Marriott offers 30K points to those who were travel-package hosed (Updated with Marriott Q&A)

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Travel Certificate Downgrades Q&A

I’ve asked Marriott the following questions about travel certificates and the ability to downgrade or cancel.  In a few cases we have answers from Marriott:

  • Question: When will we really be able to attach certificates to reservations? It’s not working yet.
    • Answer: “We are in the process of training thousands of associates on the new system and new policies. While most associates are fully up to speed, we expect the issues your readers are facing to be cleared up today. If not, they should give it one more day. We are in the middle of the biggest IT system transition in the hospitality industry.”
    • My thoughts: When Marriott says to “give it one more day”, I think that “one more month” would be a safer bet.
  • Certificate downgrade:
    • Question: When will we really be able to request a certificate downgrade? It’s not working yet.
      • Answer: (paraphrasing) It should work now as long as people follow the directions given.
      • My thoughts: This reminds me of the time the realtor told me that my new house was ready for move in. My response: I’d really like things like toilets, door handles, and a driveway…
    • Question: Is there a deadline for doing this?
      • Answer: Expiration of existing Travel Certificate
      • My thoughts: Unless you need the 30K points right away, wait as long as possible to do this.  It’s possible that other options will open up in time.
    • Question: What if members previously attached their certificate? Can they still request the 30K difference?
      • No answer yet
  • Cancel and refund certificate:
    • Question: Is there a deadline for doing this?
      Answer: Expiration of existing Travel Certificate
      My thoughts: Unless you need the points right away, wait as long as possible to do this.  It’s possible that other options will open up in time.
  • Question: Many who attached certificates before 8/18 are asking if they can change the dates of their reservation without detaching and re-attaching? The issue is that if they detach they’ll presumably get the mapped category rather than the category of the hotel they booked. In many cases the hotel they booked is now a higher level category.
    • No answer yet

I’ll post an update once I hear more.

Original post follows:

As Nick reported in the post “Marriott Travel Packages: worst-case scenario, we were far from thrilled with the way Marriott has handled the conversion of old travel packages to new.  Fortunately, they’ve sent us word of a few positive changes to the previously announced diabolical plan…

1) The one month travel package blackout is gone (theoretically)

We had previously been told that we would have to wait until September 18th to attach a travel package certificate to a reservation or to make changes to an existing reservation.  Now we’re being told that we can do so right away:

…due to system capabilities, we had to place a month-long blackout on cancellations and modifications to existing Travel Package certificates. After pressure testing our new system over the weekend, we’re happy to relay that starting today, the blackout period is over.

But they apparently haven’t informed the call center about this yet.  A number of people have reported trying to attach certificates but were told that there’s a one month blackout.  That’s old news call center people.  Don’t you read the blogs?

My advice: The call centers are currently unable to apply these certificates.  Wait until next week to try to attach a certificate to a new reservation (or to change an existing reservation).

2) Those who were hosed the most can get 30K back(theoretically)

Three old categories mapped to the same new categories as cheaper packages.  For example, both old category 1-5 and old category 6 mapped to the same new category: 1-4.  So, those who paid 30K more for old category 6 than old category 5 can now request 30K back.

If you bought old category 6, old category 8, or Tier 1-3, you’re eligible for 30K points back.

Marriott tells us:

…members who purchased a Category 6, Category 8 or Tier 1-3 certificate prior to 8/18 are able to request a one-time exchange for a package one category lower. To submit a request, contact us at https://www.marriott.com/marriott/contact.mi Select “packages – deals” from the drop down menu.

Unfortunately, to-date, the above process is not working.  I’ll update this post once it is fixed.

This is a great policy change.  In a number of posts speculating about travel packages, I suggested (and so did several readers) that one option would be for Marriott to make whole those who were in this situation (where multiple old categories map to the same new category) by refunding the difference in points.  I didn’t think it was likely to happen, though, so kudos to Marriott for that!

