Marriott Travel Packages Only Bookable Before August 4, 2018 [Update: Wrong Information]

Filed Under: Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest

Update: After reaching out to a Marriott spokesperson, I was told the below information isn’t correct, and there’s no August 4 deadline. Marriott recommends that members with a certificate attach it to a hotel stay before August 18. Obviously there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to this merger, and there are even conflicting official answers. I’ll leave this post up rather than deleting it so that people aren’t confused about why it disappeared, and know there’s no August 4 deadline.

A couple of days ago we learned that Marriott’s new loyalty program will kick in as of August 18, 2018. We knew the program would launch at some point in August, though we didn’t know when, so at least it’s good to now know exactly when that’s happening.

For those of us looking to maximize points, one of the big looming questions is what happens to Marriott Travel Packages. Travel Packages are the best use of Marriott points, as you can redeem for a combination of free hotel nights and airline miles.

This redemption is being significantly devalued with the new program, so now is the time to book if you’re interested.

When you book these Travel Packages you’re issued a certificate for a seven night hotel stay valid at select categories of hotels. The huge question has been how these outstanding certificates will be handled if they haven’t been redeemed, given the category changes we’re seeing. Marriott has refused to answer this (or has said they’re still “working on it”), though we now have a further update.

My assumption all along has been that you can continue to book Travel Packages through August 18 (when the new program forms), but that’s not the case. Marriott Travel Packages need to be booked before August 4.

Steven at samchui.com quotes a Marriott spokesperson as saying the following:

“We encourage members with existing travel package certificates to book before August 4. After that date, those certificates will go dormant due to the new systems we have created to bring the loyalty programs together. Members should be rest assured though that we are working on a solution and will let them know as and when we have more information to share.”

So the clock is ticking, and if you want to book a Travel Package, you have just days remaining to do so.

I promised I’d write a follow-up post about my strategy, though I still haven’t published that. Why? Because every time I think I’ve decided what to do, I change my mind. Given that it’s crunch time, I’ll share my thoughts on this shortly. As before, my theory is that they’ll be generous with transferring over categories to the new chart, given the uncertainty they’ve created.

Comments
  1. “So the clock is ticking, and if you want to book a Travel Package”

    That’s not what the Marriott quote says. They say they’re working on a solution to use these post Aug. 4.

  2. Hey Ben – Are you saying the last day until further notice to book an air + hotel package is Aug 4th or the last day to book using a certificate you already have is Aug 4th until they come out with how they’ll handle these?

  3. I read this as existing hotel certificates will only be able to be applied to bookings until Aug 4, rather than the Travel Packages will no longer be bookable after that date.

  4. @Ricky,

    I have reached out to Marriott to confirm that. It seems unlikely that they would let you redeem your points for a Hotel + Air package knowing you cant attach it to a reservation and it that they wont tell you what happens to the certificate that you cant use

  5. Frequent Miler has confirmed Travel Packages are bookable through the 18th. The spokesman is talking about existing/floater certificates. Can I make you coffee?

  6. I am in the same shoes. have about 750k Marriott points, not sure what to do!!!! all I know is a travel package is getting booked.

  7. I would assume it is both. Why would they allow people to “purchase” a travel package, when they wouldn’t be able to use it immediately.

  8. @Lucky
    Have you considered the possibility that Marriott doesn’t actually know whether they want to be generous or not with the travel packages either? They could be waiting til the cut off date to see how many outstanding hotel certificates there are before determining how they will transfer over.

  9. @ Ricky — Given that they’ve been encouraging everyone to book these before the changes kick in, I can’t imagine they’d keep allowing people to redeem for certificates with an unknown redemption value. That simply doesn’t make sense, in my opinion.

  10. @ Daniel — My assumption is that they’re working on a “solution” for after August 18 with regards to how these packages will be honored in the future.

  11. Confusing.

    Are you saying use the points to get the package or use the certificate that comes with the package.

    Also,

    LOCK HIM UP!

  12. The post has been updated to reflect that this isn’t accurate, despite the official quote from Marriott. My apologies, folks. Will leave the post up so that people aren’t confused about where it went.

  13. With the air and hotel package: Do I have to use all 7 nights together. Can I just use 5 and the air miles assuming the certificate has no residual value

  14. @ Sebastian — You can only use them for one stay. Though you don’t have to stay all seven nights, you could just leave early.

