Marriott Rewards Travel Packages have been the best way to redeem points for years and Marriott decided to “enhance” them when the programs were merged (read more here).
Marriott refused to provide a chart in advance how the mapping between the old and the new travel package certs would take place that would have mitigated most of the issues. Members could have redeemed old packages that would mapped to new certs they actually needed and could use. Also, when Marriott released the mapping chart, they were suddenly using MAXIMUM values on the new certs and not the standard ones that lead members revolting (read more here).
You can access Marriott’s page for Travel Packages here.
When I wrote the piece on the Travel Package mapping, I knew that Marriott Rewards had made a mistake that they would need to fix (read more here). The mapping was not done fairly.
Marriott spokesperson then released the following statement on Monday:
Secondly, 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.
Members can (and should) downgrade their Category 6, 8 or Tier 1 – 3 and get 30,000 points back. The underlying new certificate wouldn’t change at all. Member also should be able to use these certificates immediately rather than having to wait for a month.
Seems, however, that Marriott corporate forgot to inform Customer Service that process these certificate downgrades and issue refunds. The system doesn’t seem to be able to attach these certificates to Starwood stays yet and customer service is giving very mixed signals and seems to be very confused in general.
A LoyaltyLobby Reader sent the following request using the required form on Marriott’s website:
It looks like after the weeknd system changes I should down grade my hotel package. I currently have a level 8 purchased for the La Concha San Juan. Since this property only requires a Level 5 in the new system I believe I should downgrade to a level 7 old package which will allow for me to recieve 30K points back and meet the new correct level for the hotel.
If you are able please also go ahead and attach the certificate to the reservation on 12/26/18 for 7 nights as well after processing the downgrade and points refund.
And the reply from Marriott Internet customer care:
Thank you for contacting Marriott Customer Care regarding your travel package details.
After further reviewing your account, I see that your certificate is not attached to your reservation. Any certificates that were not attached prior to August 17, 2018 will not be honored. There will be no adjustment of points for the category changes, and you will need to book at the points rate for the new category. There will be a month long black out period ending mid September, where you will be unable to access your certificates. Once access to use them are restored, guests will have the ability to book reservations through www.marriott.com.
We appreciate your patience during this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.
There appears to be communication issue between the Marriott headquarter and customer care centers. The information from HQ is not getting down to the associates that are dealing with consumers or perhaps they are overwhelmed with all the issues they are dealing with at the moment?
Seems that the HQ is detached what is happening on the ground level too when it comes to all the website, app and contact center outages based on the contacts I have had.
Members are starting to lose the trust on Marriott when their own customer service associates are questioning information that the corporate has released.