Marriott Bonvoy Hotel + Air Travel Packages No Longer Offering Top Value Marriott Bonvoy Hotel + Air Travel Packages No Longer Offering Top Value

Marriott Bonvoy Hotel + Air Travel Packages No Longer Offering Top Value

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Marriott has released details of its new Travel Packages and, unfortunately, the news isn’t good. Where Marriott has been relatively generous in its approach to the merger of SPG and Marriott Rewards, taking onboard and acting on the concerns of elite members from both programs. When it comes to the popular Travel Packages they have quite literally taken a hatchet to the value in this program.

Before we dig into details of the new program, here’s a quick recap of the old Hotel + Air packages.

Pre-August 2018 Marriott Hotel + Air Packages

Marriott’s Hotel + Air Travel Packages used to be one of the highlights of the Marriott Rewards program. Members could redeem a set amount of rewards points for a seven-night stay certificate, valid at a Marriott or Ritz-Carlton property up to the value of the certificate, plus receive as much as 132,000 air miles across 41 different frequent flyer currencies to cash in for flights.

If you redeemed Marriott points for a Travel Package issued prior to August 18, you would have received airline miles and a 7-night certificate based on the old award charts and valuations. For those that hold an existing 7-night certificate that isn’t already attached to a reservation, we dig into more detail on how legacy Travel Packages map to the new Marriott award chart at the end of the post.

The number of miles differed between packages and airlines with the cost of the Travel Package determined by three factors:

  • Category or tier of the property (packages were only valid for Marriott and Ritz properties)
  • Frequent flyer program you designated to receive the miles portion of the package (there were five separate award charts)
  • Total number of miles you wanted in the package (each chart offered four different mileage amounts)

While the old Travel Packages were a complex maze of award charts, airline partners, and redemption values. There were a number of sweet spots that provided exceptional value, particularly if you utilized the airline miles for premium cabin international awards.

To determine the combined value of points and miles in each package, you had to work out how many points the stay would cost outside of the package, including receiving the 5th night free, and compare the points left over to the miles each package received.

The total cost of the package minus the cost of redeeming for six nights at the hotel = Number of points you are exchanging for air miles.

Provided you valued the miles you received higher than the Marriott points you were exchanging, you came out on top.

New Marriott Rewards Hotel + Air Package Award Charts

Post-August 18, 2018, members can only book Marriott Hotel + Air packages at the new rates.

Marriott has reduced the number of Hotel + Air award charts for the new program to just one, simplifying the packages considerably. Although the new website shows RewardsPlus as a separate chart, the number of points redeemed is the same. The difference being that RewardsPlus members receive 10% additional miles when selecting United as the airline partner.

On a positive note, the simplified nature of the Hotel + Air redemptions makes it much easier to understand and calculate the value of each package. But that’s where the ‘positives’ end. Marriott has gutted the Hotel + Air packages to the point where you would be hard-pressed to justify redeeming points for a travel package unless you can guarantee an ultra high return on the points and miles you receive.

 7 Nights + 50,000 Miles (55K for RewardsPlus)7 Nights + 100,000 Miles (110K for RewardsPlus)
Category 1-4255,000330,000
Category 5315,000390,000
Category 6435,00510,000
Category 7495,00570,000
Category 8675,000750,000

Participating airlines:

You’ll receive 10% more United MileagePlus miles when you redeem for a Hotel + Air Package with MileagePlus, up to 10,000 more miles.

Aegean Airlines | Aeroflot Bonus | AeroMexico ClubPremier | Air Canada Aeroplan | Air China Phoenix Miles | Air France/KLM Flying Blue | Air New Zealand Airpoints™ | Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan® | Alitalia MilleMiglia | ANA Mileage Club | American Airlines | Asiana Airlines Asiana Club | Avianca LifeMiles | British Airways Executive Club | Asia Miles™ | China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles | China Southern Airlines | Copa Airlines ConnectMiles | Delta SkyMiles® | Emirates Skywards® | Etihad Guest | Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns® | Hainan Airlines | Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles® | Iberia Plus | Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank | Jet Airways JetPrivilege® | Korean Air SKYPASS | LATAM Airlines LATAMPASS | Lufthansa Miles & More | Multiplus | Qantas Frequent Flyer | Qatar Privilege Club | Saudia Airlines | Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer® | South African Airways Voyager | Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® | TAP Air Portugal | Thai Airways | Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles | Virgin Atlantic® Flying Club | Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer

*Applies to miles, points, kilometers, and avios earned through participating airline frequent-flyer programs unless otherwise indicated.

