A while back, I wrote about one of the most lucrative credit card sign-up bonus plays out there. I was able to leverage the Ritz Carlton Rewards card and some Chase Ultimate Rewards points into a Marriott Hotel + Air Package, which granted me 70,000 Southwest miles. By combining a Southwest Premier Rewards card (50,000-mile sign-up bonus) with this haul, I earned the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, making all our domestic travel effectively two-for-one in 2015 and 2016.
The main goal of this complicated strategy was to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, but a pleasant side-benefit was a 7-night stay at a Category 6 Marriott hotel. Now that award space is available through the holidays on Southwest, I've successfully booked our flights to New Orleans and applied the 7-night award certificate to the AC Hotel New Orleans in the Bourbon/French Quarter Area.
Our stay in "the Big Easy" coincides with New Year's Eve, which was no accident. Look no further than this Travel+Leisure article for evidence as to why this will be a great award redemption. For a number of years now, the popular travel publication has rated New Orleans the #1 place in the United States to ring in the new year and we will be doing it in style and on a budget!