Marriott Listened: Offering Limited Points Back on Travel Packages

A lot of people are unhappy with how Marriott is handling travel packages. Over the weekend Marriott shared the new chart for how legacy travel package certificates work in the new program.

I didn’t expect things to be much better than this. Marriott hadn’t shared how old travel packages would work in the new program, and new travel packages are less valuable not more valuable. However many members redeemed old travel packages in the hopes of a windfall. Some just had old travel packages certificates they hadn’t assigned a reservation to yet.

Marriott listened to the feedback that came in quickly over the weekend and is already making an adjustment. A spokesperson tells me, “members who purchased a Category 6, Category 8 or Tier 1-3 certificate prior to 8/18 are able to request a one-time exchange for a package one category lower.”

Category 6 certificates don’t have more value than category 1-5 certificates going forward, so they’ll treat you as if you had redeemed for a category 1-5 certificate and give you back the 30,000 extra points you paid. The same holds for these other packages.

You’ll need to request this through Marriott’s contact page by selecting “packages – deals” from the menu and letting them know. In other words, they’re processing these credits manually upon request.

You can also request a refund for your travel package. You don’t get all of your points back. You get 45,000 points for a category 1-5 certificate that would have cost 200,000 points with several airlines and yielded 50,000 miles. You get the incremental points for each level above category 1-5. So a category 9 certificate gets 165,000 points back (45,000 points plus the additional 120,000 points that a category 9 certificate costs over a category 1-5 certificate).

All in all this seems fair, though of course some members had hoped to be able to redeem top tier old travel certificates for top tier hotels in the new program.

One other piece of good news is that these old certificates are bookable again. Marriott had announced a one month moratorium on booking old travel packages. You weren’t going to be able to make old travel package certificate bookings, or change travel package certificate bookings, until mid-September. However they’re confident in the IT setup at this point. They’ve lifted that moratorium, and you can make bookings now.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. They need to give one category UPGRADES. Some of us wanted 7 post-conversions and got shafted. No one thought the highest conversion would be Cat 7 with sequential lowerings.

  2. I still can’t book a 60K/night St. Regits hotel using either marriott points or free night certificate (from Ritz-Carlton credit card sign up). I can see the availability but the checkout would always end in error because the system doesn’t recognize my Marriott number as a “SPG number”. I did see some successful story over the weekend even including St. Regit in Maldives, but I guess it was because the Marriott IT guy were too careless. Now they “fixed” the problem.

    I tried multiple times through out today., via webpage, app or call (they suggest you to call 888-625-4988). Wasted quite a lot of time and no dice.

    Let’s see if my luck would come tonight. Sigh…

  3. I bought a Tier 4-5. I’m hoping this means I can book CAT 8 in 2019 and that Cat 7 limitation is only while Cat 7 is the highest tier.

  4. Marriott suffered a needless loss of good will. Whenever you reduce rather than extend, the party on the losing end is bereaved. Restoring what was initially lost doesn’t recapture the moment and some hold long memories.

    Despite scale and scope, Marriott would do well to remember that they exist in a market where there are lots of vendors and buyers can choose.

  5. @BB is correct. This isn’t enough. They chose to intentionally keep members in the dark about what they would need to do to get the certificates they wanted. They have to allow either upgrades or downgrades for 30,000/category.

  6. Is this not partly your fault and the fault of the other mainstream bloggers? You have all been writing ad nauseum for weeks about speculation about this, usually recommending people buy these speculatively. It all pushed people to buy these packages from FOMO (what happens if the conversion is amazing and you missed out?). Perhaps all that chatter caused people to buy so many speculatively forced Marriott to make the conversion less generous due to how much they’d lose. A little introspection on your part would be nice.

  7. @jeff, you picked the wrong blog to leave this comment on. Gary was pretty much alone among bloggers in not writing about the travel packages
    I would have preferred if they had let me give them another 30,000 points and upgrade my cat 5 (former cat 8) to a cat 6 (former cat 9), but this is better than nothing

  8. @Jeff – “You have all been writing ad nauseum for weeks about speculation about this, usually recommending people buy these speculatively. It all pushed people to buy these packages from FOMO”

    No, I did not. That just isn’t true.

