I Just Redeemed 810,000 Marriott Points For Two Travel Packages

Marriott’s new loyalty program kicks in tomorrow (August 18), and I finally pulled the trigger on two Travel Packages, and redeemed 810,000 points.

I won’t go over all the background, though if you have no clue what I’m talking about, check out my previous Travel Packages posts:

My experience booking Marriott Travel Packages

I just redeemed for my Travel Packages earlier today. I’m in Europe so I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but the issue is that Marriott’s systems have been down overnight (US time), which is when I’d usually call in.

When I called overnight an agent told me that the systems should be back up at around 7AM ET, so I called at 6:30AM ET. The hold time was under a minute, and the agent said that the system literally just came back up, so she was able to help me. Score!

The entire phone call took about five minutes, so I’m guessing I really lucked out, since I imagine later in the day the hold times will likely be several hours.

If you are trying to redeem for a Travel Package, a while back Frequent Miler shared the best way to get in touch with the right department — call 800.321.7396, and then when the prompt asks how they can help you, say “transfer rewards points,” and then after the next prompt say “something else,” and that should get you to the right department.

The two Travel Packages I ended up booking

In one of my previous posts I shared why I think a Category 9 Travel Package is likely to be valid at any Marriott property booked by the end of the year, given that for the time being Category 7 properties are the most expensive.

However, last minute I decided to hedge my bets, so I changed my approach a bit. I booked a Category 9 Package as well as a Tier 1-3 Package, meaning I spent a total of 810,000 Marriott points, or the equivalent of 270,000 Starpoints.

For that I’ll receive a total of 240,000 Alaska miles, plus 14 nights at some type of hotel(s).

So, why did I change my mind last minute and book one Tier 1-3 Package? Just to be on the very, very safe side. I know with certainty I want to spend seven nights at one of Starwood’s top hotels. I think it’s highly likely that a Category 9 Package will be valid at virtually any hotel.

However, I think it’s a near guarantee (rather than just very, very likely) that a Tier 1-3 Package will be valid at any property.

It was only an extra 30,000 Marriott points, which is the equivalent of 10,000 Starpoints. That seemed like a small price to pay for extra certainty, given that I really think I’ll get great value out of this.

Bottom line

Whew, I’m happy I’ve made the decision and can stop thinking about this for now. Now we’ll just have to see how this all plays out. Many of us have analyzed this to no end, but we still don’t know how the certificates will convert.

I didn’t end up attaching these certificates to any reservations, so I’m entirely at Marriott’s mercy here.

Did you end up booking a last minute Travel Package? How long did you have to wait on hold, and what package did you book?

Comments

  1. I booked one a while back to use in BKK, but have held off on redeeming it to see what kind of value I can get after the conversion. If I can get more value somewhere else I’ll use it there.

  2. Lucky, when could we figure out the cost of points on (former) all suites properties? I redeem 2 packages as well. TIA!

  3. @ Sheng — Well, tomorrow we should see if these properties are generally bookable at the new “standard” rates, and then presumably sometime between tomorrow and September 18 we’ll learn how Travel Packages will convert.

  4. @Lucky- Thanks. Just a heads up that your article on Korean Air being a partner with Amex rewards is not loading.

    I had purchased about 4 Category 9 certificates and going to give a couple Tier 1-3 a shot. I was thinking Tier 4-5 but the difference is just huge.

    Your thoughts on Tier 4-5?

    Thanks

  5. I just did a similar redemption but one was Tier 1-3 with Alaska and one was Cat 1-5 with United (both 7 night/120 – 132k). Took about 5 minutes as well. I haven’t attached either yet to hotels. Not sure I’m going to today.

  6. Got a 5 night category 7 package with 120,000 AA miles. I’m an MVC owner, so we are allowed to book this.

    I’ve been to Europe multiple times and normally do cruises there with just a few nights front and back, so 5 nights there didn’t seem to work for me. My husband and I are well traveled with multiple trips to Hawaii. We’ve also done Asia and Australia and New Zealand. What we haven’t done enough of is the USA!