Breaking down the value of Marriott’s new travel packages, you need to take into account that Marriott Bonvoy members receive the 5th night free on award redemptions, so you only need to factor in the cost of staying six nights on points. You’ll also receive an additional 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred to airline partners, for a total of 25,000 miles. To demonstrate, we’ll pull apart a few Category 6 Hotel & Air redemptions.

Category 6 | 7 Night + 50K Miles: 435,000 Rewards Points

  • 50,000 miles = 120,000 points (including 10K bonus miles)
  • 6x nights @ 50K = 300,000 points
  • Total = 420,000 points

So, if you were to book a 7-night stay at a Category 6 hotel (including 5th night free), and transfer enough points to receive 50K miles, you’d actually save yourself 15,000 Rewards points by not purchasing a Hotel + Air package and booking/transferring separately.

Category 6 | 7 Night + 100K Miles: 510,000 Rewards Points

  • 100,000 miles = 240,000 points (including 20K bonus miles)
  • 6x nights @ 50K = 300,000 points
  • Total = 540,000 points

Where the 50K package will require more points than redeeming your points separately, you’ll save 30K Rewards points redeeming a Cat-6/100K package. Bear in mind that the Marriott 7-night certificate locks you into a 7-night stay at a single hotel. For me personally, I value the flexibility of booking shorter stays over saving the 30K points and don’t see the difference as a big enough motivator to redeem for a 100K package.

That value is a little better if you purchase a RewardsPlus Hotel + Air package, with RewardsPlus members receiving 10% additional miles (up to 10K), so redeeming for a Cat-6/110K package you’ll save 30K points and receive an extra 10K United miles.

How Will Existing Travel Packages Purchased Pre-August 18 Convert?

While Marriott released the majority of info about the new program well in advance of the changes going into effect, one of the critical aspects they left out was how existing Hotel + Air packages, those issued prior to August 18, would convert to the new award charts.

There was plenty of speculation on how these packages would map over to new categories, with many members gambling on a generous conversion and not attaching existing certificates to a booking before the conversion took place.

Below is the chart showing how existing packages will convert:

BrandExisting CertificateCategory & Max Points After Conversion
MarriottCategory 1-5 (max 25,000 points)Category 1-4 (max 30,000 points)
MarriottCategory 6 (max 30,000 points)Category 1-4 (max 30,000 points)
MarriottCategory 7 (max 35,000 points)Category 5 (max 40,000 points)
MarriottCategory 8 (max 40,000 points)Category 5 (max 40,000 points)
MarriottCategory 9 (max 45,000 points)Category 6 (max 60,000 points)
Ritz-CarltonTier 1-3 (max 50,000 points)Category 6 (max 60,000 points)
Ritz-CarltonTier 4-5 (max 70,000 points)Category 7 (max 70,000 points)

Marriott has factored in the move to seasonal pricing in the conversions, with the maximum redemption value of certificates higher than the standard award rates for each given category.

For example, a Category 6 property in the new award chart will set you back 50K points under standard pricing. But, the certificate is good for up to 60K points to cover a Category 6 property after the full award chart comes into play in 2019, when a Category 6 will cost 60K points during peak season. Unfortunately, the maximum points value won’t allow you to redeem the certificate for a higher tier property that costs less when it drops in price in off-peak season, as the certificates are category restricted.

Members who booked Category 6 or 8 packages or Tier 1-3  packages can receive a one-time exchange for a package one category lower.  This is due to the way the categories on the old program mapped to the new award categories. You'll need to contact Marriott via this link to request a partial refund if you are unhappy with the Hotel + Air package you purchased.

How To Book a Marriott 7-Night Hotel + Air Travel Package

Hotel + Air packages cannot be booked online. To book a package, you need to call 1-800-321-7396 and speak to a Marriott reservations agent.

