Category Archives: Marriott

By @ 12/28/17 in Boston, Gay travel, Hotels, Marriott, Philadelphia, Travel, Washington
This year, our northeast corridor tour from DC to Boston landed us in three of the best convention Marriott Hotels

Marriott Hotels in Washington DC, Boston + Philadelphia

Now that Marriott International encompasses 30 brands, many travelers are realizing for the first time that Marriott Hotels are no longer the big beige box next to the convention center. Indeed, some of the most exciting innovation in hospitality was already coming from Marriott before the Starwood merger. Moxy and Edition are as hip as hotels get – even the newest generation Courtyard properties are nothing like your old Regional Sales Manager’s Courtyard (check out Abu Dhabi or Tokyo Station).

And then there are still the big beige boxes next to the convention center. Sometimes they’re unavoidable. When we’re working or presenting at a conference, convenience is the greatest luxury, and that often lands us at a convention hotel. This year, our northeast corridor tour from DC to Boston landed us in three of those. Guess what? They’re not so beige anymore.

Marriott Marquis Washington DC

This year, our northeast corridor tour from DC to Boston landed us in three of the best convention Marriott HotelsNot just next to the convention center, this Marriott is actually connected to it via an underground passageway – super convenient when you’re dragging your display to the convention floor. But the moment you enter the lobby, it’s clear this is a modern, cool space. There’s a lively energy about the place with its soaring atrium and sculpture. The rooms are spacious, bright and contemporary in natural colors, and the fitness center is large and well-equipped. Best of all, the M Club Lounge is open 24/7, with free access for Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum members. Most Marriott lounges close on the weekends; but this one stays open, with breakfast every morning, and a candy bar during the day, where you can fill little Chinese takeout containers with snacks to keep you going.

Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown

This year, our northeast corridor tour from DC to Boston landed us in three of the best convention Marriott HotelsAlthough Courtyard has roots in suburban, office park locations, this was the first urban Courtyard, housed in an historic building just three blocks from the convention center (and the Reading Terminal Market). The ground floor is landmark protected, but head up to your room and a design surprise awaits. Decked out in masculine colors (dark blue, dark grey), and filled with design flourishes typical of a boutique hotel, the rooms are comfortable and whimsical — a modern interpretation of Colonial elegance. Combined with excellent service and an ideal downtown location, it’s a great choice even without the convention center proximity.

Boston Marriott Copley Place

This year, our northeast corridor tour from DC to Boston landed us in three of the best convention Marriott HotelsCopley Place isn’t the convention center, but it is the heart of Boston, and this hotel is a behemoth in the center of it all, with 1,097 rooms and 47 suites. Remember that classic Marriott décor from the 90’s? Stepping into our room at the Marriott Copley Place brought it back in all its glory. On closer inspection, it’s been updated, with some mid-century modern touches, and… it looks brand new – the hotel is impeccably maintained. Even more gratifying, you’ll find some really smart innovation under that harvest gold veneer. Smart elevators request your floor number before you get in, maximizing transit speed for everyone. Our stay here was our first encounter with Marriott’s “Fresh Bites” room service menu. Gone are the fancy roll-in tray and exorbitant service charges. Fresh, local and packaged to go, Fresh Bites are priced more like the corner deli, and delivered to your room for $5, or picked up at the bar for free. Finally, in-room dining that’s affordable for travelers without expense accounts. And after indulging in a lobster roll, there’s a big indoor pool, jacuzzi and large fitness center to work it off.

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By @ 09/28/16 in Billy Kolber, Hotels, Marriott, Starwood

Marriott/Starwood loyalty merger

When the Marriott/Starwood merger closed last Friday, the frequent traveler world was surprised with a same-day linkage of the two loyalty programs, immediate reciprocal elite memberships, and the ability to shift points between the two programs freely, at a 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards point ratio.

Starwood Gold Elite members (who only needed 10 stays or 25 nights to qualify) got the biggest bonus, since Marriott Rewards Gold (which requires 50 nights) offers benefits more closely aligned with SPG platinum, notably free breakfast and lounge access at most Marriott hotels. Elite qualification nights are not shared or transferable currently, so you’ll need to be careful not to split your nights in a way that jeopardizes your status.

The combination of the Marriott/Starwood programs created some unexpected bonuses for elite members. And some newly minted ways to instantly become Marriott Rewards Gold — like spending $30,000 on the SPG Amex card in a year.  Even better, are these seven sneaky clever ways to get or leverage your new status for significant travel benefits.

1. If you have an American Express Platinum Card, you’re now gold with Marriott.

Platinum Amex Cardholders get awesome benefits, including SPG Gold Elite membership. Which gives you Marriott Rewards Gold, which is even more valuable: it includes free breakfast and lounge access at most Marriott hotels — a benefit you only get at the Platinum level with SPG.

2. If you’re a Delta Skymiles Diamond or Platinum Member, you’re now gold with Marriott.

Like American Express Platinum card holders, you’re also entitled to automatic SPG Gold Elite through the Crossover Rewards program. Once you register, your SPG Gold status gets you Marriott Rewards Gold.

3. If you’re a Platinum SPG member, you’re now silver with United MileagePlus

RewardsPlus, a Marriott/United Airlines partnership offers Marriott Platinum Elites a United MileagePlus silver elite. Once your SPG and MR accounts are linked, you can apply for the benefit with United based on your Marriott Platinum status.

4. If you’re a Marriott Rewards Platinum Member, you’re now silver on Delta

SPG Crossover Rewards grants Delta Skymiles Silver membership, Once your Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts are linked, you can link your SPG and Delta accounts.

5. If you’re United Mileage Plus Gold Elite member, you’re gold with Starwood.

RewardsPlus grants Marriott Rewards Gold to United MileagePlus Gold members. And that of course, gets you SPG Gold once your Marriott and Starwood accounts are linked.

6. Transfer 90,000 Starpoints into 132,000 United Mileage Plus points.

Almost every SPG airline partner offers a 1:1 point transfer ratio. But the united ratio was 1:2, requiring twice as many starpoints. But transfer 90,000 Starpoints into 270,000 Marriott Rewards points, and redeem for a RewardsPlus vacation package. Those 90,000 Starpoints become 132,000 MileagePlus miles, and a free 7-night Marriott Category 1-5 hotel stay. (Same offer with 7 nights at a Category 9 hotel is 130,000 Starpoints; 180,000 Starpoints at Tier 5 Ritz-Carlton).

A similar Travel Package offer is available for 60,000-120,000 miles on the following carriers: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, AirBerlin, Air Canada, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, American Airlines, ANA, Asia Miles, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA, British Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, Copa Airlines, Delta Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig,  Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Jet Blue, Korean Air, LAN, Lufthansa, Multiplus, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Saudia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways Voyager, Southwest Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines,Virgin America. Virgin Atlantic

7. Double Your Credit Card Enrollment Bonuses

You likely already have one or the other. But you should have both, earn the enrollment bonuses, and freely transfer points between the programs. Currently, you can earn 25,000 Starpoints for getting the Amex Card, and 87,500 Marriott Rewards points for their visa card. Once you’ve earned the Marriott bonus, switch your everyday, non-Marriott spending to the SPG American Express card, since the 1 Starpoint per $1 is worth three times as much as the 1 MR point per $1 from the Marriott Rewards card.

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