Hey everyone...I am starting a new job shortly where I will on the road roughly 75% of the year. I'll be in hotels about 300 nights a year and was wondering if any of the more experienced people could help point me in the best direction on how to maximize my points.
Not sure if I'll be flying or driving to certain cities but I know the hotels I'll be staying at are either Hiltons or Marriotts. I'm about to spend 5 nights at a Residence Inn for training and since I'll be average 20 night stays, that is the hotel I am going to assume I'll be staying at the most. I'll have a corporate card to pay for all flights/hotels/car rentals but am unsure if I am missing anything on how to maximize my points since I'll be accumulating a lot of nights. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated and look forward to hearing from some experts! Cheers
I'm not a roadie, but I'll put in my two cents! Here we go!
So, for any of your frequent travel programs, I'd choose 1 or 2 to participate with and try to stick to them as much as possible. For example, If you're going to stay at Marriotts and Hiltons primarily, then join Marriott Rewards and HiltonHonors. If this is flexible, I'd advise against staying with Hilton. They recently did a massive devaluation of the Honors program making it one of the worst values out there. Marriott similarly did a devaluation, but not as bad. So, I'd stick with Marriott and either Starwood SPG or Hyatt Gold Passport if you can.
As for airlines, you'll need to factor in a number of factors. Where will you be flying out of the most? What carrier is dominant there? Where do you aspire to use your award flights to? Are there specific airlines you aspire to travel on? You'll need to compare the different airlines, their partner airlines, and their global alliances if applicable. From there, you should pick a couple and try to stick with those carriers and affiliates as much as possible. Also learn about the reward programs affiliated programs. Marriott and AAdvantage both have shopping portals that can give you a HUGE boost to your earnings. For instance, thru today shopping on ebags.com thru AAdvantage's portal will get you 21 miles/$!!
kharada46...thanks for the reply! I'm planning on sticking with Marriott for hotels and still debating airlines (Delta is the main player in my city so prolly going with them), I signed up for every membership anyway just because I figure it won't hurt Also planning on using the platinum amex for anything and everything I can expense that the compnay isn't paying for because the points go much further and they have great "perks" for using the card. I found Amex's travel portal but didn't know Marriott had one as well...good to know! thanks again!
Hello and welcome to the insiders wolterjwb. kharada46 just gave you some great advice. One thing I might add is if you will be staying at some chains infrequently, you might sign up to earn miles instead of points so whatever ff program you choose will add miles faster. Leisure travel sometimes puts me in a Hilton or Holiday Inn, but not enough to add points up very fast so they are pretty much wasted. I choose miles with my airline of choice instead of points. Other than that, I think kharada46 has covered it pretty well.
Hi Wolterjwb! Congratulations on the new job and welcome to the board!
Check the promotions page in your account, periodically, for new promotions. Sometimes Marriott automatically enrolls you, and sometimes you need to enroll yourself. Then pay attention to the expiry dates on the free nights.... they are use or lose.
WRT travel... sign up for a trusted traveller program so that you can bypass the long lineups at Customs and Security. If you have frequent travel between Canada and the US then the NEXUS Pass is the best option, as it includes Global Entry and is the most economical. Otherwise, sign up for Global Entry.
When using points, Marriott has a long-standing promo where you can get the 5th night free when spending points on 4 nights so that's always a good option to keep in mind.
Welcome to the board.
I don't travel that often, but I do try and take advantage of promotions when they occur.
If you have the flexibility of possibly paying for your travel on your own card, then being reimbursed you would be able to rack up points or miles much faster by taking out a branded credit card (Marriott Visa if you want to rack up marriott points, AA Visa, Delta Amex, etc...).
Also, pay close attention when doing hotel stay promotions. Sometimes it is total nights spent, and sometimes it is per stay. For example, Marriott sometimes run promotions that when you stay 2 or 3 times, you earn a free night certficate. Well, if you are at one property for the whole week, that would only be considered one stay. It might be a bit of a pain, but if you can check out of one marriott, then check into another different property in the same general area you would also rack up bonuses quicker. Since you should become platinum fairly quickly (75 nights - and if you get the Marriott premier card they give you 15 nights to start), every time you check into a new property you get the arrival bonus (200 to 500 extra points depending on the type of property), but you only get that the first night of a stay, so long stays aren't as lucrative for points.
Thanks for the advice. If i signed up to receive promotions, will they all be sent to me or is there the super secret location I have to go to daily/weekly/monthly to see what the promotion is? Sadly, the company I work for wants all expenses on the corporate card (good and bad) so no little extras like you talked about. The checking out then in might be worth it to get the bonus' quicker, gonna have to look into that.
Congrats on the new career and welcome to MI. You'll find an experienced group of folks who will offer great suggestions and it seems you're off to a great start.
Everyone has already given you splendid ideas, if I may add to what missgee mentioned about avoiding customs and immigration lines if you travel out of or into the U.S. often, Global Entry is the best program.
