Marriott Screws Customers with Travel Package Mapping & Why They Should Refund Points!

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Marriott Travel Package Mapping Old to New

Marriott Travel Package Mapping Old to New

Hey Marriott. We get it. You don’t care about your customers. Or at least it seems that way to me. Perhaps that is a bit harsh, but yesterday as I waited 40 minutes on the phone only to be blindly transferred back into the queue to wait another 40 minutes, my overall thoughts from years of experiences with this company were reinforced. I just never really liked them.

Then, today they released news of how they will map old to new travel packages. Keep in mind that the program switchover date was at Midnight so they knew this information and just held it until it was too late for customers to do anything about it. Here is how they are mapping old to new.

Marriott Travel Package Mapping Old to New

Let’s start by saying that this is perhaps the least generous way they could map these packages. The absolute top tier package can’t even book a Category 8 top tier hotel beginning next year and customers who bought old Category 6, 8 and Ritz 1-3 packages paid more than people who bought Category 5, 7 and 9 packages, but won’t get anything more.

Here is the company’s spin according to One Mile at a Time:

No existing Travel Package certificate is losing value in terms of points and, with the new Free Night Award Chart that goes live today, 70% of our hotels either stayed at the same redemption rate threshold or moved down. As we structured the conversion chart, we considered the introduction of peak and off-peak redemption rates, which will be introduced in early 2019. This means that if you have an existing Category 9 certificate, which converts to Category 6 starting today, holders will still be able to attach the certificate to a stay when redemption rates within that category are at their highest.

Refund Our Points

While I doubt this would happen, I think Marriott should absolutely refund points to those people who hold old Category 6, Category 8 and Ritz Tier 1-3 packages. In each case those certificates cost 30,000 more points to purchase but are worth the same as the Category below them. Yes I know they were going to have to overlap some certificates, but in this scenario they did it in the least generous way.

In full disclosure I have a Ritz Tier 1-3 certificate so yeah I’d like my 30K back, but it just seems wrong and I would write this even if I had purchased a Category 9. They knew what they were going to do but let people overspend anyway. What kind of company does that? One that doesn’t value their customers highly I would assume.

Suite Upgrades

Marriott also released the terms of their suite upgrade benefit for Platinum. Despite their initial indication that they were looking to mirror Starwood’s generous suite upgrade policy, the terms they released say something different. Their PR says they are going to edit the terms so we’ll see. OMAAT has more info.

Conclusion

I’m not surprised by these developments and most Starwood loyalists feared them. At the very least Marriott could have told members about their plans, but it seemed they wanted to trick them into overspending. Such is life in this world, I guess. Marriott is a behemoth in the travel world and it seems today they think we can’t live without them.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Marriott did the right thing in concealing their travel package mapping? Are you sitting on the sidelines laughing? Do you love Marriott? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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50 COMMENTS

  1. Have always been Hilton loyal. Can’t stand Marriott. Stays never register and I always have to follow up. The ritz merger made it extremely difficult to sync accounts. Just too much of a headache.

  2. I think we, the people, have been told for months to book these packages ASAP by Marriott. But some folks want to turn this into a game, and try and get outsized value for their points. When it works out, you’re a genius. When it doesn’t, it’s the fault of some evil company (today it’s Marriott). No whining please. You really think Marriott is going to make it cheap and easy to spend a week on the beach in the Maldives, or in Tahiti? Not going to happen.

    • It’s not about outsize value to me. I earned my points through loyalty and Marriott today showed they aren’t respecting that loyalty. I booked a Cat6 and a Cat8 package. They were devalued today by 60k points because Marriott chose not to disclose this information earlier. While a pittance for them, I booked over $2500 in hotels today and consciously avoided the Marriott brand.

  3. Too many people listened to too many bloggers that were simply guessing and encouraging their readers to go big or go home.

    • Re-reading the TPG article on this transition it’s clear that it was written with unbiased logic and research. If you read it and acted accordingly, you weren’t surprised to see this chart. However, if you were blinded by a “windfall” scenario of my bloggers including FM, this is certainly disappointing. I was lucky to redeem for two categories 1-5 certificates, so I’m happy with my decision and the transition chart.

