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There has been substantial speculation regarding Marriott’s plans for the one-week hotel certificates issued as part of a Travel Package. The difficulty arises from the fact that the award chart is changing. So, if members haven’t assigned their certificates to an actual hotel stay, how to keep everybody happy? Joe did an analysis recently that outlines the difficulty of mapping across existing award certificates…
Cat 1-5 (7.5k-25k) —-> Cat 1-4 (7.5k-25k) FINE
Cat 6 (30k) —-> Cat 4 (25k) BAD
Cat 7 (35k) —-> Cat 5 (35k) FINE
Cat 8 (40k) —-> Cat 5 (35k) BAD
Cat 9 (45k) —-> Cat 5 (35K) VERY BAD
Tier 1 (30k) —-> Cat 4 (25k) BAD
Tier 2 (40k) —-> Cat 5 (35k) BAD
Tier 3 (50k) —-> Cat 6 (50k) FINE
Tier 4 (60k) —-> Cat 7 (60k) FINE
Tier 5 (70k) —-> Cat 7 (60k) VERY BAD
Due to this, I have long felt that Marriott would simply refund points and keep all members happy (even if this meant taking a loss as members found a better use for their refunded points). But I recently received an email from Marriott and this looks quite unlikely to be the case. Here’s what the e-mail said:
TAKE ACTION ON YOUR TRAVEL CERTIFICATE.
Dear Craig, We recently announced that our new loyalty program is going live on August 18, 2018 and are working hard to ensure a smooth transition for you while we bring together Marriott Rewards® and Starwood Preferred Guest®. We noticed that you have a Travel Package certificate that you have not yet attached to a hotel reservation. Below are your 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 on September 18, 2018 under the new Travel Packages program*.
Please note that whichever option you choose, from August 18 through September 18, you will not be able to modify your certificate for an existing reservation or attach it to a new one. Please plan accordingly.
So, I definitely WON’T be getting a points refund. 🙁 And Marriott is giving themselves a month to convert one form of travel certificate into another.
What Should You Do With an Outstanding Travel Certificate?
Well, in my case I have a Category 1-5 Certificate which should map across to Category 1-4. No loss there, and I would rather use the certificate in 2019 at an ex-SPG hotel (having failed on my gambit for a full points refund).
But other readers have aimed higher with a Category 9 Travel Package or even a Ritz Carlton Package. Although it is possible that Marriott will be generous with the mapping from one set of award categories to another, it is more likely that you will receive a partial points refund and another travel certificate for a lower award category.
You should then be able to add more points to “buy up” to a higher level of travel package, but this will take place under the new award chart for Travel Packages, which you can find by re-reading this post. This might cost you substantially more points.
So… make sure to attach your high category travel certificate to a reservation BEFORE 18 August, 2018. I would do this even if your intended stay can’t be booked yet – hopefully Marriott will allow you to adjust dates after 18 September.
Hopefully in the next couple of days we’ll be inspired to find a better solution. What are you thinking of doing with your unused travel certificates?