Marriott Rewards may not be the sexiest hotel rewards program out there, but it is big, offers a plethora of properties in cities and towns of all sizes, and offers one of the more consistent experiences in hotel stays. When I transitioned from my airline career into something new, I began to focus more on loyalty programs, specifically hotel programs that I had not really bothered with in a long time. It was nothing but chance that most of the people I worked with in my new position were Marriott loyalists. I became one too. As time passed, I read more about hotel programs, and the desire to experiment led me to try other hotel loyalty schemes.

At about that time, I began working with a new group of people who were all Hilton loyalists. I dove in. Within a short amount of time I was elevated to HHonors Gold, and eventually Diamond. My Hilton family stays were always OK, no complaints, then I rediscovered Starwood Preferred Guest. I say “rediscovered” because there was a time during my airline days that I was Starwood Gold when that was the only elite level! Starwood remains a big favorite of mine, but once again, my travel patterns have changed, making it more difficult for me to amass enough stays to hold anything more than Gold status….not that there is anything wrong with that other than I’d rather be SPG Platinum. 🙂

Which brings me back to Marriott Rewards. Yes, things do come full circle. With my relocation to Atlanta, I have found that my travel needs have evolved yet again. It seemed that everywhere I was going, there was always a Marriott property, whether it was a Courtyard or a JW Marriott, that met my lodging needs. I debated sticking with my old habits and love of Starwood, and backing that up with the HHonors Gold status provided by virtue of my HHonors Reserve Visa. In the end, I elected to cover my hotel needs in a different way, and challenge my way back to Marriott Rewards gold status which I had lost several years ago. You can read about my challenge experience here.

I’ve enjoyed the benefits of Marriott Gold, including free internet, lounge access, etc. One of my favorite things about booking more Marriott hotels for my business travel needs? Most of the Marriott family hotels I book will allow you to change or cancel your reservation up to the afternoon of your scheduled arrival. For a variety of reasons, it is not at all unusual for my travel plans to change on short notice. That little bit of scheduling flexibility is a big deal, and has already saved me a few hundred bucks in late cancel fees.

In summary, Marriott Rewards is working for me for reasons that are unique to my situation. Still, with all the changes in hotel programs, I am experimenting with different alternatives. Look for a review of a beautiful Kimpton Hotel in a yet to be disclosed location by week’s end. Are you making changes with your hotel loyalty choices this year? How so?