We may or may not be ridiculously big Marriott fans. Quite honestly, I cannot remember where we first stayed at Marriott, but I remember how we became loyalists of Marriott – D traveled for business quite frequently early in our marriage.
While having him gone often was less than fun and I really would not want to go back to having him gone that much, we were able to earn points and miles for all of his travels. We quickly discovered that loyalty pays off.
When traveling across the country and managing to make Premier Executive (no probably known as Premier Platinum) on United in the first 3 months of the year, the challenges of that much travel for work are decidedly better when you get periodic upgrades.
Certainly, we have paid a premium here and there for our loyalty in that it might cost us $50 or $100 over another airline, but time and again we have reaped the benefits of our loyalty. Getting upgraded to business on Delta the way back from Istanbul to New York on our 10th anniversary trip – at no cost – priceless as they say.
Our secret is that we pay when it is cheap and use spend when it is expensive. This is how we have managed to stay at $800/night hotels for 5 nights for FREE. Not only that because we are loyalists, we can even get upgraded when we are using points.
A few years back when our existing credit card started charging us a foreign transaction fee, we upped the ante on our point earning potential by opening a Marriott Rewards credit card. Then our vacations started paying off hand over foot.
How many times are you in a store at the mall when they ask, “would you like to open our store credit card and save X% on your purchase?”
My quick response, “thanks, but I prefer to earn my vacations with my spending.” Hard to argue with that. 🙂
When chatting with a girlfriend recently, she mentioned that someone she knew was teaching a class on earning frequent flyer miles. My friend said to me, “you should be teaching that class.”
After blushing profusely, I realized that it might be helpful to share some of what we have learned in terms of how to use our points.
This will be the first in a series of posts about getting the vacations of your dreams thru your everyday spending.
What is your favorite loyalty program?