What if Marriott Air & Hotel Package 7 Night Certificates Were Cancelled?

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Will Marriott Cancel Air + Hotel Packages 7 Night Certificates 

Will Marriott Cancel Air + Hotel Packages 7 Night Certificates

Marriott Air + Hotel Packages have long been a favorite redemption option by Marriott members to maximize the value of their points and get a favorable transfer rate for points to miles. Now that we are getting close to the official merger of SPG, Marriott and Ritz’s reward programs, there has been a lot of conjecture as to the fate of existing packages. This week, a possible Starwood Employee made the following statement which has only served to heighten the buzz surrounding the fate of certain Marriott packages:

All I am saying is exactly was was written: Floater certificates, including outstanding Marriott Travel Packages, will be cancelled and converted to equivalent points, credited to the member’s account for future redemption. <added by Starwood Lurker 18May18>

I have no idea what the converted equivalent points will be.

In the following discussion, I’ll get into why I am now hoarding SPG and Marriott points to purchase a few packages. While this may not be right for you depending on which categories of hotels you prefer, I feel as though my downside is limited but enough opportunity for upside that I’m willing to roll the dice. 100k Bonus on Marriott now, check out the links below for more details. Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Review – A Brand New Card


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What Are the Options

Now we are left with another potential possibility and this is cancellation. So to review, here are the potential outcomes of the potential fate of Marriott Air + Hotel Packages:

  • Honored in same category
  • Changed to a new corresponding category
  • Cancelled

Honored in Same Category

This is unlikely because it would set you up for a large windfall in most cases. Increased valuations are not exactly standard practice in this business, so I wouldn’t hold out hope.

Changed to a New Corresponding Category

I think this is the most likely outcome, the certificate changed to reflect a new corresponding category or converted to the new program some other way. There’s a great post over at Frequent Miler discussing different options and the opportunity for holders to potentially receive added value.

Cancelled

This could be really interesting because we don’t know how the refund would be processed but you would have to imagine that it would be enough points in the new program to stay in the new corresponding category for 7 nights. For example, a Category 9 Package with 132k United Miles costs 390k Marriott Points (or 130k SPG). Category 9 costs 45k points for a reward night and 36k after you figure in the 20% discount for 5th night free benefit. 36 x 7 nights (at discounted rate) = 252k Marriott Points. (Although, the last two nights are probably not going to reflect the discount so it would be 270k.

Let’s say your 7 night certificate was cancelled, it seems to me they would have to give you the equlavent number of points to book a stay in the corresponding category. .But since we have no idea what category that is, let’s just assume it’s the current price. This would mean they would refund you somewhere from 252-270k points. If this were the case, you would trade 132k United Miles for somewhere between 120k points and 138k Marriott Rewards Points. In SPG terms, after accounting for the refunded points, it’s like you transfer 40k SPG points into 130k Miles, which is about 80k more miles than you would have gotten if you’d taken advantage of SPG’s bonus of 5k miles for every 20k transferred.

Here’s the reasoning for my belief they will make you whole on the 7 night cert. First, the current offer entitles you to a 7 night stay so the agreement would be violated if they cashed in some of your points for miles but didn’t honor both prongs of the agreement. Second, we all know loyalty programs do not want us to know what their points are actually worth since they routinely try to sell them for a minimum of double their value. If they assigned some cash value to the miles portion, that would give us a pretty good idea of how they value the points. Not gonna happen

Conclusion

Many people have asked whether it would be a good idea to speculatively lock in a Marriott Air + Hotel package prior to August. I can’t really give you any advice rooted in fact, but I can tell you that I think I’m going to book a Category 9 package and hope that it either gives me more options for more expensive properties or a refund of enough points to get me seven nights in a similar property and a 1:1 transfer rate of points to miles.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. You’re thinking too hard. Today if you purchase a 7-night travel package in a Category 9 hotel and choose to refund the hotel portion of the package, you would get back 165k Marriott points, which is exactly the difference between the Category 1-5 package and the Category 9 package (120k) plus the value of the 7 nights in a Category 1-5 hotel (45k). Why would the valuation of how much that is worth change on August 1?

  2. Thanks for this post, hadn’t seen the FT discussion. SPG Lurker is most definitely an SPG employee, William has been an SPG spokesperson on FT for many, many years and quite reliable.

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