While it's nice to offer promotions, how many free night certificates go unredeemed? You stay your nights, qualify for a free category 1-5 free night, then do you actually use them? For me, these stays are accumulated on business travel. Staying at a Courtyard or Springhill is out of convenience. When I'm on vacation with my family, I'm not staying near an airport. I want to stay at a full service Marriott or vacation villa. Guess what? I can't use my free night certificate for any of these becaue they are category 7 or higher. There is no process to combine multiple free night certificates for a higher category hotel. There is a one time exception to convert them into points. I'm guessing the majority go unused and Marriott is not out anything. However, they gave us a nice promotion!
Reward your members by actually giving them a promotion they can use!
Welcome to Insiders, good having you on board, stick around and share ideas with us.
You are with the majority of participants regarding the Certificates being difficult to use as a "Reward". There are easily five or more threads that discuss the disappointment in that very topic - to no avail, Marriott currently has all of the leverage in the relationship.
My first suggestion would be, if you are still traveling to your Platinum status, when the MegaBonus is offered, go for the points rather than the certificates (Marriott often will allow you to call in and change your offer). Secondly, whereas the Certs don't offer much in terms of vacationing value, don't let them grind you down completely, because then the system really beats you. If possible use a local Res. Inn or SpringHill for an evening out after a dinner, show, or game etc etc. or perhaps you can squeeze value out of the Cert. by using an airport property to better match up with an award flight - coming or going (or at the very least avoiding a rush hour headache) - but don't let them rot.
Hang in there, we're all in it together.
erc makes some good points. I have to agree with him in regards to using RI and SS locations. One example I can give is the Residence Inn Pittsburgh North Shore. The property is a cat 5. It is located across the street from PNC Park, about three blocks from Heinz Field, and is only something like 3 years old. The place is fantastic. New, very comfortable, and quiet rooms, decent breakfast included, and a guaranteed parking spot (although there is a fee for parking). Room rates there are usually $199+ and for weekends when the Steelers are at home, they can be significantly higher. Don't let a cert go to waste if you can find properties like this one in major cities that go for two, three hundred a night that you can get for free (or close to it)
Erc offers some good insight and suggestions, as well as the appropriate empathy. The only thing I would add is, if the megabonus cat. 5 certs are a scam, then, "Dear Marriott, may I be scammed some more, please?" I love them and am at least glad they upped the certs to cat. 5 from cat. 4 in (somewhat partially) keeping with the category increases. True, I can't stay at as many places as I could with them a year ago, as a number of cat. 5 properties moved up to cat. 6, including a couple of favorites of mine, La Jolla Marriott and Newport Bayview Marriott, but I still manage to put mine to very good use. As the summer's are hot where I live, I've even used one just to swim and lay out by the large pool at my local Spring Hill Suites. I know a lot depends on where you live. I don't believe that the majority of them go unused, however. But yes, go for the points over the certificates.
At the end of the day, Marriott doesn't have to offer us anything more that a great hospitality product, but they do and I'm still grateful.
Right on, pluto77. Scam me too.
If anything, the promo certs have kept my elite night totals a little lower than they would have been otherwise since free nights don't count toward elite status.
Like foxglove, the majority of my travel these days is not for work, so these certificates stretch out the leisure travel budget. I don't typically stay enough nights during the bonus period to qualify for the additional points, but making 4 stays (to earn 2 certs) is usually not a problem. I'd rather earn the certificates than come up short on the required number of nights and not earn anything.
The others are right on the mark with what they've written. I've used certificates to stay at a property less than two miles from our house after a concert, where I would never have stayed there using points. We will use a CAT 5 certificate this summer at the Luxury Hotel in Tuscany: Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa: Home so there are plenty of uses, just be creative and good to have you on Insiders.
millikenb Welcome to MRI. You've joined a great group of folks.
Your post made me curious about the makeup of the members of MRI and their membership statuses. So I just spent the last 20 minutes doing a random (albeit non-scientific sampling) browse through "people," using "sort by first name" to bring up pages.I figured sorting by either ascending or descending join dates would likely have skewed results. I'd load a page, click on everyone's profile, then buzz ahead several more pages, go through the profiles, repeat. I stopped after viewing 20 pages of profiles. The vast majority (86%) of the profiles I viewed were either "members" (blue badge) or silver elite, meaning they probably have at least the Marriott Rewards Signature Visa. Platinum and gold elites comprised the remaining 14%.
I think erc is correct in saying you're among the majority of platinums in finding certs difficult to use. But for the many of us who neither travel for our jobs nor have points war chests that bulge at the seams, megabonus certificates are worthwhile and don't get wasted. I have yet to let one go unused. I'm guessing the majority of certs are redeemed. As others have stated, try to use 'em. And as erc says, next time the megbonus offer comes out, call and ask to be changed to points. They will likely comply.
First, let me also extend my welcome to Marriott Rewards Insiders. I concur with many of the great suggestions already provided. ks77 makes a great point of maximizing certs by using them at properties that are near a sporting or entertainment venue and whose prices are typically much higher during big events.
I don't know what your home base is, but there are a few decent properties in Florida that are Cat 5 and would be a good use of certificates.
Keep the posts coming. We all benefit from the good suggestions that posts like this generate.
I Use mine. I have only not used 1 certificate in the past 3 years and that was due to a last minute cancelation. As others have noted, they can be used locally or for a nice weekend away for 2 days. I used one late lady fall in NH to look at foliage. It was a nice Courtyard the fit our needs with location and was a place for a good night's sleep.
I Hope you find some use for them!