For the past few months, Marriott has been very hush-hush when it comes to how they would handle existing Marriott Travel Package Hotel Certificates. The most common package that most people purchased was the 7-Night Stay Certificate good for a Category 1-5 Hotel + 120,000 Airline Miles/Points.
There were also many people that purchased higher category certificates, hoping they would guess right on how these certificates would transfer over. That strategy was always a bit of gamble because the old Marriott program had 14 different levels (Category 1-9 and Tiers 1-5) with the new program only having 8 Categories (no Tiers in the new program). With Marriott being very tight-lipped about how these certificates would transfer over, many took the plunge and hoped for the best.
On Saturday, Marriott revealed the new mapping.
Pitchforks and Class Action Lawsuits
When people heard about how these categories mapped, there was a small but very vocal and very angry crowd of people that were up in arms about the fact that they purchased higher category certificates for no reason. The real losers in the whole thing were people that purchased Category 6, Category 8 and Tier 1-3 Certificates. The reason is that certificates in lower categories mapped to the same thing, meaning they paid more for certificates for no good reason.
I have been monitoring FlyerTalk forums, and other Social Media outlets and the general consensus is that Marriott deserved to be drawn and quartered. There were countless “internet tough” individuals that rage quit Marriott and tried to get others to join their class action lawsuit. It was as if their world crumbled around them and they wanted to take down Marriott with them. I didn’t quite feel as outraged, mostly because I only had Category 1-5 certificates that I fully expected would map to Category 1-4.
One particularly interesting sob story was of a couple that purchased 27 – yes 27 Category 6 Travel Packages!!!
Earlier today, Marriott reached out and provided an escape hatch to those that purchased a Category 6, Category 8, or a Tier 1-3 certificate. They have offered an opportunity to those affected with a roll-back to a lower category certificate which would include a 30,000 point refund.
So if you purchased an old Category 6 certificate, you could be rolled back to the old Category 1-5 certificate which would now be good for a Category 1-4 hotel and you would receive a 30,000 Marriott point refund.
If you wish to take advantage of this rollback and refund, simply go to the Marriott Contact Us Page and under the Pick a Topic drop-down, choose Packages and Deals.
The Good and the Bad
The good news is that those that felt wronged will receive a refund for the overage they paid. The bad news is that you can only roll back to a lower certificate, so if you purchased a Category 6 certificate, hoping it would be good for a Category 5 hotel, you would only be able to roll back to a Category 1-4 certificate and get a 30,000 point refund.
Marriott has made it clear that in the new program, you are not able to upgrade/downgrade your certificate to a different category so you better be sure what hotel you want to stay at. With the old program, you could buy up to a higher category hotel and receive a refund if you wanted to downgrade. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible.
A Full Refund
If you are completely disenfranchised by this whole thing, Marriott will allow you to refund the “land” (read: hotel) portion of this Travel Package. The points you would receive is listed in the chart at the top but the basic math is that you would receive 45,000 points for a basic 7-Night, Category 1-4 certificate and every category up from there would be the 45,000 points plus the additional points it would have required to upgrade.
Many people are upset that Marriott failed to disclose what it would be doing with these Travel Package and while I can understand the sentiment, I also understand Marriott’s point of view in all of this. Had they disclosed the information beforehand, there would have been a run on Travel Package, which could have potentially devalue the certificates. Much like inflation, if there are too many certificates out there, there is the potential that you could run out of availability to use these certificates, thereby devaluing the certificate.
I give credit to Marriott for seeing the damage that this could have caused some members and with coming up with a solution to alleviate some of the pain. Hopefully, it will be smoother sailing from here on out.