Posted by William Charles on May 29, 2018
Airline Rewards

Published on May 29th, 2018 | by William Charles

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‘Floater’ Free Night Certificates (Including Those From Marriott Travel + Air Packages) Will Be Converted Into Equivalent Points

A week or so ago a few readers and people on reddit alerted me to the fact that an official Starwood representative had posted some interesting information regarding free night certificates under the new combined SPG/Marriott program. I was a bit lazy so never got around to posting anything, but Freequent Flyer Book post today reminded me that it is probably worth posting about. The statement that is most interesting is this:

Floater certificates, including outstanding Marriott Travel Packages, will be cancelled and converted to equivalent points, credited to the member’s account for future redemption

The annoying part is that we don’t know what the equivalent points will be for each package, the same Starwood rep goes on to say: “I have no idea what the converted equivalent points will be.” It could be a wide range for example currently you can convert 270,000 Marriott points for 132,000 United miles and 7 night stay at a category 1-5 property. Category 5 properties cost 20,000-25,000 points per night, so will those with a 7 night package receive 150,000 Marriott points back? I highly doubt it as then you’re converting Marriott to United close to 1:1 and that’s an incredible deal. If they give you the value of a category 1 property you’d get back 42,000-52,500 points. I personally think it will fall in the middle and you’ll get category 3 back in points (70,000-105,000).

As some readers point out you could pay an extra 30,000 Marriott points to get a category 6 7 night package. That should get you 175,000-210,000 points back, but again that would be converting Marriott points to miles at close to a 1:1 rate and I just don’t see them being that generous. Some readers want to know if they should preemptively book a package in the hopes of a good return of points. My advice is that it really depends on what your risk tolerance is like. If I was to do it, I’d go for the category 6 package as I think Marriott will have a harder time not giving award certificate holders the equivalent in points than with the category 1-5 packages.



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jimbob
jimbob

Marriott is saying they have no idea – I was in contact with a senior guy there since I want to buy a package now and wasn’t sure what was going to happen to the certificate – especially since I wanted to use it for a sheraton hotel – he said they should no better in june

Chong786
Chong786

Starwood Lurker is currently verifying the details with Marriott/SPG Loyalty Team so we should have more info soon

Dan
Dan

Just a thought, you could be right that they will split the difference on the category 1-5 certs and give you back the equivalent points at a category in between. This could be reason to pay 30,000 points to upgrade to a category 6 certificate, as there is less gray area and hopefully you get the full point equivalent of the category 6 nights. I think getting in on the flights+nights packages now is a smart move and possibly has tremendous upside

Dan
Dan

Should specify here that I am talking about the 7 night certificates, NOT the chase annual free night certificates. Seems to be a point of confusion

tina
tina

Lucky over at OMAT thinks it might be best to go ahed and transfer points for the package–and he is planning on getting the Alaska package. It seems to me that the United might be the best deal. What’s your take? Should we, and if so, with which airlines?

MoreSun
MoreSun

Which airline do you see yourself using? Actual opportunities for you to use the airline miles is what matters here. Someone in a United hub could get great use out of UA while someone in SEA would prob be better off with AS, while others are considering international redemptions and need to put the miles with the right airline to book the right international partner. I would play around with the different airlines you are considering and search for potential redemptions rates so you can get the best idea of what will work for YOU 🙂

Sarah
Sarah

Agree, you can get more United miles, but if there’s no way for you to use them, then it’s not worth it. I personally got the package during the 30% transfer bonus, so it ended up being 90k SPG for 157k United + 7 night certificate

P
P

Isn’t he banned by United or something so I can’t see him saying he’ll select the United package.

YY
YY

Not sure I understand. I have a free night certificate from Marriott for categories 1 – 5 from the Marriott credit card (which has since been closed). Is that certificate going to be converted into points?

Ryan
Ryan

To avoid the uncertainty, would it make sense to upgrade a cat 1-5 certificate to a cat 6? What would be the likely points value of a cat 6 converted certificate?

Harris
Harris

I am kinda confused.

I have 2 existing 7-night certificates with mariott for cat 1-5 hotels. So will these be converted in to points? Please clarify

Max
Max

Can I buy 30K points and my spouse can gift me 30K points to me? What is the best way to get 60K points in one account?

Pat S
Pat S

Transfer to spg then call rep to transfer from one account to other (takes 3-5 days) and then use or transfer back

Ben
Ben

You can transfer between SPG accounts online, if you hate talking to people (like I do).

VL
VL

+1, and to add to Ben’s comment and to give you a time line – online transfers take the same amount of time as initiated by a phone call (if not faster). I had points transferred between SPG accounts within 2-3 days. From SPG to Marriott is almost instant (by the end of the day). Never done from Marriott to SPG, so can not comment here.

MoreSun
MoreSun

If you want to buy imho DON’T WAIT. The 35% discount ends 5/31!

Mark
Mark

So…. 7-night package certificates will be converted to points and cat 1-5 certificates will be converted to another certificate? Is that only the case when you do not have the certificate attached to a reservation?
And if yes, what happens to either one of these if you already have it attached to a reservation, but then you cancel the reservation in September?
And does that suggest that the 7-night packages will no longer be available?

