**All the information for this article was taken from FlyerTalk reports and personal experience. For the most up to date information regarding Marriott Travel Packages, refer to the FlyerTalk Thread**

Marriott and Starwood “merged” a little over one month ago. The process of merging loyalty accounts and creating a working front end website was successful. Marriott won’t admit it, but the backend was never really merged, as there are still separate booking sites for SPG (purple website) and Marriott (blue website) and two different call center teams handling their respective brands. The good news is that there is end in sight, and we may even have tentative dates for SPG properties to get integrated.

The Travel Package Problem

Prior to the merger, Marriott never announced what they were planning on doing with existing travel packages. The only thing they announced was a month-long black out period for redeeming 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 for legacy travel packages, after it was no longer possible to redeem or upgrade.

The Category 6, 8 and Tier 1-3 package clients ended up paying an extra 30k points to get the same value as people who purchased a category below them, leaving some members feeling rightfully stiffed. The only category that came out well ahead in the conversion was the Category 9. On August 20, two days after the merger Marriott back tracked and said that Category 6, 8 and Tier 1-3 packages would get refunds of 30k points but upgrades wouldn’t be possible. During that same announcement Marriott also claimed that the month-long black out on travel packages wasn’t necessary and that packages were again immediately redeemable. Spoiler Alert: They weren’t immediately redeemable.

How to Update Your Travel Package

The good news is that Travel Packages are redeemable at all old Marriott and Ritz Carlton properties today. In order to redeem your package, you need to update your certificate from a legacy travel package to a post merger travel package. This will not happen automatically, at least for now.

Image result for marriott brands and spg brands

To update your certificate you will need to call Marriott Rewards at 1-800-321-7396.

Phone times have been very long, I have been able to get through to agents using this method within 5-10 minutes. You may find shorter hold times via non-us based call centers.

At the first prompt say “Travel Packages” it will send you to Discounts and Promotions. At the second prompt say “Something Else” and you will eventually connect to a representative who can assist you.

Once you get a representative on the phone use the following script

“Hi, are you able to see my list of certificates ?” if agent says Yes, proceed to next step if not, hang up and call again;

“You see that I have a xxxT/Pxxx right ?” if agent says Yes, proceed to next step;

“I would like to convert my legacy certificate to one of the post-merger certificates, can you cancel the xxxT/Pxxx certificate and reorder the QPxx certificate ?”

The chart below tells you what your new category and old category numbers are. You can also check your email for the old category number. The “T” numbers are full packages, the “P” numbers are for partial packages only if you upgraded/downgraded the category.

Once you update your certificate you will be able to attach it to any of the 18 legacy Marriott properties. The process should be relatively quick.  If you are eligible for a 30k point refund, you will automatically get it when you update your certificate. Updating your certificate should also update the expiration date of your package although there are reports of some representatives backdating the expiration.

What we still don’t know

  • We do not have a timeline for when you need to update your old certificate by. Be sure to update before any certificate expiration.
  • Upgrades – There have been some positive reports of customers upgrading certificates but this loop-hole is probably closing fast as Marriott has already announced that upgrading would not be allowed. If you do manage to get an upgrade to go through, expect to pay additional points.
  • Category 7 – Phone representative have confirmed that there is no known QP code for a Category 7 property right now. If you are holding a Tier 4-5 certificate you will be the dark for a little while longer.

Do you plan on updating your certificate?