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