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:
- No, We Still Don’t Know How Marriott Will Handle Existing Travel Packages
- My Theory On How Marriott Will Handle Existing Travel Packages
- Marriott Travel Packages: I’ve Decided On A Strategy… I Think
- Marriott Provides Update On Existing Travel Packages
- It’s Marriott Travel Packages Crunch Time
- One Final Marriott Travel Packages Update
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.
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?