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.
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.)