I recently got a new job that has me travel quite a bit. I go to New York City once a month, and I travel to California twice a year. Sometimes I go to Vegas, and sometimes some other states. Until recently I have not been taking advantage of miles, points, or any rewards programs at all. I was flying to California on Virgin Airlines, returning on Jet-Blue, staying in Best Westerns, Hiltons, and Marriots. Even the programs I did join, like True Blue (Jet Blue), my miles expired before I reused them.
Finally I smartened up and decided to try to take advantage of rewards program. I started staying in Marriots and quickly got to 50,000 points. I even got couple of free night stay certificates. I used one this summer with my family.
My question is this:
Since I decided on Marriot as my reward program of choice is there a particular airline that I should be using as often as possible? I usually try to use JetBlue first as they are my favorites, I do not enjoy flying and the little TV's keep me occupied (especially on the 6 hour cross country flights). Are there ay tricks or tips I should be following to maximize the benefits of flying and staying at Marriot? I also rent a lot of cars from Hertz, is there any way to use this to increase rewards?
Also, does anyone have an example of a great vacation they got on their rewards points? I wouldn't mind saving up for a long period of time if I knew that I could get a free week in the Bahamas or somewhere tropical. has anyone ever saved up for an al inclusive vacation? Is that even possible?
Sorry for all the questions, it is just a little overwhelming for a beginner, and I constantly feel that I am shortchanging myself.