With the number of Insiders surprised by the E-195 gift cheque termination behind us, let's make certain no one overlooks the upcoming deadline for booking rooms (especially Category 4 certificates) at the soon to be old categories.
1) Due date May 15 (don't let the international date line throw you off)
2) The full blown explanation
3) The Cliff Notes version (are they even used anymore?) - list of changes
4) Andy's Words of Wisdom - Learn it, know it, live it.
Book now for the best value
Ok Insiders, like Mills Lane, Hall of Fame Boxing ref, always said, "Protect yourselves at all times; Let's get it on!"
Thanks genuinely for the reminder. As some here know, I tend procrastinate, so "I must catch the space shuttle back to my home planet of Acme and prepare for the next millenium!"
25 Marriott Reward points to you if you can name the sayer of that quote (before May 16th, otherwise - ennnn - only 20!)
Just booked 5 nights in Santiago de Compostela and 1 night in Madrid.
Left with 26k+ points that I need to bump up to 30k for 2 nights in Burgos. I'll book that hotel w/o the full point amount and have time to work on the points.
Then, I'm finished and out.
Not the best use of points but I'm tired of this nonsense.
I'll use other hotels for the rest of my stops.
1) Newhiltonmembr makes a key point - for booking rooms with points, you don't have to have the points earned until ONE WEEK prior to the stay, a key weapon. Certificates must be in the account, but points can be earned during the up to 49 (50-1) weeks you are waiting for the reservation.
2) Tips like the one above, terrific writeups on locations (Europe especially), great photos and many other astute program observations, were newhilton's wheelhouse. This demonstrates once again, sadly, that the erosion of loyalty interaction/recognition by the currently enormously financially successful Marriott, does little short term harm to Marriott, but significant damage to the personality and strengths of Insiders. Thank you for your many contributions to the forum, I've learned a lot from your insights and enjoyed photos of places I might never get to visit. Best wishes and may one day you return as newmarriottmembr.
Thanks very much, Erc and Pluto!
Of course, I could not get the dates I wanted for S de C and Customer Care gave the stock unhelpful reply of "hotel must have used up the allotted redemption stays but you can pay for the one night" ( for that one Wednesday night in the middle of my 5 night stay where I was trying to use a "redeem four, get the fifth night free"). So, by flipping my trip destinations from clockwise to counter-clockwise, I was able to get the 5 nights.
Aaaarrrrrggggggggg! Just realized today that I have thousands of dollars worth of gift cards left to use. Won't use them in Europe because the hotels will give me horrendous conversion rates. Looks like I'll be around longer than expected.
Actually, I just received a reply from the GM of the S de C hotel informing me that he has no problem with overriding the one night that was not available!
I, unfortunately, have already made other hotel reservations so had to thank him and decline his generosity, letting him know my new dates at his hotel.
The up side is that by flipping my trip, the bus schedule from MAD to Burgos is much better than to Valladolid (I don't like to drive after an overnight flight).
This is a good reminder! It is hard trying to plan additional stays into a year. I have my CC free night, mega bonus nights, and points that I have been sitting on (not too many)
I am considering flying to San Francisco in a morning or early afternoon, spending the night at the Marriott at the airport (using my cat 5 free nt from cc) and using bart to get to the wharf area on the day I get there and the following and flying back in late afternoon. This would give me parts of 2 days enjoying the wharf area. Is it really worth it? All hotels in where I want to go are a cat 6 or higher. Any comments?
We just redeemed points and stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis downtown. It was great. We took BART from the airport so we didn't have to pay for a taxi or a shuttle. I would highly recommend this hotel. The concierge lounge is open on weekends, too--an added bonus!
that sounds good but I am doing the trip to use a cat 5 cert and the SF Marriott Marquis is a 6 or above. Does the Bart go to the wharf area or do I have to connect? I think I read that I would have to take the trolley and if so, do I have to pay again. I may be spending a bundle to use a free night.
The Renaissance Club Sport (cat 4 going to 5) in Walnut Creek is another good option in the Bay area. If you enjoy working out, this is the place to go because you have full access to one of the nicest clubs in the area. The Pleasant Hill BART station is within easy walking distance, and it is only a 30 minute ride to the Powell St. station where you can get on a cable car to the Wharf. Napa is also an easy drive. Parking is expensive, but service is excellent. As a platinum, we had a nice suite upgrade and daily complimentary breakfast. We plan to return the next time we are in the bay area, even after it is a category 5.
