1:1 redemption with 5K bonus with each 20K converted. If I have 90,000 Starpoints I can get 50K airline FF miles with 40K SPG and still have 50K SPG for hotel nights. With a value of 2.7 cents per starpoint we are buying FF miles at 2.7 cents each (2.16 cents with bonus) AS sells unbonused miles at 2.7 cents, bonused at 1.93 cents

    If I transfer 50K SPG to MR at 3:1 for unrestricted use I will have 150K MR for hotels. All things equal, the 40K SPG conversion to 120K MR should buy 50K airline FF miles. In the new program, that is exactly what it does.

    Yet, you are trying to convince me that 40K SPG is worth 120K airline FF miles after a simple conversion. Have you really convinced yourself that somehow a 2.16 cent FF mile can now be bought for 0.9 cents? That is exactly what you are telling everyone if you believe your Cat 1-5 certificate is worth 150K unrestricted points. Even if Marriott can purchase airline miles at a 60% discount (1.08 cents) it just doesn’t add up.

    We know the residual value of a Cat 1-5 is 45K. In reality, you have paid 225K for your airline FF miles (1.875 cents per mile) and your certificate has a redemptive value of 7 nights in a Cat 1-5 hotel. Can you distinguish between the certificate value (45K) and the redemptive value (up to 150K)? If the certificate expires, it is worthless, if you can’t use it and cancel the certificate you get the 45K certificate value returned to you. If Marriott chooses to cancel all floater certificates then Cat 1-5 are worth 45K, Cat 6, 75K, Cat 7, 105K….. and it is more likely an option than matching Category for Category.

    Why do you feel you are owed more value in the new program? If a Cat 1-5 converts to a new Cat 1-5 you would then be able to book many old Cat 8 Marriotts. That is equivalent to tossing you a 60K MR bone! Good boy! Fetch! A new Cat 1-4 is equivalent in points and properties. Getting back to Lucky’s comment, I don’t see this as being stingy.

    Another aspect one needs to consider is not just how many floaters there will be but also what categories they are. If Marriott determines that 85% of the floaters are Cat 1-5 it will be extremely unlikely they will throw everyone a 60K bone when they can convert them to a Cat 1-4 and only have to deal with the 15% that have higher value certificates.

    If, as per the Lurker, floaters are converted to points just remember that there was no mention of how many points. You know my thoughts, I will leave you to yours.

    I could totally be wrong but numbers are more accurate than emotions. Attached certificates are tangible redemptions of value, a floater could continue to float, take flight or sink. Just be happy with your decision. If it doesn’t go the way you anticipate and you feel any anger, resentment or regret then know your decision wasn’t well thought out and emotion (greed!) prevailed.

    My Cat 8 certificate is attached with a redemption value of $2100 USD. What happens next month, I don’t really care one way or the other. Should the opportunity present itself, I won’t be rushing to book Bora Bora or the Maldives. I doubt there will be more than one room available any given week and the room will be available every day of the week except Wednesdays & Sundays. lol 😉

    James

  52. Hi, I just ordered a travel package yesterday.

    It shows like this in my Marriot Account:
    7 Night Travel Package Category 1-5 Hotels
    07/24/2018, Ordered -200,000 Rewards

    Airline Miles (UA) have not been credited yet…
    Are the 200’000 Rewards points an indication of the points to be refunded?
    Regards

  53. @Fippli, did you order a 200k MR package (category 1-5 + 55k UA miles)? That is what it looks like.

    If you meant to order the 132k UA miles package, you should call back and confirm.

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