Something worth noting here, if you don't have all the points in your Marriott account and intend on transferring points from another program or from family members, you can still call and place your reservation on hold while you wait for the extra points to lodge in your account.

If you find seven days of award availability in the hotel you want to redeem, don't wait until everything has settled, get it booked immediately.

Additional Details Worth Noting

The airline miles don't need to be used in conjunction with the seven-day accommodation booking; you can use them at a later date. They are non-refundable, however, so make sure you have done your homework on how you intend to use them before you lock in the transfer. You also need to stay the entire seven days as Marriott won't refund points for any unused portion of your stay.

Final Thoughts

Of all the redemption options offered by Marriott, Hotel & Air packages used to sit at the top of the value food-chain. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, and you can achieve similar or better value, plus retain the flexibility of shorter stays, redeeming your Bonvoy points outside of Hotel + Air packages.

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  • Does Marriott still do airline + hotel 7 day stay packages. Website noted above for mileage tables is stale. We called the rewards number and the agent didn’t know about air+hotel??

  • Joe Spellman says:

    If I redeem Marriott points for a 5 night vacation package can I use my wife’s American Airlines account to receive the airline miles?

  • So what airlines looks like it is going to be the best value for an international flight using one of the Category 1 to 9 Marriott packages? Want to maximize my airline points and 120,000 or 132,000 doesnt get you very far in Asia, Africa or some tmes Europe. Also should you get a level 1 to 5 package or one higher than 5? What airlines can 120K or 132K give you a First class or Business Class remepetion on?

    • Jim, the best value really depends on award availability. As for which package to get, it depends on the property — you need to get one to match up with where you want to stay.

  • I’m also wondering about this. If I buy a 1-5 now will I be able to book a cat 5 after the August merger even though presumably more expensive properties will become 5’s?

  • Brandon White says:

    I’m curious if I should get a package now, or should I wait until August 1st?

  • Thanks for the article. I was also wondering if you had to stay at the same hotel for all 7 nights. I found the answer in another post above. Hoping to redeem our first Nights/Flights Package this year.

  • Hi Howie,
    It’s me again.
    I have a question. Let say if i have 550K points in marriott, can i redeem Hotel+ Flight twice? Because im aiming the 132,000 air miles.
    E.g 270,000 pts +132,000 @ air miles transfer to United Mileage. And let say i redeem twice this Hotel + Miles package, so i will get 264,000 air miles if i transfer my mile to United Mileage. Correct?

    Thanks Howie

  • Hello Howie,

    Just found out your blog. A newbie here. Have an account with Starwood also Marriott and United Mileage Plus. Your review and explanation about Marriott @ Hotel + Airline Miles is very easy to understand.

    Thanks so much. A traveller from Malaysia here.

  • Just did the 7 night package with 120k points to Alaskan. Anyone know how long the transfer takes? I need to book the award flights before they are gone.

  • Thank you for posting! Do the nights book the same as a points stay? i.e. If the hotel has no nights available to book with points, will it also have no nights available for the certificate?

  • I may have missed this or it may have already been asked but I haven’t seen it: Do you have to stay all 7 nights at the same hotel?

  • 2 questions–

    #1 — I have the Award for Category 1-5. It is in my Marriott account. IF we decide that we want to upgrade to a higher category, I know we can use points to do so. My husband will have the points in his Marriott account. He has no status.

    Will we have to pay to have the points moved to my Marriott account?

    I know that for the original award certificate, we were able to move some of his points to my account and there was no charge for to do that transfer.

    #2 — Also – is this correct – I see the award in my account but i still show all 270,000 points in my Marriott account too. Do the points get deducted when I use my certificate?

    Thank you~

  • Hello there – thank you for the post; it’s really useful!!

    I have 2 scenarios about converting SPG points to JAL miles.

    transfer 120K SPG points to the JAL mileage bank program. (Resulting in 150k JAL miles)

    select package 2 and transfer 90K SPG points (which convert to 270K Marriott points) I will get 120K ‘Marriott’ miles which I can then transfer 1:1 to the JAL program to get 120K JAL miles. And then transfer 25K SPG points to get another 30K JAL miles, resulting in a total of 150K JAL miles.