Cal, I am going to use two cat. 4 certs at the Oakland Marriott (which will change to cat. 5) this summer. The Oakland Downtown CY is across the street from the Marriott and is also a cat. 4, moving to cat. 5. The Bart station is right across the street from the Oakland Marriott and is only a 12 minute ride into the City, to Union Square. Oakland has a bad rap, but we won't be spending any time there, other than at the nice Marriott. There is a charge for parking, and so we looked into staying at a property further out (Pleasant Hill, which is also moving to a Cat. 5, I think) where the parking is free, but the Bart ride in to the City is more like 50 minutes, so no, not interested. The parking at the Oakland properties is $20 and $24/night respectively, which is about 1/2 - 1/3 the cost of parking/night in the City, so it's acceptable to me. If you might be interested in doing the Oakland properties for a "free" cat. 4 SF visit, another transportation option possibly worth looking into would be the Amtrak (if you have the extra travel time). You could take the Surfliner into Union Station (Los Angeles), and then hop aboard the Pacific Starlight, which will take you right into Jack London Square. It's a nice train ride.
I think you have to take the cable car down to the wharf, but I think it's only $5 each way. You have to ride the cable car when visiting SF anyway, right? SF is not a cheap weekend, no matter how you slice it, but SF is always worth a periodic visit. Doing it with the certs. is the way to go. I also plan on doing a lot of walking. Since I want to visit and dine in Chinatown for one meal, I'm thinking I'd like to walk to the wharf from Union Square via Chinatown anyway.
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Ah the Chinatown meal, what fun to wander the street to find the perfect spot. We've found a tiny little joint on Broadway that is actually Vietnamese that has excellent food to take back to the hotel if you're staying at the Marriott Fisherman's Wharf which is our favorite hotel in town for some reason (guess it's just being down in the area of the wharf, North Beach, Chinatown and a nice walk down to the Pier 23 area). Anyway, the restaurant name I have no idea other than the sign saying "Vietnamese" but it's next to a pizza place. And if you're wanting to visit a nice Italian spot Cafe Zoetrope which is named after Francis Coppola's film production company it's a nice spot for lunch/dinner. http://www.cafecoppola.com/cafezoetrope/
Just like pluto77 mentions, a cable car ride is a must but walking the hills is great exercise and fun.
I did it. Just booked air to SFO and the fs Marriott at the airport. Requested an early checkin. Take BART to dtn area and wharf and of course ride the trolley. Have fun. Return to hotel, if early enough stop in CL, spend night, have breakfast in CL, check out and store luggage, BART back to Wharf. Have more fun. Take BART back to airport, go to hotel and pick up luggage and fly home. All this to use a free cc night.
I just wish Marriott would let me upgrade the Cat 5 to a 6 or 7 and pay the difference with cash or points. I would stay at the Marriott Fishermans Wharf that I really like.
Great hotel for sure, but make your way down the walkway along the water to the Elephant Club..best food in the area other than the In-N-Out across the 101.
Are you talking about the Elephant Bar?
I just booked my certs. Instead of staying at the fs Marriott in Oakland, decided to stay at the CY San Francisco Airport/Oyster Point Waterfront (both properties moving up to a Cat. 5) with Cat. 4. certs, mainly because I don't think we'll get weekend breakfasts at the fs Marriott in Oakland (gold status) and parking at the Oyster Point CY is free ($24/night in Oakland). Maybe I should bring my 4 cup coffee pot and personal coffee from home? Plus I purchased tickets for a Giants/Dodgers game at AT&T park (very excited, never been there!) during our stay, and the CY concierge explained that we could use the Cal-train to get to the stadium, so no parking hassles at all. The second day we'll just spend in the City goofing off.
I am booking my Cat. 5 certs at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes for next winter. It looks like a nice place and the property is going up to a Cat .6 soon, so may as well take advantage. Still have to work the dates out with the hubbin'. Getting down to the wire. I also have to wait until May 14th to book our 7 night stay at London County Hall, in order to get the farthest dates out possible (which will be April 26th-May 3rd 2014). I hope the weather won't still be too cold then.
Get 'er done!
The rest of my certs are: Cat. 4 at Burbank Marriott (going up to Cat. 5) for a visit to Dodger Stadium in the Fall, and Cat. 4 at the Courtyard Prague Flora for my daughter - this month! Can't wait to see her!
We'll be there 4th of July weekend, AT&T park on the 5th. How about you? CalTrain is the commuter rail system that connects San Francisco with San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. It's northernmost station is AT&T Park. There is a station in Burlingame. It stops at the airport where one can get off and hop onto BART. System Map
Sorry, from Burlingame, it can be caught at Millbrae or San Bruno.
