Update: Marriott Takes the Sting Out of Their Travel Package Conversion & Ends the Blackout Period Early!

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Update:  Marriott Takes the Sting Out of Their Travel Package Conversion & Ends the Blackout Period Early!

JasonUpdate:  Marriott Takes the Sting Out of Their Travel Package Conversion & Ends the Blackout Period Early!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Earlier today we gave y’all a round-up of the Marriott-Starwood changes that happened over the weekend.  But things have been changing as fast as we can post them and we just received word from Marriott of some positive changes they’ve made.

First, the expected month-long blackout period for existing Travel Package hotel certificates is ending today!  And secondly, depending on which Travel Package you purchased before the merger, you might be eligible to get some points back!

Kudos to Marriott for Listening to Feedback and Making a Generous Move!

Marriott Offers One-Time Exchange for Certain Travel Packages

If you purchased a Category 6, Category 8, or Tier 1 to 3 Travel Package before August 18, 2018, you are eligible to request a one-time exchange for a package one category lower.  To submit a request, click here and select “Packages – Deals” from the drop-down menu.  And then request a 1-Category downgrade.  You should be able to downgrade your certificate up until it expires.

This is excellent news because folks who had purchased those Travel Packages ended up with the same category hotel certificates as others who paid less!  But now you’ll be able to get a 30,000 Marriott-point refund while not losing any value for your hotel certificate.  This is an unexpectedly generous move by Marriott.

When you make the downgrade you will be issued a new hotel certificate with a new expiration date.  So not only will you get a nice refund, but you’ll be able to extend the life of your certificate at the same time!

Marriott Ends the Blackout for Existing Hotel Certificates Early

A representative from Marriott has confirmed that while the blackout (i.e. no using, canceling, or changing) for existing Travel Package hotel certificates was expected to last a month, it will be ending effective today.

This is an extreme case of under promising and over delivering!

Be Sure to Combine Your Accounts

Marriott is in the process of rolling out the ability to combine your Starwood & Marriott accounts.  Once the option is enabled for your account, you’ll see a prompt when you log in that will allow you to combine your Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood accounts.  This will also combine your nights and points earned.

You will need to go through the steps to combine your account.  This will not be done automatically, even if your accounts are already linked!

Marriott is still working through some hiccups with the transition, particularly with your elite status not displaying correctly.  But this should be worked out in the next few days.

Bottom Line

We originally thought that folks who purchased Category 6, Category 8 and Tier 1 to 3 Travel Packages before August 18th were getting the short end of the stick.  But Marriott is giving these folks the opportunity to trade down a category lower and get some of the difference in cost refunded!  Plus, the expected month-long blackout on using or changing existing Travel Package hotel certificates has ended.

That said, they are still working through some technical issues.  And you should also soon have the ability to combine your Marriott and Starwood accounts.  You’ll need to log into your account to do this because it won’t happen automatically, even if your accounts are already linked.

It’s always good to hear when a company listens to feedback and adjusts course quickly.  So kudos to Marriott for doing the right thing and surprising us all!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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

Hi there. Support is saying that what you are publishing is patently false. They are saying the blackout is still in process, and that no packages can be downgraded.


I’ll reach out and see what’s going on. It looks like the call center isn’t on the same page.

Thank you. I have it in writing from an agent in support as well, Arie M., and she’s saying the same.


Ashleigh, I received a direct email from a Marriott PR representative and also had a lengthy phone call with him. Have you tried calling and talking to a different phone agent?

I submitted a request via their webpage as suggested, and they came back to me this morning, only 12 hours later, saying it cannot be done through that department or via email. And I had to contact reservations directly. Not sure if that is the same response you received, but might be helpful for others to know.

Since it is now very hard to find a hotel accepting awards or with 7 nights, is there any word on extensions? I have not seen this subject discussed on the actual merger date


The official policy is you cannot extend the expiration date. But they have made exceptions in the past. If you can’t use your certificate before it expires you can also call and get a partial points refund, which varies depending on what category your certificate is in.

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)