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Booked Paris on MR rewards last night before midnight!

pwrshift

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Timing is everything. Did you 'cash' in before midnight last night?

Flights: At midnight UA's 'saver' business class flights to Europe went up to 105,000 FF from 80,000 each. The Flyertalk guys must have been booking them all as the pickings were pretty slim, even to London. However, on the ANA site, I found two seats from Toronto to Paris in Sept09, non-stop direct in business class and called UA to book them - took about 15 minutes as I knew exactly what was available for FF flights from ANA.

https://aswbe-i.ana.co.jp/p_per/sky_ip_per_en/preAwdSearchLogin.do

Expedia price was $7,650 Cdn for two return non-stop tickets on Air Canada from Toronto to Paris. Cost me 160,000 FF miles, a saving of 50,000 FF miles over the new and current 'saver' rate at 210,000 FF miles ... timing was great, booked them with UA last night 30 minutes to midnight! I had to use 40,000 FF miles already in my account for these seats, but FF miles are (were) pretty cheap when you get them with the MR air+hotel packages.

Hotel: The Marriott Champs Elysees hotel rate for my date is listed as 'best rate' of 529 euros a night ... converts to $739 US (or $900 Cdn) a night. Ouch. Booked it online using points in seconds.

Total Value: For me, in Cdn dollars that's $6,300 for the 7 nights, which added to the $7,650 Cdn for the two biz class tickets = $13,950 Cdn total value. No fuss - easy as 1,2,3.

Cost: 270,000 MR points worth $3,375 US if you could buy that many from Marriott at $0.0125 per pt, plus 40,000 FF miles already in my UA account. Not free, by any means, but a huge saving over estimated costs online for a memorable prime-time holiday at bargain rates compared to what they will be after Jan15. This hotel becomes a Cat 8 hotel on Jan 15, 2009 at 360,000 MR instead of 270,000 with 120,000 FF miles. Huge difference, albeit most points travellers consider it overdue.

http://www.marriott.com/Images/Rewards/LRA Images/LRA_FAQ_TravelPackages.gif

I guess there are two ways to look at it...in tough economic times would you spend $3,375 for a week's holiday in Paris and get there on business class flights .... or based on 'value' is it too good a deal to turn down in view of what it will eventually cost in points OR cash? The deal including the value of business class flights is what really makes the difference.

Paris -- here I come, again. Can you ever go there enough? :) Thanks to Marriott for making it happen, again. Would I do it with the new rates - yes, for sure, but probably with some economizing on the hotel selections.

Brian

PS ... I know the points nay-sayers will probably have fun with this again. That is their way, but who cares? The entire process took me perhaps a half hour - flights and hotel booking ... and they're still pricing it out on Priceline, etc. Marriott has given you until Jan15 to book hotels at the current MR rates if you're procrastinating.
 

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Great job Brian! I hope you have a great time.
Nothing will ever compare to taking our family of five to Japan on MR points. It saved us a ton of money. The only problem now is that my daughter says she never wants to fly coach again.
Darlene
 

Danette

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Congratulations Brian! I am looking forward to using MR points for a big Australia trip in a couple of years - it is encouraging to see how it can all come together.


Danette :)
 

Latravel

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Congratulations! It sounds like a truly amazing vacation. One can never get tired of Paris and the Marriot Champs is really nice - right in the middle of everything. Nope, no one can argue the cost savings and value you are getting with your points. Enjoy!

Try going to rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissment for quaint restaurants. It's one of the oldest areas in Paris dating from Roman times. There's a famous fish restaurant - I think it's called l'Atlantide on rue du Pot de Fer. Really good fish (must try loup flambe) and i'm not crazy about fish. Metro stop is Place Monge. It's one of our must stops in Paris along with couscous meschui in the Latin Quarter.

I was seeing most cat 7 hotels in Paris and London yesterday. Seems like it's getting easier to find the best hotels on points. Better for us!
 

pwrshift

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Thanks for the tips. I've been to Paris 4 times now on points, all at this hotel, but I never tire of it or the location and there are so many dining choices that suggestions are always welcome...that's if I can tear myself away from the chocolates at Ladouree across the street! :) I get the mini-bar emptied and fill it with goodies (and a cheap coffee maker) from the little Market at the corner.

