Property: Marriott Bangkok Hotel Sukhumvit
Some of you use points for an epic view, while others secure a seat in the air to a beautiful destination. Whichever method you choose, there are a variety of ways to use those points.
We want to know: What’s the best thing you’ve ever done with your points?
Perhaps a redemption turned into the trip of a lifetime. Maybe a freed up weekend turned into a fantastic staycation on points. Whatever the case, we’d love to hear your stories!
I got three :
1) Last year, I bought the Priority Pass Prestige for 85k points and had lounge access for 15 months. I used that pass extensively and made my flights and connections WAY more productive and relaxed.
2) I took family to West Palm Beach and stayed and Oceana Palms for free for a week! Very nice VC.
3) I'm taking my family to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan in March 2016.
Hawaii. Specifically, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as detailed in these posts.
Over the last few years I have said that "bottom line" we are in this for the POINTS!
I have been very fortunate to rack up tens of thousands of points the last few years.
Consequently I couldn't choose the best use of these "little gems".
Whether a week at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London or the Essex House in NY I have, for the most part used points. I have recently taken advantage of the United Airline mile purchase discount that has made air travel costing less points than when I was traveling on AA most of the time.
Add a few plasma tv's and I have done pretty well.
Each use of the points I feel was worth it at the time and didn't try and give myself a headache deciding how to spend.
Probably the smile on my daughter's face when her Mac Notebook arrived was the "warmest feeling" so far in points use.
The best use of my points have been for a Category 8 Travel Package which included a certificate for a 7 night stay at at Category 8 hotel and 120k Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points. Acquiring that many Southwest Airline points made me eligible for their Companion Pass which allows the companion of my choice to fly with me for free whenever I book a Southwest flight regardless if its an award flight or paid flight. When a person acquires a SW Companion Pass it is valid for the remainder of the current year and all of the following year. I purposely redeemed my points in the month of January so that my Companion Pass would valid for almost 2 years.
I plan to use the 7 night Category 8 Certificate in March for Sydney Australia which will be a honeymoon trip.
Without a doubt, this is the best current "value" for Marriott Reward points. I did the same thing and used my Cat 8 cert for the Marriott Eastside in Manhattan. (BTW, if you are a Marriott Vacation Club owner, you can request a 5 day hotel package instead of 7 days. You have to phone in and request it.) Since I used all my SWA points this year, it looks like I will be buying my SWA tickets in 2016, but my wife still flies free until 12/31/16. While not a great value, I liked the Marriott Cheques (135,000 points for $1,000 in Marriott checks that could be used at any Marriot.) Back when they had them, I would book at a JW on points, charge everything to the room and pay with Marriott cheques and got points for the purchases. No cash out of my pocket.
I also did this and this is by far the best use of your points. The only difference was I purchased the Cat 9 package which I am using in Grand Cayman. The Southwest Companion pass is the absolute best ! And I purchased the package in January of 2015 so I get two full years of the Companion Pass on Southwest and it is amazing! I have changed my companion a couple of times (your are allowed to change it up to three times a year) and my next trip to Aruba, this Saturday includes a companion that is flying for free (except for the taxes) on the Companion pass. Let me say that again ... the Companion Pass is good for anywhere Southwest goes including Aruba. For two years my companion can fly for free with me anywhere, anytime. As long as there is any seat available ( doesn't matter what fair level) click on a button on the Southwest site and they fly for free. Reservations could not be easier to make. Love it and I will use my Marriott points again for this in 2017 as long as Southwest still allows it. Great deal!
About four years ago, we went on a long planned trip to Israel. I had always felt that DC to Tel Aviv was too long a flight to endure in coach, so we had hoped to make such a long trip in Business class. When I priced tickets,, I quickly realized that BC was far more expensive than I had imagined. Fortunately, it quickly dawned on me that there was an better alternative.
That alternative was to spend several days in Europe on our way to and from Israel. We spent five nights in Paris on the way over and four in Zurich on the way back, both on points, The out-of-pocket cash cost those nine nights in Europe was less than the added cost would have been for BC tickets. Those points turned a two week trip into a three week "dream trip of a lifetime." That was certainly the Best thing I've ever done with my points.
I've had so many great experiences redeeming points but the most memorable was redeeming for a 5-night stay at the Royal Aurora in Moscow. At the time Moscow hotel prices were ruinously expensive and I would never have paid the prices. Moscow is the most amazing place, the Aurora a beautiful hotel in an ideal location.
Best use of points have been helping out a few loved ones in need...
