Here's some interesting stats on what we Americans earn annually in loyalty points and then do not use.
Interesting article. I hadn't really thought about points as a liability on the balance sheet of most companies. Guess each company has to account for the liability in some way. This thread raises the interesting question of how one decides whether or not to use Marriott points for a given stay. For example, when I stop in Paducah on my way to St. Louis this year, should I pay for the stay and earn more points, use points for the stay, or use one of my free nights? How do you guys make those decisions?
Sometimes it's a perplexing decision. A few basics narrow it down for me.
1) Business reimbursable travel is always a pay stay.
2) Personal travel leads to a few subsets.
A) Is there a low rate available ($69-$119 depending on locale) through normal means....typically a pay stay.
B) Am I closing in on a MegaBonus target and need the night to achieve the goal....pay stay.
C) Same as B for an annual elite level, S, G, or P.
D) Vacation stays of 5 days or more are almost always point users.
E) Gifts for friends or family use up some points and any free nights stays earned.
When I was first told about it, I struggled to find it. The website that I use is headed "Marriott UK & Ireland" so there may be some differences if you are using a USA version. The route that I use is ...
1. On the main Rewards page, select 'Use Marriott Reward Points' from the drop-down menu under the 'Marriott Rewards' heading
2. Towards the bottom half of the screen, you should see 'Travel and Leisure'
3. Under this heading, you should see two sets of bullets ... the top one under 'Travel Rewards' should be 'Travel Packages' ... click on this
4. You should now see a set of grids that give you the various options
You do not need to use the air miles at the same time as the hotel. in 2009, I traded in 750K points for 360K air miles and 3 weeks in hotels (points conversion rates were better then!). We used the air miles for two business class flights to Sydney and one of the hotel weeks was used in Sydney ... the other two we used later in the year ... I think that the certs last for 12 months (needs checking). The air miles just get credited directly to your air miles account with whatever carrier you have chosen ... you need to be a member of their frequent flyer programme. of course.
I hope that this helps.
SSSS ... I generally use all of my points. Since retiring, I have had to buy a few here and there in order to maintain my existing pot. On a few occasions, it has even proven good value to buy some extra to top up for an upgrade threshold.
That was an interesting article. It referenced some UK cards in a Which? report. I looked at that report recently and Virgin Atlantic came out as the top card for a WW airline and Priority Club came out top for a hotel chain. I am happy with the Virgin rating ... but Priority Club?! ... I never use Holiday Inn ... they are terrible in the UK.