Skip to main content

Just rewards

If you've stopped by here once or twice, you know that I travel extensively for my job.  And while that might not mean that I'm traveling across the ocean to Europe or Japan, I'm on the road a LOT.

About the only thing that makes it bearable is that I have the opportunity to collect, keep and redeem my frequent flier and hotel patron miles or points.  I suppose that's the saving grace for most road warriors, though I seldom want to travel very far for leisure.

That said, I've had some interesting experiences in redeeming some of the points I've accumulated over time with various hotel chains and airlines.  Here's a quick sampling of what I've experienced.


This is probably my favorite, as I fly Delta just about exclusively (where I start in Lexington, Kentucky, Delta is my best option for booking travel to nearly anywhere).  And I have a Delta Skymiles American Express credit card which I use for all of my business-related travel expenses.  Thanks to Delta and American Express I've been able to "buy" six round-trip tickets over the past year, and have paid the princely sum of a $5 service charge each time.  Friends and relatives have complained about the difficulties of using miles for reward tickets, but I've seldom, if ever, had problems with Delta in this regard.


Another program to which I am very loyal, choosing to stay in Marriott-branded hotels whenever and wherever possible.  We also have a Marriott Rewards Visa card on which we charge some monthly expenses, like gasoline purchases.  And we generally enjoy four to eight free nights in Marriott hotels annually, though this year we stayed fewer free nights.

This program also offers merchandise purchases by using only points, no added costs or shipping charges.  Recently I acquired a set of Bose earbuds for travel and just today redeemed a few more points for a music-only Apple iPod.  And I still have enough points for another hotel stay!


The least useful of my accounts, I seldom, if ever, fly U.S. Air, even though their primary hub city of Charlotte is a frequent destination of mine.  Their prices are so much higher than other airlines that I can never justify the added expense associated with the convenience of a direct flight.  And their miles program offers no merchandise rewards that I've detected, save some periodic offers of magazine subscriptions in which I have no interest.  And there's no discernable way to profitably trade these miles for something more useful, at least none that I've determined.


This program just combined with Continental's OnePass program, as the two airlines are now a single entity and are beginning to operate as a single business.  I had miles on both programs, but, unfortunately, not enough for a ticket.  So I reviewed their online merchandise offerings (United is another airline I seldom fly, as they don't serve a lot of the destinations I visit) and found a K-cup coffee maker that might be a nice addition to our kitchen arsenal.  And like the Marriott program above, no surcharges, fees or shipping charges....nice!


Hilton's my first alternate hotel chain; generally, if there's not a Marriott property, there's probably a Hilton hotel where I'm going.  They offer reward hotel nights, but I've never redeemed for one of those.  And recently I explored the merchandise offerings and found they were requiring two to three times what the comparable Marriott program does for the same items.  So I'm still sitting on some HiltonHonors points, and will likely use them for free rooms.

There are others...for instance, Starwood's program encompasses the Westin properties, and I joined their program when I stayed at a Westin a year or so ago for a company function.  But strangely, they don't ever seem to have any record of my stays, so no points ever accumulate.  Odd.

Many restaurants are jumping on this rewards bandwagon, too, and I'm in favor of anything that does not require the member/user to pay a fee to join.  A local restaurant chain operates a pretty good program and my wife and I enjoyed prime rib for next to nothing there a while back!

Very, very, very rewarding!


Popular posts from this blog

Oscar Magico!

Good Monday morning to everyone!  If you're like me, and stayed up to watch the Oscars last night, you're a little sleep deprived.  I mean, after all, how often does an awards show end with a major twist in the ending?

If you didn't watch and have not watched or read the news, then you don't know about the colossal screw-up that ended what was a pretty entertaining Academy Awards show last night.  The final and biggest award, for the Best Picture, was being presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, selected apparently because 2017 represents the fiftieth anniversary year of their vehicle "Bonnie and Clyde."

In any case, after a brief political statement, the pair got down to business and introduced the nine nominees, then Beatty appeared a bit flummoxed by the contents of the envelope.  Dunaway laughed and said "you're impossible" and announced "La La Land," the odds-on favorite, as the winner.

In the midst of acceptance speeches b…

Learning opportunities

Good Monday morning to you.

Perhaps I should state up front that it's a bit of a blue Monday here in the Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels last night in a wild and highly competitive game.  Kentucky's team never really got going in the first half, owing to foul trouble for three starters, and that foul trouble and lack of rhythm carried over for the rest of the game.  Somewhat miraculous that Kentucky had the lead at a couple of points late, but Carolina's depth and experience won out.

Though my wife doesn't agree, that's pretty much the end of basketball for me this year.  I don't watch much other college basketball except to see who Kentucky might end up playing, so if they're done, I probably am, too.

My company is getting into a new aspect of business that you've probably seen and heard about, but because I don't talk in detail about work in this space, I won't el…

Stunningly apathetic

Good afternoon to everyone.  Unusual day and time to post, but my schedule got a little fouled up this week.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?  For a number of years, starting when our kids were, well, kids, we really made a big deal of the day of the big game, buying special snacks, planning a menu appropriate to the site of the game or the participating teams' cities, and so forth.

Last year was great, since the Denver Broncos won and our daughter and her family are season ticket holders!

But this year?  Hard to get excited about the New England Patriots (again) and the Atlanta Falcons.  Admittedly, the Falcons have a Kentucky native and UK grad on the roster, tight end Jacob Tamme, but he was injured mid-season and won't play.  But otherwise, the Falcons don't have any players who command a high level of attention from me.

And then there's the Patriots.  Sorry to my friends in the northeast, but I don't care for the team owner, the head coach, the offens…