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New member; best use of points

Question asked by michaeljp1257 on Aug 10, 2018
Latest reply on Aug 13, 2018 by arizonatag

Just joined a few months ago with after getting the Rewards Premier Plus VISA card.  Have approximately 130,000 points. Will be staying at a Courtyard and Fairfield next month traveling to Virginia and North Carolina; planned on using the card to build points from those stays.  In January we have six nights in Aruba (category 9).  My original intention was to utilize points for Aruba, but will not have enough points to pay the full amount so would have to do the points / cash option.  I've read that using points / cash is a poor option; so am I better off using the card for Aruba and building points from that stay, and then using my total points for either a Marriott vacation package down the line or at the least use the points for four nights to get a fifth night free ?  Also - what's an approximate good point total to have to really benefit from it ?  Finally, logistical question - to use my points do I have to do that at the time of booking, or can I make that decision when checking in / checking out ?  Thanks - appreciate any advice...