Let me start over. The Millbrae station has both BART and CalTrain, and looks to be about a half mile walk from the SF Airport Marriott. I think CalTrain is somewhat similar to what you have down south with the Metrolink.
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Nhm, I know. I guess you could say I've been hoarding them somewhat. And I'm earning two more Cat. 5's, but with the Cat. 4 AND the Cat. 5 properties all moving up one level, it'll be interesting to see where I can even use the Cat. 5's. My parents have 3 weeks at Newport Coast, and us kids usually prevail upon them for a long weekend (and we all like to be there at the same time for family time), so will probably use the Cat. 5's for overflow, now probably at the Irvine Marriott (used to book overflow at the Newport Marriott Bayview, but it's going up to a 6; Irvine Marriott - it was the best kept little secret in Orange County - is going up to a 5). Between using up certs and points, I'm free staying myself right out of elite status. I'll be silver by next year. With status benefits being rather inconsistent, I'll take silver and free nights over gold any day.
Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes. It's west of I-10 near the Angels spring training stadium, not in downtown Tempe where the Arizona St. campus. I ate at their Top of the Rocks restaurant, very scenic.
Spring Hill Suites Phoenix/Tempe airport is a nice (currently a Cat. 3) property for flight plans if necessary, with convenient and reliable/free shuttle (in office park - not much going on, a bit far to walk to campus, but excellent for early morning flights etc).
I looked again and both Mar and Apr are not in yet for Rewards. The hotel says maybe in several months which won't help us. I called Rewards and they told me to book a reward stay and then change the dates after they enter them. PR told me that when I change the dates the new cat will be used.
What a pain. I don't know who is right but I booked for late Feb for dates that I can't use and will try to change them. Any bets on what will happen?
I think you'll lose your cat. 5 reward stay. Interesting how each hotel is different in terms of how far you can book out. Currently, I can book out as far as Apr. 26th at London County Hall, but can only book out to Apr. 12th at JW Grosvenor House. We can only book out to Feb. 28th at the Buttes. Rather strange.
Another option for you. Courtyard San Luis Obispo or Courtyard Paso Robles. Both are Cat. 5's moving to Cat. 6. SLO has a fun downtown. There's also Pismo Beach and Avila Beaches close by, also Morro Bay. Or you could do some wine tasting in Paso. Amtrak stops in both places, but you really need a car.
Other local properties that are movin' up to a 6 from a 5 are Marriott La Jolla, Newport Marriott Bayview (there at Back Bay) and CY LA/Century City/Beverly Hills, if you were interested in a staycation. CY Marina Del Rey, CY Pasadena and CY LAX/Century Blvd are moving from a 4 to a 5. When was the last time you did any LA museums or downtown Pasadena or Huntington Library? Promenade in Santa Monica is always fun. These are also fun weekend options that would set one back very little (far less than SF), if trying to step beyond previously set travel budget boundaries.
Man, if it happens related to the island, you've got the scoop. McGarrett's partner Danno (they were called sidekick in the days before cable) in the current version is played by Scott Caan, Jimmy Caan's son (you would know him as Will Ferrell's dad in Elf).
Whereas I do watch and enjoy the current version, of course the Danno I was referring to was the original '68-80 version (when your parents were learning how to drive) played by James MacArthur, the son of the first lady of theater, Helen Hayes (and no, I didn't date her). Thank goodness for remakes and TV Land, they bridge the generations.
I'll be in touch about my Hawaii trip. The girls are already giving me feedback about you helping out (they're excited). They like to walk, and easily handle 4-5 mile roundtrips (of course, Dad wants them thru safe neighborhoods) and good hiking trails (even if we need to drive there first). Sushi and polynesian cultural (they loved your hula idea) exposure were immediate responses as well. No need to respond per item, we'll chat down the road (and no need to research, save your energy for your honeymoon planning, I greatly appreciate just off the top of your head thinking), again thanks for your expertise. PS - Granny says, "he's so sweet, let's treat him to lunch", sounds good to me, like I've mentioned before, we'll get back to you - more of a threat than a promise.
And now, back to the post - May 15 deadline - some of my before the deadline Cat. 4 certificates are going here Muskoka Hotels in Gravenhurst Ontario | Residence Inn Muskoka Hotel . Don't forget to consider airport properties (like the O'Hare Renaissance Suites or the Dulles Marriott Suites) that make your trip easier or allow you to fly on a cheaper day. Ok, off to Bethesda Md. for a matinee, a Kentucky Derby party, dinner, and another Cat. 4 at a great property (with free parking around the corner on weekends) the Bethesda Md. Residence Inn.