      • I understand you being happy that you booked them in advance – although as having 2 category 1-5 it wouldn’t have made a difference either way. But why would you be happy the the chart gives people that paid more less value then someone who paid less.

        • I’m only happy for my decision, not for anyone else who was hoping for a windfall, of course. I only had enough points for two 5-night Category 1-5 packages and was considering 7-night Tier 1-3 based on articles on here, so I’m glad in the end it worked out for me this way.

        • Marriott mgt STRONGLY encouraged folks to attach their TPs. If they did as Marriott asked, there IS no loss in value as their points are now in a vacation they are (supposedly) happy with taking. The problem lies with the speculators buying packages (like stock options) hoping on a price appreciation!

          While true Marriott didn’t say their points would go down by not attaching, they also didn’t promise us any increases. I see speculatively buying & losing this currency like I do any other poor business decision, or gambling loss.

          • There was no speculative buying on my part. I purchased a category 8 package a week ago and attached it to a specific hotel. Only, a week ago they (Marriott mgmt, not reps) certainly knew one actually could buy a category 7 for same hotel.

          • @ drz – at the time you booked a Cat 8 TP, Marriott required 40k points to book into the property you reserved; you could not buy a Cat 7 package & still book the prop you wanted.

            The fact that Cat 7 NOW (but not THEN) can transfer to 40k properties (like yours) does not affect your purchase at all. Instead, your Cat 8 TP now maps to Cat 5, requiring 30k more points than what you paid to purchase (with 20k less airline miles). The same 360k you used for your Cat 8 TP now only buys into Cat 1-4 with, again, less miles.

            Marriott isn’t insisting we change our selected property even though its category may have changed. Some people’s chosen properties increased in value after yesterday, for instance, yet Marriott isn’t requiring them to downgrade to a less valuable property.

            I think in the final analysis we all knew the new TP mapping was a gamble or sorts. Playing it safe by attaching to a desired location you could enjoy was the best move. I give Marriott kudos by posting the “BOOK LIKE AN INSIDER” page and letting everyone how every single property in both the Marriott & SPG portfolios would change in category after yesterday, for better or worse. I personally feel they offered adequate disclosure for the value they were planning to assign to any specific property.

          • @Pam, the issue is half the validity period of newer certs is 6 months out and no SPG properties were bookable. While I know I’ll be traveling for ~45 days next April-May on my sabbatical, I don’t know the exact dates of when I’ll be where yet and I typically prefer SPG properties. I did speculatively book my TPs but I’m 98% sure they’ll have to change hotels or dates. While Marriott released the new categories early, they didn’t release the mappings early, so it was a bit of a guess. Knowing this, I was assuming some risk that my target hotel wouldn’t be bookable. I’d bet a respectable chunk of TP purchasers are in similar situations with regard to hotel and date choice.

            That’s all fine because that risk was defined. What’s not fine to me is that I ended up paying 60k points more on two TPs when I could have booked one level lower. Marriott’s own “Golden Rule” should have required them to be up front with this as they were accepting their currency for new TPs and category upgrades knowing they were just pocketing that difference.

          • @Anameofaguy – when I booked my own TP, the agent told me existing packages could not be used then, or ever, on SPG properties – they were only for Marriott properties. SPG would have to be booked with a new (hugely-inflated) package instead under the new, merged program. I really wanted SPG instead of Marriott, too, but I still managed to find and book an Autograph property that works.

            I won’t repeat my earlier posting, but I still do not understand how booking what the customer wanted at the points stated at the time is Marriott not treating their customers fairly. Woulda been nice to save those points, but do you also feel that Marriott should now take back points on the Cat 9 customers if their chosen property is now at a higher category/more points?

            By the same token, when I read all the blogs and posts on this subject I find a lot of “loyalists” were buying these packages up at the last minute hoping for a big points score rather than actually taking a 7-night vacation with them. That’s their prerogative, but I also feel some pushback on that play is also Marriott’s.

            Like other companies, maybe Marriott will offer some points back if a (now) undervalued package was booked within a certain amount of days before the merger. I wouldn’t realistically expect them to retro 4 months, however!

          • @Pam, the CSRs I spoke to for each package booked said categories would transfer and work for Marriott and SPG (i.e. Cat6 at TP purchase would work on Cat6 after merger). Of course, I knew that the CSRs don’t really know. The silence from corporate on what they were going to do simply highlights that this was underhanded.

