Being a relative newcomer to Insiders, I was at first a bit reluctant to do this post even though I've been a Rewards member since the '80's (almost 40 years!) but I decided to make a go of it anyway. I lucked into finding Insiders when I started poking around after hearing the announcement about all the upcoming changes in the Rewards program.
I was LTS and have been Gold for about 4 or 5 years and have long looked forward to making LTG sometime next year but the changes in August dashed that plan. I had plenty of nights but was 78K short on points. I was also worried that given some unknowns and certain inadequately specific wording in Marriott's announcements that there was some risk that if I didn't make it by July 31st I might never make it. A lot of you here on Insiders helped me figure out a plan to get to LTG ... and it worked! Thank you!
Here's what I did:
- Put together a detailed spreadsheet by month & type of point earnings to analyze, forecast & track my progress and figure out where & how I might earn enough points to make LTG by year-end.
- Bought 50K points. Ok, so it cost me $625 - but I figure it was a wash against the lounge benefits I've received over the past few years traveling in Europe. Breakfast & dinner in the lounge and some refreshments in the evening. Saved me a pile of $$, easily over $600.
- Got my first of (hopefully) a number of 750-point MegaBonus points. (Of course, there were also the points from the stay and I'm planning at least 1 more stay before the program ends in mid-July.)
- Upgraded to the Premier Card. That was worth 10K points. And now I get 6x/2x on new purchases.
- Piled all possible charges onto my Card ... especially certain monthly or annual bills, annual donations I would have made anyway come December, some modest purchases I had been delaying for one reason or another, even grocery store purchases I had heretofore paid with my Debit card, etc. (Important note: I pay my entire balance in full every month.)
- Linked my Twitter account to Marriott Rewards (250 points) + followed Marriott on Twitter (125 points)
- Changed reservations for my vacation in August from points to paid in expectation I would need the points generated by paid stays. My original intent was to empty my points balance in expectation of point devaluation but when I thought I would need new points from the stays I changed back to paid reservations. As it turns out, now I can go back to using points instead.
- Referred my wife for the Marriott Premier Card. She already has her card and at some point it will yield 20K points for me - but it turned out I didn't need them to achieve LTG this month. Hopefully we can make enough charges on her new card in the next 3 months in order to capture her 100K point bonus.
Actually, it turns out I didn't need either of the last 2 bullets. And I would have made it without the 375 points from the Twitter linkages except that at the end of May, Chase didn't process a handful of new charges that would have put me over the top. (Funny thing was, they were charges made 3-4 days before the end of my statement month, not on the final day when I would have expected some not to get processed.) It left me 308 points short. UGH. I knew then that I would make it at the end of June between my next stay and/or my next VISA statement but I wanted to seal the deal so I ended up doing the Twitter thing just to get it over with.
LTPP isn't in the cards so I'm just going to bask in my modest afterglow of knowing I made it to LTG here in June!
Thanks again to all of you who provided tips and advice in all the threads here on Insiders!