Seems like Marriott has raised the ratings for many of the hotels. Used to be able to use a 1-4 rewards certificate at various Courtyards and full service Marriotts and now it is hard to find a 4 rating. Many of the 5's are now 6's, too. Especially in Charleston, Savannah and Asheville. It is devaluing the rewards for being a loyal member. Anybody else notice that?
Here's the original discussion regarding 2012 changes:
Please be sure to post any Cat 1-4 Certificate Redemption problems to the following thread, "Which marriott Brand & Loaction Did Not Honor an Anticipated marriott Reward Benefit for You?"
or click on the following link
I completely agree with the original post. I get my Cat 5 each year and almost never able to use it (let alone any bonus nights I get at Cat 4 or 5) because my stays are almost always outside the US. There are a few Cat 5s but I don't know of any Cat 4s in Europe. And when I tried to use my Premier Card certificate for my recent trip to stay overnight in Portland, ME, it said all Cat 5 hotels were booked. To me, they're useless. I will ask, as suggested by others, that it/they carry over into the New Year, but I don't think I've used one in about 3 years.
It's true. Even if I don't have a reason to go somewhere where I can use my cat 1-4/5 certs, I can easily make one up. Sometimes it's just good to get out of Dodge. Many people see Salinas, CA as a sort of a not much to look at or do there farming community (which is exactly what it is), but I see it as a place where I can use my free night certs at two really nice cat. 4 properties that are only a 15 minute drive to the Monterey Peninsula. Sure, I'd rather be staying at a nice waterfront property on Cannery Row, or a cute property off of Ocean Ave in Carmel, but hey, we can't have everything all the time, and as a sometimes beggar, I can't always be choosy. I count my Salinas free cert stays as a nice getaway, a place to lay my head at night while enjoying all of the lovliness of the Peninsula and all of it's many offerings during the day and evenings.
For me, if I only have a 1 nt cert, I look for something that I can drive too. When I took out the Marriott CC, the San Deigo Marina Hotel was a cat 5. The first year, I was given a cat 4 and the following years, it would be a cat 5. By the next year, the hotel was a cat 6. This was when I tried to pay with cash or pts for the difference from my 5 cert to upgrade it to a 6 and was told no. I think the hotel is a 7 or 8 now and realize that I will never be able to use it there. I play with it and have always been able to find a place to use it to my benefit. As Pluto says, it might not be your first choice but if you are flexable, most can find something.
It's true, Cal. There are still some cat 4 properties in SD, and a CY in Carlsbad. Nothing wrong with staying there. Here's another fun secret. Irvine Marriott, over by John Wayne airport is a very nice cat. 4 property, and it is seriously only about a 3-4 mile drive to Newport Coast, Balboa and Fashion Islands, and all kinds of stuff. Why not stay there for a getaway. It's not the best - who wouldn't prefer a resort?, but who can argue with free? I'll take it with a huge smile on my face and a heart of gratitude. There are plenty of these places on the west coast.
Why not use a standard performance based rating system like AAA or Mobile Travel guide, that is updated on an annual basis by a professional inspector. Then disconnect the rewards from the ratings, so you can use your certificate anywhere, and its a standard amount of point, that are graduated by length of stay? This would make it easier on everyone, and eliminate alot of work and confusion on everyone's part?
Many have ideas on what they would like but what I think Marriott is doing is giving us stays at hotels that we don't normally use points at. If each hotel sets aside, perhaps 10% of their rooms for pts, and the higher level better ones tend to fill wew would have a problem when we could not get in. I would expect that not many of us use pts to stay at SHS or FFI so that is what we get for free.
Just up the 'street' a small bit are two really nice Cat 4's I have stayed at. The Long Beach Marriott is a beautiful property and easy driving distance to a lot of places. The Long Beach Residence Inn Downtown (rught on the harbor) is a fairly new property that I think is a real sleeper! It is walking distance to all the activities on the harbor. Good restaurants there too....and the hotel staff does a free BBQ on Wed nights as I recall with free beer and wine for all customers staying there. It was a pleasant surprise last time I was there!
This is why I am reading everyone's posts with great interest on the topic. Hopefully from all the ideas, I can find I can do. For instance, I love the idea of going to Kuala Lumpur or Fairbanks, but the air fare to get there is too much.
Most of the Cat 1-4 properties near me are not properties I generally use.
I prefer rewards that let me use them at the properties I stay at and earned the benefits. Not to have to use the reward at a property that I have to go out of my way to find and use, and spend money on air fare.
