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One of the fun elements of blogging for InsideFlyer UK is that I can make predictions of the future of loyalty programmes. If I’m right, I look prescient. When I’m wrong, I can still claim to have been a voice of caution… 🙂
Recently I wrote a post suggesting that Marriott / SPG members book a Marriott Rewards Travel Package sooner rather than later. You can revisit that post by clicking here. It turns out that I was right. Although… don’t panic! It appears that the changes won’t be implemented until August.
Along with details of the hotels being allocated to each award category, Marriott also announced the future of its Travel Packages. Here’s what they will look like:
What is Changing?
The most obvious devaluation is for those airlines where you currently receive 120,000 miles. This list includes InsideFlyer favourite Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, along with Avios, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, American Airlines AAdvantage, etc.
Under the new Travel Package system, you will only receive 100,000 miles.
On the flip side, airlines that currently offer 85,000 miles will increase to 100,000 miles. This includes options such as All Nippon Airways, Turkish Airlines, etc.
Here’s the complete list of airline partners:
As before, any option other than the maximum mile option appears to be a sub-optimal use of your Marriott points.
Making a direct comparison between the two charts isn’t straightforward, but a few elements become quite obvious. As a reminder, here’s what the current chart looks like:
New Category 1-4 Package
Currently, you pay 270,000 Marriott points for the entry level Travel Package. Once the changes are implemented, you will pay 330,000 Marriott points. The standard of hotels should be similar (but you are also receiving fewer miles).
New Category 7 Package
There is no perfect correlation between the new and old award categories, but most of the best non-Ritz Carlton hotels (i.e. JW Marriott, Renaissance, etc.) were in the old Category 9 and are likely to be allocated to the new Category 7. That Travel Package cost 390,000 Marriott points.
Once the changes are implemented, you will pay 570,000 points. Ouch!
Is There Any Good News Mixed in There?
Not much… If you are interested in some of the more exotic airline options, you will receive more miles than previously.
And I suppose that the addition of some really nice SPG hotels will help. It was often difficult to find a Marriott hotel worthy of an entire week’s stay. I’ve had no such difficulties with SPG! 🙂
What Don’t We Know Yet?
Because these changes rely on the new award chart, it appears that they won’t be implemented until August. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Marriott might not choose to withdraw the existing Travel Package option, or run into some technical difficulties in ordering them… 😉
We also don’t know whether existing 7-night certificates will be converted into their equivalent under the new system, or whether we will receive a full or partial refund of points.
So stay tuned… and if you were thinking about booking a Travel Package, I suggest that you order one sooner rather than later.
What do you think of these changes?