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(UPDATED)Marriott Hotel + Air Packages No Longer Bookable After August 17!

Update: The Marriott PR team has issued the following statement. “The story about Travel Packages has a wrong date. It lists August 3rd as the deadline to use existing travel package certificates. The date is actually August 17. In the information we provided to our counterparts in Dubai we had a typo. Honest mistake. “
We have updated this article to reflect that information. We at SamChui.com would like to apologize for the misinformation. We do everything we can to ensure we get the story right the first time. This post will remain live and updated rather than deleting so people aren’t confused as to why the content is no longer available. Please just note that you will still be able to redeem your points until August 17 and you should redeem your points for travel packages now rather than later.

Earlier this week we learned that the Marriott and SPG programs would merge on August 18. You can expect that you will not have access to your account most of the day on the 18th. With that update, many assumed you would be able to redeem and use your points for all opportunities until August 17th.  Unfortunately it appears that the Marriott Hotel + Air Packages will only be bookable until August 3.

I had a chance to speak with a Marriott Director of Public Relations. When asked if they would announce what would be done with existing outstanding Hotel + Air vouchers they responded

“We encourage members with existing travel package certificates to book before August 4. After that date, those certificates will go dormant due to the new systems we have created to bring the loyalty programs together. Members should be rest assured though that we are working on a solution and will let them know as and when we have more information to share.”

Why is this a big deal?

One of the biggest negative changes coming with the merger of the two programs is the redemption rates for the Hotel + Air package. Currently you can redeem your points for the following packages that include a fixed value of points and a 7 night stay. Image result for marriott air and hotel packages

Under the new program you can only earn up to 100,000 airline miles and it requires 60,000 more Marriott Rewards points to redeem for the lowest tier package and nearly 200,000 more points to redeem for a category 8 hotel. The only positive thing about this change is that the packages aren’t subjected to the peak award rates coming in 2019. The Points Guy’s Nick Ewen has the best explanation as to why the packages are a great value today and offer a terrible value tomorrow.

Image result for marriott air and hotel packages

While we still don’t know what Marriott will do with existing packages we now know that you wont be able to redeem your hotel voucher past August 3. The hope is that Marriott will be very generous and just convert the packages straight to the new categories. It is certainly possible that Marriott just refunds points back to your account and cancels your 7 night voucher. If you do have any reservations already confirmed, those will be safe. Only unused vouchers are unknown at this point. Every day we seem to be getting new bits of information so be sure to check back here often.

Do you plan on booking one of these packages before the merger?