With this change in effect, we can ignore category 6, 8, and tier 1-3 (since all of those can be downgraded to old category 1-5, 7, and 9, respectively) and we can see that the mapping from old to new is quite fair from a points perspective.  This is true even when we compare old per night rates to new standard rates:

As you can see above, those who purchased category 9 (or Tier 1-3 downgraded to 9) come out ahead by 5K points per night at standard award rates.  The only category that appears to have lost value is Ritz Tier 4-5, but since 60K points is the top of the award chart until early 2019, it’s not bad at all.  Only those who need to wait until mid 2019 to book their awards are likely to lose out if they bought Tier 4-5.

My advice: Wait a while before asking for the 30K refund.  It’s unlikely, but possible that Marriott will re-issue the certificates when they do this, and that will give you a new, further out expiration date.  It’s also possible that additional options will be made available.  I don’t see any downside to waiting to see how this shakes out.

3) Trade stay certificates for points

Marriott has also informed us that those who bought travel packages prior to 8/18 will be able to refund those packages at the old rates (45K for category 1-5, 70K for category 6, etc.).  Packages bought 8/18 or later, will only be eligible for 5K points back regardless of category!

This is great news for those who bought travel packages primarily for the miles and don’t care about the hotel stay.  By cancelling your pre-8/18 certificate you can go from a very good points to miles exchange rate to an excellent exchange rate.

In the above chart, you can see how each package mapped from old to new categories.  The third to the last column shows the categories that are due a 30K “make whole” refund.  Or, if you decide to cancel altogether, you can look at the second to last column to see how many points you can expect to get back.  The final column shows that your final price after refunding the certificate will be the same regardless of what category you originally purchased.

Reminder: If you opted for a package offering 120K miles or 132K United miles, you got a great deal for your points even if you’re not happy about the final certificate category.  If you don’t refund the certificate, then your points to miles exchange rate was a very good 3 to 1.33 (or 3 to 1.46 for United).  If you do refund the certificate, then your points to miles exchange rate was phenomenal: 3 to 1.6 (or 3 to 1.76 for United).  Compare this to the new standard exchange rate of 3 to 1.25 (60K points to 25K miles) to get an idea of how good this is.

My advice: Unless you need the points right away, wait to see how this all shakes out.  It’s unlikely, but maybe Marriott will bring additional options to the table that will work better for you than cancelling the stay certificate altogether.

Those left behind

At this point, the remaining losers are those who had specific hotels in mind and guessed wrong about which packages to buy.  So far, we’ve been told that Marriott won’t allow us to upgrade our packages.  If they hold firm on that, then lots of people will be left trying to find uses for certificates other than what they had hoped.

I’m thrilled that Marriott is allowing the one time downgrade of packages for certain certificate holders, but why not go one step further and allow one-level upgrades?  Just as we can request 30K back to downgrade, why not allow us to offer 30K more to upgrade to the package we really need?

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craig

I was able to convert my previous Cat 6 certificate to the new certificate cat 5, the agent at first wanted to give me the downgrade but I just made sure to let her know I wanted to “convert” rather than upgrade to the new qp91 so she charged me the extra 30k points but at least I was able to get the better certificate and it extended it for a whole year but yeah its just def luck I am sure catching the right person and of course wording it not as an upgrade but conversion. And did this all with calling the us number but I did call pretty early so sounded like someone from india or something who knows where but she after about 15 minutes of playing with it she got it done perfectly.

Alex

Any update on this? Wondering if those of us with category 6 packages are still able to be reimbursed 30k. Saw some posts on reddit that indicate this was only the case for a very small period of time. Thought this was still possible.

MommyRMD

I just spoke to a Marriott agent today and was told that it is still possible to get the 30K back after they “exchange” my existing certificate to the new category hotels. I have a Category 8 and I was told I could exchange it to a Category 5 and get 30K points back in the process. My new Cat 5 certificate will have 1 year expiration date upon the exchange (so basically you extend the expiration of the certificate with the exchange). Here’s the number you should call for that request: 1-800-321-7396. It took an hour on the phone before the agent finally was on board with the discussion — he ended up reaching out to his manager a few times and after numerous back and forth between them, they eventually confirmed that this option is doable and that this option is available to me until the current certificate expires in August 13, 2018.