  15. I’m having trouble attaching my cat 1-5 cert to a cat 5 hotel online. Every how-to I see online is a few months old (did something change). Am I missing something or are people doing it by e-mailing/calling customer service?

  16. @Lucky, are the certificates valid for one year as in the stay must begin within one year of issuance? Or simply booked by the 1 year mark?

    Thanks!

  17. Lucky, Can I ask what you would do for my particular situation…I have 120k Starpoints or 360k Marriott Points – I am looking to stay 7 nights at “El Mangrove, Autograph Collection (current Marriott Cat 8) or “The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal (SPG cat 7) in Costa Rica for a March stay. Should i quickly put in to exchange to get The Travel package now or wait? Any help appreciated…

  18. @ JB — I’m in a very similar situation, and will share my thoughts in a post later today. Stay tuned.

  19. @ aarowa — I believe the stay has to occur by the expiration date. Historically these have been extendable by a year, though I wouldn’t count on that being possible going forward.

  20. @ Lucky. Hope my question is answered in your follow-up post later today. I’m in the position to get (4) 270 point packages. Really want the 132k UA miles. Honestly I really don’t think I’ll use (4) 7 day stays in next 2 years on the assumption they would extend one year (do know to not count on that) and may only use one if they have to use within the year. The prize to me is the UA miles at the 120k plus 10%. What would I get post August 18th if I redeemed 270k in points? Seems like the 132k is around 7k better (then a straight up conversion) plus a 7 night stay – even if not used UA mile conversation is better. Last question, if one elects to get a CAT 7 certificate, but then only wants to stays at a CAT 6 or 5 hotel will they allow the extra 30 or 60k in points to be credited back or is it a “think carefully” when deciding as it’s a set in stone certificate that can’t be changed in category level. If that is the case I’d go with just CAT 5 till confirmation after August 18th if they will extend for one year and just pay the new program category difference if that will even be allowed for pre-August 4th certificates.

  21. @Lucky – Can you book current SPG hotels using Nights and Flights, or would I need to get a floating cert?

  22. @ Andrew — Starwood’s Nights and Flights option is still available and you can book that, but it’s totally different from Marriott Travel Packages. For now Marriott Travel Packages can still only be used at non-Starwood hotels.

  23. @Lucky – Not nearly the value of Marriott’s redemptions, especially when you consider the category 3 and 4 restrictions. Looking at a current Cat 5 that will be become a 6 in August.

    Also, I spoke to a Marriott agent – who checked with a supervisor – said that Marriott will honor the category that you booked with the package.

  24. @ Andrew — I wouldn’t rely on what the supervisor said. Marriott has officially stated repeatedly that they haven’t yet decided or shared how this will be handled, and this includes internally. So I wouldn’t make any decisions based on what an (uninformed) phone rep or supervisor said.

  25. Okay. Here is what I think Marriott is saying, keeping in mind their use of the word “dormant”. I don’t find their statement confusing. It just may not be explained well.

    IMO – They are saying if you have a travel certificate (i.e. via the purchase of a travel package in the past, like a 7 day one), book it by August 4th if you have plans. Otherwise, after August 4th, you won’t be able to book anything using a travel certificate because they system will not allow it. Thus, your certificate is “dormant” until they system can handle it. It’s not DISAPPEARING. It’s going DORMANT. The new/merged system can’t set it up. And they are working on that solution – an IT solution. Whatever is decided in terms of what category/points that certificate is ‘worth’ after Aug 18th is an entirely separate question/issue.

    Thoughts?

  26. @Lucky I want to buy a package for next year July 22th-29th. If I buy a package today July 27th would I be able to use it for those dates ?? Or do I have to wait to buy it until the 29th ?

  27. @Lucky, I’ve been staying tuned to hearing your strategy, but I may have missed it. TIA.

  28. @Lucky, agree with Jeepie. You said you would post your plans but I have yet to see it. Apologies if I missed the entry.

  29. @ David L, last night I booked a Cat 9 package. The Marriott Elite Services agent told me that the difference in points would be rebated to me if I ultimately stayed at a lesser category hotel (1-5, 7, etc.). Now… if that’s actually the case, we’ll see!

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