June 9, 2013
I still have gift card credit from prior deals, so I plan to sit this one out, but if you do pickup some, here are some pointers for using Marriott gift cards effectively…
When using Marriott gift cards, you can stack promotions as follows…
- Make sure to sign up for the latest Marriott promotions. Marriott regularly runs MegaBonus promotions. For most people, this means that for every two Marriott stays, you’ll receive a free night certificate for a category 1 through 4 hotel. Some people are offered certificates for a category 1 through 5 hotel. Either way, make sure to sign up!
- If you plan to stay at several Marriott properties within a few months of each other, consider going for their Gold or Platinum challenge. See “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott.” This way you’ll be treated better as an elite and you’ll earn more points with each stay!
- When booking your stay, make sure to start in a point earning or cash back portal. I use CashBackHolic to find the best option since it consistently delivers the most accurate results (see “Portal finder fight! Round 2“).
- When comparing rates, make sure to look at AAA and other rates you may qualify for. In my experience, stays booked with AAA discounts do still earn portal points / cash, but stays booked on a government rate do not. Your mileage may vary.
- If you have some time on your hands, use Kayak or other aggregators to search for a site that offers a better rate than Marriott does directly. If you find a price discrepancy, you can take advantage of Marriott’s “Look No Further Room Rate Guarantee” to save 25% off the lower rate. Loyalty Traveler offers details here.
- When you check-out of your hotel, don’t forget to pay with your Marriott gift card! Alternatively, ask to pay in advance with the gift card when you check in so that you don’t risk it.