**All information for this article was taken from FlyerTalk reports and personal experience. For the latest information on Marriott travel packages, refer to the FlyerTalk thread **
Marriott and Starwood "merged" just over a month ago. The process of merging loyalty accounts and creating a functioning front-end website has been successful. Marriott will not admit it, but the back end has never really been merged, as there are still separate booking sites for SPG (purple website) and Marriott (blue website) and two different call center teams managing the respective brands. The good news is that there is an end in sight and we may even have provisional dates for the SPG properties to be integrated.
The problem of the travel package
Before the merger, Marriott never announced what they were thinking of doing with existing travel packages. The only thing they announced was a one-month blackout period to redeem packages. Many websites assumed that Marriott would be generous, but that generosity largely never came. On the day of the merger, Marriott announced the mapping of legacy travel packages, after it was no longer possible to redeem or upgrade.
The customers of the Category 6, 8 and Tier 1-3 packages paid an extra 30k points to get the same value as those who bought a category under them, leaving some members who felt rightly stiffened. The only category that was far ahead in the conversion was Category 9. On August 20, two days after the merger, the Marriott brand tracked down and claimed that Category 6, 8 and Level 1-3 packages They would get reimbursements of 30k points, but updates would not have been possible. During the same announcement, Marriott also claimed that the one month blackout on travel packages was not necessary and that the packages were immediately redeemable again. Spoiler Alert: they were not immediately redeemable.
How to update the travel package
The good news is that travel packages are redeemable in all the old Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels today. To redeem the package, you need to update the certificate from a legacy travel package to a post-merger travel package. This will not happen automatically, at least for now.
To update your certificate, call Marriott Rewards at 1-800-321-7396.
The times of the phone were very long, I was able to contact agents who use this method in 5-10 minutes. Shorter waiting times can be found via call centers that are not based on us.
At the first prompt say "Travel packages" will send you to discounts and promotions. At the second prompt, say "Something Else" and at the end you will connect to a representative who can help you.
Once you have a representative on the phone, use the following script
"Hi, are you able to see my list of certificates?" If the agent says Yes, proceed to the next step if not, hang up and call again;
"Do you see that I have a xxxT / Pxxx right?" If the agent says Yes, proceed to the next step;
"I would like to convert my previous certificate into one of the post-merger certificates, can you delete the xxxT / Pxxx certificate and reorder the QPxx certificate?"
The table below tells you what your new category is and the old category numbers. You can also check your email for the old category number. The "T" numbers are complete packages, the "P" numbers are only for partial packages if the category has been upgraded / downgraded.
Once the certificate is updated, you can attach it to one of the 18 Marriott legacy properties. The process should be relatively fast. If you are eligible for a 30,000 point refund, you will receive it automatically when you update the certificate. The update of the certificate should also update the expiry date of the package, even if there are reports from some representatives who consider the deadline to be expiring.
What we still do not know
- We do not have a timetable for when the old certificate needs to be updated. Be sure to update before the certificate expires.
- Updates – There have been some positive reports of customer certificate upgrades, but this hole in the circuit is probably closing fast as Marriott has already announced that the upgrade would not be allowed. If you can get an upgrade, be sure to pay more points.
- Category 7 – The telephone representative confirmed that there is currently no known QP code for a category 7 property. If you hold a Tier 4-5 certificate, you will remain in the dark for a while.
Are you going to update your certificate?