The Marriott Travel Package - When Should I Book?

The Marriott Travel Package - When Should I Book?

Now that we have covered off the new Marriott Rewards Chart and when/what to book, we take a look at the new Marriott Travel Packages and what they represent to Marriott Reward Members.

Previously, the Marriott Travel Package represented incredible value, especially during the Marriott/SPG transition period where SPG Points transferred to Marriott Points at a 1:3 ratio.  Jayce covered off these packages extensively but long story short, you essentially got a free 7-night hotel stay when you transferred your Marriott points to an airline program you needed points in anyways.

Now that Marriott has announced that they will be revamping the program, it deserves a second look to determine if you should load up on Travel Packages before August 1st or if you should wait.

What’s Changed?

In short – a lot.

First off, in the old program (I’m going to call everything pre-August 2018 the “old program”), there were 4 different packages based on what airline you wanted to transfer your point to.  You would first need to determine the airline points you needed, look for it in the small print and then determine how many Marriott Points you required in order to initiate the transfer.

With the new program, there is only one award chart for every airline that participates.

Additions and Subtractions

In order to properly compare the old and the new packages, we first need to see what has changed in terms of the airline transfer partners.  If you don’t look at the packages closely, you might miss out on a couple of interesting tidbits.

Effective August 1, 2019, the following airlines will no longer be redeemable for the Travel Package: GOL and JetBlue

Effective August 1, 2019, the following airlines will allow for points transfers through the Travel Package: Aegean, China Southern, Hainan, Thai, Virgin Australia

All in all, the airlines that we are losing as transfer partners are fairly insignificant while the additions are pretty good … but at what cost?

The Maths

In order to do an apples to apples comparison of the old and new packages, we need to try to control for some variables.  In order to do that, we must make some concessions and assumptions, namely:

  1. The old Category 1-5 is equivalent to the new Category 1-4
  2. We will assume the hotel stay certificate holds no value for the purposes of this calculation
  3. The subtraction of GOL and JetBlue and the addition of Aegean, China Southern, Hainan, Thai and Virgin Australia have no bearing in the comparison

Based on this, I have calculated the cost of an airline point in Marriott Reward Points for the old program and the new program.

As you can see, the new Marriott Travel Packages only outperforms the old Package 4.  The interesting thing is that Package 4 was for JetBlue, an airline that isn’t part of the new Travel Package anyways.

If we eliminate the old Package 4, we can see that in no instance does the new Travel Package represent a better deal.

Conclusion

If you ever had an eye on the Marriott Travel Package, I would encourage you to get into one prior to August 1, 2018 as the new program represents poor value.  That being said, if you were looking to redeem for the airlines in the old Package 2, you aren’t that much further behind, though it will certainly cost you a little bit more.

If you are close to being able to redeem for the old Travel Package and need some points in order to do so, I would encourage you to purchase SPG points as you can currently get a 35% bonus on points purchase through July 20th.  Click the banner below for details.

10 Comments
  1. Thanks Brian for those infos. Even the points for United have increase (3).

  2. Hi Brian, thanks for the analysis. I don’t think anyone refutes the advice to buy before these packages become more expensive. What I am worried about is what happens to your 7 night certificate after August if it’s unused. I’ve heard a few different scenarios. Thanks.

    1. Hey Russ,

      Im curious as well but I’ve made multiple calls to Marriott to try to get answers and they simply don’t know yet. Everything you’re hearing is speculation so while I have some concerns, based on how fair Marriott has been throughout this transitions, I expect that they do the same in honoring these certificates.

      What I’m more interested in is what happens if you redeem and then cancel?

  3. One would think that with only 3 weeks left that Marriott would have announced what they plan to do with floating certificates. Currently they’ll allow you to exchange 7-day certificates for 45K Marriott points– obviously not a great value. It seems as though initially Marriott announced they’d exchange old certificates for Marriott points, then they said the exchange would be for new certificates, and then they changed their story yet again to say they haven’t decided and might not until it’s too late to make a choice. To me this suggests they they actually do know what they are planning to do but simply don’t want to tell us. My hope would be that they will exchange floaters for the equivalent point value of the floater (then they could say that they made everyone whole) but they certainly don’t want everyone redeeming for package at this time, especially under this rosy scenario. Offering new certificates or points that are worth far less than the value of a 7-night stay would seem far more likely. Still, as my primary goal was to get as many AK miles as possible all along, I decided to cash out my Starpoints for floaters, bank a lot of AK miles and cross my fingers hoping I’ll get a bunch more.

  4. Two certificate-related questions:
    (1) Do we know what will happen to unredeemed one-night certificates (Marriott Visa’s going away gift) after August?
    (3) For both kinds of certificates, once used to
    book a hotel, if you later call to change the dates (not cancel) is there normally a problem?

  5. Any idea if Amex Platinum or Gold card will have an option to transfer to Marriott points and at what rate? It was possible to transfer to SPG at 2:1 rate, but with SPG coming to an end, having option to transfer Amex points to Marriott would be nice…

  6. My conundrum… what airline points do I want?

    I’m on the West Coast, so I suppose Alaskan Airline points are the best bet, especially with Aeroplan being not that useful from 2020. I’ve got 28k Alaskan Airline points now… What should I do with 150,000 AK points, living in Vancouver. Hmmm…

  7. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for all the super useful info. Have a quick question – I am looking to redeem a Marriott travel package and wondering which category to redeem for. My options:
    1) I have enough points for 120,000 miles + a 7 nights Cat 7 hotel certificate.
    2) OR I can transfer around 16,000 MR to SPG and then to Marriott to reach the points requirement for a 120,000 miles + 7 nights at Cat 8 hotel certificate too.
    3) OR I get 120,000 miles + 7 nights at Cat 1-5 hotel.

    Personally, I don’t have an immediate redemption in mind and would like to wait before applying the certificate. Or I could apply now towards a hotel in Hawaii or something for next year and then plan around it. I know there is no clarity on what would happen to the hotel certificate post Aug 1st, but I’ve read that the best value now is to go for the higher category certificates like cat 7,8,9.

    Any suggestions on which category package will be the best redemption? Either if I want to apply the ceritificate now and plan something around it, or take a wait and watch gamble.

    Appreciate the help and input.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Roshan,

      While we don’t know if the new program will follow the same rules as what they have done in the past, i would expect that they will allow for upgrades of certificates like they do now. Based on that assumption, I would go for a Category 1-5 certificate and upgrade as needed.

      1. Hey Brian,

        That is what I thought too at first. However, because of increased number of points needed in the new travel packages, I thought the point requirement to go to a higher category would increase significantly right? Currently the point difference is 30,000 between the different categories. Post Aug 1st, to upgrade to a higher category cert (like from cat 1-4 to 5) would cost 60,000 points, so much higher. I highly doubt that they will allow us to upgrade to higher category based on old points package. Thoughts?

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