What ACTUALLY happens to your Marriott Travel Package following the SPG merger

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

As I write this, the new Marriott and Starwood websites are still unavailable as the huge task of combining the two databases continues.  If we’re lucky it will be up and running when you read this, but then think of TSB ….

At 7.15pm last night, Marriott Rewards finally disclosed via a Flyertalk post what will happen to Travel Packages which have been bought but not redeemed.

Marriott Travel Packages category changes

They will be mapped across like this.

For bookings made before January:

  • Cat 1-5 can book a new Cat 1-4
  • Cat 6 can book a new Cat 1-4
  • Cat 7 can book a new Cat 5
  • Cat 8 can book a new Cat 5
  • Cat 9 can book a new Cat 6
  • Tier 1-3 can book a new Cat 6
  • Tier 4-5 can book a new Cat 7

For bookings made after peak and off-peak pricing is launched in January, this is how I interpret the Flyertalk post (but it can be read other ways, see the comments below):

  • Cat 1-5 can book anything up to 30,000 points
  • Cat 6 can book anything up to 30,000 points
  • Cat 7 can book anything up to 40,000 points
  • Cat 8 can book anything up to 40,000 points
  • Cat 9 can book anything up to 60,000 points
  • Tier 1-3 can book anything up to 60,000 points
  • Tier 4-5 can book anything up to 70,000 points

Let’s be clear about one thing.  No-one loses in the long term here.  In each case, you can book an equivalent or higher value property than you could previously book.  For example, at present a Cat 9 is a 45,000 point hotel and you can book anything up to 60,000 points from January. (Between now and January, some people are worse off because Marriott has postponed the launch of peak pricing.)

Some people have clearly spent more than necessary.  Anyone who has a Category 6, Category 8 or Tier 1-3 Travel Package could have bought a cheaper package one level lower and still been able to book the same hotels.

It is also worth noting that, because of the caps, from January it doesn’t matter what certificate you currently hold – no-one can book a standard or peak date Cat 8 hotel.  Both of these are more than 70,000 points.  You could get a Cat 8 on an off-peak date which would be 70,000 points.  Check out the new reward chart:

I am surprised that Marriott did this.  Clearly some of its higher value members will now feel a little annoyed, even though they are no worse off.  That’s human nature.

If, in the last few days, you upgraded a Cat 1-5 to a Cat 6, or a Cat 7 to a Cat 8, or a Cat 9 to a Tier 1-3, I would certainly be sending Marriott a note to ask for a refund given that you have literally wasted those points.

The real question is why Marriott Rewards could not have released this information earlier, as it is now too late.  This is especially true given that you can no longer upgrade any certificate you currently have in the bank.

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

Lufthansa and SWISS 241 deals in Business Class and First Class, bookable to 3rd September
'Frequent Flyer - The Video' - why we do what we do

Click here to join the 15,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
AMEX Gold 20,000 bonus points
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Christian says:

    The reason that the packages are bad but not even worse is that Marriott already devalued many hotels.

  2. Belfast Biscuit says:

    Rob, surely Marriot should have contacted people with travel packages and given them time to make a decision before removing the option to upgrade? Isn’t this open to someone taking some sort of legal action for this circumstance? Normally I’d expect a minimum of 30 days before a major change takes place.

    • I agree, this was very badly handled. Everyone thought they were keeping it quiet because it would be generous and they didn’t want people piling in. It is a stupid thing to do on literally Day 1 of the new scheme.

    • New Card says:

      I agree and I really don’t see how changing such a fundamental term of the certificate post-purchase can be legal (at least in the UK, where consumer rights legislation has some teeth).

      • Belfast Biscuit says:

        Is there anyone here willing to test this out – even sounding out Marriott?

        Or perhaps a better way is for Rob to feedback directly to Marriott and see what they say?

        • has anyone actually called marriott yet and complained? if so what was their response?

        • At this stage we just have a flyertalk post to go off AFAIK. There’s really no point in doing anything until there is an official announcement incl confirmation that upgrades/downgrades are a thing of the past.
          They are locked out until late September anyway so probably best to let the dust settle before considering where holders stand.

  3. Belfast Biscuit says:

    Would make a great article Rob!

  4. Ref SPG cards. Others here have commented on bonus points not tripling up, personally I’m on a double points for 3 months offer which is now generating 4 new scheme points per pound which technically should be 6 points per pound. Any word from amex on this in terms of what’s going on?

    • Looks like I have lost my brief platinum status from yesterday. All my points have merged over now on that account and gone to gold….

      My wife still has two accounts, the SPG one has tripled but hasn’t merged with the other account. They still have two different balances. Her one was never platinum though, still all gold.

      • I have both accounts as platinum, however the SPG points have not tripled automatically?

    • I’m in the same boat… was sold a retention offer as ‘Double points for 3 months’

      But only being given 1 additional point per £

      AMEX Chat and Call centre are telling me 1 extra point is the offer, not double points…..
      I just can’t get them to understand.

      • Interesting. It’s actually in writing on mine as “1 additional starpoint” hopefully they’ll recognise a starpoint isn’t a new scheme point.

  5. at least the Amex conversion rate is confirmed as 2 amex points to 3 marriott no sudden shocks there. Not taking anything for granted atm.

  6. rachael says:

    Well…every agent a diiferent story. Today it was confirmed the booking I made before the merger will be honored at the old rate. They advised they can’t change my booking to the old rate but will in a few weeks time due to IT problems. I have taken the name of the agent I spoke to. She also said there will be no more 5 night packages, Rob do you know anything different ?

  7. Given how long they’ve had to prepare for this, it’s a bit of a shambles both in terms of information and what’s going on the with IT. They should have tripled up the starpoints long ago imho as it seems to have caused all sorts having 2 different value currencies on the day of the new scheme. At least if they’d have solved that long ago it would be one less thing to worry about.

  8. Wongster says:

    Hi folks,

    Does anyone know how long your current Marriott status will last and be reset? I heard it’ll only be until 31 Jan 2019, is that true?


  9. RIccatti says:

    The issue for me is that on SPG account update — all my night counts got SCRAMBLED.

    I had personal Double Nights Credit promotion from Starwood, and that was erased as the system reformatted the data back to 1 night credit for night instead of double credit.

    I also had Lifetime Night count changed (separate issue from above) and no idea how the new number came about.

    Still have two accounts — if I login with email, I end up with SPG reservations, if I login with new number, I end up with Marriott reservations. Point balances not combined.

    • It literally beggars belief that they couldn’t get all this done in the background by creating a 3rd pseudo account prior to going live with combined scheme totals tracking the 2 online schemes. It should have been easy to cross check total nights/points/rewards/certs on this account against the respective SPG/Marriott to ensure accuracy then go live by replacing both with the combined one overnight.

  10. Latest update (so far only released via OMAAT!) is that you can now make bookings using Travel Packages (no one month hiatus) and 30k compensation for those losing out (eg old cat 6) will be provided, with 45k if cancelled as before. No ability to upgrade from what they’ve said.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.