Once upon a time, we were a family of three. I remember the day I brought our daughter home eight years ago. What was I going to do with this little human being? Even though I look almost serene on the photo, inside I was petrified.
As she got older, it became clear that we had a drama queen on our hands. Even before she could talk, she would gesture and go on wordless rants when she was displeased with something or someone (usually me).
She also happens to have a very active imagination. Few weeks ago we had her friend for a sleepover and my husband and I got into a heated argument. Later on I learned from a friend’s mother that my daughter said her parents are getting a divorce. And this is what came out of her mouth today: “Marriage can be a real stink when you have an irritating husband.” Well, I can’t argue with that!
But more than anything, my daughter loves attention. Not surprisingly, this became an issue when our son was born. As a baby, he got a disproportionate slice of our time and care. Mostly, it’s because he is so destructive, you have to watch him 24/7.
But I’ve noticed more and more than my daughter became withdrawn and frequently said that we love our boy more than her. So, last year I’ve decided to enroll her in a dance class. It would be something special, something just for her. Additionally, it would give us a chance to talk on the way to the dance studio.
I wish I could say that I took advantage of that time, but for the most part, we just ended up listening to the radio. She seemed to love the class till few months ago. I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden she got bored and was ready to move on.
But I didn’t let her quit. I told her she needed to finish the year and do a recital dance. Even though I’m not the best example when it comes to sticking with something when the going gets rough, I want my kids to do better than me.
To give additional motivation I told her that she would get a special surprise after the recital dance. It didn’t matter if she messed up the steps, the important thing was to do her very best. That made my daughter happy.
So here is my little ballerina on her special day:
Parents, who thinks that dance recitals are just too stinking long? That thing took three hours, and my daughter’s ballet group performed close to the very end. Here she is on the far left:
After the recital was over, it was time to reveal her special surprise. We were going to spend a night at a local Residence Inn by Marriott. I had 7,500 Marriott points just sitting in my husband’s account for several years. It was time to put them to good use.
Unfortunately, that amount is enough for a Category 1 property (none in the surrounding area), unless you are willing to do a cash+points redemption. There was, however, a Category 2 hotel that runs at 10,000 points per night. It had stellar reviews and regular rate was over $110 per night, plus tax.
I could buy points, of course. But I’m cheap and don’t like to pay for anything, so I started looking for other ways to top off the account. I remembered that my sister-in-law had some Marriott points and asked her if she would be willing to transfer some to my husband. She said that would be no problem. Did you know that you can transfer between 1,000 and 50,000 Marriott points per year to anyone for only $10? Gold and Platinum Elite members can do it for free.
It wasn’t free in my case, but close enough. So, we called Marriott to perform the transfer and for some reason the agent said she wasn’t going to charge anything for it. I’m not sure if it’s because my husband and sister-in-law have the same last name or what.
Another crazy thing: I just checked and he still has 7,500 Marriott points sitting in his account. They’ve never debited them for redemption. I’ll probably give them a call today or tomorrow. It’s raining hotel points in my neck of the woods! First Club Carlson, now Marriott.
Anyway, when my daughter learned about her surprise, she was ecstatic. She kept saying that I’m the best mom in the world. Yeah, right. So, off we went to out humble Residence Inn. I was actually able to book a 1-bedroom suite with a king size bed. It was very clean, comfortable and they even left a complimentary bag of popcorn for us. See how my daughter is giving a thumbs up on the photo?
The hotel had a pool and hot tub, and we ended up hanging out there till 10 PM. The next morning we enjoyed a fairly nice breakfast which consisted of eggs, fresh waffles and other good stuff. No photos, y’all know what eggs and waffles look like, right?
On the way home my daughter told me that she wanted to take dance classes again next year. I asked her if it was due to hotel sleepover and she said yes. I told her mama ain’t gonna pay for dance class, but I’ll arrange a hotel surprise again at some point in the future.
I think this was quite possibly the best value I ever got out of my hotel points, and I’m not talking about CPP (cents per point) on the redemption.
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.