Note that I originally asked to do a cancel and refund option (I expected to get 135K points back with the cancellation) but was firmly told that cancelling the certificate for a partial refund of points is not an option — only the exchange with 30K points back is the only option available to me.

shurliz

I was able to get the 30K back for me Tier 1-3 redemption using the online form just a few days ago.

shurliz

Yes! the new certificate is titled: “Partial Package – 7 nights category 6”

MommyRMD

Wanted provide a follow up… I called Marriott again. This time the agent I spoke with knew how to process a refund. I received 135K points back for cancellation of each Category 8 certificate. So I took that option instead of requesting the 30K points back for exchanging my old Category 8 certificate with the new Category 5 certificate. Hope that helps!

Tigris23

Greg, I called Marriott 2x today to have one of my 7-night cert. (old version cat.1-5) refunded for the 45k Marriott pts as it’s set to expire on 12/28/18, so I can take advantage of transfer Marriott pts to Aeroplan tomorrow for the 35% bonus, but I was told by 2nd (1st alleged he processed the request but he didn’t) rep told me this can’t be done anymore post 8/18th. Is there truth to this as it seems contrary to what I’m reading on this blog. Thanks!

Josh

I’ve requested multiple times to downgrade my travel package from old category 8. They replied the first couple times that it wasn’t possible “yet, but it will be.” I contacted them again today. When is this supposed to happen?

LA2SF

I am wondering if anyone has successfully booked a reservation on SPG property using 7-night certs. I have been trying to do that for the last 4 days and was told that SPG can’t see my cert and Marriott can’t book SPG property yet. One of the SPG reps has told me that I have to call the local in-house reservation team to use the cert. Would appreciate if someone could share any insights.

Justin

Has anyone successfully booked a SPG reservation using the the travel package certificate issued 08/18 after the reward programs officially merged?

hood

Has anyone actually been able to downgrade and get 30k points returned? I try and the Marriott people said they didn’t know what I was talking about????

Guest

A couple of weeks ago, I called and asked them about how to use my certificate, and was put on hold for a few times. An hour later, my Cat 6 travel package becomes the new Cat 1-4 plus 30k points added to my account without me asking. The activities showed up a couple of days later as being credited 75k points and deducted 45k points with the new certificate with a new one-year expiration date. Am I happy? No, I didn’t ask them to do the convert! I just wanted to know my option at that time. I’m lifetime Platinum Premier YMMV.

TomK

‘Just as we can request 30K back to downgrade, why not allow us to offer 30K more to upgrade to the package we really need?’

Not releasing the new category map and having the CSRs telling lies about upgrades, extensions, what the new category map will be, etc is a feature, not a bug. It is a pump-n-dump scam and a 30K upgrade to make things whole will nullify the gains Marriott gets from the scam.

[…] Marriott Travel Package Updates:  Many in this hobby were not happy campers with how Marriott handled travel packages after combining loyalty programs.  Whether this was intentional or expected glitches, Marriott seems to be trying to work through some of these issues. If you’re affected by this, check out the article to find out more. […]

Hosed

So Marriott chose to ignore your attempt to get some answers, thru your contacts there?

It has been 2 days now after their Ad Hoc announcement that none of the information in it has been true.

All we are fed are lies after lies and now they dont even bother to come up with more lies and instead just basically brush people off.

This is NOT the old Marriott we were used to.
This is the new Marriott with the corporate greed being its utmost goal.

The handling of the merger and the attempts to fleece customers by defrauding their overpayment on cert redemption, is far worse than any Hilton devaluation history. At least Hilton had the decency to let us know what was coming. Marriott chose to keep everyone in the dark.