    So SCENARIO 2 saves me 5K SPG points and gets me 7 nights that I can break into multiple stays within the next 1 year.


  • HILLA SADRI says:

    Can you apply for Starwood Preferred guest AMEX card for 35000 points if you have another AMEX card(Hilton Honors)opened 1 year ago?

  • Cindi Anderson says:

    If you book a standard room this way, does Marriott allow you to pay extra to upgrade to a better room? The problem I have is if we’re going somewhere for 7 nights, we often want a suite or at least a sitting area.

  • We just did the Marriott Hotel and Air Package #3 (Southwest for 120,000 Rapid Rewards points). The Marriott Category 1-5 certificate posted immediately. However, I cannot seem to find any hotels within these categories that are not showing as “free”, ie I am being told more points are needed, am I missing something??? I followed the instructions on how to redeem by clicking on use reward that correct? Could you help in walking through this process, as I can’t find any way to use this certificate. Thanks so much!

    • You need to call to complete the booking. Call up Marriott Rewards, let them know you have the certificate and are looking to complete the booking. You’ll need to find a property with availability solely using points — keep in mind, in many cases properties will show you points redemptions with a cash supplement for an upgrade to a higher class a room in addition to standard room availability. You need standard room availability to use the certificate.

      • So this cannot be done online?

        • Yes, as I stated, you have to call.

          • OK, so the only way to use these certificates is to call? There is no way to freely search any available property? As this is not a “point based” certificate, rather a category based one, thought I would be able to search online. I’m sorry if I am not following this, but it seems quite tedious if I have to keep calling just to see if a property I am interested in is available, then find 7 days at that property that will fit in a time frame that we can use it. The points based system, as opposed to the 7 night certificate, seems to be less complicated. Can you clarify this for me? Thank you, appreciate your prompt responses!

          • Sandy, you can search online, but the only way you can redeem is by calling. Your search online needs to find a standard room with availability. Once you find a property with a standard room available for your desired nights, call up Marriott Rewards and ask to redeem your certificate for those nights.

            The certificate uses the same inventory pool as points use, but you must find a property with standard room availability in your eligible category

  • Jason Logan says:

    awesome post but a little complicated

  • Alice Chen says:

    Wow, fantastic post! Thanks for going into so much detail!

  • Cindi Anderson says:

    Am I thinking this through?

    7 nights in category 8 would be 360,000 Marriott points and I would get 120,000 American miles (or 132 United miles)
    I have 97,000 Marriott points. But I could convert SPG points at 3:1. So to get the additional 263,000 Marriott points, I would convert 87,667 SPG points.

    I would otherwise convert those 87,667 SPG points to 109,583 miles (with the 25% bonus). So I’d actually end up with MORE airline miles than I would have (120,000 instead of 109,583).

    And I’d be getting the 7 nights for 97,000 Marriott points instead of the 240,000 points it would cost at 40,000 each x 6 and 1 night free.

    • Close but not 100% accurate

      SPG transfers have to happen in incremental bonuses. so 20k SPG = 25k AA, but 21k SPG = 26k AA. Every 20k gets you 5k bonus; it isn’t a 25% bonus.

      With Marriott/SPG, points go in 1,000 point increments.

      Now you can see why this is such an amazing value!

      • Cindi Anderson says:

        Yes, I understand that, but I always collect more until I get to 20k so for all intents and purposes I get 25%. Good clarification though. Thanks.

  • What would be the best way to use strictly United miles. I have about 600,000 left and no more hotel points

    • Bob, it all depends on your goals. Where are you looking to go? Do you want hotels covered?

      • Most likely just get business class flights. Everything I see a flight on business uses about 150,000 miles. Where can I get the best deal with fewest restrictions?

        • You just need to be flexible with your dates and destinations. If you’re looking for help with a specific trip, you might take a look at getting some help from our booking folks. When you login to your AwardWallet account you’ll see a booking button at the top. They’ll figure out the best use of your miles!

  • Been eyeballing this redemption for years however the wife just got our CP via Chase cards so I was earmarking my points for 2019. As of march 2017 this will no longer be an option for CP so I am probably going to use up the points sooner than latter.