Brian

...try going to rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissment for quaint restaurants. It's one of the oldest areas in Paris dating from Roman times. There's a famous fish restaurant - I think it's called l'Atlantide on rue du Pot de Fer. Really good fish (must try loup flambe) and i'm not crazy about fish. Metro stop is Place Monge. It's one of our must stops in Paris along with couscous meschui in the Latin Quarter.
 
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m61376

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I always marvel at how seemingly effortlessly you manage to put together such great trips!

And, while I guess I fall into your so-called points naysayers category, I think a lot of us in that category consider whether the value of today's purchases are worth the perks. In the heyday, when you reaped hundreds of thousands of points for a single purchase, and then were able to use it for trips like these, I think the value was more clear-cut. With Marriott much stingier on the purchase points and reward depreciation, I think that today you likely would reconsider the value as well (judging from your prior posts). But, I must admit, when I read about what you've managed to put together I wish I had similar options. While I may be too cheap to pay for business class flights, I certainly agree that that's the way to travel if you can afford it.
 

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Based on what I've learned from this board and most of the posts from Brian, I also booked a Paris trip for Oct09 a couple weeks ago knowing that the rewards redemption rates were going up.

We're flying SFO-CDG via YUL on business, and were able to get a stopover in YUL on the way back. We'll be staying at the Renaissance Vendome, rate at $350 euro/night. It took some effort over the phone to find the first 7 consecutive nights for me to use a travel certificate, so we had to go at the end of Oct. But recently I saw a new Rensaissance Arc de Triomphe will be opening in Mar09, still debating whether to switch to the newer hotel. Do you think they will take award reservations before they officially open?

This will be our first trip on the travel package, with business class and everything. Had to buy some extra points in order to redeem everything before the 12/31 deadline, but we would have never thought of traveling like this if it weren't for what I learned from maximizing the use of points! Thanks Tuggers!

sjnoble
 

Zac495

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Awesome, Brian!
But will you do it again? Next time you'd only get 5 nights with that package. Would you do it for 5 nights and pay for 2 nights? Just curious.

We're going to Hawaii with our points this summer. We booked 2 RT first class Phl - Oahu - return from Kauai to PHL. They were premium, so they cost 120k each. :eek: We got the kids regular class with our own miles. Some might say how could we? If you let the airline know - they note it. The kids are in the second seat back from first class (first seat is probably exit). They're in row 5 and they can't be bumped from there (at least that's what I was told).

We got 2 hotel certs for Kauai Beach Club - 7 nights (kids don't have to sleep on the floor after we make them travel regular class - they get their own room) . We're using Hilton points in Oahu.

We would never have taken this trip had we not purchased from the developer. So though I am trying to sell it (with little luck) through Marriott, I can't say I totally regret it. I still would tell people to only buy resale however.

Have an awesome trip, Brian!
 

mas

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Congrats Brian on a great trip.

I was thinking very seriously about pulling the trigger on the Euro Hotel pkg for 150K which expired at the end of the year. But, I would have had a near impossible time talking the wife into European travel this coming year. So even though I could also refund the pkg for the full amount, they are issued as paper tickets and if the odds are slim to none for using them, why risk loss in the mail?

I've got plenty of points; I guess I'll just have to put together an air + hotel pkg with a timeshare week(at Marbella?) and a Mediterranean cruise one of these years--three weeks in Europe--I think I could handle that :).
 

andrea t

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Brian, I just love hearing about your plans! Have fun!

Ellen, lifes too short for you to have remorse over buying from Marriott. You've made wonderful memories with your kids and your parents. I've always enjoyed your pics and reports!
 

Zac495

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Brian, I just love hearing about your plans! Have fun!

Ellen, lifes too short for you to have remorse over buying from Marriott. You've made wonderful memories with your kids and your parents. I've always enjoyed your pics and reports!

THANK YOU!!!! You made my night!:cheer:
 

Starbucks

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Ok, maybe i am outing myself as a bean counter and making my life too complicated but i still hesitate to use my MR points (750k) for such a package.

Why ?

Because i am not sure if "buying" such a trip via those travel packages is the smartest way to do it.

No doubt using FFP miles or other upgrade instruments for long-haul flights in biz/first on a premium carrier is "smart" so i am fine with that. However one might be able to get the same seats via another FFP "cheaper".