Mike

Has anyone attempted a downgrade/refund on a 5-night package? Have a 5 night, cat 8. Wonder if that’ll be 30k as well or trigger some further negative impact considering I was able to get the package without having a vacation club membership, :-\ hmm.

Frank O’Sullivan

Just got off the phones thiis Supervisor states that none of this is true she supposedly contacted a group at Marriott Corporate and this is what she was told , I was trying to do the same with his Catergory 8 certificate.

Timothy

I had attached a Category 6 certificate to a reservation prior to the merger. I requested a downgrade two days ago and got this reply just now indicating that “Unfortunately, we have encountered some further systems issues that are not allowing us to currently process the requests to downgrade a travel package certificate…We are asking guests to allow 5 to 10 business days, and to resubmit their requests at a later date.”

tony

They have serious management & communication issues, not “system issues”. Few folks were able to order the new TP cert and got points adjusted manually.

Christopher Russell

Thanks for the update, I’m glad it’s not just me having issues with the downgrade as last night I sent a message to Marriott using the “Package-Deal” category to get the downgrade since I had purchased a category 8 package. Today, I received a response back saying that they are not downgrading to a Category 7 unless you had previously attached your package to a hotel reservation prior to this change. I then called the platinum line today and was told the same thing, that although I purchased a category 8 I was not eligible is downgraded to a 7 because I had not attached it prior to the blackout date.

fll

Attached certs are NOT working. suggest you visit the Travel Package thread on FT to see the DPs on the fiasco that even the supervisors were unable to do anything, especially when it was screwed up due to the hardcoding of the system that would not allow the legacy certs to detach from the hotel booking without automatically canceled it!

Unattached certs MIGHT work to book –

first have the supervisor converts the legacy cert to the new cert (cancel legacy certs and request new certs with the same pts that were refunded)

Once the new certs are issued, then the certs can be used to attach to a booking.

I was able to have a legacy Partial Cat 6 converted to a current new Partial 1-4 with 75K value. I may try to surrender it because the way Marriott still tries to spin this and the current chaos really completely destroy the last faith on Marriott.

It has become clearer and clearer to me that the one month lock down is for Marriott to MANUALLY convert the existing unattached legacy certs to the new certs which the system has already programmed to take it but would REJECT the legacy certs.
Marriott did not anticipate the anger the members who are shorted (Duh!)
In the same thread you would find a poster posted the original FAQs that would have released on August 20th but hadn’t after the uproars everywhere on the net including some very negative postings on Social Media platforms.
Instead Marriott did some Ad Hoc damage control release to placate members about the refunds and the ability to book.
In all reality, NONE of the latest company lines have been communicated to the troops / rank and files folks who actually do the jobs. That is why we are receiving this crazy responses because the reps are NOT being informed.
System definitely is NOT equipped to do what Marriott said the legacy certs can be used now without the block out month
Complete BS.,
First it is fleecing customers at its worst.
Second it is damage control spin also at its worst.
totally pathetic.

Sam

They have no clue what they are doing. I asked them to cancel my Tier 3 for points refund and I got a similar response as Christopher. This online request is getting a standard response.

Intero

Greg, my experience today talking to a Marriott CSR supervisor leads me to think that more positive outcomes may be ahead. I also called with the intention of requesting a 30,000 refund for my Tier 1-3 legacy certificate in exchange for a current program category 6 certificate. I was transferred to a Platinum supervisor because the initial CSR was unable to process the refund and exchange. While talking to the supervisor, she said that over the next month they will be automatically exchanging all Tier 1-3 legacy certificates into new program category 6 certificate. Once that exchange is complete, she said that the exchanged certificate can be upgraded to a current program category 7 certificate for a cost of 60,000 points. This is the current price difference between a category 6 and category 7. She also was unable to process the exchange, but I left the call thinking that waiting for a few more weeks before doing anything may work out better.

skeptic

Is your cert never has any modification in the past, i.e. extension / downgrade / upgrade etc that change the nature to show as a Partial cert?

