Free night certificates - not quite what I expected

Discussion created by martinr on Aug 21, 2018
Latest reply on Feb 6, 2019 by lsadowy

A few weeks ago I completed a Marriott promotion called "Welcome Back" that offered a free night certificate for 2 stays, maximum 2 free nights (for 4 stays).  Details on the promotion are still available on Marriott's Promotion Central the key wording (for me) being "Free night certificates are for category 1-4 hotels and valid for 1 year from date of issuance."


Well, the certificates got posted to my MR account and they are only "good for a free night up to 20,000 points" which makes the certificates useless for Cat 4 properties.  A Category 4 hotel used to cost 20,000 points per night ... but now, post-Aug 18. - a Cat 4 costs 25,000 points per night.



Unaware of this "change," I tried to use the certificates yesterday for an upcoming stay at a Cat 4 property and here's where it got, shall we say, 'interesting.'  First, I can't use the certificates on a Cat 4.  At 20,000 points it's only good up to a Cat 3.  Second, it's no longer possible to combine a free night certificate with additional points to make up any shortfall between the certificate's value and the total points required for a night.  At least that's what the Marriott reservation agent told me last night.


I understand that certificates were going to be revised on Aug 18 and converted to points ... but imho a certificate "for category 1-4 hotels" should have been recalculated to 25,000 points, not 20,000.  As it is, these certificates are only good up to a Cat 3 hotel (see the new redemption chart) not a Cat 4 as advertised ... or maybe sometime in 2019 they will be usable at an Off-Peak Cat 4 property (whatever Off-Peak turns out to be defined as).  This is not what the Welcome Back Promotion offered.


I'll make another attempt to discuss and work this out with Marriott today, but for now wanted to alert others to this little twist in the migration to the new program.