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Three Marriott Hotel Certs...where to go?

Whirl

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Looking for some advice. I have 3 Marriott hotel certs to use next year and cant decide where to go. We need all 3 --My family of 5 uses two and grandparents, the third.

Hotels are not my first choice but they are a perk of accumulating alot of Marriott miles. I used to turn them back in and just take the airline miles, but now, as I foiund out,they are really worthless when you do that, so I prefer to use them.

Thinking about Marco Island ( actually have reservations but we could change), St Kitts, Grand Cayman....

Suggestions?... remember this is for a HOTEL stay even though all these places and most others have timeshare, too. Traveling with 3 small kids so a room with a mini fridge at least is huge perk.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Cheryl
 

Whirl

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Okay, so I know its not timeshare directly, but I did earn alot of those points through timeshare....

Anyone have any input at all...I know there are lots of savvy travellers out there!?
 

Holly

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So are they for a week? One night? Where do you live? Sounds like you are OK with flying? When do you want to go? What do you like to do?
 

Whirl

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So are they for a week? One night? Where do you live? Sounds like you are OK with flying? When do you want to go? What do you like to do?

They are for one week. We are fine with flying....albeit somehwat mindful of complicated itineraries since I have the small ones. We generally love the caribbean and the beach, but that does get old, so open to any change of place with great activities for small kids.

It's funny, I think you got to the heart of what I am struggling with in your question "What do you like to do"


...I think we are in a beach rut and looking for something different, yet still with lots of fun/simple age appropriate activities for kids.

Thanks,
Cheryl
 

tiger1210

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certificates

How do you received hotel certificates for free nights? Are we talking here of just using your reward points?
 

LAX Mom

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I'm also planning a hotel trip in 2009 with a Marriott certificate. I've been looking at Europe (Rome, London) Costa Rica & Shanghai. I figure it doesn't make sense to stay someplace that has a timeshare (Phuket, Hawaii, Aruba) that I could exchange into on another trip. I'd rather use this cert. for a location that doesn't offer timeshare accommodations.

How old are your children? Would they enjoy London? My sons have been there many times and love it!
 

dlpearson

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Looking for some advice. I have 3 Marriott hotel certs to use next year and cant decide where to go. We need all 3 --My family of 5 uses two and grandparents, the third.

Hotels are not my first choice but they are a perk of accumulating alot of Marriott miles. I used to turn them back in and just take the airline miles, but now, as I foiund out,they are really worthless when you do that, so I prefer to use them.

Thinking about Marco Island ( actually have reservations but we could change), St Kitts, Grand Cayman....

Suggestions?... remember this is for a HOTEL stay even though all these places and most others have timeshare, too. Traveling with 3 small kids so a room with a mini fridge at least is huge perk.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Cheryl
The first question you need to answer is, "what hotel category (1-7) are they for"? That will make a big difference in where you can stay.
 

Whirl

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How old are your children? Would they enjoy London? My sons have been there many times and love it!

My kids are young.. in 2009 they will be 5,3 and 3.

I am a little hesitant about the flight to london, but I can think about that. I love London and Paris, but never thought about them with children. What do you do with small ones?


That's a good point about considering somewhere you can't exchange into (or would be difficult to exchange into).
 
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Whirl

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The first question you need to answer is, "what hotel category (1-7) are they for"? That will make a big difference in where you can stay.
They are category 6. Good question.
 

Whirl

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How do you received hotel certificates for free nights? Are we talking here of just using your reward points?

WE are using reward points, but for a Travel package....which includes air plus 1 week hotel accommodations. You can use the airline miles and hotel vouchers independently.
 

LAX Mom

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With children 5, 3 & 3 I wouldn't fly all the way to London. What about Southern California, San Diego or Newport area? Your kids would love Sea World, Disneyland, etc. There are some nice category 6 properties in California.

If you're on the East coast perhaps Hilton Head or Florida would be better for your family. Would they enjoy Boston or Washington DC?

Good luck with the planning and let us know what you decide.
 

sls1003

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I second San Diego! There is a ton for little ones (Zoo, Sea World, Legoland is 1/2 hour away) and you could still do a day or so at the beach if you wanted. The San Diego Hotel and Marina is downtown and has gotten some good reviews and is suppose to have a great pool. I think it's only a category 5 though. We have family in San Diego and there are very few timeshares right there, so it might be a good way to vacation somewhere that isn't as easy to exchange into.
 

Whirl

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We've done Hilton HEad since we own there, but San Diego sounds intriguing, although we did do Disneyworld and SeaWorld in January.

Ill check out Newport, not sure what is there for kids, but could be interesting. Thanks for these ideas.

We live just an hour from DC, so pretty easy fro us to do day trips there, but Florida is definitely a possibility. We have reservations at Marco Island, but not sure if Ill change them if I come up with something more creative.

Thanks again.
 

pcgirl54

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The Marriott in Marco is very ,very nice and the beach is wide with soft sand. There is a great spa on property. There is not a lot to do for kids other than the beach. Naples is 20-30 minutes away. Marco is a very pretty tropical island.

San Diego area there is a lot to do for kids. Wonderful zoo and Legoland. Amusement parks don't matter at their ages yet.