  9. @Gary

    Any conversation with them about the Tier 4/5. We paid 540,000 points for the very top properties in the program. It isn’t fair to knock these down. They should be bookable at Cat 8; as Cat 8 was a known known when they sold me the Travel Package, yet they are (apparently) excluding them. While all other categories went up only 30,000 points, the leap to Tier 4/5 was 120,000 points from Tier 3!!!! to 540,000 points. We’ve already paid a steep premium.

    Also, are they still extendable for an extra year like they’ve always been?

  10. @Jeff
    I’m critical of Gary when I think it’s warranted, but he is literally the only one who wasn’t hyping the Travel Packages arbitrage crap. He’s innocent. Now…. Ben, with all his insider contacts…. people figured he knew something with his 3 a day posts about them. I didn’t bite- but a lot of people acted because of what he and FM Greg (the killer of all things MS and churning) were shouting from the hilltops.

  11. Just another example of Marriott screwing with their loyalty member (aka money cow / sheeps) – until Marriott gets bit by public outcry. As a typical corporation, Marriott answers only to the bottom line and shareholders, anyway to steal (sorry, find) money to increase the quarterly EPS, they will.

  12. Instead of blaming bloggers or “gamers” or any other party beside Marriott, just assign blame for this anti-customer travel package boondoggle from Marriott to the party that created this mess: Marriott.

    What Marriott is doing with this 30k point refund on request from some harmed customers is a PR shenanigan. This small “change” by Marriott still leaves many travel package-redeeming customers feeling that they’ve been wronged by Marriott — and many of those who have been wronged by Marriott are still left out in the wind by this 30k “change” option.

  13. Hah. Sent a request to convert my Cat 6 to a Cat 5 using the above link and received the following response:

    “Hello,

    Thank you for contacting Marriott customer care.

    Please know that in order to change this if we are able at this time you will have to contact the reservations team directly as that request is not handled by this department or via email.”

  14. Here is a post on FT that said Marriott originally would release this FAQ on Aug 20th to counteract the angry customers on the new mapping.

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30108459-post6020.htmlhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30108459-post6020.html

    Somehow Marriott decided to change course not to use this. Instead later of the day, said thru several blog channels AND posted by Marriott Insider on FT around 5pm, on the current refund policy.

    It is beyond bad that Marriott initially tried to give more spin to defend its conversion table is justifiable.

    Someone in the highest office of the corporation finally has sensed the public outcry on the social media would cause more harm if Marriott does not reverse its course to make some remedy.

    The whole ordeal just shows Marriott is trying everything to recoup its costs to acquire SPG in every way it felt it could get away with. Hence it kept everything opaque but let out numerous trial balloons to decide what its next action might be.

    Talk about Corporate Greed.
    Here is a post on FT that said Marriott originally would release this FAQ on Aug 20th to counteract the angry customers on the new mapping.

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30108459-post6020.htmlhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30108459-post6020.html

    Somehow Marriott decided to change course not to use this. Instead later of the day, said thru several blog channels AND posted by Marriott Insider on FT around 5pm, on the current refund policy.

    It is beyond bad that Marriott initially tried to give more spin to defend its conversion table is justifiable.

    Someone in the highest office of the corporation finally has sensed the public outcry on the social media would cause more harm if Marriott does not reverse its course to make some remedy.

    The whole ordeal just shows Marriott is trying everything to recoup its costs to acquire SPG in every way it felt it could get away with. Hence it kept everything opaque but let out numerous trial balloons to decide what its next action might be.

    Talk about Corporate Greed.

  15. 30k back is still a bit of a slap in the face. If you bought a category 6 certificate as in my example, that is what you wanted. 30k points and a category 1-4 certificate doesn’t help stay in the properties we wanted to. They should honor all of the prior certificates issued prior to releasing their new chart. It’s their own issue for hiding the information.

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