    Do you know if it is possible to upgrade the rooms? I’m looking at a cat8 property but typically all the rooms via points are the lowest tier and I’d like something a little nicer. If points or cash is an option that would be amazing.

  • Half way there! I got my Award Certificate in my Marriott account yesterday. Next…getting my 120k points and Companion Pass in my Southwest account. How long should that take; I thought it was pretty quick so surprised not to see it there today.

    How I got my 270K Marriott Rewards points:

    105K UR from my new Reserve card
    105K UR from my husbands new Reserve card
    55k UR from husbands Preferred card [got it a year ago, canceled after opening Reserve]

    all of the above transferred to my Marriott account

    1k Starwoods points bought for $35 and transferred to my Marriott account = 3k
    2k Marriott points moved from my husbands account to mine, no fee, done instantly over phone while securing the Hotel & Flight Award
    (1) 7 night hotel stay Category 1-5
    (1) Companion Pass
    120k Southwest Points,

    Next up –
    AMEX Starwood card for 35k Starwoods points = 105k Marriott points for upgrade to class 8!!

  • One more basic question …… with the Marriott/SPG merger, are the hotel portion of these awards limited to Marriott properties or do they include Starwood properties?

  • You may have already answered this question, but does the 7 nights of the travel package have to be taken a) consecutively and b) at the same location? Or is it possible to split up the award among various locations?

    • Trevor, the 7 nights need to be consecutive, with the only exception being if you split it up with a paid night stay. So for example, 4 nights award, 1 night paid, 3 nights award. All nights must be at the same property.

      If you choose to use less than 7 nights total, you can do that, but you forfeit the remainder.

  • I am working diligently on this with 3/31 looming. A question– I know that I earn 3x points with travel purchases on Reserve card. Will I still get those 3x points as they are being offset towards the $300 travel credits that is given on Reserve card? i.e. I spend $300 on a hotel and “earn” 900 points. Then I see a $300 credit immediately following the charge. Will I still get those 900 points or does the credit wipe them out?? Thanks.

  • So this is the way I am looking to buy Marriott Hotel + Air package

    1. Buy 30,000 Starwood points for myself ($1050) = 90,000 marriott points
    2. Buy 30,000 starwood points for my wife ($1050) = 90,000 marriott points and she transfers to my account (I read that unlimited starwood points can be transferred if living in same household??)
    3. Transfer 40,000 UR to Marriott account
    4. Apply for southwest Plus credit card for my wife and finish spending of 2,000 to get 50,000 RR points ( I know I need to spend 2k so this won’t be extra cost to me)

    So for $2100 I can get 90,000 + 90,000 + 40,000 = 220,000 points. For this I can get 70,000 Southwest rewards and 50,000 from credit card which makes it 120,000.

    However even if I apply card now it will take 10 days before we get it and then 6 weeks past 50,000 points will be credited (post spending).

    For SPG buying points are available in 24 hours and transfer can be done only after 30 days (when account is active).

    so best case I guess I should be able to use the offer by southwest to deposit miles earned from hotel partners by March 31st.

    However my question is

    1. Can I use the certificate of 7 night package for somebody else? i.e. can i book it for somebody else or I need to stay?
    2. Can I transfer the certificate?
    3. What if I am unable to use it at all? Will I lose all points too?


  • I’m looking to get SW CP before the plug is fully pulled on 3/31/17 on hotel transfers.

    I’m looking to do the Marriott hotel + air package – 270,000 Marriott points to get 7 nights at Category 1-5 and 120,000 SW RR points that are eligible for Companion Pass through the end of March.

    My problem is- I currently have no Marriott points. I have enough points to pull from various places, but concerned about the 50,000 point transfer limit and I’m not sure how/if it applies to me.

    Here’s my plan:
    72,000 Marriott points <- 24,000 SPG points (3:1)
    50,000 Marriott points gift from my father
    148,000 Chase UR points transferred to Marriott (I know this isn't typically the best value for UR, but for my family it will be).
    = 270,000 Marriott points for the package deal.

