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Over the weekend, Marriott announced a conversion chart for existing certificates from the pre-integration Hotel + Air packages. In addition to withholding information until after it was too late for certificate holders to make an informed decision, Saturday marked the start of a month-long blackout period for using these certificates or making changes to existing certificates. This naturally caused a lot of frustration, especially for individuals who had unnecessarily spent more for a higher category/tier of package only to find themselves with the same redemption option as others who spent fewer points.
Well, Marriott has just released two terrific updates along these lines. Here’s the direct statement provided to us here at The Points Guy:
“As you know, this past Saturday, new Travel Packages became available for purchase. At the same time, due to system capabilities, we had to place a month-long blackout on cancelations and modifications to existing Travel Package certificates. After pressure testing our new system over the weekend, we’re happy to relay that starting today, the blackout period is over. In addition, members who purchased a Category 6, Category 8 or Tier 1-3 certificate prior to 8/18 are able to request a one-time exchange for a package one category lower. To submit a request, contact us at https://www.marriott.com/marriott/contact.mi. Select “packages – deals” from the drop down menu.”
It’s great news that the planned blackout period lasted just a couple of days rather than a full month, but the second update is much more exciting. Given that the new program has fewer categories of properties than the old one, there were always going to be some individuals unhappy with the transfer chart. In the actually rollout, this applied to three different groups of individuals:
- Legacy Category 6 certificate holders
- Legacy Category 8 certificate holders
- Legacy Tier 1-3 certificate holders
Regardless of how many airline miles you elected to receive in the old Hotel + Air package, in each of the above cases, you spent 30,000 additional Marriott points over the previous tier, and with the conversion chart released Saturday, you would up with exactly the same redemption option. Here was the unfortunate reality:
- If you booked a Category 6 package, you now have the exact same redemption option as those who booked a Category 1-5 package (but you spent 30,000 more points).
- If you booked a Category 8 package, you now have the exact same redemption option as those who booked a Category 7 package (but you spent 30,000 more points).
- If you booked a Tier 1-3 package, you now have the exact same redemption option as those who booked a Category 9 package (but you spend 30,000 more points).
With this change, Marriott is allowing a one-time, one-level downgrade to keep your exact same redemption options but receive a refund of 30,000 points. If you were feeling like the conversion chart was a slap in the face, this is hopefully music to your ears.
However, this update won’t make everyone happy. I’m sure that there are still a number of certificate holders who had planned on using their certificates at a property outside of the current booking window, and now that their certificate has been converted, they may not have that option any longer. I would love to see Marriott allow not only a one-time, one-level downgrade to these certificates but a one-time upgrade as well. I just got off the phone with a Marriott spokesperson and expressed that sentiment, but at this time there’s no plan for that to happen.
If you still feel like the conversion chart left you in the lurch with your plans, I encourage you to reach out to customer support and voice your concerns. As the chain has shown during this integration process, they are willing to listen to members and adjust course as needed.
Again, this won’t alleviate the concerns of everyone, but it’s definitely a positive update and hopefully welcome news for many readers.
Featured image shows the Courtyard Marriott Bali Seminyak.
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