    That said, I want to see our National parks and found a new, gorgeous Springhill Suites that is 1 mile from the entrance to Mt. Zion. This property is about to go up 15,000 points per night, so I pulled the trigger on that for next March/April. We will be in Tucson for a convention beforehand and AA could get us to St. George airport in Utah to save the long drive from Las Vegas. Those points also paid for a trip to St. Kitts for a week next May and the trip to Tucson as well as the return from Utah. I’m happy with my choice. I’m booked and hope others aren’t disappointed with what happens to their open certificates.

  7. Do you actually plan on staying at the same hotel for 7 nights in a row? That’s the issue i have is that most hotels I want to stay at for 7 nights, its almost impossible to find 7 consecutive award nights available. (Family of 4 so many hotels outside of US may not allow 4 in one room.)
    I used my cat 5 earlier this year in a category 3 hotel in Sandy Utah during ski season. We only stayed 5 nights, but i was getting so frustrated with the hotels i wanted to use it at not being available to book for 7 nights. I could find 6 night in a row at some, but it has to be 7 even if you dont plan on being there all 7 nights….
    https://truptravels.com/2018/03/26/why-i-used-a-7-night-marriott-certificate-for-5-nights-at-a-category-3-in-sandy-utah/

  8. hi Lucky. first time posting i think but i’ve been a reader for ages. thank you for everything. i had a query – i booked a MTP cat 1- 5 ages ago and attached it to the Marriot Phu Quoc just before that property became tier 6 earlier this year. the booking is in november. i know we dont know for sure how the categories will map over, but IF (i stress if!) a 1-5 becomes a 1-5 in the new scheme after tomorrow, will i be able to cancel the Phu Quoc booking and reapply the certificate straight away for a stay at a ‘new scheme’ cat 5? hope this makes sense. jeremy

  9. Well done! I booked 2 packages yesterday and the call was under 5 minutes too. The only difficulty was getting thru to the correct department. It took 5 calls, 3 of them disconnected being transferred. Once thru to the right person- it only took minutes.

    Re- Alaska miles, the agent said I would receive 264,000 with the 10% bonus. You mention 240,000. Which is correct?

  10. Why’d you pull the Korean Amex post? also, I think the most interesting post ever would be a detailed look at just how many points you have stashed.

  11. @lucky…I wasn’t as confident on the Cat 9 to any property so I booked a tier 1-3 as well. It will be interesting to see of 2 different packages that map to the same new category, there is any refund of points (so in your example, the extra 30k marriott get refunded)

  12. Lol, I’m going to Ritz Carlton tomorrow. Best place to wait for the merger of SPG, Marriott and Ritz.

  13. I booked a category 6 with Alaska… I was told I had to attach to a property… I had an idea that I wanted but that was different than people seem to have experienced here.

  14. Anyone buy a travel package with AA miles recently? Did your AA miles take a while to come through? I bought early last week and the AA miles still haven’t come through and I was waiting on them to complete an AA redemption.

  15. I decided to play it safe and changed all my certificates to Category 7, which will definitely get converted to New Category 5 or better certificates. There is a wide range of Marriott and ex-SPG properties in desirable locations that will be in the New Category 5.

  16. Had purchased Cat 1-8 earlier this week and attached it to a hotel with which I’ll be reasonably happy but I think all of us are rather disappointed that Marriott won’t come out and state conversion details in advance.

  17. @ Scott Cate — I value Alaska miles at about 1.8 cents each and United miles at about 1.4 cents each, so even with the 10% bonus for United, I think Alaska is a better deal.

  18. @ Trup — To deal with that, I’ve already made seven night reservations using points for the hotels I’m planning to stay at.

  19. @ Jordan — It was pointed out to me that it may have been photoshopped. I’m trying to investigate and find out more, so my apologies for the false alarm. If/when I know more, I’ll post.

  20. @ Trup — I don’t usually stay at a hotel for seven consecutive nights, but I’d be happy to set up shop at an amazing St. Regis for that amount of time, even if it’s a few more days than I usually like staying in one place.

  21. @ Sam — I don’t see what they’d offer with Tier 4-5 certificates that you wouldn’t get with a Tier 1-3, and as you mention, the price difference is substantial.

  22. @Alex- It took almost a week for Alaska miles to post in my account. I had done 4 Cat 9 and just did 3 Tier 1-3 ones and all with Alaska miles.

  23. @Lucky- What hotels did you book with the packages as earlier today you mentioned you had not. Just curious to see which ones.