Right now the most likely idea from the posts is the property in Tyson Corners, VA as I do go to DC often and it has received rave reviews. I usually stay at the Key Bridge Marriott as its convenient to everywhere I need to go, and I have been going there since college days. I could stay in Tysons Coner, and take the metro to all the places I go, but I do sacrifice my view of the potomac and DC waterfront, walking over key bridge to georgetown to my favorite restaurants since college days, all the memories from over the years of staying at the Key Bridge Marriott. Staying at Tysons Corner, I will need to take the metro to Key Bridge, and the metro station is further from the bridge than the hotel so increase my walk time to the bridge, and over to Georgetown.
Its not something that I look forward to do. It does not generate any level of excitement. Its more like, what can I do with this certificate? And if I want to be all the way out in Tyson's I can stay with several different friends who have guest quarters in their homes for free.
Pluto, Actually considered Courtyard Arling Rosslyn one year, as it was substantially cheaper, but I do like my view on a south facing room down the Potomoac, meeting my friends in the very comfortable lobby they have, walking over the bridge to Georgetown or going up to the rooftop lounge/restaurant which has changed many times over the year. Have been doing this since college days, so on my few trips to DC, I like to indulge in this, and not waste my time doing something I will have regrets over.
I don't like being in the car, live 4 miles from the office, and even take the train to my brother's place that is 1 hr away. So driving from NJ to VA (300+ miles), not unless its an emergency and there is no otherway to get there. Have been many times to Mt Vernon and Charlottesville when I lived in DC, entertaining visitors, and visiting my mom's high school friend that moved to Charlottesville.
The best times I can remember was being on long-term travel and living in NYC or WDC in a Marriott where I could walk everywhere, or take a train to the airport.
p.s. I have a also have a goal of seeing 10 of the US states I have not yet seen (Oregon is at the top of my list), or new countries I have not traveled to, but all require air fare, and many don't have marriotts, e.g. this year I visited Madeira, Canary Islands, Norway, and will go to Iceland end of the year - none with marriotts. Barcelona which I have visited many times, had only Marriott Partnered Properties, so after my Augograph Collection Property experience in Mar, I did not bother trying a partner in Barcelona.
This is why I do all my shopping online, all my credit cards are either Delta Amex or MR and I look for promotions. I also find that if I fly (often cheaper than Maine to Philly) to Europe about 9-10 times a year for research, I automatically requalify for Delta Platinum at the least. And that's the one privilege I would last give up. If I have to stay at a hotel that's not a Marriott, that's ok, and I've had some great deals. I usually go through expedia, which is how I found the Myconian Imperial Resort & Spa on Mykonos and the Hospes Palacio del Bailio in Cordoba. France is my biggest problem for Marriotts. Outside of Paris or the Riviera there are virtually none except for airport hotels. Even the Toulouse AIrport Courtyard Marriott (do you believe???) is a Cat 7.
I did start using Delta Sky Miles on your recent suggestion, and have only done my normal shopping, but all online. Thus far, I have more points from shopping than all my domestic flying this year. The only problem I encountered was one vendor, drugstore.com, which had a special of 4 points/$spent and free shipping only transfers points every 6-8 weeks. I only discovered this when the points did not arrive the next day and I emailed their customer support. I did let them know I would not be shopping with them if they don't transfer nightly like their competitors. Am wondering how this will affect the August deal of matching every $250 spending with 250 points.
Since then I found that Continental has a similiar mall, which I have tested out with 1 purchase from the same vendor participating in the Delta mall, but the points have not been transferred.
I am close to tickets on both airlines, and figure I can switch my spending back and forth to get the tickets, or based on point specials, though I am abit concerned with Continental's transfer not occurring nightly.
FYI...on Delta Sky Mail points for Drugstore.Com and Magazineline.com
Both required an email to Customer Support, and I now have an email confirming the purchase, and the associated miles from Magazineline.com, and 1 of 2 from Drugstore.com, so it looks like its doable, but alot of work. Also, both only transfer once very 6-8 weeks, so all I getting now is the email for the file acknowleding the transaction. Will need to followup 2 months from now. Am going through the same thing with the sky miles dining. Dinner from Sunday has not been acknowlleged and I only have till Aug 22nd to get the bonus miles for 1st time use.
I no longer use SkyMiles dining because there's only one restaurant in my town where it counts (and it's only okay), but I think I usually got those miles fairly quickly. One thing to note is that you get different miles for different days of the weekend, and weekend days usually not at all. I've given up on drugstore and magazines, but am very promptly getting all my other points. In fact I had 1000 bonus miles today because I'd filled out a Delta survey and was apparently one of the winners.
For the Skymilesdining -- make sure Sunday counted. It's usually on the right sidebar of the restaurant you went to.
My first question has to do with a matching deal of 250 for every $250 spent -- that sounds more like Skymall. But it's definitely skymilesshopping?
In any case, there are problem merchants, and I've stopped shopping from them. While I bought from Ann Taylor a lot, I noticed I was never getting points. I think that was a case where (unstated) they did not give points if you used a promo, even from them. But that's the exception for Delta Skymiles Shopping, esp. now that I'm using my Amex Delta card when I do. (I can always call them because they have the record right there, and if I ever return something they subtract the points immediately).
