I rack up a lot of free stay certificates from the credit card promotion, but many times I find it difficult to use them before the deadline b/c they are only for category 1 - 4. However, I recently hit the jackpot when using one of them.
I had to be in the western suburbs of Chicago with my family last week, so I did a search for Marriott properties. There were a lot of them, but I picked the Marriott Oak Hills Resort because it was a Category 4 and looked the nicest, plus I was hoping that maybe I could get a free upgrade based on my platinum status.
I showed up and sure enough, they gave me an upgrade to the Presidential Suite. I have stayed at hundreds of different hotel rooms around the country and Europe, and this was the largest room I have ever stayed. It was ridiculously large, with a dining room, 2 baths, a kitchen, 2 living areas, and 2 balconies overlooking the golf course, etc., etc. Plus, the hotel itself was a very nice golf resort with an nice outdoor pool, nice landscaping, etc.
On top of all that, I selected the wine and chees options for my incoming Platinum gift. My wife and I finished that, so we called down and they sent up 2 more bottles and another wheel of brie cheese - for free.
To make things even better, we got some Starbucks coffee and rented a movie during our stay. On the morning of our checkout, the hotel had a problem with the water pressure, so the manager agreed to credit our account for the coffee and movie, so that was free too.
To think I got a free stay in a Presidential Suite at a nice golf resort, plus free wine and cheese, a movie, and amenities - all for a free stay certificate was very nice indeed. That is why I am a Marriott loyal person. The rare times that I am dissapointed by something are heavily outweighed by experiences like this.