Published on August 14th, 2018 | by William Charles37
Marriott Travel Package Chaos: What Will Happen To Existing Certificates After August 18th?
Marriott & SPG will become a unified program on August 18th, overall I’d say they have done a good job of informing loyalty members how things will work under the new program and so far things seem fair or as relatively fair as one could expect with a merger/acquisition of this size. One thing that isn’t clear is what will happen to people with Marriott travel packages, these packages can still be bought through August 17th under the current rates before they dramatically increase in cost.
What’s The Problem?
The reason it’s not clear is because the award chart is changing dramatically (see image below).
The problem is that in a lot of cases it’s not possible to directly map the current certificates onto the new programs award chart. For example if I have a travel package with 7 nights at a category 6 property. Under the old program that could be used at properties that cost 30,000 points per night. Under the new program there is no category that costs 30,000 points per night, it’s either 25,000 or 35,000 points. So Marriott would need to decide between being generous/vindictive. They do have other options which we discuss below.
What We Know So Far
We don’t know a lot, but we do have a few facts so let’s lead with those before we get into speculation territory.
- New pricing goes into effect on August 18th
- You can purchase under the current pricing until August 17th
- Between August 18th and September you’ll be unable to redeem certificates (you also won’t be able to modify reservations during this period). This is via Frequent Miler.
- “all existing certificates will convert to similarly valued categories after that date. I realize you might have more questions and we will be able to answer those soon.” This is via View From The Wing.
Marriott has several options, I think it’s important to understand each option and the upsides/downsides.
- Convert certificates into points. This is highly unlikely and based on the last press release from Marriott seems to have been almost entirely ruled out. The reason I say I think this is highly unlikely is because it effectively means that people would have purchased airline miles for 1 Marriott point each, an incredible deal and costly for Marriott.
- Map over to the new program generously. E.g category 1-5 maps over to 1-4 and then category six maps over to 5 etc.
- Maps over to the new program greedily. E.g category six maps over to category four.
- Keep a separate award chart for these certificates for 12 months. Basically they would just keep a list of properties that are currently available under each category and then these certificates would be good at those properties only. In my opinion this is the most likely outcome. Certificate holders can’t complain as the same hotels that were available at the time of redeeming points for the travel package would still be available for redemption.
- All certificates turn into category 1-4 and then you receive a points refund. You can then upgrade your category 1-4 certificate with points, this was mentioned on Flyertalk by user maxcalls (thanks to Frequent Miler for pointing it out).
What I Think Will Happen
Honestly I have no clue. I think the ‘fairest’ solution for everybody involved (including Marriott) would be option #4. Maintaining a separate award list/chart for 12 months seems like a logistical nightmare though so I think that #5 is also an option. That still leaves some people being unable to redeem their certificates for properties they would have been previously able to, but Marriott has said all along that if you want a specific property you should book before the change. Goodluck to everybody that has gambled on these ending in a favorable outcome.