Another problem (esp for one that supposedly offers so many pts (25 to 40x) is magazines.com. I never got points and in one case never even got the magazine.) It's a rip-off in any case because once they have your credit card number, the next year they bill you about 4x what you originally paid. It shows up as TWX (usually with an 800 number, because I think the credit card companies want the people who caused the problem to deal with it). Cancelling does work; getting points from them in my experience does not.
But on the whole I get my skymiles almost immediately. Stores that I openly advocate because of their quick postings are: Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, NM, Last Call, TigerDirect, PetSmart and lots that I can't think of because except for books I do ALL my shopping on Delta SkymilesShopping.
And I will say absolutely that I have gotten hundreds of thousands of miles for doing so. Sign up and look out especially, since you're a Skymiles member, for unusual specials -- normally I don't shop at Neiman Marcus because it's too expensive (though I like to be well dressed in a profession that usually is not), but when I got their huge promotion bonus for SMS, I went at it and got 5000 miles almost immediately. Had I realized how good a deal that was I would have shopped their sale section till I dropped off my computer chair.
Delta wasn't so good about this 18 months ago (they were still doing the NW thing and they changed to not always telling you when your miles have posted, which is still true -- I think it depends on merchants telling them. But Amex knows for sure.). I follow a simple rule -- I don't wait for Delta to tell me such and such a merchant has awarded my miles -- I check them every day after a purchase till I know I have gotten it. Lately (and it MAY be the Amex connection since I was normally using my MR Premier card for everything before I got the AMEX Delta reserve), everything is posted within a week. I should even probably buy some cheapo magazine from magazines.com solely to check if it will post knowing how easy it is to cancel.
But it is a great deal. I know I am probably giving away seats I could get, but I've gotten the seats other people could have gotten, and when you're arthritic it matters!
Shop away! This is one of the easiest ways I know to get multiple amounts of miles without ever leaving your home or apartment. For me, Portland is 1-1/2 hours away and Bangor 55 minutes, so I'm left without a really good mall in central Maine. So why bother when it helps me fly business class abroad?
Thanx ProfC for the advice.
Since I am still new at this, I check the next day after I make the purchase to make sure I get the points, which is the case thus fare except for Drugstore.com, and Californian confirmed he never got milest from them. I do have an email from them saying wait 6-8 weeks, which I will do, and will resend to see where my miles are. Told them no further purchases until miles are received and they upgrade their system to competitors.
While I look at the deals, I am limiting myself to things I would normally buy. For the drug items I did look at everyone and went with the most miles per $, but I can see this is a come on and I need to stick with vendors I current use.
You got lucky -- not only Portland has gotten really nice, but Samoset is one of our best resorts. Alas, far enough from me to be unavailable. Once a figure skater I met on a plane who was there for a conference invited me there for a day (just to swim) while she had a conference. It was fun, and I love the Midcoast but don't get there enough. It's just that little bit too far away.
Well I am happy to report that since I have not bought anything in a store for the month of August, and have only eaten at restaurants that participate in SkyMilesDining Program. In 3 weeks I have more points than my flite to the UK, and that is not counting the vendors that transfer on a monthly basis (drugstore.com and magazineline.com). No additional spending, just changed to shopping online, vendors in the Delta Sky Mall. I did experiement with one purchase through the United Sky Mall, but that charge has yet to transfer to the FF account so I have no idea if its working as billed. SkyMilesDining gave me a 1200 mile bonus just to join, and 25 points per restaurant review I write. When I return to the restaurant a 2nd time, I still get to review it for points. Just past the domestic ticket award level of 25K and working my way towards international travel!
actually using 2 separate airlines as I had points on 2 different airlines that were partners, but each merged with a different carrier. So when Northwest and Contiental were partners I could easily move my points back and forth. When they merged I missed the cutoff to transfer my points so I had some on Northwest, now Delta, but was short points for a domestic ticket, and some on Continental now United well in excess of an international ticket or 2.
I started the Delta Sky Mile shopping at your suggestion and in 3 weeks finished off the domestic ticket and am on my way to international. I thought I would try the United Sky Mall, same vendor I used in the Delta program, but the points have yet to transfer so I have no idea if it works, and so will focus all shopping and dining on the Delta program. For continental, I do surveys and questionaires for points (usually get ~4000-6000 miles/year), and also Charity donations (usually about 5000-10000 points a year for the charities I donate to and I get a company match for).
I have had a lot of problems with United shopping. I don't get the miles and follow their steps to request mileage credit and get an e-mail telling me that I didn't do it right. They have a mileage shopper that usually works but sometimes not. They tell me that I didn't click on it and I tell them that I did but they just ignore my comments. In one case I uses a registered card and they didn't honor that either. It does work most often but you can't count on it. After what I have been through with United and AA, I will only buy what I would anyway and if I get the miles OK and if not, just let it go. It is not worth the time and paperwork to follow up.
