I’ve heard plenty about Marriott’s hotel + air packages before, mainly from Frequent Miler. I was always a little skeptical, but never actually sat down to consider it, until late last year. To be honest, I did it out of impulse and not because I have a redemption in mind (don’t EVER do this). Thankfully though, it all worked out.
My wife and I don’t generally spend 7 nights in a row in one place when we travel. When we’re abroad we’re constantly on the move, and although every time we get back we say next time we’ll relax for a week, we just haven’t been able to do it. So I thought the 7-night package would be a great gift for a family member, and since one has a whole year to make the booking, there’s no rush. I selected the lowest tier in terms of hotel category, but that yields the most amount of miles. See it below:
I earned the 10% RewardsPlus bonus, which increased my miles to 144,000 United miles + the 7-night package. Fast forward 6 months after receiving my miles, I still didn’t have plans for the hotel nights, so I started looking for hotels I could use these on.
The hotel certificate
I found the JW Marriott in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. A brand new hotel that barely opened in February of this year. Though I had never heard of Phu Quoc, I was impressed by the hotel and island photos to the point that my wife and I decided that we can sit tight for a whole week in this property. I made my reservation in early March, and by then the reviews of the hotel were excellent on TripAdvisor in just the roughly 1 month since it opened. Yes, TA reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, but it gives you an idea of the level of customer satisfaction of the property. I was excited! I did some more research after booking and I stumbled upon Frequent Miler’s review of the property, calling it a category 5 ‘sweet spot’. I was even more pumped!! Given how great this property seems to be, and with review remaining excellent as months since opening have gone by, I bet Marriott will change its category, which means the time to take advantage of this ‘sweet spot’ is NOW.
The air ticket with miles
With 155,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles I booked:
ORD>SGN via TPE – EVA Business class for two
With 160,000 United Airlines Mileage Plus miles I booked:
SGN>ORD via ICN, LAX – Asiana Business class for two
How to earn this amount of miles and points
270,000 Marriott points
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card – 80,000 Marriott Rewards points signup bonus offer
Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card – 80,000 Marriott Rewards points signup bonus offer
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express – 25,000 SPG points signup bonus offer converted to 75,000 Marriott Rewards points
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express – 25,000 SPG points signup bonus offer converted to 75,000 Marriott Rewards points
Convert American Express Membership Rewards points to Marriott Rewards at 3:1 ratio
EVA offers a great business product so that was a no-brainer. I selected to fly Asiana because I’ve never flown their business product, or there A380, so two birds from one stone. As you can see most of my return business tickets was purchased with the miles I received as part of the package. The miles I received are certainly more than enough, for example, for two business class one ways or two economy class round-trips to Europe. Pretty neat!
In conclusion, Marriott’s hotel + air packages give you flexibility and another way to use hotel points that you might be stuck with. Especially now that it’s becoming a bit more difficult to earn large numbers of points and miles in a short period of time because of banks cracking down on ‘abuse’, this is a tool many of us can leverage to get the redemption we want when we want it. Also keep in mind that since Marriott and SPG merged, you can transfer points balances between the two as you deem necessary. Hopefully many of you are able to leverage this tool for your travels!
*Featured photo from marriott.com