It’s been almost two weeks since Marriott announced their program changes that will take effect on Aug 1, 2018. One of the uncertainties that still looms amongst us is the transfer ratio of American Express Membership Rewards to the new Marriott Rewards program, assuming there will be one after the Amex MR transfer option to SPG ends.
Personally I’m content with the current 2 Amex MR to 1 SPG transfer ratio, which is effectively 2 Amex MR to 3 Marriott Rewards points. I’m not confident the new ratio will be on par or better so I have been moving enough Amex MR to SPG for a couple more Marriott Flight and Hotel travel package redemptions which includes a 7 night hotel certificate.
I have also recently confirmed a couple of these 7 night hotel certificates and I have a pro tip to help you redeem yours.
Marriott 7 Night Certificates
If you haven’t tried already, redeeming the Marriott 7 Night Certificate can be quite difficult, especially at popular resorts where rooms and award redemptions are generally high in demand.
In order to redeem the certificate, the 7 nights must be consecutive which means the nights cannot be split into multiple stays. Even if you only plan on staying 5 out of 7 nights, the room must be bookable on points for all 7 nights to apply the certificate.
Luckily for us, I’ve found Marriott relatively consistent in releasing award space for the nights the hotel has basic and/or deluxe rooms available to book on cash. I can’t imagine the difficulty of redeeming a 7 night certificate at a popular resort with a hotel chain like Hyatt where award nights are easily blocked out for months.
Despite Marriott being relatively generous with award space, you may still encounter limited award availability if you are like me who plans no further than a few months ahead. So when you don’t find availability at first, be sure to use this pro tip that has worked for me.
Searching for Availability
For this post we’ll use the Marriott Maui – Wailea Beach Resort (Category 8) as our target hotel to redeem the 7 night certificate. We’ll look for availability in early June with a preference to reserve for specific dates June 4-11.
As we fill out the search criteria, Marriott has a handy Flexible dates selection where you can search by month and select how many nights for your stay. Just click “Flexible dates” when you are selecting dates and then set the search to “7 nights” before clicking “Find Hotels”.
Here are the extremely limited results for a 7 night redemption at the Marriott Maui. We want to reserve for early June but the only available option is June 22-29. This shouldn’t be too surprising as we are searching dates that are less than two months out and during peak season.
Now before you move to another property, let’s run the “Flexible dates” search again but this time with “1 night”.
Here you see there are actually plenty of award nights available in early June but there are no more than 5 nights available in a row. You would not see this if you strictly searched once for 7 nights.
Our target stay date is June 4-11 and by searching the calendar by “1 night”, we see that we are only one award night away (June 6) before we can redeem the 7 night stay. Reservation cancellations happen everyday so there is a high possibility June 6 will become available when you check back on another day.
But then on the day that June 6 night becomes available on points, you cannot guarantee the other days between June 4-11 will still be available … or can you?
The answer is yes you can, and here’s the tip.
Pro tip Step 1: Book first the nights that are available
Before you wait for June 6 (1 night) to become available on points, hold the reservation for June 4-6 (2 nights) and June 7-11 (4 nights). Remember you do not need the points at the time of booking to hold a Marriott reservation.
Pro tip Step 2: Wait to book the missing night(s), then merge reservations
Now you wait for the missing night(s) to become available with points. Depending on how far out the reservation is, you should check monthly, weekly or daily if you’re less than two weeks from the reservation date.
If you see the missing night(s) become available, reserve it asap. Then call Marriott Rewards and ask the representative to merge your reservations to complete the 7 night stay and apply your certificate. If your certificate is not the same category level as the hotel, make sure you upgrade the certificate before you request it to be applied to the reservation.
**EDIT** Additional Tips
You can attempt to call the hotel and ask if they would be able to open award availability for the specific missing night(s). Ask to speak with the in-house reservations team and mention you have existing reservations you’d like to merge but are currently split by the missing night(s). Having existing reservation numbers will shows you are keen to book if they are willing to provide the space. If applicable, you should also mention your Elite status which should help your odds for success.
If calling the hotel does not work or you don’t prefer to just wait for availability to show up, you can set availability alerts with Hotel Hustle by Wandering Aramean. You can set 5 active alerts with a free account.
The two times I have used this technique, the missing night(s) became available at a later date and I was able to secure a 7 night redemption. However, remember the tip doesn’t guarantee you the missing night(s) will become available, but it sets you up to guarantee a 7 night stay when the missing night(s) become available. Hope this helps!