A while back I mentioned purchasing Marriott Cheques as opposed to just using points for a room. Here is what I have experienced so far:
$1000 in Marriott money - 135,000 points
4 room nights in Colorado @ $99/night or 80,000 points. Total bill was $477ish (bill included bar tab, taxes, room movie), I used $450 in Marriott money, paid $27ish cash. Balance $550 Marriott money.
2 nights (upcoming in Indy) @ $119/night or 'points not available, sold out event'. (normally 30,000 points). Lets say I use $250 Marriott money, pay $25ish. Balance $200 Marriott money.
On my next stay (TBD), to use the $200 Marriott money would probably get me close to a break even if I had just paid for the rooms with points, however because I am able to pay cash for a night when points were not available, the fact that I do receive points for my stays (Colorado was just under 7,000 points), and I can include my bar tab/other expenses in the total bill leads me to believe the Marriott Cheques were a better deal. Takes bit longer to check-out, but worth it IMO.