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Old 04-24-2011, 03:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
I used Holiday Inn Priority Club and Hampton/Hilton Honors program for 20 plus years and never redeemed any points until DD's basketball team started traveling. I used up all the Holiday Inn points in one summer. The Hilton/Hampton points got used up when we started doing college visits, so it was really a good deal. The thing I noticed was that the resort/luxury locations have a very hefty cost in points, so it was better to just look for the best cash deal and use the points for other personal stays at the non-tourist locations. Last year we were a few hundred points short of the requirement for a particular location and I noticed there was a way to purchase points. When I called to make the purchase, the agent "gifted" them to me which I guess was based on my long membership history. That was the Hilton Honors program. I don't bother with any of the others and don't wish to be bothered with much hassle.
There are a lot of hidden perks to these programs. Last year Hilton had a stay 4 and get one night free deal. I stayed 48 times at Hampton Inns and cashed them in for premium hotel nights and used no points. 12 nights at Waldorf properties which easily would have cost $3000. The Hampton Inns averaged a little over $100 per night. A windfall for sure, but you have to keep your eyes open to the opportunities.

Taking Social Security at 62 and hoping I live long enough to regret the decision.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:09 PM   #22
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
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Location: St. Louis
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Like easysurfer and samclem, I simply pursue an easier strategy: forgo the hotel points and get much cheaper hotel rooms using Hotwire and Priceline.

For as much as 50% less (usually more like 30% off), you can get a room using these two websites, and still get 1.5% cash back (or even 2%) using your regular credit card. Gives me a whole lot more bang for the buck than paying higher rates to get the points to redeem at a later date. Even though it is also a bit of a crap shoot with Hotwire and Priceline, you do actually have a little bit more flexibility in terms of area and hotel quality, rather than having to stay at a Mariott/Hilton/whatever in a certain city or area.

Granted, if you're still a w*rking stiff (like I am), you simply rack up the points wherever your employer puts you - but for the ERs (or even the w*rking stiffs like me who simply can't do anything but get the 3 star and 4 star hotels at Hotwire for $60-$70/night, even though someone else is paying for it), it pays to consider the alternative.

Dryer sheets Schmyer sheets
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:30 PM   #23
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I joined Marriott Rewards when I traveled a bit for work. It's fairly flexible and runs various promotions from time to time so earning points were easy.

Before I use my points for personal stays, I always compare use of points vs. cost options via Hotwire, Priceline, etc. It's nice, but I don't go out of my way to earn more on personal trips.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:17 PM   #24
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I have Marriott points which I accumulate with stays and I used to be a member of their beach clubs which got me quite a few points.
I try to accumulate them when I can but now stays are more price sensitive.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:27 AM   #25
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Used to acmulate and redeem on Marriot, Hyatt and Starwood points when I was working. Now, I book through which gives some good rates.
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:24 AM   #26
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I've been staying at a Hilton-branded hotel since mid-January while on a temporary duty assignment for my employer. While I appreciate the "hotel points" they seem to accumulate very slowly. It seems to me that they would be of little value to anyone except business travelers. BTW, there is one couple at the hotel we are staying at that have lived there for FIVE years on FEMA business . . . they have been letting their adult children use their points to take vacations at various Hilton resorts. I can't imagine 5 years in the same hotel room . . . it would get old.

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