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UPDATE: AS SUSPECTED, THE INFO WAS INCORRECT. THE MARRIOTT PR TEAM HAS ISSUED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT. “THE STORY ABOUT TRAVEL PACKAGES HAS A WRONG DATE. IT LISTS AUGUST 3RD AS THE DEADLINE TO USE EXISTING TRAVEL PACKAGE CERTIFICATES. THE DATE IS ACTUALLY AUGUST 17. IN THE INFORMATION WE PROVIDED TO OUR COUNTERPARTS IN DUBAI WE HAD A TYPO. HONEST MISTAKE. “
For those of you weighing up whether to use your Starpoints/Marriott Reward Points for a Marriott Travel Package while the current (very generous) rates are still available, the latest reports from the American points/miles blogs suggest that Friday 3rd August 2018 might be the last day to make a redemption. This is despite the fact the new Marriott Rewards programme won’t be launched until 18th August 2018.
The reason I say “might be the last day”, is because I’m not entirely convinced that our friends in America are reading what Marriott said properly. Steven Ganeles over at the SamChui blog reports that Marriott’s Director of PR stated the following,
“We encourage members with existing travel package certificates to book before August 4. After that date, those certificates will go dormant due to the new systems we have created to bring the loyalty programs together. Members should be rest assured though that we are working on a solution and will let them know as and when we have more information to share.”
My reading of that comment is that if you already have a Travel Package Certificate and haven’t attached it to a booking yet, you won’t be able to do so from 4th August. That’s definitely something worth knowing in its own right, but I can’t see anything about actually ordering a new Travel Package.
I suppose the argument would be that if you can’t redeem Travel Package Certificates from 4th August, it would be odd for Marriott to still let members redeem for Travel Packages, so maybe that’s the case.
The real problem here is the lack of clarity from Marriott (including contradictory statements from senior people!).
My advice is to take this latest news with a pinch of salt. BUT, if you are sure you want to redeem for a Travel Package, I can’t really see any great upside in waiting any longer. The next few weeks are likely to be pretty volatile in terms of information from Marriott, their IT systems, and the call centre wait times, so best to make any redemptions asap regardless.