In our series Award Success, we’re switching to hotel programs this week and my most recent example of redeeming the 50k Amex Bonvoy Brilliant card certificate that is being deposited into the cardholder’s account each year.
Hotel stays are priced absolutely crazy this year and the day I’m staying in Rome this September is no exception as I should learn when looking up the Westin Excelsior Rome hotel earlier this week.
A single night at this property was supposed to be 855 Euro at the lowest rate available but luckily the hotel had points redemptions available that I was able to utilize for this particular stay.
59,000 points is still a very significant amount of points but better than 100,000 for the W or 88,000 for St. Regis (although I would argue that the extra 30k for the St. Regis would not be a bad investment if one would spend all points).
As luck would have it, American Express deposited my 50k certificate that comes with the Bonvoy Brilliant Card last week:
This was a very timely deposit as I used the certificate immediately and topped it up with an additional 9,000 points which Marriott started to allow recently. You can supplement award certificates with up to 15,000 points in order to book a more lucrative award if available and desired.
Not exactly sure why Marriott would not allow this to be an unlimited amount of points. I’d have liked to stay at St. Regis but spending a full 88k points out of my account is too rich for my taste. Certificate plus 9k for the Westin was reasonable.
This hotel charges 7 Euro city tax for Rome visitors so that has to be paid even when staying on award stays.
I also requested a Suite Night Award – let’s see if this will actually clear, I won’t hold my breath.
John has reviewed one of the suites at this property while staying there two years ago:
This seems to be a very nice accommodation for a weekend stay and should compliment our Mediterranean cruise quite well.
first thought about staying at the FCO Airport Hilton for ease of transportation but came to the realization that it would be pretty stupid of me to travel to Rome and stay at a generic airport hotel. Let alone that the Hilton would have been 210 Euro as well.
Using hotel points or airline miles should be reserved for exactly these situations when paid rates are totally out of control and booking something would be totally cost-prohibitive.
I would never spend 900 Euro per night on a hotel stay, that’s totally out of the question. The Free Night Award from the Brilliant Card enabled me to book this very nice hotel at pretty much no cost except the 9,000 extra points. I’m definitely not regretting keeping this card even at the steep annual fee, especially considering I received the Marriott credits and all.