A while back I mentioned purchasing Marriott Cheques as opposed to just using points for a room. Here is what I have experienced so far:
$1000 in Marriott money - 135,000 points
4 room nights in Colorado @ $99/night or 80,000 points. Total bill was $477ish (bill included bar tab, taxes, room movie), I used $450 in Marriott money, paid $27ish cash. Balance $550 Marriott money.
2 nights (upcoming in Indy) @ $119/night or 'points not available, sold out event'. (normally 30,000 points). Lets say I use $250 Marriott money, pay $25ish. Balance $200 Marriott money.
On my next stay (TBD), to use the $200 Marriott money would probably get me close to a break even if I had just paid for the rooms with points, however because I am able to pay cash for a night when points were not available, the fact that I do receive points for my stays (Colorado was just under 7,000 points), and I can include my bar tab/other expenses in the total bill leads me to believe the Marriott Cheques were a better deal. Takes bit longer to check-out, but worth it IMO.
Glad the Marriott Cheque experience for you was good. I used them recently in Australia and they worked out well also, although like you it took extra time to get them processed by the Brisbane Marriott. The one down side in using them internationally was that one gets an unfavorable exchange rate when using them. So I would recommend keeping them for use in the USA only!!!
Well if that is the case, then it would be much more advantageous to redeem your points for Marriott cheques and use it for hotel stays in lieu of redeeming for particular hotel stays. You not only earn nights toward elite status, you receive points for your stays as well as automatic upgrades to club/lounge level rooms. If you went the other way and redeemed your points for hotel stays, you don't receive any of the aforementioned benefits. Is this correct assessment???
I think you have to be careful about over-generalizing this statement. If you're staying at an expensive hotel with a high tax rate and/or resort fee, it might be better financially to use points - particularly if you're staying 5 consecutive nights and getting that 5th night for free by using points.
As an update to my original post, I recently stayed at the Fairfield in the Marriott complex in downtown Indianapolis. My room came in at $119 per night, plus tax. Then I added my valet parking to my room, all meals in the adjoining restaurant and all cocktails in the adjoining bar to my room. At checkout the desk clerk remembered the correct way to input all my cheques, and it cost me $17ish out of pocket (which I paid with my Marriott Visa).
I still have $150 worth of Marriott Cheques and I received points (3799) on the room charge only, bonus and gift.
$850 worth of value at no cost to me. I now need to find another vacation weekend before the end of the year. What a great system!