Hi, all...I'm relatively new to the Rewards Travel "game," and I have a unique opportunity coming up that I want to make the best of. I just made Gold Elite last month. I have two Category 1-5 certificates (one from my credit card, the other from the Fall Mega Bonus), and I'm trying to figure out the best way to use them while maximizing my benefits and points/upgrades.
I have two upcoming trips with my family of 4 to Ohio, one in November to suburban Cincinnati, the other in December to the Akron/Canton area. Both are two-night stays. The November trip to Cincy is at the Cincinnati Marriott North in West Chester, which despite being a full-service hotel is a Category 4. I'm staying on a group rate of $119/night for a total of $238 before taxes (2380 base points + 595 bonus). We have a room with 2 double beds now, and will get lounge access due to my Gold Status. Any room upgrade availability will be determined at check-in.
The trip to the Akron/Canton area in December provides me 4 options (all within a couple miles of each other and the area we need to be):
- Fairfield Inn $123/night ($246 total), 2460 base points + 615 bonus, includes breakfast, only King rooms available, Cat 3
- Residence Inn $104/night ($208 total), 1040 base points + 260 bonus, includes breakfast, 1 & 2 BR suites available, Cat 3
- SpringHill Suits $97/night ($194 total), 1940 base points + 485 bonus, includes breakfast, 2 queens available, Cat 3
- Courtyard - N/A, only King rooms available, no pull-outs, no breakfast
So my question is: which option should I choose in North Canton, and which stay should I use my rewards certificates for? Understanding that I get free upgrades, etc. at check in, can I still request an upgrade if I'm staying on a certificate? Interested in everyone's opinion. Thanks in advance for voicing yours!