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If you’ve got a Marriott Travel Package, or if you plan to order one soon, here’s a twist in the Marriott-Starwood plot.
Between August 18 and September 18, 2018, you can’t touch your hotel certificate. If you’ve already used it for an upcoming reservation, you won’t be able to modify it between those dates. And if you haven’t booked a hotel with it before August 18, 2018, you’ll have to wait until September 18, 2018, to redeem it.
That rule has a couple implications. I’ll explain!
Questions About the Future of Marriott Hotel + Air Package
Marriott and Starwood officially fuse on August 18, 2018. There’s still a bit of conjecture about how the loyalty programs will mesh, with some of the biggest question marks surrounding Marriott Hotel + Air Packages.
With Marriott Hotel + Air Packages, you can redeem Marriott points for a 7-night stay at a Marriott hotel, plus a bunch of airline miles. The hotel category and number of airline miles you’ll receive varies depending on the amount of Marriott points you redeem.
The problem is these packages are based on the Marriott award chart which ends on August 18, 2018. And the new award chart is much different, and includes all Starwood hotels. So we don’t yet know how Marriott will convert old hotel certificates to the new chart.
Folks are theorizing that the 7-night hotel certificates will be crudely translated into similar categories under the new chart. Others are saying the certificates may be completely canceled, and you’ll receive back an equivalent number of Marriott points. Another theory is all packages will be converted into a category 1 to 4 hotel certificate, and if you bought a more expensive package, you’ll be refunded the difference in Marriott points.
But nobody actually KNOWS anything for certain.
What Can You Do With Your Marriott Hotel + Air Package?
Frequent Miler reports this message from Marriott:
[O]n August 18, our new Travel Package award chart…will go into effect and members will be able to book for packages at all 6,700 of our hotels.
However, if you currently have a Travel Package Certificate that’s not yet attached to a hotel reservation, you have the following options:
– If you know when you want to travel, make a new reservation or attach your certificate to an existing one prior to August 18, 2018.
– If you are still trying to plan that perfect trip, you can hold onto the certificate and will be able to add it to a reservation starting September 18, 2018.
Please note that you will not be able to modify your certificate for an existing reservation or attach it to a new one between August 18 and September 18, 2018.
So for an entire month, your can’t touch your Marriott 7-night hotel certificate.
Who Should Book Before August 18?
Folks Who Want to Book at the Current Prices
The current Marriott Hotel + Air Packages can be a great way to collect hard to earn miles with airlines like Alaska Airlines, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, or Asiana and get 7 free nights at the same time! But the prices are going way up on August 18, 2018. So if you want to take advantage of this deal, now is the time to do it.
Even though we don’t know what’s going on with the 7-night hotel certificates you earn before August 18, it could be worth the risk. Plus, after September 18, 2018, you’ll be able to use the certificates at Starwood hotels.
Folks Who Know Where They Want to Stay
If you already know how you want to use your Marriott Hotel + Air Package, I wouldn’t risk waiting to see how the packages translate under the new award chart. The hotel you’re eyeing may become more expensive than your travel package covers.
Additionally, if you don’t book now, you’ll have to wait until September 18, 2018, before you can use your package. Your available dates may be scooped up by then!
Folks Who Bought a Category 1 to 5 Hotel Package
It appears the worst that can happen is that folks who have bought packages higher than the cheapest option could be re-issued the lowest package, and given a refund in Marriott points for the difference. If you bought the cheapest option (currently category 1 to 5), I can’t see any way you could be penalized for canceling later.
So you can book a desirable hotel now. And if the new award chart brings a better hotel into your travel package options, just cancel and book that hotel instead.
Who Should Wait to Book?
Folks Who Want to Book a Starwood Hotel
You probably won’t be able to use your Marriott Hotel + Air Package to get those crazy oversized deals at Starwood we’ve talked about before. Those will sell out FAST. And they’re open for booking on August 18, 2018, a month before you can use your travel package hotel certificate to reserve them.
But if you’re not bothered, and you have your eye on a less-than-jaw-dropping Starwood hotel, you should wait.
There’s plenty of speculation about the future of Marriott Hotel + Air Packages at the moment. Because you only have until before August 18, 2018, to decide if you’re going to use them under the old award chart or the new!
Give us more reasons why folks should either book now or wait until later, and we’ll update the page with strategies!