Ask Oyster: Where to spend your Marriott Rewards points this winter

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Question: Kate from Washington D.C. My husband and I are looking to cash-in on some of our Marriott Rewards points this winter. We’ve collected A LOT over the years while traveling on business, but WE NEED A VACATION! We’re thinking a long weekend – maybe more, if we can afford it – but we’re not sure where we should splurge (somewhere warm, hopefully). Ideas? Thank you!!!

Answer: Will Begeny, Oyster’s Senior Editor

Thanks for asking, Kate. As with any of the hotel rewards programs, sifting through the website’s legal-qualifying jargon can be a nightmare. Your best bet is to take advantage of their travel-package deals, which typically toss in a generous helping of frequent-flyer miles (even if you don’t use the miles for the trip).

The adults-only pool at the Marriott Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii

The adults-only pool at the Marriott Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii

If you’re looking to take off before December 31, consider the phenomenal Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Jamaica (one of the few hotels, anywhere, that we’ve awarded 5-pearls)—you can use your Rewards Points (or PointSavers points) at a handful of Ritz-Carlton hotels. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a little fun in the sun, there are a number of attractive options that can include a free seven-night stay plus 50,000 miles that begin at about 230,000 points (and remember, you can always just buy extra points if you’re just shy of the free vacation).

Marriott Aruba Resort & Casino, Aruba

A comfortable, modern getaway with a great pool, gym, spa, and casino, this recently renovated Marriott Resort is fancier than its neighbors, the Marriott Surf Club and the Marriott Ocean Club (also category 7 hotels). Plus, with the “inclusive reward program” (for an extra 70,000 points) you can turn this into an all-inclusive retreat—free food and free drinks means that you can indulge all you want, without eyeing the bill (now that’s a relaxing retreat). (Category 7 hotel)

Marriott Wailea Resort, Maui

Situated on a rock between two beaches, the 22-acre, 546-room Wailea Marriott has panoramic ocean views and a serene vibe missing from some of the more crowded, neighboring resorts. Renovated in 2008, the Marriott’s spiffy rooms, gorgeous adult-only infinity pool, reputable spa, and a popular restaurant make it the best midrange options among the luxury golf resorts in Wailea. (Category 6 hotel)

Eden Roc: A Renaissance Resort and Spa, Miami

High-up in Mid-Beach – about 30 blocks removed from the action in South Beach — this Renaissance is next door to the high-class wining and dining at the snazzy Fontainebleau resort, but it has its own batch of fantastic features — three infinity pools (one of which is exclusive to adults), superbly comfortable rooms (all redone in 2009), and the fresh-opened “Spa of Eden.” (Category 6 hotel)

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