    Is this do-able? Or will I be restricted at some point by the 50,000 gift limit?
    Point transfer:

    Also, when I go to the Marriott gift page, it shows a price of $625 when I select 50,000. I assume they are just showing the value of the gift and will not be charging anyone this fee.

    Anyone know the answer to this? All advice would be great as soon as you have it! Hoping to purchase a few trips ASAP.

    • Hannah, this is doable. Since he actually has t he points already he’s not truly gifting them to you, he’s transferring them. The transfer fee is $10 unless you are Gold/Platinum elite with Marriott. 1-801-468-4000 is the number to call to complete the transfer.

      Also, keep in mind he can send you more than 50,000 points for the same $10 fee. Marriott allows you to complete one transfer per year greater than 50,000 points as long as you use the points transferred for an immediate redemption. So if he has more points, feel free to transfer them and save some of your Ultimate Rewards.

      • We actually want to transfer them to my husband (so he can be the named person on the Companion Pass to use it with his brother and me). Whether they are transferred to my or my husband, we are not in the same household. Isn’t this an issue? I’m hoping we can get a forgiving agent at Marriott.

  • Where can you see what Hotels are in the Southwest Category 1-5 redemption? I go to Marriott and into my account but since I don’t have a lot of miles [as of now, planning on transferring in 200,000 ultimate Rewards to get 50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards].

    Thank you.

  • I took the united 132k package, is it limited to how many times you could redeem this package? Also is it possible for someone else to transfer spg points into my marriot account?

    • There are no limits to how many times you can redeem this package. You cannot transfer SPG points from Person X to Marriott of Person Y, however Person X could transfer SPG points to Person Y’s SPG account if they were at the same address OR Person X could transfer Marriott points to person Y (up to 50k/year). The 50k/year Marriott limit can be exceeded once per calendar year if the points are directly being used for redemption.

  • Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for this post! I am so excited! I had 2- 5 day stays in Alaska for a family trip reserved with SPG using 44000 points each. I just cancelled them, and rebooked at a Marriott for the entire 7 nights I really needed in a bigger room with breakfast included, free parking and a pool. it cost me 100000 spg points each, but I am also getting 240,000 SW miles. Which will pay for our family trip to Texas next Christmas!!!!!!

  • If I buy the Marriott Hotel + Air package to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, may I put it in someone else’s name/RR Acct.? I want my daughter to have it so she and her friend can travel as I earned the CP already. If she doesn’t use the hotel voucher, I will return it for whatever amount of points they will give me.

  • I have a question. I have 80,000 Chase sapphire rewards. Is there a way somehow to transfer these over to Southwest via double or triple transfers. I know you can buy a marriott air package for seven days and get points that way. Trying to go other routes with the points I currently have.

  • I am not following where the 152,000 United miles is coming from. The Marriott site still shows 132,000 miles, and I do not see any mention of 152,000 miles for the flight and hotel package on the Rewards Plus web site. I know they have a current 20% promotion, but I would feel safer if somewhere it said something about it applying to the flight and hotel package.

  • Unrelated question…What hotel is featured in the email you sent on this topic (The over-water bungalows). That place is beautiful!

  • Boris Faktorovich says:

    I have about 100,000.00 point on my business platinum AMEX card. Does it make any sense to transfer them to Marriot points and then to any airline to get ,lets say, a business class ticket.

  • Doug Strange says:

    I think I’m still not understanding this correct. If for example, I book a Category 1-5 + 120,000, it will cost me 270,000 points? This basically is the redemption rate (25k x 6 = 150,000), and 120,000 points for the airline. It seems I used 270,000 points, and received 270,000 points in value? Am I not understanding this correctly?

    • Doug, the kicker with this is that Marriott points typically do NOT convert to airline miles at a ratio of 1:1. Check out the charts here:

      Remember, not all points are created equal. For example: 100,000 Marriott points are enough to get you 1 night at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. 100,000 Starwood points, converted to Marriott (at a ratio of 1:3) is 300,000 Marriott Rewards, which is 5 nights at the same property (4 + 5th night free).

  • I am also interested in the Southwest companion pass. The 7 nights in one spot is a bit tricky for us. If I take a 120k package 3 in January, do I need a Marriott reservation at the same time? If not, is there an expiration on that Marriott benefit? Thank you!

