Do you prefer to accumulate points or exchange them towards Airlines or other program points?
Actually I prefer to accumulate enough points to exchange for combination Fly/Stay awards. This allows me to accumulate Points on my favorite airlines and I can and do use the hotel stay awards separately. In addition Marriott has both 5 and 7 Day stay combination awards for all levels; i.e.
Levels 1-5 and then separately for Levels 6, or 7, or 8, or 9, or 10.
These combination awards are probably the best bang for the point awards in the MR system
Can you explain to me in detail how to go about and where to exchanging points for combination fly/stay awards.
I like to accumulate points. My preference is all things Marriott. Points for Marriott stays is my main focus, and I don't want to use them for anything else except travels and stays at places I enjoy
Actually, I accumulate them and use them. I try not to let my balance get too great and, in fact, after a planned November trip, I will have none, accumulated. Points like money, lose value over time. Unlike money, you cannot put them in an interest bearing account.
Accumulate. After using a boatload of points for our wedding last year, the misses and I are now rebuilding to allow for a trip to Italy (Venice and Rome) when I retire in 2019. The Venice Renaissance had a gondola "dock" right outside one of its doors. Some of the Marriott's in Italy look stunning. The number of points required is stunning as well.
I concur with some of the comments I have seen. I accumulate points with the intention of using them. I generally take the 5 night hotel packages and transfer enough miles (utilizing the travel package) to book a round trip flight. One of the things I have been able to do is book business class going to Europe and coming back in economy. As most of you know, when traveling to Europe it is generally a Red Eye, so having the ability to sleep (comfortably) on the way over makes a big difference on our arrival over there. Len
As a retired person I have now exhausted most of the stash of hotel points of various programmes that I had saved over the previous year or two. Nowadays I carefully calculate whether it is more effective to pay for a stay or to use the points. As I am doing everything in my power to attain SPG lifetime platinum in the next few months, virtually all of my points are being spent on highly effective Starwood cash and points deals.
I agree with Norman. Especially now I am retired, cash and points is the way to go. Two stays coming up ,one this month to Fuertaventura in the Canary Islands and one in October to Malta, both in 3000 points an 55$ per night which will take me up to platinum for 2018 and hopefully allow me to complete my final year to lifetime.
Accumulate! I just traded in some points for a Yeti on the Flash Sale but otherwise we use points strictly for hotel stays (and try to do 5 nights at a time)
I prefer to accumulate and build on using Marriott hotels. I think the use towards free hotels stays works for me and there is no sense using them towards another industry (airlines for example)
I've been earning and accumulating a lot the last 3 years. I keep thinking I'll find a great vacation and stay for 5 nights, but for some reason I can't quite find that right trip just yet due to moving around from site to site.
So, to align with reality, I've changed my thought process around the value of points to consider it a type of insurance for whenever I need a vacation, I have points to make it happen. It also takes planning out of the equation if I assume I have 5 nights, and I have tons of Marriott properties. Easy and convenient has value to me.
The other area that I'm hopeful on is a wider variety of products now thanks to SPG. Also, the ways to use points continue to increase, so I don't see a challenge in using the accumulated points anytime soon.
There is not an easy answer to it. Use the points when they are worth it.
Don't waste a big amount of points on hotels where the rooms are a bargain. Just pay the fee and keep accumulating.
But if you find a great deal where little points will save you big time, then spend the points!
The average value of a MR point is 0.9 cents US$ (according to TPG), however only .81 cents CA$ (RateHub). Try to get a better ROI than these values and then spending the points will be "worth it."
Unless you have a few millions of points to burn, then just go for it.
Absolutely correct, yogib - as someone who is (mostly) retired and nowadays pays for all my own travel, I ensure that I only use my valuable points on stays that make sound financial sense. As I have sought to reach LTP (on target for next month) my travels have been predominantly with Starwood and the ability to score great cash and points stays has contributed enormously to my LTP campaign. At times it made sound financial sense to buy Starwood points (particularly during the 30% off promotion - such as that running at the moment) then use them towards C & P stays. Of course, we don’t know the future of cash and points in the new scheme, and whether they will be watered down in the same way as other Starwood benefits, but let’s remain optimistic that the new Marriott programme will still have some vestige of this facility - especially as most of the competition offer something similar.
