Marriott Rewards has one very interesting award option that I have always redeemed my points for called Travel Packages (read more here).
When redeeming Marriott Rewards points towards Travel Packages, member get certain number of airline miles (airline dependent) and 7-night hotel voucher (you can choose between number of award categories ).
You can access Marriott Rewards page for Travel Packages here.
The airline miles are deposited to the designated account in due course (usually within a week) and the issued hotel certificate is valid for 52 weeks. You can, however extend the validity of the certificate as I have done numerous times.
Officially, you need to request the extension before the expiry of the certificate and it will be only done once for 12 months.
I recently decided to stay at the newly opened JW Marriott hotel in Phu Quoc (Vietnam) that is category 5 property. I should have had two category 1 – 5 award certificates sitting on my account, but must have been more than 12 months of their issuance and they were gone.
Called the Marriott Rewards customer service that was able to “locate” the expired certificates and reissued them. As you can see from the transactions processed, they actually first refunded the certificates by crediting 45,000 points each and then reissued them by withdrawing the same amounts.
These Travel Packages are great way to use Marriott Rewards points as long as you can use the hotel voucher in a meaningful way (can also credit it back to account at a discount).
Marriott has always been very flexible when it has come to the expire date of these and reissuing them as needed. Long time ago, I had several expire after already extending them once. They were reissued one more time after I wrote a letter or sent a fax to Mr. Marriott’s office.
The stay at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc went fine and this is very good use for these certificates. Plan to write about my stay later this week.