I'm considering converting Marriott points to American Airlines points (20% bonus until 10/31/15) via a travel package with a CAT 1-5 7-night stay. A popular travel blogger made the following statement "You can later up the hotel award category by paying the difference in Marriott Rewards points". I have not found any evidence of this being possible and I haven't heard back from the blogger :-)
Can anyone confirm this is possible? If possible, how did you do it?
Welcome to Insiders, lou37! As you may have already seen, this is a great place to talk about all things Marriott, as well as share your travel experiences and recommendations. I'm carat, and I am one of the moderators here along with lindseyh and deannad. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to any of us.
In regards to your question, you are correct, it is not possible. Free night certificates are only eligible for redemption at Category 1-5 hotels. You cannot use points or pay the difference to use them at higher category hotels.
Again, Welcome to Insiders! Looking forward to hearing more form you!
You are completely correct lou37. I redeemed a Cat 6 Travel Package earlier this year planning a holiday to Vegas, but later decided on Miami and so needed to upgrade the 7 night cert to a Cat 8. The Plat line was knowledgeable and helpful and easily upgraded my Cat 6 to a Cat 8 for an extra 60,000 points.
So YES TravelPackage certificates can be upgraded by calling the Plat line.
But to be totally clear, those free cat 1-4 or cat 1-5 certs one-night certs from megabonuses/credit cards cannot be upgraded
brightlybob is correct, you are able to upgrade the category on the travel package certificates. You would just need to contact Marriott Rewards when you have a reservation where you would like to redeem the certificate for a higher category, as our team can only upgrade the certificate when a reservation's already been made. The amount of points would depend on the original category of the certificate and which category you are looking to redeem it for.
Why is the incremental point cost to step up from a Category 8 to a Category 9 package so much greater (actually, and especially on a per night basis) for a 5 night package (45,000 points) than for a 7 night package (30,000 points)? 20,000 or 25,000 points would seem more realistic.
The net result of the package pricing is that the added cost of two nights in a Category 9 hotel is 45,000 points for a Vacation Club owner. It would be interesting to know the logic behind this pricing scheme.
For this we need a history lesson on Marriott Rewards.
Before 2009 Marriott Rewards redemptions were based on an ever decreasing per night cost up to 7 nights. So a Cat 6 hotel redemption was 30k for 1 night, 55k for 2, 77k for 3, 97k for 4, 115k for 5, 130k for 6 and 140k for 7 nights. The "sweet spot" for redemptions was thus 7 nights since that pro rata cost only 20k per night. Similarly structured tables existed for the other categories and Marriotts Travel Package was arranged around this sweet spot, namely miles at par when purchasing a 7-night certificate.
In 2009 Marriott changed its structure to the current 5th night free which means cat 6 is at 30k for 1 night, 60k for 2, 90k for 3, 120k for 4, 5th night free so 120k for 5, 150k for 6 and 180k for 7 nights. Here the sweet spot is now 5 nights where each night costs pro rata 24k points, 7 nights is no longer as attractive costing pro rata almost 26k points per night. Marriott nonetheless opted to keep the Travel Package deal based around 7 nights, instead of the new 5-night "sweet spot". However Marriott did opt to introduce the new sweet spot 5-night certificate for Vacation Club members, hence for MVC members they see the extra value of optimising their certificate to the 5 night "sweet spot"
While the insight on the structure is accurate, it points to an unintended (or not) consequence of the structure. Namely the utility of 5 night packages for Category 8, 9, and higher Categories when they come into being has been drastically reduced, relative to lower categories.
In fact,it appears that at the Category 11 level, 5 and 7 night packages would have the identical point cost. Or to look at it another way, the 5th night is longer "free."
I just did this, but it required a lot more effort than it should have. Started with an agent via chat who told me, "Unfortunately, the certificate cannot be upgraded." Quoted deannad, above, and he replied, "Maybe Marriott Rewards can do it, but we can't." (I thought, "Hello, if I'm not chatting with Marriott Rewards, then who are you?") Tried doing it brightlybob's way by calling the Plat line. Started off great until the woman told me, "I'll need to transfer you to Marriott Rewards." (De javu all over again!) Was transferred to another agent, who was able to accomplish it. Overall, it was below average customer service, but the job was accomplished in the end.