Fully agree normanp. Cash and points has been my favourite redemption method for starpoints. I spend as I go because at my age you never know when you won't be able to spend them!
agree with you as it took 450k points to stay 5 nights at Ritz Cayman but quote rates were 2k per night
I agree with brianandlin, except that I do straight points. For best value,I use all points in five night blocks so I get five nights for the price of four. I accumulate points and use them.
A few years ago, I had a balance of well over half a million points. Serious illnesses caused me to consider the risk that I would pass away leaving a large balance of unusable points. Since then, I use my points every year as I enjoy my vacations. One does not get interest on points and they do devalue over time due to inflation, so why not use them as soon as I can.
Good points. I need to start using some as I usually just let them build
Yeah, but don't ;et them build too much. Use them as they accumulate. Also, choose goals, save points for them, and then spend it. In 2016, we did a two week trip to three locations in California. We did almost all of it on points.
Purpose of getting points is to spend them and have some fun!
I agree with the others here, shaunfromcolumbus.ohio - the rate they devalue year on year means your stash won't take you as far in the future - the exception is the little window from August to end of December this year, when the re-categorisation means there will be some real bargains at high end properties before they go stratospheric when the new tiers arrive next year. I mean to use every one of my 300000 new points once August is here. (who knows, there may be some new cash and points bargains like I'm used to with Starwood - hope springs eternal!)
What you On normanp?
I am finding this poll quite interesting. The one category that should be added is accumulating and exchanging. Over the 20+ years, I have earned over 4,000,000 points and during this time, I have used about 3,000,000. points. Most of my usage has been for travel packages where I put enough miles into my airline mileage account and book a 5 or 7 night stay at a hotel. I have traveled to the Czech Republic and Austria, Denmark and Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy and Greece. There might be others I have forgotten, but it gives you an idea. The last several times I have traveled (going to Europe) I have had enough miles to travel business class over and economy coming back. By the way, I still have over 1,000.000 points and my next trip is to Lisbon, Portugal utilizing a travel package.
Since this is a two year old poll, I don't feel guilty momentarily 'tweaking' the subject matter. Where are you staying in Lisbon?
brianandlin please jump in as well, since this is your stompin' grounds.
The very award affordable Marriott and Sheraton appear to be outside the walking distance of downtown, where I want to hang for meals, museums, arts, spirits etc (but if walkable, please advise). The other resorts appear to be beachy, but I don't know, thus the inquiry.
Do either of you guys intend to hang downtown or are you more having a 'resort' type of stay? Is there a Marriott property (which includes Starwoods - sorry SPGers, but that's what they're called now - ) that has easy access to downtown (other than having to follow a Pluto-Eisenhower D-Day logistical plan)?
Thank you for your insights.
In Lisbon, I am staying at the Lisbon Marriott. Generally, I try to stay downtown, walking distance (up to mile) or good local transportation to getting around. That is not always possible. In Prague, the Marriott was 5 minutes walk to Old Town and most of the area we were visiting was 15 to 20 minute walk (there was a metro stop nearby). In Barcelona, we stayed at a Renaissance Fira about 6 miles from Las Ramblas. Outside the hotel was a commuter stop and we had no problems getting downtown and doing things. The hotel has a great outdoor swimming pool on the 27th floor with great views of the area (it was 90+ degrees everyday). In Vienna, the hotel (Marriott Imperial Riding School) was about a half hour walk to downtown, but there a tram right outside the hotel or a 5 minute walk to a commuter station and within 15 minutes you were downtown. Everyone had their own criteria of what is acceptable.
In Lisbon, we are staying the Lisbon Marriott which is about 3 miles to the downtown area and less than a mile to a metro station. We will be there in June and wanted access to an outdoor pool which this hotel has. When I booked it was a category 5, but I see the category is now a 6. I am hoping for an upgrade or access to the executive lounge.
Thanks, useful info, I appreciate it.
I have stayed at the Sheraton Lisbon which is within easy walking distance of the city centre and I think is nearer to the centre than the Marriott. This last stay was at the Sheraton Cascais. This is away from th the city and is in the incredibly peaceful National Park. Cascais is about a 10 minutes drive from the hotel and has according to Trip Advisor 596 resteraunt s so plenty of places to eat. It is also surrounded by golf courses which I am assured are very good.
Good stuff, thank you
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