Partial cert can be readily exchanged as early as Sunday. Refund is not processed from the exchange, but goodwill or bonus is issued – the description depends on how the supervisor processed / coded it.

My friend had 30K “bonus” issued on her old Cat 6 cert which is a “full cert” i.e. has not been touched since issuance a few weeks ago and it remains intact.

My partial Cat 6 cert (extended in March and then upgraded in June attached to a reservation a few weeks before the new award charts become available, then detached 3 days before the merger per the advice from several Plat agents due to hotel went down in category to 25K), was manually converted to the new Partial 1-4 cert by way of cancelling and repurchasing the new Partial cert, with 75K attached. Also got 30K but is coded as Goodwill versus my friend’s coded as bonus.

Steven

DENIED BY MARRIOTT. I RECEIVED THE BELOW EMAIL AFTER TRYING TO GET A PARTIAL REFUND OF 30K POINTS FOR BOOKING A CATEGORY 8 PACKAGE!!!

Thank you for contacting Marriott Customer Care regarding your travel package details.

After further reviewing your account, I see that your certificate is not attached to your reservation. Any certificates that were not attached prior to August 17, 2018 will not be honored. There will be no adjustment of points for the category changes, and you will need to book at the points rate for the new category. There will be a month long black out period ending mid September, where you will be unable to access your certificates. Once access to use them are restored, guests will have the ability to book reservations through http://www.marriott.com.

We appreciate your patience during this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.
Safe travels,

Jeffrey Robinson
Marriott Customer Care

5150d

“HOSED” love it. You guys crack me up! Appreciate your help.

Owen

I emailed Marriott last night, and they responded today that they were unable to do anything prior to September 18. No adjustments to my Tier 1-3 travel package yet…

FliesALot

Diabolical? LOL I love how people think they are entitled to rewards points. Most of the programs, buried in their fine print, say that they can be canceled at anytime.

Sayeed

What about those that had already made a reservation? Can they get 30k points back?

AlexL

For unattached certificate

Tigris23

@ Greg, is there a deadline to trade these 7 night certs into the 45k pts? Eg. One of my 7 night cert. expires in 12/2018–would this also be the deadline to trade for points? Thanks!

TomC

One or the main blogs should fact check Mr. Flueck in this video he did with TPG about the combined Marriott / SPG loyalty plan. I stopped counting lies about 10 minutes in.

https://youtu.be/dWfgPgiWlqU

Jessica

Same question as some others. Have a category 9 currently attached to what is now a cat 7. Has Marriott said how they will handle date changes for current reservations, etc?

Julia

I still don’t see this working for me. I have a Cat 6 which I want to attach to a now Cat 5. Does this mean I can ask for 30k points back and get a Cat 5 or does it mean I can get 30k back but get a Cat 4?

AlexL

You will get 30k back and get a Cat 4. However, you will not have 30k back and left with a Cat 4 three days ago.

Julia

Cust services have said I will get a Cat 5 and 30,000 points back. I asked her supervisor to confirm this and she did.

However I spoke to another customer service person who confirmed what you said.

I have again spoke to Marriott customer service who have said I won’t get points back, I will get points back, I can’t book SPG properties, I can book SPG properties, I can’t attach TP certs, I can attach TP certs. Basically you can’t rely on anyone at Marriott anymore 🙂

Gold

Emailing didn’t work. Got this back.

“Please know that in order to change this if we are able at this time you will have to contact the reservations team directly as that request is not handled by this department or via email.”

DaveC

I called Rewards to see if I can change the date on my reservation at Poipu. I booked it with my cat 8 cert a week ago, but now it’s a cat 6 and my cert will drop to a 5 if I attempt to reschedule. So I’m stuck with this date if want to stay there.

