Marriott Rewards Gift Cheques Discontinued as of December 31st, 2011.

Update. The general gift cheques were discontinued. Marriott Elite members can still continue redeeming gift cheques at discounted prices.

Exchanging Marriott Rewards points to Marriott Gift Cheques is discontinued as of December 31st of this year. It has been a good option to use Marriott Rewards points for incidentals using award stays or even pay for the stays.

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The current offer is 135000 Marriott Rewards points to $1000 in gift cheques. Starting next year you need 190000 for $1000 in Marriott gift cards. The current award values Marriott rewards points at $.0073/point and the new one at $0.0053. This is a rather significant change that Marriott has tried to just bury on their website. You need 41% more Marriott Reward points to issue the same award in gift cards instead of gift cheques. Spa and dining certificates are being discontinued as well.

This year Marriott has unannouncedly cancelled their Elite Executive Offer (EEO) for a free weekend night when paid for one night, and their all inclusive awards at some Caribbean resorts.

Marriott Rewards Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer.

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Marriott has been very predictable when it comes to promotions they are running. Two weeks ago I wrote about the MegaMiles promotion that runs from January 1st till April 30th. The new MegaBonus dates are from February 1st to April 30th.

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The “generic” version of this promotion is for a free category 1 to 4 certificate after two paid stays. The maximum number of free night certificates one can earn is two. The limiting factor is the category 1 to 4 where the free night certificate can be used, and the relatively short expiration. Most of the category 1 to 4 hotels in the United States are not full service Marriott hotels. There are hotels in Asia like JW Marriott Beijing that is a very good value for a category 4 free night certificate.

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Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles.

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The first quarter 2012 promotions are slowly starting to be announced. Marriott just introduced theirs MegaMiles that runs from January 1st until April 30th. You can earn an additional 2000 miles per stay starting from your second stay. This promotion is based on stays and not on nights. Regardless how many nights your stay is, you will only earn the 2000 bonus miles.

Marriott Rewards Megamiles

There are 23 participating airlines. The miles for kilometers conversion will be 1 miles to 1.6 kilometers for those programs that use kilometers instead of miles. The airline partners are:

Marriott ‘Look No Further’ Best Rate Guarantee Example – Renaissance Ratchaprasong Hotel Bangkok

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Over the years I have used Marriott’s Look No Further best rate guarantee several times. Normally, I am quite skeptical when it comes to companies promising to match their prices if lower one is found elsewhere. I have to say that I have been very satisfied with the Marriott’s Look No Further so far.

Marriott Look No Further Logo

Yesterday I was researching options for hotels in Bangkok and came across very attractive rate for Renaissance hotel, where I have stayed at few times before. The price on the Priceline was $69 compared to the price of 4700 THB (around $150) found on Marriott.com. I had never used Priceline before as a comparison site when doing the guarantee. You have to distinguish between the opaque side that none of the competitors match as it is by bidding only and the traditional one where the prices are shown without having to bid.

Year End Holiday Bonuses Are Back For Buying Marriott Gift Cards.

Every year during the yearend holiday period Marriott has been running promotions for buying Marriott branded gift cards. Normally you have few choices like extra Marriott points for purchases, 10% discounts of the face value, or 10% more on the gift card that you can buy at original face value. This year is no different.

Marriott Gift Card Offer 10 Marriott Reward Points Per Dollar

All these Marriott gift card purchases earn 5 Marriott Rewards points per dollar charged when paid using Marriott Rewards Visa credit card. Also, you can earn cash back for purchasing these through online cash back websites. Currently Ebates is offering 1%, Fatwallet 2.5%, and BigCrumbs 4% for buying these by first linking to Marriott through their websites. Please refer each of the respective websites for more information about the cash back rates that may change.

Marriott Rewards Sign Up Bonus Offers – Free Night Certificate or Instant Silver Status + Bonus Miles.

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Marriott is actively courting travelers in the Asia-Pacific to join Marriott’s frequent guests program Marriott Rewards. Couple of weeks ago I wrote about Marriott’s decision to offer free internet access at their Asia-Pacific hotels for just signing up.

Marriott Rewards Sign Up Offer Stay Twice Stay FreeIn addition to free internet, Marriott is offering two different promotions for those residing/visiting, or at least having an address, at specific countries in the region. One is an instant Silver Elite status at the program and ability to earn bonus airline miles, and the other is a free one night stay certificate, which is capped at category 4 Marriot properties, just after two stays of which the first one must be in the Asia-Pacific. You need to sign up for the Marriott Rewards program at the hotel, if you want to participate to the latter promotion.

How to Find Out if Your Marriott Family of Hotels Reservation Has Been Upgraded?

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Marriott’s website is quite handy and accurate when it comes to see whether you have been upgraded or not. Sometimes I use it after I have checked in to double check the room/suite category I have been assigned to.

JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro Reservation Before Upgrade Had Been AppliedLast weekend I spent a night at the JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro. I made the reservation for the most basic room category which is Deluxe Atrium View without a bed preference.

Free Internet Access for Marriott Rewards Members in all Marriott Family of Hotels in Asia Pacific

Staying at Marriott property in the Asia Pacific region? Would like to have a free internet access?

Marriott Rewards Members Free Internet Asia PacificMarriott offers free internet access for all members of Marriott rewards program, regardless of the status, in the Asia Pacific region. Just sign up for the program and the free internet access is yours.

Courtyard by Marriott-hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

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Courtyard Bali Pool Area 5-September 2011This is the only Marriott property in the entire Bali island. Unlike in the United States, the Courtyards in the Asia are more like a full service hotels, and shouldn’t be out of consideration when planning a holiday stay.

The hotel is located in the southern part of the island where quite a few of the resort like Luxury Collection Laguna, Westin, Conrad, Grand Hyatt, and St Regis are located to name just a few.

Whether you like the part of the island, is entirely dependent what you are looking for. It is perfect just for relaxing and going to the beach or pool. It is, however, 45 to 60 minute drive from the nightlife and shops of the Kuta and Seminyak area. There is a Bali Connection shopping complex nearby within walking distance. One can find there quite a few different restaurants and retail shops.

The hotel itself is about 30 minute cab ride from the airport. The going taxi rate is about  100000. The taxes outside of the terminal will probably ask triple the amount but negotiating for a while will bring the price down.

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