Marriott is fanning the flames of the rumor mill this week as they unveiling new offers on their credit cards that include a newly-established 85K free night certificate on the Brilliant card. On this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg and I come to the conclusion that something even better might be coming, so it might make sense to wait. However, after recording, Greg flip-flopped with an update to his post (summarized below) that recommended going after the offer now after all. Which argument makes the most sense to you? Listen to Frequent Miler on the Air and read his post to decide.
Also read on for big enhancements to the card you can use to earn 1x on rent, everything you need to know about Le Meridien Maldives (including links to the restaurant menus and how to save on the sea plane) and more.
Frequent Miler on the Air
- 00:31 Giant Mailbag: The highs and lows of Passing the GUC
- 10:00 Mattress running the numbers: A Radisson promo that really is mattress-run-worthy.
- 15:50 Main Event: Marriott fans the rumor flames
- 45:41 Question of the Week: Could you use US Bank Altitude Reserve points to pay for your Maldives sea plane transfer?
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This week at Frequent Miler
The new Amex Bonvoy Brilliant welcome bonus is fantastic. We’ve never before seen an 85K free night certificate and that is significant for a couple of reasons. First, an 85K free night certificate is awesome because it will cover all but peak-priced top-tier Category 8 properties; the fact that it will cover even peak-priced properties through Category 7 (and off-peak and standard-priced top-tier Cat 8 properties) means you should be able to get tremendous value from it. Second, it lends credence to the rumors of coming changes on the Brilliant card. After publishing this post, Greg’s recommendation about whether to get the card now or later flip-flopped. I agree that there is a lot of sense in getting the card now, but I’m a gambling man and I still think it might be worth laying a wager on a huge new welcome bonus that blows us all away. If they can offer up to 500K points on the Platinum card (which don’t expire and can be transferred to many different partners), I wonder what they can throw at us in terms of 85K free night certificates that are only valid for a year. The current offer is valid until 11/3, so I reserve the right to change my mind, but right now I’m leaning toward rolling the dice on a better offer despite the potential cost if I’m wrong.
This is not your typical review. In this resource, Greg put together just about everything you could want to know about the Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 Le Meridien Maldives: from video reviews of restaurants and links to their menus/prices to full details of the various meal plan options (which was verified with property management via several rounds of emails to be accurate as of this time) to videos of our snorkeling experiences on their house reef and more. If you are interested in Le Meridien Maldives, this guide should help you know exactly what to expect.
If the Maldives appeals to you but you wish the sea plane transfer were just a bit cheaper, you’re in luck: it can be. In this post, I go through a number of ways you can reduce your out of pocket cost (I used my special points-for-gift-cards redemption and Greg utilized Amex Offers to buy gift cards in advance). It still won’t be cheap or even reasonable, but saving around a hundred bucks per person is nonetheless significant.
Bilt is back with some strong improvements that now make their credit card a near no-brainer for people who rent and have been paying by check or ACH without rewards. It is now much easier to earn 1x on rent (you need just 5 transactions per month to earn rewards) and you can even earn decent category bonuses on travel and dining with no annual fee. Considering Bilt’s unique mix of 1:1 transfer partners (including American Airlines, Hyatt, Turkish Miles & Smiles, Aeroplan, and more), this card has gotten a lot more interesting.
I’m always skeptical of “best of” lists, but when my issue of Travel & Leisure arrived yesterday, there I was combing through the 10 best international airlines, 10 best domestic airports, 10 best international airports (and so on) to see where I agreed or disagreed. In this post, Greg takes a look at their list of the 100 best hotels in the world and highlights which of those are bookable with points (and then determines which offer good value for the points). Tambo del Inka continues to draw my interest and I do hope to get there at some point, but this year’s list also adds an Alila that costs just 8K Hyatt points per night and a St. Regis where I could use 50K certificates if only I could get there before the ones in my account expire. See for yourself which properties you’d most like to visit.
I get skeptical of those best-of lists specifically because of stuff like this: when the above picture is the breakfast view from a Category 5 Marriott, how does that not make the best hotels list? I know that there is more to it than the view in making a “Top 100 hotels” list, but this review from Stephen Pepper certainly puts the Marriott Mena House comfortably within my top 100 places yet to visit. I certainly hope to get there one day. For more details about this property with fantastic views of the pyramids, see this post.
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Don’t forget to keep an eye on this week’s last chance deals.