  • I’m interested in getting a Southwest Companion Pass. Let’s say, I book a 7 night hotel+air package in December, but the actual hotel check-in starts March 15, 2017. When do I actually see the air miles post to my Southwest account?

    • The miles will post within a few days of you completing the transaction. I would suggest NOT getting the package in December, but rather waiting until January 1st. This way you’ll have the companion pass for 2017 and 2018.

      • Just to be clear, by “Transaction” you mean completing the reservation, not the actual stay?

        If so, then the reservation must be non-cancelable, and they deduct the (Marriott) points from your account immediately?

        If I do not currently have enough points in my Marriott account for a hotel+air package, can I reserve a room at the Marriott property I am interested in now, and then come back in January to complete the hotel+air transaction? Will that cover me, if the hotel starts to book up between now and January?

        Sorry for all the specific questions. I got my last SWA Companion Pass on 02/05/15, and would like to max the new one out (as you mentioned) as well.

        • smitty, by transaction I mean completing the redemption. When you complete the redemption, two things happen: 1) A transfer is initiated for the miles to your desired account and 2) a certificate is added to your account for the 7-night redemption. You have one year from issue to complete the stay. So, you can cash in your points and not have a stay planned yet if you want — just use it before it expires, and if you can’t, perhaps a nice agent will extend it for you.

          As for if your balance is short, I genuinely don’t know how that would work. While Marriott does support the concept of booking without all the needed points in your account ( where you can book a stay and as long as points are you in your account 14 days before you’re good, not sure how this would work. My gut says that it would work.

          Hope this helps!

          • Howie, thank you for your patience! I’ve seen several articles written about these Marriott hotel+air packages, but this one has been the easiest to follow.

          • smitty, happy to help! This is seriously one of the sweetest deals out there and especially with the Marriott acquisition of Starwood, it makes it even easier given you now have two sources of points (SPG & Marriott Rewards) that you can use to potentially fund this awesome deal.

  • hi i have a southwest visa card and i’m going to be 15,000 point short this year to get my companion pass for 2017 what is the best deal to get me over the 110000 point for 2017. my one card is a premier card and the other card is a business plus card that i had for five years, could i upgrade the business card to a premier card to get extra points for this year.

    • Alex, you won’t get points for upgrading a card account — You could prepay a significant amount of bills, or figure out how to transfer a net result of 15,000 Rapid Rewards into your account through a hotel transfer program (like Marriott). Those would be the two easiest/most direct mechanisms.

  • I currently have 200,000 Ultimate Reward points from Chase. My priority is to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. Would it make sense to transfer points from ultimate Rewards points to SPG then Marriott? Thank you for your time.

    • Christine, you’d need to get to 270,000 Marriott Rewards to have enough for a redemption that would get you to a companion pass. If that is your goal transfer from Ultimate Rewards to Marriott and then keep building up your balance to 270k and then cash in.

  • To make sure I am understanding correctly, in terms of steps, I’d do the following:

    1. Transfer X Amex points to Starwood/Marriott to take advantage of 1:3 mileage match
    2. Transfer X Chase Rewards points to an airline (preferably Alaskan due to their strong partnerships, or to United for 10% bonus)
    3. Book, enjoy vacation, and recoup a certain % of miles…? This last part remains unclear. How does one get 132K miles BACK?

    • Alex, The specific redemption is the Hotel + Air packages ( — these are done by having points in your Marriott Rewards accounts that you then exchange for 7 nights in a hotel + XYZ amount of points, which depends on how many Marriott points you transfer.

      A process that could work would be: Transfer X SPG points to Marriott, Transfer Y Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott, Call up Marriott and book Z Hotel + Air package, getting 7 nights at a desired category level and miles in your desired airline program (price depending on the program you select, number of miles and level of hotel).

      • Could you take these old packages in this thread and compare to the new packages released on 8/18? If they can be split, and upgraded for the difference in rewards. Compare all to this old 2016 post. My calculations are now showing 2.5 Marriott Rewards per mile using a travel package! That is really disappointing. And a huge increase!