There are plenty of reasons to join a hotel loyalty program. Getting status can lead to free breakfast, suite upgrades and late checkout. At least, you hope that just by joining the program and booking through the hotel website, you’ll avoid getting the worst room in the hotel.
On our road trip to New Orleans, we broke up the drive by stopping about 1/2 way to our destination at a hotel right off of I-10 in the Florida Panhandle. There were several hotels at this exit as well as a number of places to eat so it seemed to fit our needs of food and somewhere to sleep.
The highest-rated hotel in the area was the Fairfield Inn and Suites. I was able to book a room using a 25K free night from our Marriott Bonvoy card.
The exterior of the hotel looked a bit dated, with the old signage. However, the lobby looks like it had been updated recently.
Located just off the lobby was the grab & go food selection. These pickings were a bit bare unless you like chips, ice cream or soda.
The front desk agent was pleasant and quickly checked us into our room while thanking us for being Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members and asking if we’d like to receive our 500 points as a welcome amenity.
At this point, we received our keys and headed to our room on the third floor.
We weren’t assigned the room next to the elevator. We received the room down the hall BEHIND THE ELEVATOR!!!
See the room behind the X? That’s what we were given as a Platinum guest. The red dot is the room we received after going back to the front desk and saying there’s no way we’re staying behind the elevator.
The color palette from the lobby continued to the hallway.
Our new room was basic and I always forget how much I like the layout of the older Fairfield Inn rooms. When walking into the room, we had a sitting area (with a pull-out bed), separate TV and a work nook.
The bathroom was pretty much what you’d expect, with a tub/shower combo.
We were in a king bedroom, with nightstands on both sides of the bed, and a small closet.
There was another TV in this area and a luggage stand and a lonesome seat in the corner.
The hotel offered reasonable amenities for a roadside location, including a decent-sized pool.
And a gym with some weights and a couple of bikes and treadmills
The hotel offered breakfast in the morning, with the normal selection of starchy treats and a sole employee there to dish out eggs and sausage from behind a plexiglass barrier upon request (I didn’t take a picture of the woman serving breakfast as we were the only ones there and it would have felt weird).
Honestly, why would anyone eat breakfast in the hotel when there is a Waffle House right across the street?
While I’d love to be able to redeem the free night vouchers from our co-brand Marriott cards for an amazing stay at a hotel charging 35K a night, I’m happy being able to lock in a free night at a roadside Marriott for $89 that’s selling for $135. That’s a $40 savings on a hotel night I’d otherwise be paying for.
Sure, I could have booked a night at the Microtel or Quality Inn and might have had the same experience for a similar price. That’s the thing about collecting points and miles – you’re able to increase your chances of having a decent stay while not having to hope that the hotel you booked is going to be OK.
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