I just received my latest email from Marriott Rewards, which I believe there has been some mention of before but little follow up.
Marriott Rewards® is excited to offer you an easier way to book travel.
With the new Air + Car programme, you can now use Marriott Rewards points, cash or both to book air travel and rental cars.
Book flights with more than 400 different airlines, and reserve rental cars at Hertz® locations worldwide—all from one convenient site.
Plus, with no blackout dates, you can redeem points when and where you want.
Book on the new Air + Car site today, and get where you're going faster.
and thought it would be good to try this out for a trip later in 2012.
Problem number one, only options for coach and first were offered when searching - where is the option for business class?
Problem number two, last year I used Marriott Rewards Travel Packages for the comparable trip (covered in a separate post) to get 2x business class return
flight plus 2x5 night accommodation certificate plus 2x Hertz discount for 470,000 points.... this new programme (please see below) if I can really believe this
seems to be asking 2,744,000 points for just 2x coach return flights.
Is this serious?
Please confirm your itinerary and select additional addons
|Depart:||9:30PM||London Heathrow - (LHR)||Fri 19/10/12||Thai International 917 |
|Arrive:||3:05PM||Bangkok IntL - (BKK)||Sat 20/10/12|
Duration: 11 hr 35 min
|Coach (Y)||Plane: 346|
|Depart:||4:50PM||Bangkok IntL - (BKK)||Sat 20/10/12||Thai International 217 |
|Arrive:||6:10PM||Phuket Intl - (HKT)||Sat 20/10/12|
Duration: 1 hr 20 min
|Coach (Y)||Plane: 744|
|Depart:||10:55AM||Phuket Intl - (HKT)||Sat 08/12/12||Thai International 204 |
|Arrive:||12:25PM||Bangkok IntL - (BKK)||Sat 08/12/12|
Duration: 1 hr 30 min
|Coach (Y)||Plane: 772|
|Depart:||1:30PM||Bangkok IntL - (BKK)||Sat 08/12/12||Thai International 916 |
|Arrive:||7:35PM||London Heathrow - (LHR)||Sat 08/12/12|
Duration: 13 hr 5 min
|Coach (Y)||Plane: 346|
Ya, something is seriously wrong with the Marriott rewards combination packages. Last June, my mom booked the Grand Flora in Rome (for this coming June - must do this a year in advance to get the rooms on points) as part of a combined airline and hotel package. It was advertised to be something like 250,000 points for 2 round trip airfares plus the hotel. Ya, right. So she's been on the phone for probably a total of 10 hours dealing with both Marriott and Air France, trying to get the flights. She gets like 5 different Marriott agents who give her 5 different answers and honestly do NOT know the program, and then she goes through the same thing with Air France. Marriott only transfers 85,000 miles to Air France, and then Air France wants a boatload of extra money, including about $600 per person per trip leg for a fuel surcharge, so $2400 just for the fuel surcharge, plus the other extra money because obviously 85,000 miles will not cover roundtrip airfare from LA to Paris and Rome to LA. Oh, and forget about non-stop. I think she said it would work if she used over 400,000 Marriott points, but we'd still have to pay the $2400 fuel surcharge. What a rip off, and what false advertising. It's like, bait and switch. Who in their right mind throw all those points away on airfare, and still get stuck with a big bill. Two people can fly round trip for under $3500. In 2005, we did two roundtrip airfares to Europe and a 7 night stay on Marriott for only like, 250,000, and there were no hidden fees or charges. Very disappointing.
Hey, I say if Marriott manages to get people to waste their points this way, more power to em. The big difference here is that nobody is being forced to use the new options. If it works out for some, fine, it's there. It's an ADDITIONAL option, which is a GOOD thing even if it's useless for most of us!
I'm sure there's a bigger cost to Marriott to do this, though seems like it's such a poor value that I suspect most people will stick with the more traditional redemptions. Which is fine too. I don't really see any downside to the Air + Car options.
The fuel and other surcharges for award tickets is a wide spread practice for international carriers. It was one of the few benefits that the US domestic carriers have over them for their frequent flier programs. While some of the recent changes to the MR program for flights is a bit baffling, the surcharges imposed by the carriers are out of their control.
Be that as it may, the whole thing is absurd. Last summer when the trip planning began, the hotel was booked. We thought we were getting a package deal: 2 round trip airfares and a 5 night stay for X number of points. You can imagine the surprise and disappointment to discover, only 3 months out from our trip, that we're going to have to shell more points and beaucoup bucks, because what Marriott advertised is not what's being delivered. It may be out of Marriott's control, but what they advertise IS in their control. So shame on them for that. As I said, we did two roundtrip airfares and a hotel stay in 2005 on points, and we did not have this fiasco. I believe our international carrier was AA. Maybe that's why it was a smooth transaction. I don't think Marriott partners with AA any longer.
Thank you for your reply.
I could not actually find an option on the "Air + Car" website to quote me for Business class for this route - how do you manage this please?
Perhaps pricing looks different from the US, but I have just checked again on the Thai Airways website and the flights are coming out at £2434/person which with the current exchange rate of 1.578 is ~ $3840 (not $5k)?
Also, I am not sure I understand what you mean by quoting $27k for these?
The amount I was quoted was 2,744,000 (yes 2.744 million) Marriott Rewards Points (and that was just for Coach class)
Even if it had been for Business class, if I am correct this would work out at (3840x2=7680/2744000) = 0.0028$/point which is extremely poor.
Goodness knows what the points required would be for Business class?
I really hope I have got this wrong and I am just misunderstanding the information.
I would be most grateful if you could confirm this please.
My real point was that this new program seems completely at odds with the existing Marriott Rewards Travel Packages which do offer reasonable rates with 2x business class return flight plus 2x5 night accommodation certificate plus 2x Hertz discount for 470,000 points
Provided I can continue using these, I will be happy and I will just ignore the new program
I just trust there is no intent to phase out the Package option and move exclusively to the new program - PLEASE.
Greetings bazzap and Insiders, there appears to be some confusion with the new Air+Car option so we want to help clear things up. If you're looking for our Hotel & Air travel packages, those are available at http://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi.
On the other hand, our Air+Car program allows Marriott Rewards members to book airline tickets and/or rental cars using points or a combination of cash and points. You'll notice all prices are shown in points and some itineraries may require a lot of points as you've mentioned here. The Air+Car program allows any seat that could be purchased for cash (across 400 airlines), to be available through the Air+Car site for points and cash.
The cost of these Flights (in points) may seem high because there's a misunderstanding about point conversion. Marriott Rewards awards five to ten times as many points per dollar spent as compared to miles per dollar spent. So an airline ticket would cost five to ten times as many points as the same ticket would cost if you were redeeming miles with the airline.
In terms of the better deal between points or miles for the exact flight and time (you're free to run your own calculations), your better deal will generally be to book that flight with miles. However, what we've heard from our members is that the flights and times that they want to fly are not available as Frequent Flyer programs generally limit availably for those who are paying cash.
So long story short - the Air+Car program allows you to apply your points to a wide variety of airlines as opposed to applying miles with a single airline. Hope this helps!
Here is one analysis of points to miles done by Ric Garrido He has covered almost all the possible connections involving elite and credit card affiliations for nine hotel programs, Worth a look.
very true. I would hope that somewhere on a flyer talk the subject has been brought up but I have not checked. I wonder if other hotels offer packages that include air and hotel and I need to check that as well. In terms of negative publicity, you're absolutely right. Directed anger focused anger can make a difference.