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Bits: Marriott drops Travel Packages, BA / Avianca partnership coming?, 6250 Avios via pet insurance

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News in brief:

Marriott to scrap ‘Travel Package’ redemptions next week

It appears that Marriott Bonvoy is scrapping its ‘Travel Package’ redemptions next week. An update to the programme terms and conditions online, now removed, said that packages will not be offered after 19th January.

A ‘Travel Package’ allows you to redeem a large chunk of Marriott Bonvoy points for a seven night hotel stay plus either 50,000 or 100,000 airline miles.

Here is the price list, taken from the Marriott website here:

Importantly, there was no obligation to use the airline miles in conjunction with the hotel booking. The miles were dropped into your frequent flyer account and you could do whatever you wanted with them, whenever you wanted.

Back in the old days, before Marriott bought Starwood and the programme was called Marriott Rewards, ‘Travel Packages’ were – slam dunk – the sweet spot. The savings you could make over booking a seven night hotel stay and swapping points for 50,000 or 100,000 miles were significant. The only snag was that, pre the Starwood acquisition, Marriott didn’t really have many hotels where you would want to spend seven nights.

When Marriott Bonvoy launched, ‘Travel Packages’ were repriced and most of the value was removed. When peak and off-peak pricing launched, ‘Travel Packages’ staged a minor revival. Because the price was fixed irrespective of when you used it, there was some value if you redeemed it for seven ‘peak’ hotel nights.

Redeem off-peak, of course, and you were clearly out of the money. For example:

  • 7 nights in a Category 8 hotel off-peak (one night free) = 70,000 x 6 = 420,000 Bonvoy points
  • 100,000 Avios = 240,000 Bonvoy points
  • Total when purchased separately = 660,000 Bonvoy points

Alternatively:

  • Cost of a Category 8 travel package + 100,000 Avios = 750,000 Bonvoy points

This isn’t why Marriott Bonvoy is scrapping the packages, however. It is scrapping them because from March, Marriott Bonvoy will move to revenue-based redemptions, with no category charts. With no category charts, you can’t price travel packages.

It isn’t clear what will happen to anyone with an unused ‘Travel Package’. Marriott will, apparently, be making a formal announcement next week – it looks like it never intended to give advance notice of this change.

British Airways Avianca partnership

Is BA about to announce a partnership with Avianca?

It seems that British Airways may be gearing up to announce a codeshare deal with Latin American airline Avianca.

As pointed out by an eagle eyed reader, Avianca (under the now-merged TACA brand) appears in the dropdown box on ba.com when you input a frequent flyer number. Is this a new thing? We don’t remember seeing it there before:

That said, Air Italy still appears in that box and that airline went bankrupt some time ago ….

A codeshare deal with Avianca would not be a surprise, of course. Iberia has had such a deal for many years, and there are gaps in the oneworld network to Latin America since LATAM quit the oneworld alliance in 2020.

Avios Nectar

Get 6,250 Avios with Sainsbury’s Bank pet insurance

Whilst I don’t have this personally, it appears that some users of the Nectar app are getting a targetted offer of 10,000 Nectar points for taking out pet insurance by 28th February.

10,000 Nectar points converts, of course, into 6,250 Avios.

Policies are relatively cheap if you only have something small like a rabbit – under £10 per month. The points are promised after 60 days, although with previous pet insurance offers they have posted more quickly. You can cancel your policy at any time without penalty

As an extra benefit, you will earn double Nectar base points on all of your Sainsbury’s shopping for as long as you keep your policy.

The Sainsbury’s Bank pet insurance home page is here although you can only get the 10,000 Nectar points offer if it is showing in your Nectar app.

Comments (55)

  • Ruth4325 says:

    Children travelling on BA – am I right in thinking that a 16 year old and 14 year old can travel together without parental permission whether parents are on the same flight or not?

  • Matthew says:

    My concern that as it’s going revenue based, then surely the points to airmiles route will devalue as everyone will cash out this way instead of a discount off a hotel room.

    Should we be doing this asap?

    • Rob says:

      Hilton showed that revenue based redemptions can work IF you keep a category cap so sweet spots remain.

      IHG has screwed up, as HI Express hotels at 100,000 points show.

      Remains to be seen how Marriott plays it.

      • Matthew says:

        I agree. Category caps will be crucial.

      • Jonty says:

        I’ve had the opposite experience at the bottom of the UK/European market. Hilton’s cheapest European redemptions have gone up hugely while IHG has some real bargains. The biggest issue with both is that a quick check of category lists and maps is replaced by an almost random search for sweet spots in both

        • RonnieB says:

          I agree, IHG is hugely a better bargain in USA where you can get a Crowne Plaza for 15k a night compared to min 30k for equivalent Hilton

          • marcw says:

            Yep. Plannning a roadtrip in the USA and experiencing something similar. HIE are in the 15-25k range while Hampton Inns are in the 30-45k range.

  • Matthew says:

    Can anyone remember if the voucher for the hotel stay (via travel package route) was book by or stay by expiry? I’m wondering like others whether doing this would be beneficial one last time?! Or just clear out to airmiles full stop.

  • Russ says:

    Would it have really caused so much bother if they gave some proper notice? I remember the last time Marriott shafted us on the hotel packages so I’m not buying any in anticipation. These were really useful though for buying miles in obscure airlines in chunks large enough to be handy.

    I don’t think it is prudent to take for granted the other points to miles option is safe and if, or when, they pull that then Marriott may as well start packing

  • DevonDiamond says:

    I remember the club card pet insurance offer – didn’t it spawn a Mumsnet thread as someone’s partner found insurance documents for a fictitious pet and thought their other half was having an affair 😀

  • NorthernLass says:

    I’m in the process of booking a trip to the US over next Xmas and New Year. Out in F to IAD, 3 days in DC, fly to MIA, 12 days in the Keys then 3 days in Chicago for New Year before flying home. I’ve decided to blow my stash of Bonvoy and Hilton points on this as obviously hotel prices are $000’s pn at this time of year so I’m pretty much guaranteed to get good value from the points. We need 2 rooms (or a large suite) these days so I don’t think we’d get much change out of £10k if we were paying cash. Breakfast (or room credit) as HH gold adds even more value. We’ve never been away for Xmas before due to our jobs, I’ve promised myself this will be the year!

    • Clive says:

      We just did a month in Thailand over the Christmas and New Year holiday and I can tell you it was a lot less stressful than being at home. If prices are right next year will probably do the same.

    • Mike says:

      Anna – sounds amazing.

    • Richie says:

      Have done NYE in Chicago before, it snowed very heavily and was good fun, sounds like a good idea.

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