Marriott Travel Packages WON’T Convert to Points (Apparently)
There has been an amazing flurry of conjecture the last couple of months about what would happen to Marriott Travel Packages booked before August 18th (at the current rates. A lot of speculation on the blogs, at FlyerTalk, and on /r/churning (Reddit) have focused around a theory that the any unattached hotel certificates would convert to points, and generously so, after the program changeover.
A lot of this has to do with Marriott being so tight-lipped about what would happen, with the most official comment to date coming from the Starwood Lurker on Fyertalk – with the exact words of “Floater certificates will be cancelled and converted to equivalent points, credited to the member’s account for future redemption.“ being analyzed to death ever since.
Today, Starwood Lurker IV posted this on Flyertalk:
On 8/18, our new Travel Package offering will launch along with our new loyalty program. After our loyalty programs become one, our new Travel Package award chart will go into effect and members will be able to book for packages at all 6,700 of our hotels. If you currently have a Travel Package Certificate that’s not yet attached to a hotel reservation, you have the following options: - If you know when you want to travel, make a new reservation or attach your certificate to an existing one prior to August 18, 2018. - If you are still trying to plan that perfect trip, you can hold onto the certificate and will be able to add it to a reservation starting September 18, 2018. Please note that you will not be able to modify your certificate for an existing reservation or attach it to a new one between August 18 and September 18, 2018. Please plan accordingly.
So what does this mean?
Well, it’s still not 100% clear!
It *does* however appear to make one thing perfectly clear – these will not be refunded for points – at least not unless you cancel them yourself. And if you cancel yourself, you are probably getting the same paltry amount you get today (45,000 points returned for a Cat 1-5 7 night stay, for example). The scenario appears to be that they will map the old certs to new certs and convert them – at least that is how I read the official statement.
The big outstanding question, then, is what each package will map to in the new system – and that remains unanswered.
So the people that have booked many travel packages in the hopes of such a payday will have…. a bunch of travel packages. It’s not all bad for them, though. They got a fabulous deal getting in the ballpark of one mile for every 2.25 Marriott points or, put another way, about 1.25 miles per Starpoint PLUS the 7 night certificates. Given that you’ll get less on the 18th and beyond, if you wanted miles this was (and still is until the 17th!) a good way to go.
But it’s NOT looking like a good way to score free Marriott points, and I think it’s entirely possible that all the bloggers talking about how a points return was likely was really ramping up the number of Marriott packages – and they decided to head that off by buying themselves a full month past integration to finalize the IT solution for converting the certificates.
It also means that you need to be dang sure you don’t have a reservation or a reservation cancellation deadline within that one month period from August 18th to September 18th that you don’t intend to use. If you do and forget about it, you’ll be stuck. So check your cancellation timeframes now!
New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.
Don’t forget that August 25th is your last day to get both the Marriott Visa cards and SPG Amex cards if you already have the other one – new rules on card restrictions kick in on August 26th!