Stano
Stano

Not sure what to do now. I purchased a 1-5 travel package back in April expecting to upgrade it to a higher level category hotel. I have 230k SPG points remaining that I was expecting to do a 2nd travel package with also. Do I book a 2nd package in hopes that Marriott is generous with the points for the hotel portion of the refund or play safe and keep my points. If Marriott only gives back 45k for the 1-5 cert which is amount they give back if I cancel the hotel portion of the package then I definitely wouldn’t want to book a 2nd package and would try to use my current package before August. I know some people would be happy with 120k airline miles for basically 75k SPG points(90k starpoints minus the 45k Marriott/15k starpoints) that doesn’t really interest me. But since Marriott Would be canceling the package maybe they will be more generous with the amount of points they refund which would make it tempting. I hate these types of decisions. Marriott has been pretty good for the most part with the merger I’m hoping they continue to be

lilurbanachiever
lilurbanachiever

Funny, I am almost in exactly the same situation. I am wondering how many people are facing the same dilemma.

Dan
Dan

Buy the category 6 package, if they only refund you 75,000 points on a 7 night category 6 certificate, we will have a major gripe. The category 1-5 certificate they can weasel their way out and be like “5,000 points for category 1 is fair”. That argument doesnt hold for the category 6 certificate

yang
yang

I have 3 freenights certificate for Ritz Carlton? Do you think those will be transferred to points too?

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

That’s a good question. If that’s the case then I’ll probably cancel my Ritz booking this summer- I’d rather have the points than the stay, especially if they give the Tier 4 equivalent amount.

Kimbra
Kimbra

Tier 4 & Tier 5 will convert to Cat 7 at 60k/nite each. Holding onto my 3 free nights for a sweet spot at a Tier 5. This is just me speculating based on hours of reading and chart analyzing, lol. But if they give us points instead then they lose the expiration date, which would be great!! But I think I would still book a Tier 5 before if becomes new Cat 8

Steve
Steve

What will happen to the Ritz Carlton free night certificates?

Tony
Tony

I’m not sure conversion to points in August is a done deal, despite what Starwood Lurker have said on FlyerTalk. Marriott has a choice of converting the existing certificates to new ones with mapping to new categories, or converting to points. Neither is straightforward. They can be generous or stingy either way. If they choose to be stingy, it’s easier for them to map the certificates to new categories, than giving you insufficient points to book 7 nights at comparable hotels, which would be indefensible.

Dan
Dan

agree with this. Even if they map categories, the old vs new dont align linearly cause they are going from greater categories to fewer. So even in that scenario i see getting a modest gain in value on the conversion (I don’t see them forcing people to lose value involuntarily in this conversion process)

VL
VL

According frequentmiler.boardingarea.com (read post back in April) they will be converted to a closest value (which could be win or loss).. like old cat 8 = 40K a night, has no corresponding cat in a new chart. The closest one is a new cat 5 = 35K (new cat 6 is 50K)… so it is a straight up loss for cat 8 certs (if they map).

elegua
elegua

I have 3 7-nights travel packages cat5 and enough Marriott points (over 750K) to upgrade those packages to cat 7 or 8 depending the place/hotel, so this news are not good, what should I do now?, should I buy 2 more travel packages, upgrade to cat6 hoping for a good return from Marriott?, I have not plans for any travel this year so I have no uses for those packages, mainly I got them for plane miles/points.

Dan
Dan

I think you should get as many category 6 packages as possible

VL
VL

We are all guessing here, but I would agree that elevating category for certs from 1-5 to a specific category is a better option (as allows less wiggling room for Marriott), but if you do that I would have probably upgraded to a category which has exact equivalent in points per day in old and new charts. Just in case if they decide convert the certs instead of cancelling and giving you the points (as William Charles ‘s post suggests).

If the matching of certificates is performed and you are holding Cat 6 (which is OLD 30K a night) which new category they will map it to? There is no new category for 30K a night (at least not in 2018).

I would upgraded to Category 7. At least currently it is 35K a night, and if it is get mapped there is a new category (Cat 5) which is also going to be exact 35K a night.

If they cancel and give you back your points at old value – you got 1:1 to airline conversion (great), if they give you a new certificate of Cat 5, well it is similar of keeping the points in your account (and still 1:1 to airline transfer).

Personally I will probably wait to the mid July hoping for more clarifications

Good luck.

Alex
Alex

If you cancel 1-5 7-night cert now, Marriott gives you 45K. I expect this is exactly what they will give.

lilurbanachiever
lilurbanachiever

That would be a decent class-action suit in the making. Actually, any conversion of the certificates that would not give a “full value” would lead to some nice legal fees. This is different from just devaluing miles and points – the certificates do state “a free week”, not just some mumbo-jumbo value in terms points.

Jessica
Jessica

I will be pissed if this happens. I didn’t cancel, they did.

Dan
Dan

but that’s with a voluntary cancellation. most people consider that a pittance of what the actual certificate is worth (it’s the lowest value). they are being nice and giving you something for it when you are essentially saying you have no desire to use it. The conversion issue is different because its involuntary and you redeemed points expecting a certain value in return. I think they will give a much fairer compensation to make people whole

JF
JF

I can’t see them cancelling Cat 6 7-night certs and crediting the full 180,000 points just because that would effectively mean you traded Marriott points 1:1 for airline miles (insane value). With the award chart changing and properties moving up/down I’m betting they have something buried in the terms that will allow them to credit less points back to accounts.

Call me an optimist, but I don’t think they’ll credit 45k points for the Cat 1-5 packages either. Probably somewhere in the middle like DoC said.

lilurbanachiever
lilurbanachiever

Well, maybe they should not cancel the packages then. Just because you do not want to pay the fair value does not mean you won’t have to cough it up.

Kai
Kai

What does this mean? All 7-night certificate will be converted to points? That’s rip off. Can I use my certificate to book a room for a future date now? Will the room be cancelled when the merge happens on 8/1/2018?

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