Credit Card Offer Of The Year, Worst Flight In America, Spending 3,000,000 Marriott (Bonvoy), Rewards & More

Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.

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Merge Your Marriott And Starwood Accounts Now, Before The Launch Of Bonvoy

I know, yet another article about the merger of Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz Carlton Rewards into the single Marriott Bonvoy program. The official date of the conversion is February 13th. Much of the discussion had been focused on the Marriott and SPG credit cards from Chase and AMEX and whether you should sign up for one card or another before they are no longer available.  However, I received a message from a reader about our post on merging accounts asking a question I didn’t know the answer to: If you haven’t done so by now, is it mandatory to merge your accounts?

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Am I Crazy To Pay 60,000 Marriott Points For A New York Hotel?

One lesson to learn when using points is to pick your spots. If you take the time to learn the sweet spots of each program, you can take advantage of them when it makes sense and maximize the value you get for your points. I try my best to follow this guide and we’ve been able to travel to some amazing places, but we’ve also saved a bunch of money on everyday redemptions at ordinary hotels. That’s why I’m wondering if I’m crazy to be considering this redemption using our Marriott points.

One of the current “values” is booking Marriott/SPG hotels that are currently category 7 but will go up to category 8. These hotels currently cost 60,000 points for a night but when the program is relaunched, reportedly under the name Bonvoy, there will be a new category 8. Marriott also will be introducing off-peak, standard and peak pricing at the same time. When that happens, these hotels will cost between 70,000 and 100,000 points PER NIGHT! While there’s not a set date for the increase to happen, the Marriott website is now saying March 2019. The great thing is that you can book a room for any available date before the change so it makes sense to lock in that dream vacation now while you can. I’d imagine that these updates will happen whenever in March that Marriott decides they’re ready to dump more changes on their IT department because the last ones worked out so well {insert sarcasm here}

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A Look Back At Our Hotel Stays Of 2018

Here we are, at the end of 2018. When looking back at our hotel stays from the past year, I get a sense of how we traveled and how it compared to previous years. I make travel decisions based on how I think we travel but if those trends are changing, I’ll need to adapt the methods I use when looking at the best way to maximize our points usage and out of pocket spending. When I look back at 2018, I’m really happy how everything turned out. Going into the year, due to some work changes, I knew that saving cash on hotel stays would be a priority. I never really focused on earning hotel points before but I’m a quick study and I set a goal to not pay for a hotel room if I could help it.

I did really good in achieving my goal. We stayed in hotels for 37 nights and only paid $1000. When I paid cash for a room there was a specific reason I did so. The rest of our hotel stays were paid for by points or free nights earned by having certain hotel credit cards. Here’s a breakdown of our stays for the year:

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The Worst Upgrade Offer Ever

When Sharon reached Platinum status with Marriott, one of the perks she received was five suite night rewards. Thoughts of five nights in a suite ran through my head. What types of rooms could get? Where would we use these rewards? I had dreams of cashing in a certificate for a room like this one at the Renaissance Kings Cross in London.

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