Darlene

IMHO I think that Marriott should be called to task for not allowing upgrades on the certificates like in the past. They refused to just explain upfront what we would be getting, and many people spend hours trying to analyze and guess what the mapping might be, This was patently wrong of Marriott unless they had intended to be generous. We should be all grandfathered in to the old rules, allowing upgrades. It seems like the bloggers have to cry out for justice in order to get anything done. Can you please speak up for us. It seemed like your blog pointing out the 30,000 point discrepancy got some action. Now let’s ask for the rest of what is needed to get close to making us whole.

Lucy

This is good news and definitely a step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t make everyone whole. There was a lot of misinformation provided by Marriott reps in the days leading up to the merger and many people bought travel packages in a particular category based on that misinformation. If Marriott had released the mapping before merger day, as it should have, it would have allowed folks to make informed decisions about which package to purchase (or whether to upgrade existing packages before the merger). Marriott acted in bad faith by not releasing the mapping in advance. It should now do the right thing by allowing folks with old travel packages an opportunity for a one-time upgrade at old package prices.

Jan

When will we see the converted travel package in our account? Also , can the package be used by someone one else such as a friend? If so, how do you book this?

Charlie

Like yourself I attached my Cat 9 certificate to Domes Of Elounda which is now a Cat 7 and soon to be Cat 8. Is there any info on what is allowed as far as changing the reservation to another Cat 7 or 8. Sorry if I missed it

TheBigEasyTraveler

Charlie, same boat here. Following.

Ryan

Me too. Would love some details on how changes will be handled.

Josh

Let us know if you change it 🙂

Mary Jane

Hi Greg, this is great news. Would you happen to be familiar with the following situation: I made a reservation with starwood points at the Westin Pazhou (7 nights/60,000 points) and want to cancel it. If I cancel it, do you happen to know if I will get back 180,000 points since starwood points were valued at 1 to 1 but now everything is 1 to 3? Any info would be appreciated from anyone.

HoKo

Greg, in the new program do you know whether or not I’d be allowed to book a stay for a date that occurs after my current certificate expires? I.e. my expiration date is March and I’d like to book a stay for May. (I already extended my expiration by 1 year once, not sure if that matters)

Jeff

Greg, I thought I read somewhere already not to ask for the refund of the 30k yet if you have one of the impacted certificates and to wait a while, as they will reissue the certificate and thus extend the 1 year…if you do it now, you may not be able to extend close to a year from now if you do this now….thoughts on that?

craig

so the question is do you think they might eventually allow a one level up upgrade if we wait a few more days because I am guessing once you accept the 30k points back there is no chance of it than.

Tony Huynh

I like your last paragraph : ” I’m thrilled that Marriott is allowing the one time downgrade of packages for certain certificate holders, but why not go one step further and allow one-level upgrades? Just as we can request 30K back to downgrade, why not allow us to offer 30K more to upgrade to the package we really need?”. Hope Marriott will come through clean one more time.

Nathan

So yes, I have my verte attached to a New Cat 5 (35k). So really I shouldn’t even have to detach. I could of course detach and then request because Marriott allows you to keep an award reservation with or without the points (cert).

P-nope

I didn’t think they would do this even though they should, so I’m glad that they have.

frugalman

As of now (9pm EST, 8/20/18), I still can’t book a SPG hotel with either points or my FN certificates. I did read someone managed to do so (e.g. St. Regis Maldives) but those data points were rare and not comparable to the majority failed cases as well as my own experience. Before typing this comments, I did one more call to SPG (888-625-4988). Still no dice. I am also told there is no way to hold a reservation (book without certificates in the account), though Marriott allows that.

frugalman

Update: just booked a St. Regis hotel (Cat 7) at 60K/night via app. PC website is still no go, citing that they can’t recognize my “SPG” number during the check out. Still prefer to book using my FN certificate. Will call later to see if I can replace that. But it is a progress anyway.

Nathan

So I bought 2 Cat 8s and attached them to hotels pre8/18. I can request 30K refund. Do I need to do anything like remove it from the hotel first?

Ivan Y

Would also like to know an answer to this question. Marriott could have made it so much easier by allowing upgrades to certificates.