I regret that I have not joined this forum until today and have only done so as I only just heard by word of mouth that he point system is changing. I have historically used points here and there but have collected more than I could use for vacations but now want to cash them in on something extravagant ahead of what I am told will be a discount in their value.
To my amazement I now have over 1,000,000 points to burn and I would like to take my family on the trip of a lifetime over the Christmas Holidays anywhere from a week to two weeks. Does anyone have a suggestion as to where we can get the most out of our points? - we would prefer to go to a warmer climate and explore areas outside of the US. Thank you all in advance for your consideration!
Obviously, the first option to consider - if you don't know what to do with your points - is to give them to me!!! I already dropped a couple hundred thousand on a week in Chicago this summer, but (for better or worse), I'm not raiding my war chest just because it's been marginally devalued. But, if you want to burn points, go for it and splurge, splurge, splurge...
A while back I took my family and enjoyed two rooms in the splendid Ritz Carlton Hotel Arts on the beach in Barcelona - you can burn through a half-million points pretty quickly that way. Let's just say that wasn't a "normal" vacation experience for my family!!!!
As for shopping, I remain captivated by the high end options for shopping with your points. See my prior posting here:
http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/11737- granted - I think most of the experts will (correctly) tell you that retail shopping like this gets you less "value" per point, but that doesn't mean it's not worth enjoying something incredibly special (even once in a lifetime-type-experiences or purchases) without reaching for your wallet or raiding your savings account!!!!
Happy shopping, spending....
That is all great info! Not sure Barcelona will give the family the warmth they are looking for but it certainly is a GREAT city. It seems to me that my friend who alerted me to the devaluation was making more of it than it appears to be...never the less, with 1.4 to burn it is high time I use up some more than I have been. Have you ever converted points to Marriott gift cards? - I am hoping the exchange rate for those would be better han what you see for purchases outside the system.
OK, well, then what about Buenos Aires? there's a splendid Marriott there (on the Plaza) - see generally,
If you want really hot, consider the Marriott in the center of Tumon Bay in Guam - older place, but a great spot (but not for everyone).... Of course, Marriott is all over the Hawaiian Islands, and there are innumerable reviews of those hotels on this site... It's hot in Asia too, and the renovated Marriott in Singapore is terrific, but, in my experience, and, while I've never stayed in the JW Marriott in Phuket resort, folks rave about it (and, if you do head through Bangkok, check out the remarkable "Ancient City" (nothing like it anywhere in the world) and spend a day visiting the Bridge Over the River Kwai), but you can't beat Vietnam for your tourist dollar (fascinating country, nice people, splendid food - and don't miss Haa Long Bay, the UNESCO heritage site). Heck, now that we're free associating, I recently walked through the new JW Marriott in Cusco in Peru and - wow - I look forward to trying it if I ever get back in that direction. OK, enough, you can't go wrong (and there's great advice on all of these place on this site)....
Burn those points and go, go, go.....
Wow, 1,000,000 points! This gives you some serious scope so choosing where to go should be the fun part.
Picking up on @Ssindc's point, I would suggest Thailand is great idea. Weather over Christmas should be perfect and you would struggle to get through all the points.
The are 2 JW's in Phuket and I stayed at the one in Khao Lak which I would highly recommend, particularly if you are travelling with family. It is located on a lovely quiet beach and the hotel has a pool which meanders throughout the resort meaning you can literally swim to grab an awesome breakfast or grab a submerged bar stool in the pool on your way. Khao Lak is a couple of hours from the main action in Phuket but this is a good thing in some ways as there are plenty of attractions closeby such as waterfalls, elephant sanctuary, diving, speed boats etc. The hotel offers a good range of trips, I can recommend the snorkelling trip to Ko Phi Phi.
If you fly into Bangkok, or fancy mixing the sea with some city then you have to stay at the JW Bangkok. The service there is absolutely phenomenal and the exec lounge has views all across the city. Whilst you should get upgraded, it is may be worth using your points to book a suite, preferably with a city view. You will find yourself in the heart of the action with a wonderful city at your feet.
Hope that helps! Enjoy!
Just make some good reservations to maximize the value and then see what you have left over. Like ssindc writes I'm not wanting to completely raid my war chest either, even though it is very enticing.