Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why Marriott Travel Packages are getting worse – but we don’t know by how much

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Yesterday we looked at the changes to hotel award categories for the new combined Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest programme, starting in August.

In summary, it nets off.  Taken across all 7,000 hotels, the average number of points required for a free night remains virtually the same.  There is a slight rebasing towards the higher end, with lower end hotels going down and the rest more likely to be going up, but this is not across the board.

You can find out more in my article here.

The other major change revealed on Thursday was new pricing for Marriott Travel Packages.

You can see the details on the Marriott / SPG transition website here.

What is a Marriott Travel Package?

Historically Marriott Travel Packages have been the best way to redeem your Marriott Rewards points – with one caveat.   You need to be happy spending seven nights in the same hotel.  If you’re not the sort of person who would ever spend a week in a Marriott / SPG hotel then there is nothing to see here.

You are redeeming a large pile of points for seven nights of hotel credit (which must be booked in one block, at the same hotel, so availability issues may arise) and a chunk of airline miles.  You get the airline miles immediately but have a year to do the hotel stay.

The miles do not need to be redeemed for a flight linked to the hotel stay.  If you redeem for a low category package you can upgrade to a higher category package later by paying the extra points.

This is the new JW Marriott Maldives, opening in January and the sort of hotel where you might want to spend seven nights:

JW Marriott Maldives

How things are if you redeem TODAY:

At present, Travel Packages are quite complex.  There are three redemption charts (I am ignoring the one which is exclusive to United Airlines and is more generous than these two).  This is the one covering Avios and Virgin Flying Club:

Marriott Travel Packages chart

…. and this is the one covering other airlines.  The key ones for HfP readers are probably Miles & More, Flying Blue, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer:

Marriott Travel Packages chart

Here is the current redemption chart:

Marriott Rewards reward chart

You can do the maths easily to see why Travel Packages are a good deal.  However, remember that Marriott Rewards offers ‘five nights for four’ so you should multiple the figures above by six and not seven for comparison.

So …..

7 nights in a Category 9 hotel on its own = 45k x 6 = 270,000 points

As an Avios or Virgin Atlantic Travel Package:

7 nights in a Category 9 hotel PLUS 50,000 miles = 320,000 points

7 nights in a Category 9 hotel PLUS 120,000 miles = 390,000 points

Given that the cost of the hotel is fixed, you are getting 1 Avios or Virgin mile per additional Marriott Rewards point on top of the hotel price when you redeem.

It is a little less generous if you redeem for an airline scheme in the 2nd table, such as Lufthansa Miles and More.  You are getting 85,000 miles for the additional 120,000 Marriott Rewards points (1.4 points per mile) if you take the most expensive Category 9 package.

How things are if you redeem from August:

These are the two key charts.  As you can see, Travel Packages have been massively simplified:

There are no longer two airline charts.  All airlines transfer at the same rate.

There are no longer four mileage options.  It is reduced to 50,000 miles and 100,000 miles.

Marriott Travel Packages new chart 2018

You need to compare this with the new reward chart from August:

Marriott Rewards new redemption chart 2018

Let’s do the same maths but with a Category 8 hotel using ‘standard’ pricing:

So …..

7 nights in a Category 8 hotel on its own = 85k x 6 = 510,000 points

As a Travel Package:

7 nights in a Category 8 hotel PLUS 50,000 miles = 675,000 points

7 nights in a Category 8 hotel PLUS 100,000 miles = 750,000 points

Looking at the 50,000 mile package, you are spending an extra 165,000 points to get 50,000 miles.  This is terrible – the conversion rate is more than 3 Marriott points per mile.

The 100,000 miles package is a bit better but still far worse than you currently get.  You are spending 240,000 additional Marriott points to get 100,000 miles – so 2.4 points per mile.

Since I value a Marriott point at 0.5p, it makes little sense to buy a Travel Package to redeem on a ‘standard’ date.  You would be paying between 1.2p and 1.5p per mile.

However ….

What is NOT clear is whether the new Travel Package pricing allows you to redeem on ‘peak’ nights or not.  IF it does AND if you wanted to stay on a ‘peak’ night, the maths improves.  Back to our Category 8 example:

7 PEAK nights in a Category 8 hotel on its own = 100k x 6 = 600,000 points

As a Travel Package:

7 PEAK nights in a Category 8 hotel PLUS 50,000 miles = 675,000 points

7 PEAK nights in a Category 8 hotel PLUS 100,000 miles = 750,000 points

This is A LOT better.  For both packages, you are trading 1.5 Marriott points per mile for the additional payment.

This is STILL WORSE than you are getting today (1 point per mile) but I would consider it acceptable.  If I thought I would get 0.5p per Marriott point on a hotel redemption then I am ‘paying’ 0.75p per airline mile and I would happily do that.

You could actually be (almost) no worse off ….

It is even better if you are transferring to an airline scheme which was previously on Table 2 – Miles & More, Flying Blue, Emirates, Etihad, Krisflyer etc.

With a Travel Package today for Table 2, you are spending (assuming you take the 85,000 miles option) 120,000 extra Marriott points to get 85,000 airline miles.  This works out at 1.41 Marriott points per mile.

Using my peak date calculations above, you will be trading 1.5 Marriott points per mile going forward.  That is virtually the same as you get now.

If you redeem a Travel Package to use at a hotel on a Peak date (assuming this is possible) and you transfer to an airline currently in Table 2, you will see virtually no devaluation.  To be fair, this won’t apply to most HFP readers who would look to transfer to Avios or Virgin Atlantic who are in Table 1 where you will see a devaluation.

