Trip Report: Houston On Points

Summertime is almost over, so we might as well spend some points before the 50% point bonus on my AmEx Biz Platinum is rolled back in December. It is worth noting that I am still waiting for the points to come back on this particular booking, now it has far exceeded 31 days for any points to come back. I asked AmEx yesterday and they gave me this standard blow off answer:

Yes, we are looking at 56 to 70 days to see our 50% points come back. Starting to not be worth it for the 2.2 points, and transfer partners to BA Avios seems more worth it each day. Despite this throttling down of points values, I decided to use AmEx points to send our most senior DerpReport correspondent to the Lone Star State. For the flight I booked United roundtrip because my usual go to using the Ritz Card for $100 credit requires you to book two tickets. Here I was able to use 30,640 MR points for a $306.40 ticket on United. Because I chose United as my bonus airline (same one as my $200 credit airline) I will eventually get 15,320 MR back as well as 5x points on the $306.40 charge for a grand total of 16,852 back for a sweet 13,788 MR for a $306.40 or 2.22222 cents per point!

Of course I am still waiting for my damn points! Now the hotel was another conundrum, I ended up choosing the Marriott Marquis Houston because I didn’t want her to rent a car or pay for parking, and the Viator tour for Galveston (use link for $10 credit) leaves from their lobby. I figured I would send her from the airport to the hotel on a shuttle which is about $50 each way (charged to the Chase Sapphire for 3x UR points).

Yes, the Texas shaped Lazy river is a feature of the newly renovated Marriott Marquis hotel. I decided to pay cash per night because for the senior (65+ and older) rate it was only $178 a night. If we look at the points needed for a category 7 hotel it would be 35,000 Marriott points or Chase UR points per night. This come out to about half a cent per point, not worth it. 

 

I put the booking on the Marriott Chase card for 5x points for future Ritz Carlton stays. A hotel like the Ritz Central Park which runs for $1,250 a night would only cost twice the points of this hotel, but it would be valued at seven times the nightly rate. Now let’s look at the sweet free schwag that comes with this particular trip. At IAH airport she has 3 lounges to check out, all in Terminal D which was walkable from Terminal C where the ORD flight arrived.

The first lounge is the AmEx Centurion Lounge reachable by elevator by gate D6. She got in showing her AmEx Platinum Card (She is my AU for this purpose alone). Surprisingly, my senior correspondent was not impressed, she was able to get a glass of Rosé wine but stated the food was limited when compared to SFO.

Moving along is the KLM lounge by gate D8 which was open to her due to her Priority Pass from the same AmEx Platinum:

Again she was not so impressed, but the bar was self service, so that is something to be said:

However the food was even more limited:

The final lounge is the Air France found by gate D12:

This had the most limited food:

However it did have bottled beer, so there you go! It also had some neat french biscuits:

Being a very thrifty Derp Report Correspondent she helped herself for the week (the website doesn’t pay very well):

The Marriott gave her an upgrade to the executive level due to her Gold Status from SPG Gold from her AmEx Platinum. This put her on an upper floor:

Along with the upgrade she gets free premium WiFi as well as M Club access:

That means free breakfast Monday to Friday (points instead of food for the weekend). Cash bar for cocktail hour, but Hors d’oeuvres from 1730 to 1930 and Dessert 1900 to 2200 Sunday to Thurs.

She enjoyed the lobster empanadas as well as various finger foods:

Finger foods: Little snacks mostly:

Nightly charcuterie:

Also cocktail hour has free non-alcoholic beverages:

Overall very impressed, but the best part was dessert!

Tons of food to eat!

Breakfast the next day was reported as impressive!

Overall the trip went well except for the looming Hurricane coming ashore any time now:

I hope I get my most senior correspondent back!

-Derp

2 thoughts on “Trip Report: Houston On Points

  1. Bill says:

    Does the annual fee get waived for authorized users on your account as well?

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