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Old 12-28-2015, 09:19 PM   #21
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I am a frequent business traveler and have always preferred the Marriott program. My wife and I stayed 5 nights free (and free breakfast) in Paris within walking distance of the Louvre. My second program is IHG. I like the option for a $70 room for 5K points.
Both were my preferences for the last 30 years of business travel. We have roughly a 300,000 point balance in Marriott and 220,000 point balance in IHG. Looks like we will be using those points for vacation rooms for a long time.

I have to agree about the IHG bonus points you can get for a room with only a $5 to $10 price upcharge.
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Old 12-28-2015, 09:22 PM   #22
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I've never gotten a free hour from hotel rewards. We stay mostly in Hampton Inns (Hilton), but I guess not often enough. I don't use a rewards credit card. We stay in hotels around 6-10 nights/year. I wouldn't mind getting a free night.
You need to sign up for their rewards program, sign up for a bunch of different hotel reward programs.

Then stay at whichever is convenient. The points will accumulate easily but not efficiently and you will get some free nights.

You don't need a hotel reward card to do it, but it makes it easier with the bonus points they give you.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:00 AM   #23
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How about using Hotels.com to book Marriott or Holiday Inn?
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:39 AM   #24
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I am a big fan of the IHG program. The credit card point bonuses are usually quite high, and we've had great luck finding low redemption rooms.

Marriott is also good, and I scored big points with DH by booking him a free room at one in Moscow, after he'd been on the road from Mongolia for a week or so, sleeping in the car or in a tent.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:51 PM   #25
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Now retired and use the Marriott Visa etc. Biggest reason is the free room on renewal each year that more than offsets the cost of the room. Plus we save a great deal of money by using our Marriott Visa for foreign transactions including ATM withdrawals. We avoid the 2.5 percent admin fees.

But...we also belong to Accor Hotels (Accor, Fairmont, Novatel, McGallery, IBIS, Sofitel, etc.


The plan itself is not great. But we get promotional emails from time to time that can really pay off. Last year, based on a promo mailing and our membership, we were able to snag a great four/five night stay in a 4 1/2 star Bankok hotel for $85 CAD night including a full buffet breakfast. We had to prepay. Other than this, the plan has little value for us since we never seem to earn enough points to get a cup of coffee in the lobby bar!
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:16 PM   #26
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I get a Hilton Honors Gold status, give my family free buffet breakfast and happy hour. Worth about $50-$75 for 4 per day.


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Old 12-31-2015, 07:35 AM   #27
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Story about Hilton Rewards.

I had been a regular at Hilton when I worked at megacorp but got laid off in 2009. A month ago I called them on a whim and they told me the account and my 50k points expired but they would be happy to do a 1 year activation for free and reinstate the points.

That allowed me to get a free night for 20k points at a hotel out west for a trip we were planning.

Tip of the hat to them anyway - save me $125 over the place I had previously booked.
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Old 12-31-2015, 09:00 AM   #28
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Story about Hilton Rewards.

I had been a regular at Hilton when I worked at megacorp but got laid off in 2009. A month ago I called them on a whim and they told me the account and my 50k points expired but they would be happy to do a 1 year activation for free and reinstate the points.

There are many ways to keep points from expiring. For airlines you can buy something through their shopping portal. Even a small purchase keeps the account active. I'm also filling out surveys through e-rewards and manage to earn enough funny money to redeem for 7,000 Hilton points every 3 or 4 months.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:15 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
I am a big fan of the IHG program. The credit card point bonuses are usually quite high, and we've had great luck finding low redemption rooms.

Marriott is also good, and I scored big points with DH by booking him a free room at one in Moscow, after he'd been on the road from Mongolia for a week or so, sleeping in the car or in a tent.
Also an IHG fan. Signed up for an IHG card, first year annual fee waived, was given 80,000 points. The IHG hotels were charging 15-20,000 points/night, so a good bonus. Then we found out about their Points Break rooms for 5,000 points/night. The Points Break rooms have led us to visit places we wouldn't necessarily go - like Silver City NM, where we found the best Mimbres pottery collection in the world housed at the university. After a year, I still had 33,000 points and we had stayed at IHG hotels about five times. Paid the $49 annual card fee - IHG gave us a free night. Oh - any time we stay IHG gives us another 500 points because the card gave us automatic plutonium status or some such.

Gal thinks we need to work for rewards rather than just being special, so the last couple days we completed 94 mail-in 3x5 cards and stuffed 94 envelopes for the IHG deal below. Six person hours of repetitive writing and $50 to get another 47,000 or more IHG points. Figure it was worth at least $40/hour. She is way more driven than I.

Spend $46 and Earn at Least 47,000 IHG Points! - Deals We Like
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:23 AM   #30
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There are many ways to keep points from expiring. For airlines you can buy something through their shopping portal. Even a small purchase keeps the account active. I'm also filling out surveys through e-rewards and manage to earn enough funny money to redeem for 7,000 Hilton points every 3 or 4 months.
Another is to get a Hilton Honors VISA card. I got 60,000 points for opening the account. If you use the card once per year (anywhere), it will keep your points from expiring.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:35 AM   #31
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Calm I did about 30 of those and sent them in a few weeks ago!
But I haven't gotten any emails yet, so they must be inundated.

Just read something about Starwood I didn't realize: they transfer points to some airlines with a bonus. Going to have to check that out. I had the Amex and still have around 30k points in the account.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:06 AM   #32
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Just bagged a room for 5000 points (worth about $35 in my estimate) thanks to this offer. The hotels are not in the greatest locations or the usual top rated ones, but they are nice. Reward rooms are limited. Here are the Texas hotels for example:


https://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/glo...ds/pointbreaks
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:49 AM   #33
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Story about Hilton Rewards.

I had been a regular at Hilton when I worked at megacorp but got laid off in 2009. A month ago I called them on a whim and they told me the account and my 50k points expired but they would be happy to do a 1 year activation for free and reinstate the points.

That allowed me to get a free night for 20k points at a hotel out west for a trip we were planning.

Tip of the hat to them anyway - save me $125 over the place I had previously booked.
SPG did the same thing for me, as I had let my points lapse, which was worth about 5 stays.

I ended up getting the reward card later as I think I'll earn enough per year to offset the fee or more.
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:55 PM   #34
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Since posting earlier, I have figured that after RE I am less likely to use Marriott than IHG. Also, IHG had a great early 2016 promotion where including points for getting their credit card, I got 165,000 total bonus points over 4 months. There's a new promotion for summer.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:09 AM   #35
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I achieved lifetime Gold status with Marriott Rewards late last year, which gets me access to their Concierge lounge for breakfast, etc., forever. I guess it's a bit of a FIRE milestone - it only took me 20 years of business travel to get there! :-( On second thought, maybe I'll just stay home for a while after FIRE in a few years...I welcome less travel, not more. Marriott has been good to me, so I've been loyal to them, and I'm sure the lifetime Gold status will prove handy down the line.


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Old 04-27-2016, 08:24 AM   #36
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Marriott has been good to me, so I've been loyal to them, and I'm sure the lifetime Gold status will prove handy down the line.
Problem is, they can always change the rules. I got Lifetime Gold on American Airlines (they used to count miles from shopping, donations, credit card bonuses and purchases, towards the million-mile requirement and I got in just before they changed that). While it's good for Priority Boarding and no checked bag fees, they cut off access to the lounges for those flying Coach on international flights.

Similarly, Hilton treated us very well when we traveled in Europe, with Executive Lounge access due to our Gold status. They began to allow hotels to weasel out of that, and to allow Reward nights only for "premium" rooms requiring 200K points per night. Now the status isn't worth much.
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