Kids love the beach and they could dig in the sand or splash all day. If you stay right on a beach then you can easily take them in to nap.

The children are very small and you are traveling with a large group so IMHO I would make it simple so you can really enjoy yourselves.
 

Bill4728

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Looking for some advice. I have 3 Marriott hotel certs to use next year and cant decide where to go. We need all 3 --My family of 5 uses two and grandparents, the third.

Hotels are not my first choice but they are a perk of accumulating alot of Marriott miles. I used to turn them back in and just take the airline miles, but now, as I foiund out,they are really worthless when you do that, so I prefer to use them.


Suggestions?... remember this is for a HOTEL stay even though all these places and most others have timeshare, too. Traveling with 3 small kids so a room with a mini fridge at least is huge perk.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Cheryl
Just a quick thing about Marriott Reward hotel points (MR pts). You can use your MR pts to reserve at marriott TS resorts if you obtained the points from something other than turning in your TS for points.

So if you travel alot and stay in Marriotts or use a Marriott Visa to get MR pts you can exchange those pts for a TS stays.

Sorry, I know this doesn't help you since you already have the hotel certificates.


PS turning in your MR pts for air-miles can be a good deal if you do it as part of buying a hotel cert. (EX pay 150K pts for a hotel cert and every mile you buy after that is on a 1:1 basis. So for 225 MR pts you can buy a 150K hotel cert and 75K air-miles) This is much better than the regular MR pts deal of buying air-miles which is about 2 MR pts for 1 air-mile.
 
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wackymother

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Where do you live?

Some places our kids have enjoyed are Philadelphia (Franklin Institute, Liberty Bell, boats), the Poconos (but I don't know the Marriott situation), Niagara Falls (the falls, of course, and a bird place called Bird Kingdom, and there are some interesting attractions in Buffalo), Cape Cod (beach, sand, a children's museum).

Of course there's DC and Ocean City and Williamsburg. The Jersey shore. Lake George. The Wisconsin Dells? The kids would love that!

When the kids were little, we vacationed in kind of "uninteresting" places, because they were happy with a lake beach or a pool and doing jigsaw puzzles and artwork.

When we were in Buffalo last summer, we stayed in a nice Residence Inn by Marriott. Those have kitchens and many of them serve free breakfast in the morning.
 

Whirl

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Follow-up ....we did keep the reservation for Marco Island after reading through the thread and finally having standard awards open up for our reservation. We reserved three gulf front rooms ( will do a cash upgrade for the view) and given all the recent MR changes, just wanted to nail down the reservation and move on.

We live on the east coast, so this will be an easy trip for us. We have don the Caribbean so much, I am almost tired of it ( I cant believe I said that) and we don't know Florida well at all, except for WDW.

Thanks for all your input.

Bill, FYI, my points were largely accumulated from turning in weeks. I usually rent now as I don't really love the hotels, but early on I turned in points and accumulated quite a few and wanted to use them up before they raised the points for travel packages....and not a moment too soon!

Glad it all worked out and looking forward to our trip next year.

Thanks for everyone's help.
Cheryl
 

Darlene

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I would go somewhere where the only option is Marriott hotel (no Marriott timeshare). The big island only has a Marriott hotel (no timeshare), the Grand Cayman only has Marriott hotel (no timeshare), Washington, DC (not only no Marriott timeshare hardly any timeshare at all). We love the Grand Cayman. It has a great beach for small kids, no waves. There is plenty to do everyone would enjoy. Washington DC is great. You could go to the Smithsonian(s), National Aquarium, Lincoln Memorial, lots of city stuff that even the kids would like.
Darlene
 

radmoo

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Summer in Ireland

I have 7nt Category 6 hotel cert that we have to use by end of July. I've been thinking of Ireland as we live in Boston, thus easy flight, and neither hubby nor I have ever been. I'd be inclined to stay in Dublin, probably 5 nts, and then travel the countryside, staying in 1 or 2 B&Bs . .any recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated :eek:
 

wegottago

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I just went thru this process last night. At Marriott website do a search on Cat 6 hotels OR do a search on resorts. You'll get a list and you then check air to see where you want to go and if you can get there easily enough.

Many friends have stayed at Marco Island and they loved it. The Marriott Resort in Alabama looked nice. There are some in Canada, Michigan, Key Largo, Puerto Rico if you want to consider those. I have flown alone with my 2 kids since they were babies. I would think about how long you want to be in an airplane with 3 small kids. Brings snacks, new (ones they haven't seen before) toys, and water / gum if they can for their ears.

Good Luck!
 

Whirl

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Many friends have stayed at Marco Island and they loved it. The Marriott Resort in Alabama looked nice. There are some in Canada, Michigan, Key Largo, Puerto Rico if you want to consider those. I have flown alone with my 2 kids since they were babies. I would think about how long you want to be in an airplane with 3 small kids. Brings snacks, new (ones they haven't seen before) toys, and water / gum if they can for their ears.

Good Luck!
Thanks. We are definitely looking forward to our Marco Island trip. We have traveled a fair amount with the kids since they were all small as well. My first travelled more and I do have to admit, the twins have slowed me down a bit. The logistics are certainly more complicated, but it is so worth the memories! You are brave doing it alone! I cant imagine.
 
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