I redeemed MR points for a flight-hotel package a few months ago when UA had a bonus promotion going on. I called MR to book my certificate at Sydney Harbour Marriott at Circular Quay just now. I was a little worried as the website said that this hotel had no availability for points during the time I need. But the MR agent said it was no problem, and he booked my certificate right away with no questions asked. It's now showing up on my account as a reservation.
So far so good with the flight-hotel package. Rates during my week in Sydney run $499 AUD per night, so the certificate ended up saving us a lot of money on hotel costs. While the UA miles won't get us all the way to Australia, they helped build on miles I already had saved. Seems like a pretty great deal.
Now if Marriott only had a hotel or two in Cairns or near the Great Barrier Reef, I'd be set. Have to use SPG star points for those as the merger won't be completed yet when I travel.
Any tips for Sydney would be appreciated!
vaboywnder, thank you! I went back to your blog to study up a bit. Thanks again for posting about your trip. We are going to do Sydney and Port Douglas (have to use SPG points for that). I'm still working on flights...piecing together some first class tickets using miles which is a real challenge!!!
IMHO... i have stayed both at the Sydney Harbour Marriott and the Pier One Sydney Harbour (part of Marriott's Autograph Collection) and i have to say that the Pier One is leaps and bounds better than the Marriott. Points run at the same level (category 8) but the views, the location and the food and beverage offerings are far better at the Pier One. The Pier One maintains a rustic feel, with high ceilings and excellent staff, with your Plat status offering craft and local beers in the evening from their lobby bar. Breakfast is great too, also in the lobby restaurant. Great area to walk around (The Rocks, its called) with some awesome restaurants and bars a short stroll away. Marriott has a decent Exec Lounge, but views are limited. When they say Sydney Bridge and Opera House view, please be advised that you would be lucky to be able to catch it from the corner of your small window if at all. Also, the Marriott is smack in the middle of a busy CBD and tourist area, so the crowds can be somewhat annoying (unless you enjoy that kind of thing). If you can still switch up the reservation (that is, if you want to!), i would totally recommend the Pier One over the Marriott.
merman, thank you for the insight. We have the kids along so we will probably stick to the property with the CL that is closer to or in the CBD. We will be part of the annoying tourist throngs! But if I were traveling for business or as a couple, I'd definitely try the Pier One property. When I got to NY I am always by myself on business, and I try to avoid Times Square like the plague, so I get where you're coming from.