Reader Jeff is asking:
Big fan of your blog and would love your advice here.
I have 348,000 Marriott Rewards points. I want to book a travel package. What do you recommend as the best value overall? Most likely Asia or Europe travel in mind.
Marriott Rewards Travel Packages are a special breed of redemptions. Marriott Rewards become rather more valuable if you have a lot of them and they allow you to get a reasonable exchange rate in airline miles and discounted stays at higher-up category Marriott hotels.
340,000 Marriott Rewards points will give you access to 110,000 United Mileage Plus miles and one full week at a Category 8 Marriott hotel.
Category 8 has rich pickings at Marriott. The category pages are badly broken at Marriott and it remains an art to browse hotels in one category.
The Singapore Marriott or the Threadneedles, Autograph Collection in London come to mind as good redemptions. Business class tickets to Singapore are 140,000 United miles for the round-trip (no fuel surcharges) on a partner airline to Singapore or London. Flights on United planes are just 115,000 miles to Europe.
I think the key is to find a hotel that you really like first – determine the category (or Ritz-Carlton tier) and then determine the flights. Availability to Asia is usually good with United miles but flights to Europe can be hard to come by. Other airline transfer rates are not as lucrative but there are several values in each airlines award chart.
However, here is my recommendation for the somewhat more adventurous traveler:
– Stay at the Marriott Doha for just 40,000 points for 4 nights
– Stay at the JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta for just 60,000 points for 4 nights
– Add a couple of nights at the Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua (Cash or Points)
– Fly with Qatar in business class using your existing AAdvantage miles (just to Doha and catch another planes or award from there) or look out for frequent sales that Qatar has in economy for the route