As Marriott and Starwood Marriott stated they would combine the best benefits of both programs and for the most part stuck to that mantra throughout the merger. However, in the last week, Marriott failed to communicate some key details. The biggest source of that frustration was the revelation that members could not make any changes to Travel Packages even after spending more points than others to receive the same redemption.
The good news is that it only took Marriott a few days to realize the mistake; a Senior Level Marriott Executive communicated earlier today some very exciting news regarding those Travel Packages, along with another update on the merger.
Travel Package Update
One of the biggest sources of confusion for members leading into the Aug. 18th merger was the month-long blackout on cancellations and modifications to old Marriott Travel Packages.
Two days in, Marriott decided to lift the blackout and members are now able to reserve, modify, or cancel old Travel Packages. Marriott previously stated that members would no longer be able to upgrade, or downgrade, category levels on any old or new Travel Packages.
However, they have provided a one-time exception for members who booked old Category 6, Category 8, and Tier 1-3 that will enable them to downgrade one level and receive a 30,000 point refund. Unfortunately, it appears like these requests will not be handled automatically, so if you need to submit a request, use the “Marriott Contact Us” page, dropdown option “packages – deals” in order to submit your request.
The other bit of good news that came from Marriott in their official communication is that members will start receiving invitations upon login to combine their Marriott Rewards, SPG, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards accounts. This new update will allow members to use their correct status, and earn more rewards, sooner than expected. Marriott states that the login prompts are “rolling out in batches to our members through tomorrow” and are to be manually linked by the member. Even though I was not prompted on login I was successfully able to combine my Marriott Rewards with my others.
Overall, Marriott handled a merger this size with incredible efficiency and attention to detail. Even though members were left in the dark about Travel Packages, Marriott took another step in this communication that ensures the merger finishes as smoothly as it started.