Like iahflyr often does, I'm a tagalong/chauffer/gopher at a conference attended by my boss Mrs. Erc. Sitting in my room reading, with nothing to do, I thought I'd channel brightlybob and spill my guts on everything going on .
Staring at a $300 Renaissance Long Beach rate (demand oriented pricing - you got a conference, we got a profit!), I gladly used my points for an award stay to invest the funds in food and beverage (excellent restaurants all around and two quickies right across the street - Rock Bottom Brewery, had excellent happy hour brews and Pier 76 is a tasty, great value quick serve lunch for grilled fish - look it up, if you don't believe me ).
I parked the car, living with the $22 overnight rate for the one night we're here. Reading about how folks on an award stay collected their Plat bonus points easier when there were other charges, I started thinking, oh my gosh, what if this goofy $22 charge makes this a stay (my upcoming original third stay is a $200+ room, which would then be moved to a non-point earning 4th stay in the MegaBonus). No sweat, I thought, most parking charges don't earn points anyway - WRONG, this is one of the few properties that own their own parking lot and guess what - points are earned for parking! So I would double 220 points instead of 2200 points, but even worse, I'd have my feelings hurt (and you know how sensitive I am) and my reputation ruined.
Down to the front desk I went and with the help of another in a long line of dedicated Marriott associates, we backed out the charge and I paid cash (please don't tell Arne, he loves it when the Man sticks it to erc).
So, as a reminder/warning to all of you fellow points loving MegaBonus players - if you go on an award stay during one of your first three "double points" stays; don't dare buy a sandwich, candy bar, paper, nothing that would cause that sucker to count as an eligible stay and cost you megabonus points and emotional angst.
Otherwise, lovely weather out here in beautiful Southern Cal; 4-7 inches of rain, mudslides, wonderful traffic, and gusts of wind approaching 60 mph; yet, still a great day to be alive!
ps - in spite of what you might think, the happy hour beers were consumed last night, not prior to this post