My Buddy Vs Bonvoy Went To Game 7… And He Won!

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Changing Marriott Travel Packages

Changing Marriott Travel Packages is Still Possible for the Persistent

My buddy Ryan is back with another quality story for me to share.  He is the one that warned us about Aribnb gift cards.  He also tried to turn his Marriott travel package into points last year without luck. And Marriott told him he couldn’t book hotels for other people with his points which was wrong. This time around he was determined to turn his current category 1-4 travel package to a category 5 package.  He was finally successful after a SEVEN phone calls into Bonvoy.

Back Story

Ryan has an upcoming trip to Lisbon and he was thinking of using his cert to stay there for some of the trip.  But by the time the dates were finalized for the trip Marriott had done their massive devaluation. They increased the price of hundreds of properties.  Because of the changes his category 1-4 certificate would no longer work in Lisbon.

He went ahead and booked a category 5 hotel with points instead. But he kept thinking that if he could just change his cert to a category 5 one he could save some points.  Even if he didn’t use it for 7 nights it would be cheaper than his current 4 night booking.  Plus, he would finally be rid of his certificate.

Changing Marriott Travel Packages

Calling Bonvoy

So he picked up the phone and started calling to see if he could change his certificate. And he kept calling and calling and calling.  His first 6 calls into Marriott all went the same way. They said they would only give him 5,000 points towards the category 5 certificate.  No, I didn’t miss a zero there! Marriott said his hotel certificate for 7 nights at a category 1-4 was only worth 5,000 points.

On the 7th phone he finally got an agent that was willing to give him the value he deserved for the cert.  The 7th agent gave him 45K worth of credit towards the 135K category 5 cert cost.  That made his out of pocket cost 90,000 Bonvoy points to change from a category 4 to category 5.  Giving him a 50,000 point savings over his current 4 night booking.  But it is really only a 5,000 point savings if he just kept the current 140K 4 night booking and credited the 45,000 refund to his account.  Had he used the cert for the full 7 night stay the savings would have been better.

Even though Ryan didn’t max out the value of his certificate at least he was able to save some points.  Plus he finally got some value out of it after 3 years of sitting on the certificate.

Final Thoughts

I think Marriott Bonvoy is one of the worst customer service companies out there.  Stories like this are why I say that.  There is no reason someone should need to call 7 times to get fair value for something. Much less someone who has top tier elite status with that brand.  Marriott is simply a mess and I avoid them at all costs.  When customers dread calling once issues arise and start a website defaming your company then you know something is wrong.

Luckily Ryan was persistent and was able to find a customer service rep that was willing to work with him.  At the end of the day he was finally able to get some value out of the certificate and saved some points.

If you were thinking of changing your Marriott certificate or just wanted to cash it out be ready for a fight and make sure to wear your persistence pants.  Is that a thing?  Maybe they are just comfortable sweatpants that allow you to easily throw stuff across the room as you cycle through incompetent agents 🤣.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not sure this is entirely clear Mark. You use the term ‘upgrade’, but it sounds like he effectively cashed in his existing 7 night cert for 45k points, and then applied those points to purchase a new Cat 5 seven night cert. Is this the case?

    • I had thought they just charged him the difference to upgrade but I just double checked with him and it sounds like they gave him a credit of 45K and then billed for the new cert. I will update the post to make that clear – thanks

  2. Just note. Marriott May be tougher to deal with but if you are persistent and go to senior management, things get done. I had an issue and they ended up crediting me points

    • It should never get to that point in my opinion. Hilton gives me points for issues and all I have to do is message their twitter team. It should be that easy.

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