And worth a read IMHO.
A strategy that will work for some of us but not all.
In resonse to Paxton, Yes and yes.
You'll need a credit/debit card whenever you check into a hotel as a deposit for incidentals, etc.
Gift cheques work anywhere in the world but they will convert them from USD to local currency. The exchange rate isn't always favorable.
I use gift cheques quite a bit but there are times that I use my points for stays. For instance, my stay for New Years 2011/2012 at the Sydney Marriott Circular Quay is on 120K points. Had I booked the 5 day stay and paid for it, it would have cost at least $3000 USD.
I have used the gift checks with great success. I booked a room at the Marriott in Aruba last May using my credit card. Upon checking in I notified the front desk that I had gift checks to pay for my stay. I was told that on the day that I check out I should bring the room portfolio to the front desk and check out manually presenting the gift checks at that time for payment. The only hassle was that I had 10 gift checks for $100.00 each (the only way to receive the $1,000.00 check for 135,000 points) and had to sign each of the gift checks in front of the hotel clerk. This was by no means an inconvenience, it only took longer to check out. I would highly recommend the gift check program. In fact, I plan to use again later this year!