As for the hotel: A published rate is an asking price. Paying such a rate without using all discount possibilities one can think of isnt smart either so i dont feel comfortable calculating the value of my points against such a non-discounted rate. Also one should not forget that one does not earn MR points/night credits for award stays. Points do have a value so the number of points earned by paying the (discounted) rate must be considered as well. Getting night credit towards MR status or possible promo bonuses might have a value as well.

Finally another important question is how much money was spent to gain those MR points in the first place.

Dont get me wrong i am feeling happy for everyone who got his/her personal dream vacations via MR and doesnt think that much about those numbers as i do... :)

starbucks
 

m61376

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Starbucks-
Your analysis has been rehashed many times in different words as to whether it pays to buy from the developer in order to be able to exchange for points, and even whether owners who bought directly should continue to exchange for points given the costs involved and the depreciated value of points and, for those purposes, it is a very cogent argument. But- if you already have the points, this is probably your best usage of them, so since you already have the points in your account why not enjoy them?
 

pwrshift

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What pkg were you getting for 750k? A Cat7 pkg with 120k FF miles is currently 270k MR points. Get two of them for 540k MR points and you could have a week in two different top of the line Cat7 European hotel and 240k FF miles for the ride.

Some of those Cat7 hotels are bumping up into the new Cat8 level after Jan15 and will take a lot more MR points. So now is the time to book.

Not considering the air+hotel pkgs you need 150,000 MR points for a week's stay in these world class hotels. At the non-elite level of MR membership you'd need to spend $15,000 in Marriott hotels to earn what it takes for that pkg ... or you could trade in a MMC plat week, if you owned there and bought direct, and get 110,000 of those pts for less than $1,000 (MF + fee). Sure, you trade a 2 bdrm suite in VA for a one bedroom room on the Champs Elysees in Paris, but there are times in life that is a great trade.

Earning points by Marriott stays is part of the game, especially for earning Elite status and replenishing pts you use, but without a lot of travel it's a tough task without being able to trade in your weeks.

My yardstick to decide on earning pts by paying for hotel stays OR using pts is based on the cost of the room you want ... ie. I booked 3 nights at the Marriott Marquis NYC for $280 AAA rate a night in May ... to use points takes 90,000 MR pts or $1125 worth of points ($0.0125/pt). That works out to more a night using the 'value' of points, so cash is a better deal for that stay. But staying at the Paris Cat7 hotel would probably set you back 500 Euros or more a night in prime time ... so pts can be the better route, even without miles. Also, no taxes on stays using points. In addition, paying up front for a lot of travel packages bought online or through agents carries severe financial penalties if cancelled or changed, that might not apply with points...an important point when booking 330 days ahead.

I'm not saying you can't get better deals if you take the time to shop around, but the pickings get slimmer in business class air fares and prime time hotels. Once you've played the MR game it really does work.

Brian

Ok, maybe i am outing myself as a bean counter and making my life too complicated but i still hesitate to use my MR points (750k) for such a package.

Why ?

...Because i am not sure if "buying" such a trip via those travel packages is the smartest way to do it.

...for the hotel: A published rate is an asking price. Paying such a rate without using all discount possibilities one can think of isnt smart either so i dont feel comfortable calculating the value of my points against such a non-discounted rate.

...Finally another important question is how much money was spent to gain those MR points in the first place.
 
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Starbucks

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But- if you already have the points, this is probably your best usage of them, so since you already have the points in your account why not enjoy them?

Well, i have the points but i am still waiting for that deal that makes me feel comfortable using them.

Paris, London & Rome are nice towns but living in Munich it is quite easy to go there for a weekend. As for other options, i could imagine that Marriott must reduce rates or offer incentives during recession year 2009 to fill their hotel rooms. So why should i spend my points in a year in which net costs of a room are declining? IMHO the changes to MR were a smart move by Marriott, "forcing" quite a few MR members to burn their points and filling otherwise empty rooms that way. To get my points right now they would have to offer something like a south american hopper award... :)
 

pacheco18

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W are avid points users and we never regret having bought from the developer for that reason.
This past September we flew first class to Bucharest and returned from Budapest (value for two tickets $10000) and we stayed fat the Jw Marriott in Bucharest (a palace) and the Marriott in Budapest (right on the Danube) for free.

This September we are flying first class to Athens and back from Rome (value $16000 for 2 tickets) and staying 2 nights at the Athens Marriott and 6 nights at the Rome Marriott (500 a night hotel) for free.

