They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but this travel writer tacked on two extra days to a three-day business trip using points to extend her time in Music City.
The loyalty program member
Name: Mary Jo Manzanares Age: 63 Occupation: Travel writer for Traveling with MJ Home: Federal Way, Washington
Hotel: Sheraton Grand Nashville When: April 2018 Kind of room: Deluxe King on Club Floor
Q: What amenities did you take advantage of?
A: I used the club lounge for complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, continental breakfast and evening appetizers.
Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?
A: I traveled with my husband. We wanted to add on some personal time to a business trip where we stayed at a different hotel in the same city. The prices around town were expensive, so we decided to use points to extend the stay, and the room availability worked out.
The loyalty program
Q: What loyalty program did you use to get a free stay?
Q: How long were you a member at that time?
A: Five years.
Q: How long were you planning this stay?
A: It wasn't planned. It came together at the last minute just a few weeks out.
Q: What's your favorite perk of this program?
A: Upgraded room, if available, including to the Club level.
Redemption and booking
Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?
Q: How did you book?
A: I booked online through SPG’s website.
Q: How many points/rewards did this cost?
A: I don't recall. SPG and Marriott have now merged and adjusted the valuations so I couldn't check on my account.
Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?
Q: Any upgrades?
A: We were given an upgrade to the Sheraton Club Lounge level.
What’s up next?
Our next travel goal is saving for a business-class ticket to Australia and New Zealand.
Photo by Mary Jo Manzanares.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards Travel loyalty program reviews Here's how much your points and miles are worth