    Thanks!

  24. @ Sam — To be clear, I didn’t attach the certificates to any reservation, but I separately made some speculative bookings at the St. Regis Aspen and St. Regis Deer Valley.

  25. Lucky, I don’t understand how you get the 240,000 miles for booking these 2 hotel packages with points. I am a newbie.

  26. @ Penny — With Hotel + Air Packages you redeem points for a combination of free nights and airline miles. Each package gets you 120,000 airline miles.

  27. What will hotel availability look like for the TP redemptions? I’ve done award bookings with Marriott in the past and there were many times when it was very difficult to even get consecutive award bookings cause the property blacked out a date. Will this be a problem moving forward?

  28. Lucky – it’s great you redeem something so valuable. But realistically, only very, very few of us have that sort of point balance in our accounts. If anything it makes us feel jealous 😀

  29. @ Michael — It definitely could be a big problem for the best properties, especially since you have to wait until September 18 to actually redeem. It may require some flexibility and/or booking a year out.

  30. Hi Lucky,

    I somehow miscalculated my Marriott points balance because some points were sitting in my SPG account and some points in my wife’s marriott account.

    When I made the transfer I realized I was 10k points short to redeem the cat 6 package (I have 290k points) so I went ahead and booked the cat 1-5 package first?

    Is it possible to request a transfer of 10k points from my wife’s Marriott account to mine so I have just enough to topup to cat 6? Thing is she already transferred 50k points to me so not sure if this is possible. Read that this can be done if redeeming a specific award but the agent I spoke to is saying she can’t help.

  31. How long did it take for the points to be pulled from our account and for the certificates to post? I requested a package (also, AA miles) about 4 hours ago, and neither have happened (I’m expecting to wait a week or two for the American miles, BTW).

  32. I’ve just redeemed 280k pts for 100k AS miles + a Cat 6, took me over 43′ between hold and getting it booked. the reps are going nuts with calls. did not attach it to a specific hotel, mostly because I’m not sure where I want to go, and the 3 properties I have in mind don’t have availability for my intended travel dates.

  33. Just called the Marriott Mexico phone number to upgrade cat 9 TP cert to a tier 1-3. Took 5 minutes max…would highly recommend this number +52 55 110 221 21 (wait through Spanish until someone answers and ask for English). Both times I’ve called, the CSRs were extremely knowledgeable about booking TPs and did not have to wait more than 5 minutes either time

  34. I dragged along my family into the certificate game. This was a mistake. They are novices and couldn’t handle the up and downs of it — it’s been a bumpy ride.

    But we will all enjoy our AS miles. And I think they everything will be OK in the end for loyal customers as long as the policies are reasonable with floaters, changes, etc.

  35. @lucky, you hear of people having trouble connecting to a rep today? I have been on “hold” which just sounds like a dead line for an hour now. Any tricks?

  36. I booked a Cat 9 + 120K AS miles two days ago. Just under an hour on the phone and one agent transfer. However, I asked for just certificates but she insisted I book a specific hotel. We hadn’t given that part of the equation any thought. My partner wants to go back to Rome so we picked an Autograph Collection property there. It goes from 45K to 60K in the new chart. I asked about a 5 day package but was told those were only for Marriott Vacation Club owners. Anyway, I hope this isn’t completely screwed up with it being attached to a hotel. I’m sure we will enjoy Rome, but I was expecting an open certificate. If we need/want to change the property in the future–hoping it works out and we don’t take a hit. :-/ Good luck, everybody!

  37. I booked an unattached cat 8 certificate on July 30, and the 120k Alaska points posted that same day. The call took about 15 minutes. I chose that category thusly: One of the best places to stay in 1 hotel for 7 nights is Hawaii, so I knew where I wanted to go (and Hawaii is the best use of the Alaska companion pass, imo, so half off our flights). One of the best traveling weeks for me is July 4th week – due to the mid-week holiday I can request less vacation time through work – so I knew when I wanted to go. I wanted a good view of a fireworks show so that narrowed down which island. Most hotels on this island are category 8, so that nailed the coffin on which category to book. I finally attached the cert to a reservation last week before the phone lines started to get crazy. Took about 35 minutes including the disconnection, the transfer, and the hold time. I’m not sure how the property will map over but I think I made the right choice booking it before the big change. We’ll see!

