As happens from time to time, I found myself with a little too much free time on my hands this morning. I decided to project out the rest of 2012 for my Marriott Rewards point balance. It appears that this will be the first year that I'll exceed the 400,000 points earned level. That's an increase of my previous high of 334,000 for 2011. My nights stayed will be only about five more than 2011. Not much of an increase there. MegaBonus points will actually be down 15,000 from last year. So, the obvious question is "Hey Pained, how do you account for the additional points?"....Well, I'm glad you asked.
I knew that 2012 was going to be a big point cash-in year. We decided to splurge more than any past year with a couple of big trips and I have a friend battling the big C that we sent to Florida for a week. I didn't want my balance on hand to dwindle too low so...I used three specific strategies to pad my points.
1) Move more 2012 stays from Res Inn (5 pts to the $) to FFI, SHS, and CY (10 pts to the $). I really love the Residence Inns, but I was after points. This was a big sacrifice for me.
2) Max bonus points offered by individual properties. This takes some digging, but there are quite a few 1000, 2000, and more point stay bonus' out there.
3) Condense the majority of all Credit Card purchases to the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card. I was splitting purchases between my USAir card and MR card in previous yrs.
The results 2012 vs 2011:
1) Points from stays up 18% or 25,000 pts
2) "Other" Bonus' up 236% or 35,000 pts
3) Chase MR points up 28% or 20,000 pts.
The net result is even though we'll use 320,000 points this year, we'll increase our ytd balance on hand by 80,000 points.
If you aren't already maxing out your MR Chase Visa (don't build a balance..ooh that interest rate)....it's a great way to pick up extra points. This card pays for itself with the Cat 1-5 annual certificate and the points.