Global Entry has saved me countless hours of time when entering the U.S. as well as provided an avenue to get into the Pre-Check security screening available through some airlines such as AS, UA, US, DL and AA at quite a few major HUBS as well as an ever expanding number of smaller airports. It is was recently announced that you will be able to apply specifically for Pre-Check soon so check it out:
Keep us informed of your travels and such.
Just to add a tid bit to all of the good advice here, if you do decide to go with earning points vs. miles with your Marriott stays, Residence Inn and Town Place Suites only get you 5 pts. per Marriott dollar spent, where as other brands (Fairfield Inn, Springhill Suites, Courtyard and the more upscale Marriott brands) will earn you 10 pts. per Marriott dollar spent. If you use the Chase Platinum Marriott Visa card to pay for the stays, that will give you an additional 5 pts./Marriott dollar spent. On top of that, your platinum status will give you 50% more points per Marriott dollar spent, so all told, 20 Marriott points/per dollar spent at Marriotts.
good job pluto77. Way to break it out for a newbie. Sometimes the ones of us that have been rewards members for so long forget you have to look in a few different places to find all of the breakdowns. Also the Visa card will give you a free e-certificate and 15 nights toward elite status, plus 1 free night toward status for every $3000 spent. That can come in handy at times.
One thing I forgot to ask...I saw on another site that you can call up and ask for a challenge in a certain amount of time in order to get bumped up in status (e.g. stay 20 nights over 60 days and get immediate gold status). Is this true? I'm hoping so so that I can jump up pretty quickly but sounds almost too good to be true.
I have read on here just recently that the Platinum Challenges are a thing of the past. If you want to check, call Marriott rewards customer service and tell them you want to do a Platinum Challenge. It might not hurt if you had some "hard" reservations already booked that you could reference during your conversation.
Also, one more thing I just thought of, Marriott has "refer a friend" type of deals where you would get 2,000 bonus points per stay, plus your normal points on your first 5 stays. The person who referred also gets bonus points. If this is something you are interested in, please respond to me in a direct message with your email address and I will forward you over the link. An extra quick 10,000 points after 5 stays isn't all bad.
As far as the promotions you asked about, you go to promotions central under the "my account" section to see what available promotions are there, and sign up for all that you can.
Yes, and you can get up to 10K points for as many as 5 people per year with both you and them getting the points. If you're married, your wife might be one of those people, too.
If you're going to be staying for as many as 25 nights for the fall promo, you might ask them to enroll you in that offer because the 45,000 or more points don't expire, and you could use them for other things than just a couple of nights. You might not even be able to use the certificates before they expire if you're going to be on the road that much. Also, you don't have to worry about checking in and out with that promo offer since it is nights instead of stays.
Also, with the certificates, you have to try to stay at the highest category possible to make it worth more than the points. It's a judgement call for each choice as to which is more valuable and attainable for you.
I always try to get the points for my husband's reward #. For my son and me, the certificates are attainable at most. My son got the referral from my husband, so we work on his certificates first for his first year, and then mine, switching hotels each night.
If you're getting around in larger cities, some have metro travel offers. San Francisco is a good one for this. My husband would buy the monthly commuter card and travel by trolley, sub or bus. Great deal if you're going to be there that long. Lots of cities offer weekly or monthly rates, including the use of tollways like Orlando or Dallas.
Some of the hotels will offer more for corp rates, so check on those rates and what they will include. We get a free breakfast buffet at the CY near my husband's company when we go back to check on things there. Otherwise, breakfast isn't included and CY doesn't give points for breakfast. Most CY's are going to the Bistro concept and don't have the buffets anyway, so you might want to check on that if you don't like the Bistro concept.
You'll make silver elite in no time and get bonus points and special offers.
Was just going over everything to ensure I'm getting as many of the rewards as possible and reading over your email, I noticed about the fall promo you talked about. I never received the offer for this fall bonus to get the 45k points. I'll be over 20 nights this trip so I REALLY want to make sure I get these points. If anyone knows how I can make this happen, I would greatly appreciate it!
Try logging into your rewards account and click on "Promotion Central", it should come up in blue showing "Megabonus" directly beneath the line that reads "Your Progress".
You should be able to still register until Nov. 15th, or give a call to your Elite level Customer Service number and ask for their assistance. I believe you can do it online rather than calling, but if you are seeking some other type of "Megabonus" than what's offered you will have to call.
Hope this helps and let us know how it works.
Will join the rest of the wonderful MRI and welcome you to the sight!
Congratulations on the new job! When you start traveling, let us know what cities we can help you with! You have some wonderful advice so far, so let us know the details of any travel questions and we will all try to help!
By the way, if you get the Marriott Rewards credit card, you can get 15 bonus nights (already gets you to Silver), plus some additional points as well (50K or so I think). This card comes in handy when you pay with the card (which is free for 1st year and then $85 annual later) you will be able to earn 5 points per $ spent at Marriott properties. Thus more points for you and a little help to maximize the Elite levels.