And before you ask ….

We do not know how existing Travel Packages will map across to the new reward chart.  If you buy a Category 7 package today, we don’t know if it will still be valid up to Category 7 after August.

It is VERY unlikely, given that a Cat 7 is 35,000 points today and will be 60,000 points from August, that direct 1:1 mapping will be allowed.


Travel Packages will not be as good value as they were from August.  This is clear.

However, it is not necessarily a disaster.  For a start, if we assume that we can use them on peak dates, the value looks better.  No hotels have yet published their peak dates, however, and they will vary by property.

More importantly, you can now redeem a Travel Package to stay at the ex-Starwood hotels – and, with no disrespect to Marriott, Starwood has far more hotels where you may actually want to spend seven nights in a row.  On that basis, this is a win since a new redemption option is now available to you.

You can find out more on the Marriott / SPG transition website here.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 Bonvoy points – and you get a free night voucher too! Apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 bonus points and a free night voucher – only until 30th May! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (88)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Rachael says:

    As I posted the other day..I think the costs have gone up substantially. Cat 7 Marriott vaction club in Marbella Oct half term or Summer will now cost me 200K more and I will receive 20K less miles for a travel package.

    • Mark2 says:

      It varies greatly. My booking in October in Boston is dropping from 40,000 to 35,000 so hope to save 40,000 when new rates available.

    • Rob says:

      Marriott Vacation Club is a bit separate though. Apart from Domes, only a handful of the 7000 hotels have gone up sharply and some of those are excusable eg the fully renovated St Regis Rome. The excellent Paris hotel I used this week has gone down.

      • Roger says:

        Both Marriott in Singapore have gone up from 40K per night to 50K per night.

        However you have Westin and W in Singapore at the same price. Pricing does not make any sense to me anymore.

      • Rachael says:

        Probably but look at the hotel you stayed in NY recently..Essex house. That is more now isn’t it? We were going to do 5 days there 2019 with a 5 day cert and hopefully we still will ???? I haven’t looked at Venice yet so who knows how shockingly expensive that will be !????

  • Tilly71 says:

    How are generally people finding using the amex platinum upgrade link from gold recently?
    Is everyone getting the bonus for spending 1k?

    • Andrew-a says:

      Yes my wife got it around 3 weeks ago

      • Rob MC says:

        Is that with the new gold credit card or the original charge card?

        • Andrew-a says:

          Original charge card

        • Simon says:

          Datapoint: the Gold CC supp card online application page (via your Amex account) is finally working after weeks of it not. Supp card for my missus approved and now arrived. NOTE: unlike old charge card, NO bonus MR points received for this and it was my first supp card on my (new-ish) Gold CC.

        • Alex W says:

          +1 I didn’t get any bonus MRs for the supp 🙁

      • Tilly71 says:

        Just to confirm, you didn’t receive an mex promotional email inviting you to upgrade to Platinum from the gold charge card, you just clicked on the link found from here and the web?

        • Andrew-a says:

          Yes, I copied and pasted one of the links on here and applied on behalf of my wife. It was around 6 weeks ago, then we hit the 1K spend and the 20k points posted after that. Going to refer me to get another 18k points then cancel.

        • Darren says:

          +1 from a charge card a couple of months ago, bonus posted no problem.

    • Tilly71 says:

      Gold charge card.

  • MrZ says:

    Rob what will happen to my Starwood Cat 4 Certificate in August? Will it be devalued or will I be able to use it for any of the NEW Cat 4 in Marriott/SPG?

    • New Card says:

      I’m sure I read this becomes redeemable for any hotel up to 25k points in the new program.

  • Robbie says:

    I haven’t waited. Light on Avios, so bought five day cat 9 travel package at 345k Marriott Rewards (I’m a timeshare owner), which brought 120k avios; plus booked five nights in European RC for half term. If the luxury European Starwoods come in at a decent price, I can cancel and rebook (I think/hope). But overall it’s a huge devaluation at top end properties – suspect this is my first and last travel package…

    • Rachael says:

      Same here I own 3 week in Marbella and will just have to go via Interval International just to swap. It has always worked and got peak weeks when I own off peak. So other than stand alone hotel stays no packages for me anymore.

  • RussellH says:

    OT:- BAEC

    I just found an additional 500 Avios in my a/c dated yesterday, labelled ‘Special Promotion’. I have no idea what ‘Special Promotion’ that might have been!
    Any ideas, anyone?
    Just curious!!

    • Mark says:

      I got 1000 no idea where from either.

      • BLT says:

        I got a special bonus 1000 Avios on my BAEC, it is now labelled as a bonus from ba shopping portal. Must have been a promotion previously.

  • Mike says:

    Slight OT: Does anyone know what will happen to Amex MR transfers to the new scheme?

    • FlyingChris says:

      +1 Haven’t seen what will happen to the conversion rate, or even if will be a MR partner. It’s currently 1:1.5 (via SPG). Could it be 1:2, or 1:1, stay the same or go away all together. Hopefully will know pre-August if need to convert or not.

    • Rob says:

      Presumably 2:3

      • Alex W says:

        Do you know for definite that MR transfers to Marriott new scheme will be possible?

        • Rob says:

          We would have heard if not, and we know SPG status remains a benefit.

  • Simon says:

    Question re new Travel Packages & A3: if I credited the 50,000 option to A3, would this get me over the 48k threshold for *A Gold? Thanks

    • Pangolin says:

      No. Those are AWARD miles. You only get Gold status via accruing STATUS miles (i.e from actual flying).

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for updating us on this. Do you think there will still be a 5 day travel package available?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.