Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If you are planning to adopt from Russia read this post about "Why I love Marriott!"

I have been meaning to make this post for quite a while now, to help fellow adoptive parents when they travel.  When we selected AAC as our agency, one of the reasons was because the regions where they work were all close to a Marriott.  Joe travels a lot for work and as a result we have earned a lot of Marriott points as well as platinum status.  I wanted to talk about this because it saved us close to 20k during our adoption travel.

First if you can get to a Gold status with Marriott by the time you travel you will often get free breakfast, free internet, and often free drinks.  To give you an idea on that savings, our breakfast would have been about $25 per person per day (2 people x 21 days = about $1050.  Our internet was 4000 Rubles for a week per device.  We had 4 devices which made the bill 16000 rubles for one week.  We were there for 4 weeks = about $2100.  Now I'm sure there are ways to cut back like not having access everyday all day long or just using 1 device but when it's free its nice!  And trust me, that drink at the end of the day was so nice.  

Second thing that was great about the Marriott was the Executive lounge at the Marriott Grand.  I don't know about the other hotels, but when we stayed at the Grand in Moscow, it was awesome!  There is access to the lounge from both the 8 and 9th floor.  With Marriott status, you can have all day access to the lounge.  This is where we ate breakfast every morning (they even had a highchair for Polina).  They serve drinks (coffee/water/soda) and snacks all day long and then from 5-8 they serve appetizers and soda, beer, and wine.  All of this is free!  

Third, and probably the biggest is that we were able to use our Marriott points to pay for our flights.  We flew United and a round trip ticket was 60k miles.  We were able to exchange our Marriott points for United miles and paid for all of our flights that way.  There is a trick though...when you go to exchange the points for Miles you need to book at least a week hotel stay at that time because you will get a better exchange rate on your points.  I think if you do it that way, it's almost a 1 for 1.  The other thing I should point out is that Polina was 2 when we came home which meant she needed a full fair ticket.  We were able to buy her a one way ticket for 30k points.  This is a big deal because the airlines will charge crazy amounts of money for a one way ticket so using your points is a great way to avoid that excessive charge.

Now you may be asking yourself how in the world could I ever earn all those points...
1. Get a Marriott credit card ASAP and use it to pay for EVERYTHING!
2. When you open your card look for one that will give you "stays" for opening it or bonus points.
3. Have both you and your spouse open separate cards using the same Marriott number.  
4. Have your parents open cards using your Marriott number.  Assuming they have good credit and are willing to.
5. Ask anyone you know that is traveling to stay at a Marriott an use your number when they check in (anyone can use your number, not just you).
6.  Watch for deals on the Marriott website that offer additional "stays".
7. Check to see if you can use your card to pay your agency fees.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions.  Hopefully this post will help someone.


  1. Hi - found this site from all pictures here - what a cutie Paulina is and your boys are adorable too...we are almost there to complete home study and we are also using AAC. Would love to ask a few questions if you don't there anyway I can reach you?

  2. You can contact me at crystaldechant @

  3. Crystal, thank you for posting this!!