  38. “I value Alaska miles at about 1.8 cents each and United miles at about 1.4 cents each, so even with the 10% bonus for United, I think Alaska is a better deal.”

    To each his/her own, of course, but how anyone who works very hard to accumulate enough points/miles to be able to fly in style to/from and during that dream vacation would, in the end, manage to achieve or settle for a redemption value of just 1.8cpm or 1.4cpm baffles me. One would have to redeem the miles/points to fly only in economy or to purchase very expensive “any time awards” instead of shopping around for “savers” in order to manage a redemption value of just 1.8cpm.

    Here’s a concrete example: a UA point is assigned a redemption value of 1.4cpm and, yet, for my already fully booked 2018 Year-end Escapade(tm) for which I know all the costs in points and associated cash values, I have calculated that the redemption value the multi-destination itinerary will be ~5.5cpm — i.e., about 4x more than the estimate of the value of a UA point in this post.

    The clear implication of the preceding is that *** a loyalty points currency has no redemption value until after one has done an actual redemption or developed a realistic scenario that provides reliable estimates of the monetary value of points for each component of a redemption.*** Thus, the basis for selecting which miles to collect with one of these MR travel packages should have more to do with one’s general pattern of redeeming miles (preferred airline, alliance, destinations) than with the highly inaccurate AVERAGE redemption values of miles/points, which make a difference between 1.8cpm and 1.4cpm irrelevant or immaterial. If went for one of these packages, I would opt to collect UA miles without no hesitation simply because that would be consistent with my usual pattern of redeeming miles for award tickets. That a UA mile is worth 1.4cpm would not even figure in.

    Just offering a different perspective since it’s all YMMV in the end.

    G’day.

  39. @Lucky, if I have 322k points what should I aim for as a redemption on this chart? Should I aim for a Category 6 package with 120k miles, or would it be better to go for a Category 1-5 with 120k miles and then have some rewards points leftover?

    Alternatively, I guess I could spend $100 to top up my rewards account and redeem for a Category 7 with 120k miles.

    Thoughts?

  40. Thks RP96. I followed your advice, after 3 calls with 20, 30, 35 holds which then got disconnected. Called the MX number, and I was done within 5 min. Yes – the rep on the phone speaks English.

  41. Booked yesterday, Category 9 Travel Package with 120k Alaskadue to “likely to be valid at any Marriott property”, and want a TBD St. Regis, hope that happens

  42. @dalo – Now try saying something smart, like addressing the content of the post. See? Trolling is a lot easier, ain’t it?

    G’day.

  43. FYI I’ve talked to several reps in the Marriott loyalty care dept today who say that the certificates will be good for the same category level after the merger.

    Aka a cat 1-5 certificate currently worth up to 25k points will still be a cat 1-5 certificate but now worth up to 35k points.

    They confirmed this for up to a cat 7. They weren’t sure what would happen with cat 8 or above.

    I just purchased a cat 6 and cat 7. May upgrade one to a cat 8.

    But again who knows until tomorrow!

    Brandon Richland
    TravelDocMD

  44. I guess I’m new to this party cuz I’m not fully understanding how this works. I’ve got 400,000 MR points, 160,000 Starwood points and 5 million UR points. Is it too late? What advice can anyone provide? Thks.

  45. Rich, damn! What advice ? Star using those points while they haven’t lost value . Oops , too late for some of them . Your Starwood points should automatically convert to 480,000 Marriott points .
    You can still get a Marriott hotel and flights package deal but, now it takes a lot more points . You will have so many Marriott points that you have great opportunities for travel with those alone . Start planning some trips . Look at airline websites to check flights and rewards cost . All the points you mentioned can be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs , then used to go places . With Marriott airline transfers you get a bonus when transferring in increments of 60,000 also . There are people who will take care of the arrangements for a fee . Might be a good idea in your case .(Click “Award Help” at top of page) Good Luck

  46. @Dalo. Thanks. I earn points so fast I can’t keep track sometimes. Ok will try to get some pro help. So it’s too late for the packages?

  47. based on your TP spend, Lucky, it seems you have plenty enough points left to still get into the Cat 8 St Regis properties you/I really want. am curious what Cat 6 or 7 property you will pick, though, for your TP?

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