Last week Marriott dropped into their terms and conditions that they were eliminating travel packages effective January 19, 2022. This was apparently published in the terms and conditions too early, and Marriott removed this from their published terms telling me they “published prematurely..[w]e will have additional details for members in the coming days.”
However Marriott never told members in advance about this change. Only readers of this blog – or readers of other blog that got the news from this one – knew about the plan to eliminate travel packages (multi-night hotel stay awards combined with airline mileage transfers) in advance.
Now that January 19th is here, the change to Marriott Bonvoy’s terms and conditions has once again been published.
3.14 Hotel and Air Travel Packages
Effective January 19, 2022, Hotel and Air Travel Packages are no longer available for purchase.
When I called out the change, Marriott removed this from their terms as if to hide the plan of the benefit’s elimination. A spokesperson said that they’d “have additional details for members in the coming days” yet they never notified members of this coming change. That’s disappointing.
Even worse, the approach of making changes to the program and not telling members about it at all seems to be a consistent one for Bonvoy. For instance,
- They eliminated elite phone reservations for Silvers and Golds without notice
- They eliminated all-inclusive rewards without notice
- They stopped giving elite benefits on third party bookings without notice shortly after the head of the program told me that they would continue honoring benefits for these stays.
- Specific hotels received exemptions from honoring elite breakfast without telling members.
- They eliminated annual elite nights for holding meetings without notice and even made the change retroactive to cover meeting contracts that had already been signed.
- They allowed many hotels to limit availability of award redemptions again, without notice members.
The loss of travel packages isn’t ultimately huge because Marriott already eliminated most of the value from that redemption option, turning it into a niche use case in recent years because of award price increases. It’s what this represents more broadly that’s troubling.
Update: A Marriott spokesperson adds,
While you have written that Travel Packages with hotel and air components are being discontinued today (January 19), I am providing you with information that we are emailing to members in case you receive reader inquiries. This includes members with a current Travel Package certificate attached to a reservation and members who have purchased a Travel Package but not yet attached the certificate to a reservation.
The popularity of Travel Packages has been steadily decreasing. With the introduction of flexible point redemption rates sometime in March and the elimination of hotel categories, we can no longer offer Travel Packages.
For members who have a current Travel Package certificate attached to a reservation, they can rest assured their package will be honored, and no additional action is required. However, if they need to make any modifications after March 2, 2022, they will need to contact Member Support and an associate will refund the total hotel portion in points.*
Members who have purchased a Travel Package but have not yet attached their Travel Package Certificate to a reservation, must contact Member Support by February 28, 2022. for assistance in attaching their certificate. If a member does not attach their Travel Package Certificate to a reservation by that date, the certificate will be cancelled, and the total hotel portion will be refunded to your account as points.