And - next February Buenos Aires . . .

The value of the trips far exceeds the difference I paid in price vs resale and the maintenance fees are also worth it. If I trade 1 unit for points (110000) that gets me a first class ticket - $8000 ticket for $1200 in maintenance fees is a no brainer..
 

Latravel

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Why can't everyone see your point - it's so simple? Planning and taking trips such as yours and Brian's adds a whole other dimension to timeshare ownership. Please post the details of your trips so we can get some ideas!
 

Steve A

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We will be off to five nights in Dublin this summer (end of June, beginning of July) staying at the Shelbourne, and seven nights in London at the Grosvenor House. We'll be flying out of Chicago. All hotels and all flights covered by Marriott points.
 

Dave M

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So why should i spend my points in a year in which net costs of a room are declining?
Pretty straightforward according to the majority of the points fanatics that post here and on the FlyerTalk.

There might be some temporary cuts in hotel prices - on a selected basis. Not likely for the hotels that never have enough space for those that want to stay. The hotels that Brian usually picks - in prime time - are great examples.

However, those points devaluations that take effect on January 15 will be permanent. No, that's not true. Those point changes are temporary - until the next devaluation in another few years.

Thus, there is no better time than between now and January 14 to get a Travel Package and make reservations for anywhere in the world. Those Travel Packages - as now constituted - will disappear on January 15. Marriott Rewards points will buy less and less as the years go by - guaranteed.
 

pacheco18

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Please post the details of your trips so we can get some ideas![/QUOTE said:
pretty simple
First class to Bucharest - 3 nights at the JW (ultra luxury)
Then we had a privae guide for a week going all thru Romania
Then we flew to Budapest (free - American miles)
Then we stayed 5 nights in Budapest free at the Marriott and flew home first class

This September - first class to Athens - two nights Ledra Marriott - 12 night cruise to Greece and italy (not free but I got a smoking deal) and then 6 nights at the Grand Flora in Rome (free) and fly home first class from Rome

January 2010 - South American cruise (so cheap I cannot beieve it - 14 nights - fly first class to Chile/home from Buenos Aires and stay 6 nights at the historic Marriott in Buenos Aires - too early to book the air and hotel but I will do so on the first day I am allowed

It is really easy and what a value! My friends are soooo jealous.
Love my Marriott points.
Laraine
 

winger

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pretty simple
First class to Bucharest - 3 nights at the JW (ultra luxury)
Then we had a privae guide for a week going all thru Romania
Then we flew to Budapest (free - American miles)
Then we stayed 5 nights in Budapest free at the Marriott and flew home first class

This September - first class to Athens - two nights Ledra Marriott - 12 night cruise to Greece and italy (not free but I got a smoking deal) and then 6 nights at the Grand Flora in Rome (free) and fly home first class from Rome

January 2010 - South American cruise (so cheap I cannot beieve it - 14 nights - fly first class to Chile/home from Buenos Aires and stay 6 nights at the historic Marriott in Buenos Aires - too early to book the air and hotel but I will do so on the first day I am allowed

It is really easy and what a value! My friends are soooo jealous.
Love my Marriott points.
Laraine
it would be very helpful to provide specifics on the cost on MRPs for each of the items you've listed
 

jancurious

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Thus, there is no better time than between now and January 14 to get a Travel Package and make reservations for anywhere in the world. Those Travel Packages - as now constituted - will disappear on January 15. Marriott Rewards points will buy less and less as the years go by - guaranteed.

I know it will take more points to achieve the same goals after January 15th but are you saying that they won't be offering travel packages in the future? Might they come up with new and different types of travel packages?

If you book by January 15th, you do have to actually travel during 2009, correct?

Jan
 

pacheco18

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For each of the trips I used the 250k points packages and added a bit for a second hotel in a different city.

I transferred 100k miles to my Delta account (that got me one business class ticket to Europe) and used my own miles to supplement to get the second ticket If I were willing to fly coach to Europe (which I am not) the 100k points would have covered the airfare. I used the balance of the 250k points for the hotel stays (the longest one - eg the 6 nights in Rome) and used additional points to pay for the two nights in Athens.

I did the same for Romania/Hungary.

I fly a lot for business and we charge everything on a mileage card or a Marriott card. I have never traded a timeshare for points to date but I probably will do so for 2010. if the trade gets me one business class ticket to South America that's a good deal.
 
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