            Marriott knew how they would map the TPs. Knowing what they did, but still allowing people to purchase the Cat6/Cat8/T1 packages was dishonest and goes against their “Golden Rule” or at the very least would go against mine were I in a similar situation.

            Loyalty goes both ways. I wasn’t trying to get some big windfall out of these TPs. I was, of course, trying to get the most valuable redemption out of my hard-earned 200k MR and 150k SPG points redeemed as TPs, but I have travel in mind and was only trying to get the package that worked with that. I earned those points through loyalty (plus a single CC bonus) and I expected Marriott/SPG to honor their end of the bargain. At least with devaluations there is warning. With this they happily accepted the excess 2*30k points knowing what they were going to do.

  4. No matter how you slice it, it was dishonest of them to hide the conversion chart until it was too late.
    It would have been better if they just stopped selling the packages early altogether, rather than letting people buy them without full knowledge of what they were buying.

  5. As a SPG Platinum and loyalist who purchased a category 6 package, I’m incensed. Marriott has screwed me over repeatedly in this monstrosity of a merger. This seems super strange, considering all of the mouth noises Marriott made about the value of SPG members. Since they feel so indifferent to me, I’m extremely unlikely to even try to retain my status.

  6. Looks like that poster in one of the other articles (can’t find it now) with the conservative view that the new packages will be based on peak rate of 2019 and beyond was right. After all the speculation and 10+ posts on here, TPG nailed it 100% with their conservative view of the conversion. I’m impressed.

  7. I burned my Marriott/SPG points months ago – once the changes were announced on the earning side I knew I would never have a meaningful account with them again. Hilton and Hyatt are my go to hotel accounts with some IHG mixed in if the promos are right.

  8. The table in this article is confusing. Since peak/off-peak only start in 2019, the table should still use regular points. That is, for new cat 1-4, it should be 25K instead of (Max 30K). So do the rest rows.

  9. The fact that they knew the conversion and withheld it would have been understanding if it was a generous offer. It’s not. Therefore, what Marriott did was very wrong and they have a tremendously unhappy cusotmer here.

  10. Marriott needs to refund the 30K points. They have been really shady with communication especially when customer care agents were telling members wrong information.

    • To me that might be the biggest problem in the whole thing. I got screwed but I knew it was possible. However, by not telling us or their people what the plan was there were myriad ideas out in the marketplace. I was personally told two different scenarios by two different CS agents (Plat desk if there is such a thing) and neither were the final solution. I wrote down date/time of the conversations and I plan on escalating this but why they thought withholding the information was a smart move is beyond me. This is worse than excluding SPG members from LTPP. Idiots

  11. I purchase a Cat 8, and am nowhere better than those that bought for less with a Cat 7. The worse part of all this is my what they have done to my wife. She sat at home while I traveled around the world and amassed all the points. I did this for 40+ years and chose Marriott over the other brands. I have held their credit card for 33 years and spent millions on it. I am a lifetime platinum. My wife was looking forward to a dream trip and now we can probably only get a Fairfield in Podunk USA. I imagine Hyatt and Hilton are jumping up and down. I suggest we all post daily on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter over our displeasure. I feel they have stolen money from me and hurt my wife deeply.

  12. Hi. Can someone explains what this means as a person who has an SPG card? I had 100K spg points. Should, I just use them up and forget about mariott, or what?

  13. “What are your thoughts?”

    My thoughts are that I am going to forget Marriott and spend a bunch on the new Hyatt card and become Globalist there.

  14. I will continue to be a Hyatt loyalist. I’ve had the SPG card since the mid-90’s so I built up a stash of points with them, although I haven’t stayed at a Marriott since the 90’s– don’t like the bathrooms. Now I can feel a sense of relief at having redeemed for 5 unattached category 1-5 certificates and am simply hoping to get 225K Marriott Rewards points for them. I’d much rather cash those in for a one-way first class ticket on JL than spend 5 weeks at a Fairfield Inn. Good-bye forever , Marriott.

  15. I have mainly stayed in Hyatt & I had basically no Marriott/SPG points.
    My work 2 months ago started taking me to cities that Hyatt does not have enough coverage and was considering going with Marriott over Hilton to fill in for those cities.