Best friend stunned with cancer at the young age of 45. He, his wife, and three kids stayed in Orlando for a week, three years running. He passed away this year (after battling for 6 years) and was able to hold his head high to the end.
My kids, nieces, nephews...all have enjoyed concerts and nights on the town without the worry of driving home. My stepson just returned from Portland, OR. He attended a wedding then hung for three more nights. My daughter's 30th birthday present was 5 nights in Hawaii.
Best use of points for my wife and I....
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay. Excellent hotel in an excellent location with an excellent staff. YOU MUST visit Australia!!!
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. Tough not to relax in the Cayman Islands!!
Lisbon Marriott. We used this as the point of attack for Lisbon and a drive to Seville, Spain. The AC in Seville was also a points stay, but the hotel was lacking.
Day trips to Frankfurt, Germany... Brussels, Belgium... and London all made easy with the use of points.
Countless three day weekends to Washington, DC...NYC...and The Jersey Shore!!
Earn 'em and burn 'em!!! We first used points for a Arizona/Grand Canyon Travel package in 1996. For 120,000 points you received 2 RT air tix, 7 nights in a Marriott Resort and half off a Hertz rental. To date the Pained's have used 2,157,500 points
My only real redemption so far (using points and not certificates) was for 5 nights in the essex house. Used 205,000 (earned from my ritz and marriott signup bonus) and used the $300 airline incidental credit from my ritz card for $600 in airline gift cards (December '14, and Jan '15) and me and my 2 sisters got to take a little sibling trip to NYC for free
Best part was that I got the fee waived on my ritz card by asking nicely, so I didn't even have to pay the $395 for that.
Total value was well over $3000, and total cost to me was $0
Long road trips are great but changes in do occur as the plans develop, so the cheaper advance purchase rates are a poor call. Points are a great way to redeem on a roadtrip as they're flexible allowing adjustments as you go, and I did repeatedly fiddle around with my itinerary and made some changes of plan as the trip progressed.
Like most road warriors, I have enjoyed nice stays in Berlin, Frankfurt, Key West, New Delhi, Jaipur etc.
But the best use for me is things that I have gotten that I use regularly.
Tumi luggage and computer bag, Weber grill, chain saw, Dyson vacuum, Bose soundock, Henckles knives etc.
Back in the day - Marriott Bermuda.
Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island
The Algonquin, NYC
Marriott Grand Flora - Rome
Ghent Marriott - Belgium
Brussels Marriott - Belgium
Residence Inn (two locations), Courtyard Embassy Row, JW Marriott, Fairfield Inn China Town - Washington DC
Marriott Tysons Corner
Courtyard (two locations), Fairfield - Woburn MA, just north of Boston
Marriott Midtown, Courtyard Midtown - NYC
Marriott Springfield MA
Courtyard, Fairfield - State College PA
Courtyard Savannah GA
Courtyard, Marriott and Residence Inn - Philadelphia PA
Residence Inn - Somers Point, NJ
Courtyard, Marriott, Springhill and Residence Inn - Williamsburg VA
Courtyard New Haven CT
Springhill, Formerly Fairfield - New London CT
. . . to name a few. Some 'the best', some were just the best from a convenience perspective.
Also, have two booked for next year on points - Renaissance Aix en Provence, Marriott Lyon France.
Almost forgot, also used points at the Courtyard Venice Italy - near the airport
Simple answer: introduced my sons to travel outside of the U.S.... so far, including:
In (a distant) second and third:
Unfortunately (for they boys), there will come a time when they want to go someplace new and stay in a fabulous hotel, only to find that you actually have pay the hotel bill!!!!!
Best use of points so far (with PP upgrades)
Paris Renaissance Vendome
Paris Le Parc Trocadero
Madrid AC Palacio Del Retiro
NYC Essex House
San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco Renaissance but I can't seem to find it anymore.
The best use of the free cat 5 night from the Marriott CC was AC in Toledo, Spain.
Best redemption I had was a week at the Dubai Marriott Harbout Hotel & Suites!! At the time it was a Category 7, which was a steal. Booked a 2 bedroom 2.5 bath suite that was over 1,700 sq ft, but we actually found out it was truly 3 bedroom 3.5 bath as their was a maid's quarters and bathroom. Truly beautiful room with two balconies that overlooked the palm islands. Great value, amazing room, and great location!!
Here are a few showing the view from the balcony and the interior of the suite, but you can imagine I have a ton from that trip. One cool customer service aspect was that I was their with some friends celebrating my birthday. The front desk noticed that at check in, and actually had a cake delivered on my birthday!!
