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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).
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).
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)
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)
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)