    Seeing how this is going down, gonna rethink it. I am just glad I waited to signup for the Marriott card, I will get Hilton instead this month.

  16. All part of their devaluation scheme. They knew they could do it. That’s why they bought SPG! Points required on one of my favorite hotels doubled after adjustment.

  17. Using peak time points as an excuse is such a strech, and still stating “no exsiting cert is losing value” when there is still no peak time in effect is simply shameless!!

  18. Agreed. Pissed at Marriott. This is BS. Booked cat 6, thinking I would get no lower then cat 5 for a hotel I wanted to book in Europe. Now I have a worthless 1-4 cert. Going to call and complain, everyone please call!

  19. You took a shot and came up short. Get over yourself. It’s part of the game. Calls don’t always work out your way. Quit the whining.

  20. Well for once I made the right personal choice and came out ahead. I purchased a Cat 9 package 130K SPG converted to 390K. I selected AS for the 120K air miles. I have a 6 night stay in London coming up at the Marriott Park Lane which by old rating was Cat 9 (forfeiting 1 night). I knew that it was moving to Cat 7 under the new rating. If I had waited my Cat 9 package would only have been good for a Cat 6 stay and I would have had to chip in more points for the property that I wanted.

    Yes I’m not getting a chance for suite upgrades or free breakfast which I would have if I booked a Hilton (Diamond status) but I had a bunch of SPG points already. My calculation on the 390K Marriott package is that the 120K AS miles would have been (60K Marriott = 25K AS) so (120K / 25K = 4.8 ratio, 60K * 4.8 = 288K, 390K – 288K = 102K). So if I assume that I had just transferred SPG or Marriott to AS that would have been 288K Marriott pts for 120K AS miles. 390K package – 288K = 102K that is for 7 nights hotel in a Cat9/7 property in London even though I’m only using 6 of the nights. So overall a great redemption in my book.

    Also the new packages only give you 100K air miles max so I’m ahead by 20K AS miles. Still it’s a gamble with the AS Miles as it’s possible they might devalue in the near future but I’m did this knowing that was possible.

    • I’m a Cat8 loser, my plan was to use at the Maui Sheraton or Westin which are new Cat6, So you stated:

      “If I had waited my Cat 9 package would only have been good for a Cat 6 stay and I would have had to chip in more points for the property that I wanted.”

      I thought Marriott said no upgrades so I think I’m stuck in a Cat5 for a week which I can still use and in the end is not a “bad” deal. But the merger is off to a very bad start. In addition to the travel package debacle, old marriott platinum via $75k spend on the RC visa is converting to new plat elite and not plat premier elite. Very similar situation to someone buying a Cat7 and getting the same benefits as a Cat8.

  21. I want my points refunded shady Marriott! Yes you messed up as much as you try to put yourself in a good light. You shady!

  22. The only fair result here is for Marriott to make holders of Cat 6, 8 and Tier 1 certificates whole by allowing a one-time upgrade or downgrade at old certificate prices. Anything less than that amounts to bait-and-switch.

    I plan to voice my displeasure on social media and directly with Marriott.

    I hope Marriott does the right thing here. If not, One thing is certain, I will be booking future stays (at least 30 nights in 2019) with Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG rather than Marriott, and I will be canceling my SPG and Marriott credit cards.

  23. I can’t share my thoughts here, because they’d be immediately deleted due to the foul language.

    Suffice to say I find Marriott despicable and underhanded, and I too want my 30k points back. I wasted them upgrading to a Category 6 when I could hav gotten screwed over more cheaply if I’d stuck with the original Category 1-5.

    Bottom line: We were lied to, repeatedly, and big-time. I sincerely hope that someone throws together a massive class-action lawsuit against Marriott over this.

    • Was the conversion of your certificate unfair? Or are you upset that there are people who are getting a better conversion than you did?

  24. I thought I read that the certificates are still going to be good for these hotel categories regardless of peak/non-peak changes coming next year, is that true? If so, that is pretty generous, especially for those hotels that will always have peak rates. Also, are you getting upset because they gave a few purchasers of certificates a better conversion rate than you and that you didn’t get to reap this reward? Or that you think your conversion was unfair? Those are two entirely different reasons to be upset.

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