We could not afford to stay at these properties if not for points, so our best use would be for staying anywhere that we could not otherwise afford.
Best point deals ever:
Hotels Near Grand Central Station | Marriott East Side New York Hotel - 80,000 points for four nights (normally 180,000), thanks to flash perks in 2014, upgraded to a large corner room
Boulogne Billancourt Hotels, Hotel Porte St. Cloud | Courtyard Paris Boulogne - 100,000 points for 5 nights (now 140,000), thanks to booking before the cat changes. Can't beat 5 nights in Paris at a Marriott property for that price! Wow. Not luxury, but still very nice, still Paris!
- 140.000 points for 5 nights next year on a point saver offer (regularly 160,000).
I would never consider using points for "stuff", though I would certainly understand, for any person who earns points faster than they can burn them, doing so.
We've also used points for stays for my sister in Vienna:
https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/viese-imperial-riding-school-renaissance-vienna-hotel/, and wow, has anyone checked out the new room renovations? Very nice looking.
Also for our kids in Prague:
I have hopes and dreams of staying at these three properties someday, which sans points would be impossible:
Yeah, pluto77, points for stuff only makes sense if you've got more than you can use...
Having said that, I concede I have burned many, many United miles buying stuff - and, while it may not have been "efficient," I always enjoyed "getting something for nothing"
Blast from the past !
I've been an MR member since the program began. My all time best use of points: for 110 k points:
I actually could convert my 1 week at Royal Palms for 110 k MR points. Although I still only receive 110 pts for my week today, it sure doesn't buy what it use to, maybe 4 nights at a Courtyard..
In the past few years, my best rewards stays were at Wentworth by the Sea, Marriott Key West Resort, and Renaissance Club Sport in Walnut Creek. All have gone up at least 2 levels since I stayed there.
Planning on taking my mom to Copenhagen for her 70th birthday for 3 days. She's never been to Denmark and I'm excited that I can start to take care of her now that she's getting older. The location of their hotel can't be beat but it was definitely out of my price range without points. I'm looking forward to it.
Racked up lots of brilliant trips for me, wife and 2 kids - 2 rooms each time:
- Phuket Marriott Resort - 2 weeks + sea view upgrade
- Mauna Kea Beach + Waikiki Courtyard (in 3 weeks time) - 2.5 weeks
- Grand Cayman Marriott - 2 weeks + best ever upgrade to sea view + free breakfasts throughout + free gifts
- St Kitts Resort - 2 weeks + sea view upgrade
- Cancum Marriott Resort - 2 weeks + sea view upgrade + free brekky
- Florida Orlando Marriott + Keys Marriott - 2 weeks + suite / sea view upgrade
- San Diego Marriott - 10 days + sea view upgrade
- NY Marriott times Square - 5 days
- Rome Courtyard - 5 days + suite upgrade
- Paris Marriott - 5 days
- Vienna Marriott - 5 days
- Berlin Marriott - 5 days
- Amsterdam Renaissance - 4 days
- Inverness Marriott (now gone) - 5 nights + Edinburgh Golf ~& Country Club 2 nights
- Various London and UK weekends in County Hall + Twickenham + Maida Vale + Tudor Park, Kent + Forest of Arden
- Various 1 night gifts certificates, eg Hollins Hall (Leeds), Breadsall Priory (Derby), Hanbury Manor (Herts)
- Airport stays at Heathrow Renaissance and Gatwick Courtyard before flying
Best overall experience for value - Grand Cayman
Best overall memories and service Phuket, Thailand - 8 years on the family still talk about this one the most
Hoping Hawaii caps the lot
All travel package stuff for us. That's pretty much al we do with points:
3 X to Thailand stayed at JW Bangkok and Phuket Beach Club. Either biz or first class tickets from east coast USA
1 X to Italy. Grand Flora for a week. Biz class tickets
2 x to Aruba Marriott or Renaissance with Biz class tickets.
They are an awesome value.
The best thing I've done with my points was to take two incredible family trips that we likely wouldn't have otherwise:
JW in Cancun for a week with our son and my mother, and a week at the St Kitts Marriott Resort (great golf)!
I would add that we've started a new family tradition that takes us to the JW in San Antonio for several days after Christmas each year. It makes for a nice points stay at the end of the year, and we love the Texas Hill County.
We've established a similar family tradition nationwide just before Christmas at the Leeds Marriott where the family teenagers have been able to enjoy a high degree of independence due to the hotels excellent position next to the main shopping mall, whilst the adults enjoy gathering together in the lounge and the excellent restaurant.