I think I've just been lucky. While my employer isn't the type/industry I would like to be in, it has opened some opportunities... mainly, being able to meet stars of Hawaii Five-O! I've never seen/met Alex or Scott, but have met Daniel Dae Kim and...
On, and Taylor Willy (Kamakoa)
I've never seen the original, but do watch the current version. It's been hit or miss... I should check out the original one day!
I'm glad your family is excited about coming to Hawaii! Shouldn't worry too much about safety, since Hawaii is one of the safest large cities in the nation. But we do have our fair share of crime, and unfortunately, the area around the CY, which is near the timeshare you're staying near, is a slightly more rough area of Waikiki. But if you go walking during the day, you shouldn't have any problems. We often do this. Hiking... well, there's A LOT of that here! Very varied skills, sights, etc. Some near Waikiki, some very far away. All depends what you want to see and how much of a challenge you want! By the way, since you are coming in the Winter, the North Shores will be seeing the bulk of the big surf. If you're lucky, you may get to see monster waves on the North Shore, but it also means the beaches are too dangerous for swimming, and traffic will be a nightmare in that area with people heading out to see the waves. The south shores of Waikiki should be dead calm though during that time. OH, and no need for special treatment! I'm always happy to help. Call it the Spirit of Aloha... or the Spirit of Insiders!
As for certificate use, as I've been discussing with Californian, I'm trying to use mine at the Ren LHR. I still need to try her recommendation on getting an extension, as my certificate expires in October, but I need it for November. If I can't get it by the 15th, I'll probably end up booking a single night at the CY Waikiki.
I really should watch the original. I like the new one, but sometimes the stories are just weird... or trying to hard. And I get really irked by the fact that they randomly jump from place to place on the island during a chase... Like one minute they'll be chasing through downtown Honolulu, and some how end up in North Shore right after driving of dock. Or a chase in Honolulu Harbor somehow includes Pearl Harbor! Oh well... I still like the show overall though
Thanks for the reminder. I made a points reservations (a high 30,000) for the brand new (it might not be open) Milwaukee Marriott Downtown in the great state of Wisconsin. I don't think this hotel is impacted by the category change, but the stay certificate was not ordered automatically by the website so I guess I will have to call customer service.
Someone above mentioned that they will be using a category 5 certificate for the SFO Airport Marriott. I'll be doing the same; I've heard mixed on that hotel. Hopefully, it will be good. I will be staying at the San Jose Marriott and San Mateo Marriott soon and I've generally heard good things about those two.
My kids who live in Bavaria just decided to join us for three nights in Prague (in three weeks). I was able to use one of my cat. 4 certs to book one night at the CY Prague for them. Unfortunately it was too late in the game to get additional nights at that property using points/certs. Really excited that I could use a Cat. 4 cert in Europe, though. I was able to get them the next two nights at the Prague Marriott with one night advanced purchase rate that totaled $166 (dollars, not euros) - great deal for this well located, full service Marriott, and the last night on points. So a pretty good deal for putting the kids up in Prague for three nights during travel season. Pretty jazzed about this. Using (3) cat. 4 certs would've been better, indeed stellar, but on late notice, this isn't a bad deal at all. I'm happy.
I just called MR yesterday to attach my Cat 5 cert to a reservation in November, though the certificate expires in October. They said they can't issue the extension yet, as doing so would cause the certificate to expire in early November. But, they did say that since I have the room already booked as a cash stay at the Cat. 5 level, they'll honor the level when I call in next month to extend the certificate and attach it to the reservation. So hopefully it works! If you're stuck in the same situation as I, it's worth trying!
Good luck with that. Some of us found out the hard way a couple of years ago when other properties changed catagories that any change made to the reservaion after the cat change goes into effect results in paying for the room at the higher level whether it's points or cash.
I'm a little late to this party as far as the changes and understanding ALL the ramifications of the changes, so pardon me if I'm asking basic questions about these changes.
If I make a reservation before May 15th at a property, can I later make a change to the dates of my reservation without negatively impacting the points needed? For example, if I make a reservation before May 15th at a hotel where the points are 35,000, but after May 15th I need to change my reservation dates, will the lower point value hold, or will it now cost me whatever the higher, current point value is?
I'm shocked to see how many properties will change from a category 4 to a category 5 basis....AND the Marriott promos are still based on earning nights at still only cat 1-4 hotels. It seems that the promos should also have changed to include a cat 5 property; otherwise the value of their promos is greatly diminished and doesn't encourage me to go out of my way to earn promo night certs. It's no longer an effective promo.