Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Day More -- Nov. 15 is the last day to claim your free Marriott room nights

    Each day offers differing opportunities and dangers for every person. This is a reminder that you have one day more to sign up for Marriott's Megabonus offer, which for most will offer a free room night for every two stays. The promotion period lasts through January 15, but November 15 is the last sign-up day.
    The Megabonus offers are individualized, but for most casual travelers the offer will be a Category 1-5 room certificate for every two stays, up to a maximum of two. We've used these certificates to attend away football games, for a quick trip to New Orleans, or just when traveling.
    We usually use our certificates for hotel nights that would otherwise cost us in excess of $150. So 12 one-night stays per year yields six free-night certificates worth $900 in hotel stays. Oh, and you should earn in excess of 15,000 Marriott Rewards points over those 12 stays, which is enough points for a night at a Category 3 Marriott-family hotel. So 12 stays equals seven free nights. The math is pretty good on this one; if you have the need for hotel stays over the next two months then failing to sign up for these free room certificates is just silly.
    If a husband and wife both travel a little bit, just double it and make it 12 free-night certificates a year. That's about as many free nights as a family can possibly use.
    For those who keep up with such things, Marriott has one of the best aspirational awards going: Seven nights in a Marriott-family hotel plus 120,000 airline mile. The point cost varies, but most will end up spending 300,000 to 390,000 points for this.
    So what is the air-hotel package worth? Well, 120,000 airline miles will get two tickets to Europe in the shoulder season, which if purchased for cash could easily cost $1,500 each. Seven nights at the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel could easily cost 2,400 Euros, or about $3,250. So the value of the flight-hotel package is about $6,000. Spouses can pool their points when redeeming these awards.
    Of course, it will take a while to earn that many points, and there is always the risk that the award chart could be gutted. But if the chart stays the same then  in two more years Jinny and I will get a heck of a vacation.

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