Marriott Travel Packages Likely to Disappear This Week – Will Points-to-Mile Transfers Be Next?

Even though they’re no longer Marriott’s best points redemption option, it seems likely that travel packages will go away this week (as first reported by Gary Leff).

This shouldn’t concern too many InsideFlyer readers. Marriott travel packages only offer excess value when:

  • You need exactly 7 hotel nights at the highest price (otherwise a 5 or 10 night stay – with the fifth night free – will provide maximum value)
  • You need high-value miles that you can’t get from other sources, such as credit card sign-up bonuses or point conversions

Why Are Marriott Travel Packages Disappearing?

Assuming the rumors are true, Marriott travel packages require reward categories to work properly. However, Marriott Bonvoy has already announced the move to fully dynamic pricing (click here for details). The move will be done in stages:

  • Stage 1 – reward tables will remain in place until March 2022
  • Stage 2 – for the remainder of 2022, award prices will fluctuate between off-peak award prices and existing peak prices (at 97% of Marriott properties – the remaining 3% will be free to set prices at much lower levels higher)
  • Stage 3 – for 2023 and beyond there will be no limit on the award price

When you redeem your Marriott points for a travel package, you receive a hotel reward certificate valid for one year. So if Marriott Bonvoy wants to get rid of rewards categories in 2023, it needs to end travel packages NOW – otherwise, people will keep unused award certificates based on categories and valid until 2023. Given Marriott’s IT issues, the combination of legacy reward categories and fully dynamic reward pricing wouldn’t work well…

What about direct points -> mile conversions?

While I won’t really shed a tear for the demise of Marriott travel packages, I’m a bit more concerned about the future of points -> miles conversions.

As a reminder, Marriott points convert on a 3:1 basis into airline miles. (with dozens of different airline options) If you convert exactly 60,000 points you will receive an additional 5,000 bonus miles.

If this sounds complicated, just think – 60,000 Marriott points -> 25,000 miles.

Why am I worried?

Dynamic reward pricing will likely result in a significant devaluation of the value of our Marriott Points. Therefore, converting Marriott points into airline miles may well become the best possible use of Marriott points.

However, you should be under no illusions… if Marriott starts hemorrhaging money from members converting points into airline miles (instead of redeeming points on hotel stays ), this will devalue the conversion rate with little or no notice.

Yet rushing out can also be a mistake

Even if you decide to rush to convert your Marriott points into airline miles, you have to decide… WHICH COMPANY? For some readers, the answer is quite simple. But flexibility is an important part of the value proposition.

I don’t need to convert Marriott points to airline miles…until I KNOW what miles I need!

Maintaining a healthy balance of a “transferable” currency such as Marriott Points means that I am relatively immune to airline rewards chart devaluations or mileage expiration policies. If I need more Alaska Miles for an upcoming booking -> I convert Marriott Points. Or if I need Turkish miles, or AAdvantage miles, or ANA miles, etc. etc I’m converting some Marriott points.

But if I get scared and convert my Marriott points today, I lose all those options. I will never be able to convert Alaskan miles back to Turkish miles for example.

At the end of the line

If you’re interested in a Marriott travel package, you better book it today. If you think that the disappearance of Travel Packages is a bad omen for points -> miles conversions, you will also want to think long and hard about the conversion of certain points into miles while the ratio remains attractive…