United shopping is not working well. I only did 1 transaction with them to test out how they handled it.
Delta shopping, I have successfully used based on ProfC's explanations and recommendations. There is some variabiliity between vendors, so I make one low value purchase till I see how it works. Only 2 vendors have been problematic, but they have been responsive to emails, and I let them know that I would not shop with them till corrected, and their competitors are doing it right. thus far, 2 of 3 are fixed. I will still need to consider if its worth the effort for the difficult vendors. Might use the ones with a little less points per dollar but more efficient and less work on my part.
While there were glitches in Delta's Skymilesshopping esp after the NW transfer, I have gotten all my points without hassle recently and some great deals. When added to all the miles I actually fly it's why I get so many free business class trips to Europe. It's funny - I usually tell colleagues about it (and they know how much I get free) and they ignore it, or maybe are just people who like in person shopping (I don't). By my age, I know what kind of things look good on me or please me.
I rarely try anything on anymore, as I know what styles and sizes work, so online if fine with me, and easier. Actually, many of the companies I currently order from are in the Delta Sky Mall, so all I have changed is how I log into the store, from Delta Sky Mall portal instead of directly to the store. Only a couple of exceptions like books, I buy work books from Amazon, and all my leisure reading is barnes & noble on my nook. There don't seem to be any options for books and I wish there was as I spend alot of money on this, and the work books are paid for by the office. And food, as it appears Safeway does not deliver in my area. I can get dried & preserved through wallmart, target, etc. though.
I do not want to be critical, but many of the comments are missing any connection to the original post ”Rewards Category Ratings keep going up....???”
The question was not if and where are Category 1-4 hotels, but why are the hotel rating going up, basically devaluating the value of the Marriot points.
I’m seeing many comments totally disconnected from original post, could we get little discipline and keep comments, answers, questions and actions focused?
Have reread posts for continuity, and true they are not all specifically discussing the hotel category ratings going up.
Many arre looking at the effect on members of the ratings going up, the most notable being the inability to use Cat 1-4 awards when a hotel moves from cat 4 to cat 5. Even the ones appearing to be most off topic are participants discussing the workarounds to this problem and options.. The comments on aligning with industry standard ratings were pretty much ignored as member probably aren't interested in that. They are interested int he effect it has on them, namely 1) how many points they need to use for a free night 2) Use of cat 1-4 certificates for free nights. Other than those 2 issues, I can not think why any of use would be concerned about the numerical number assigned.
Also, at the beginning of the thread, there are links to other threads on the same topic. Perhaps they are more what you were expecting?
Reflecting on discussion threads I participate in on a regular basis there are the university advanced degree programs, and Social Networking Groups. For University Advance Degree Programs, no one,not even a professor or department chair overseeing these threads has ever questioned a post as off topic. We often go all over the place exploring an issue or topic.
Only once in a Social Networking thread did I see a comment like this is, and it was on the LinkedIn Group for Sharepoint. They have someone administering this thread that willl critiques not only what you say, formating, titles, etc. Obviously, I never participate in this thread as the only time I am use to appling that level of rigorous review and revision is for submissions to publications, regulatory authorities, legal documents, etc.
Anyways, I am always puzzled at these kinds of comments on dicussion threads, so help me out on why the path this discussion took is a problem?
here, here! of course, this is an ongoing discussion point and likely never to be resolved. I only find these off-point remarks annoying when I am not a participant in them. As the site becomes more of a social networking site (which it is), the more this will be the case. As a very wise man (ss)once told me, this site is policed by no one but us and if the members enjoy the banter, then so be it. And, as another wise man (nuhusker) once told me, if you don't like a comment, don't read it. Point is, this community is here for the enjoyment of the members and THEY will collectively decide what brings them enjoyment.
I have a free cat. 1-4 megabonus free night certificate that expires on 9/30/12. My one possibility to use is sold out the desired weekend night. Will Marriott Rewards extend the deadline for the certificate? Marriott should also allow the use of the 1-4 free certificate at a higher level hotel with an additional cash payment.
I note that new megabonus promotions now expire 1 year after issue
i dont cant give here 5 stars JW Marriott what have only cat. 3...... Alltime when give a information here, 7 days later it change, and the caterogie go up, or the price go hight.,
just one example last year i give here the senior price from the JW Marriott in medan, one week later the price go up 100 %. now i find a very good Rennaisance hotel with
a very good price. i am schure you anderstand i dont cant give the name here.
I hope you all have or soon will take the time to do the Insiders survey. It's a great opportunity to give feedback about the Insiders website. Here's the link
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