Help with maximizing travel rewards

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This might have been well covered inside individual threads. Kindly pardon the inconvenience. I would like to ask FWF community opinion on how to maximize the rewards during my two week travel.

I am going to Austin, TX (1 week trip) and followed by another 1 week trip to Los Angeles (LAX) in the end of March and beginning of April. I am flying out of IAD. Currently, I am a member of Mileage Plus (United airlies) and Hilton honors (Gold status offer from a year ago). I will get 2x miles on airfare when flying on United using my explorer credit card. For my stay, I plan to use Freedom card to book Hotels.com through Ultimate rewards (5x?).

My questions are
a). Is Ultimate rewards the best way to maximize the Hotels.com purchase?
b). Should I stay in Marriot (United hotel partner) or to stay with Hilton Honors?
c). Am I missing another better opportunity to maximize rewards?

I guess, I have little bit of time if I need to apply for a new credit card. I prefer not to (planning to buy a home soon). I already have Disc0ver, United Expl0rer, Ch@se Freedom, AMEX blue cash everyday card, Citi thank you card (regular).

Thanks in advance.

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Some general comments...

Flyertalk is the best place to get the exact answers you want for maximizing points and miles for specific reward/loyalty programs.

Both Marriot and Hilton are fairly stingy on earnings, but you have 2 weeks worth of stays, so its worth figuring out - do you want to earn status on Marriot or Hilton? I think you get more perks with Hilton status, but I'm not sure... Here is a recent analysis by a respected blogger on hotel programs:

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2013/02/26/which-h...

I suggest you apply for a Citi Hilton credit card (50K) or Chase Marriot Visa. They are both not the best promotion, but for 2 weeks worth of stays, its better than nothing...

I'm not sure about the Hotels.com and ultimate rewards 5x promotion, but its worth asking about this on the respective Flyertalk Hilton/Marriot board. You may want to be careful since hotel.com purchases MAY not earn hotel points...

It depends on what all you are willing to do to maximize your trips; E.g Marriott just announced a promo. one free night for every two paid stays. I know consultants who checkin to a new hotel every day of the week to maximize this promo.

there are similar other promos from starwood too. search flyertalk for more ideas.

1. Hilton Honors is devaluing their rewards program on 3/28 changing from Cat 1-7 (Cat 7 50K per night) to Cat 1-10 (95K per night) effectively making many reservations double in points price. If you reserve your booking before that deadline you will qualify for the lower rates. More info on that here: http://saverocity.com/blog/huge-devaluation-coming-soon-to-hilto...

You are going to want to burn up all of your Hilton points ASAP.

2. If you want to check what has the best portal for Hotels.com punch it into evreward.com this is currently showing 4x for UR and 4.5% Cash Back for Big Crumbs and 5% for Discover Card holders - you have one of these so decide if you want 5% or 4x URs.. depending on how you value them will make the decision for you, but I would value UR at more than 1.5 cents each.


3. Don't forget to use GLON rates for your trip, these are good at any Cat 5 Hilton or higher, the redemption rate for GLON and AXON is in the link about devaluation above) GLON is a discount you get for having any status at Hilton (Silver up) and AXON is available for holders of the Hilton AMEX.

Hilton is the best choice you can opt for while travelling.Although its only your choice and decision to maximize your travel.But i am guessing why you want to maximize your travel.?

I am not a member of Mariott rewards. I believe I can earn united miles on my mariott stay. I am not sure of the details. One of the to do things for the weekend is to read up on this. I have Hilton Honors points (500 points from FB promo in Nov 2012).

Given that I will be traveling a bit in the next 4-5 months, I do want to start collecting miles. I wanted to know whether its better to go United miles or individual hotel miles.



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