How To Ensure Your Marriott Points Don’t Get Taken (Like Mine Did!)

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A couple of weeks ago I posted about how 120,000+ Marriott Points mysteriously disappeared from my account, just weeks after I had transferred them across from SPG.

marriott points

I’m pleased to report that the issue was eventually resolved and that I was given 20,000 Marriott Points on top of my original balance, which I think was a fair offer given the inconvenience caused.

So what happened?

My Marriott Points were removed due to a little-noticed quirk of the Marriott Rewards expiration policy.

The expiration policy as described on the Marriott website is as follows,

“Starting February 1, 2016, accumulated points will be removed from your account if you do not have a qualifying activity in the prior 2 years”,

but if you dig into the FAQs, it also states,

“The program reviews member activity of the previous 24 months every month“.

What this seems to mean in practice, is that if you have already gone 24 months without a qualifying activity, any Points accumulated in your account that don’t themselves count as qualifying activity, will be wiped from your account every month.

SPG Starpoint transfers to Marriott Rewards do not count as qualifying activity and do not reset the 24 month clock, so if you transfer Starpoints to a Marriott account that hasn’t had any qualifying activity in the last 24 months, Marriott Rewards is currently programmed to automatically expire those Points each month!

marriott points

Before the merger, this policy was unlikely to get noticed, because to accumulate any Marriott Points in your account, you would very likely have had to have stayed at a hotel or earned Points through a Marriott partner like Hertz – which would count as qualifying activity and therefore reset the 24 months.

Now though, you can accumulate large amounts of Marriott Points without any qualifying activity by transferring Starpoints across – which potentially puts your Points at risk.

How do I ensure it doesn’t happen to me?

I spoke with a contact in the Corporate Liaison team at Marriott to try and make sure the issue doesn’t impact other members, who might not monitor their account balances as closely as I do.

The good news is that senior management are now aware of the problem and are actively looking into it. If you have already had Points removed due to the above, get in touch with Marriott Rewards and they will return your Points (if you have any trouble, feel free to let me know at joe@insideflyer.com and I’ll make sure your case gets in front of someone who can help).

marriott points
Marriott Park Lane

The bad news, is that for the time being at least, you could still end up with your Points being (temporarily) removed!

There are two main ways to protect your Points in the meantime:

Store Points in your SPG account and only transfer across to Marriott when you have an immediate use for the Points. Transferring Points between SPG and Marriott Rewards is free and instant, so it’s not a huge hassle.

Make sure you have some sort of qualifying activity on your Marriott account every 24 months:

Bottom line

Having 120,000 Points unexpectedly disappear from my account wasn’t ideal, and resolving the issue was considerably more difficult and time-consuming than it needed to be.

Marriott Rewards got everything sorted out in the end, but I would strongly recommend taking action yourself now if you think your Points might be at risk – a couple of minutes could potentially save you hours of hassle!

Comments

  1. ben says

    I am really annoyed with Marriot. I had an inactive account with them and recently decided to take their offer of free points for linking my social media with them. I thought it would be a nice idea to try them out again. A few days ago I logged in to make a booking (good for them!) and saw the points disappeared. I contacted them and got an email response that they were deleted due to inactivity before January 16… but the points were given to me in the last month… what a joke. Booking they did not get from me. Hilton continues to be my favorite.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Ben,

      I’m sorry to hear they still haven’t got this issue fixed – they really need to get it sorted. The only reason I was so persistent was because of the amount of Points at stake, and it was definitely a bit of a hassle. It’s a shame, because it would be easy for the to solve and I’m actually a big fan of how the merger has gone in general so far

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