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In brief: Dave Stringer passes away, Marriott Platinum Challenge surprise

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News in brief:

Dave Stringer passes away

Regular readers may remember that, back in January, I posted a link to Dave Stringer’s travel site.

I get a lot of emails from readers who tell me of all the great places they have been able to visit and all of the great hotels they have been able to stay in as a result of reading Head for Points.  I’m always pleased to receive them.

I got a similar email from Dave, but unfortunately the circumstances were different.  Dave, despite being only 49, had incurable lung cancer despite having never smoked.  HfP was helping him spend much of his last year travelling so he could see the world whilst he has the chance.

Unfortunately, Dave passed away yesterday.  His family posted this on his blog:

On behalf of him and the family, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone that has read his site. From the amusement of the hooker in London to the sadness of his pain and low points, he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his experiences with you. Your comments and support never failed to lift him up and the support network it allowed him to form helped him battle on for this long. You made him feel like a superstar.  Today is a sad day, but we are happy that dad is at peace now. He had the best last days he could ask for and passed away without pain or suffering.

Dave had set up a JustGiving page for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which is here.

Pleasant surprise for Marriott Platinum Challenge participants

I wrote a couple of articles in recent months about the Marriott Platinum Challenge, which elevated you to Platinum status in Marriott Rewards for completing nine stays within 90 days.

As I will have over 1 million points in the new combined Marriott / Starwood scheme when it launches in August, the idea of getting Platinum status to Jan / Feb 2020 appealed.  It will literally pay for itself within weeks – the cost of the ‘mattress run’ nights I did on top of stays I had to make anyway was less than I will save from getting 12 free breakfasts at the JW Marriott Venice in late August.

Quite a few HfP readers decided to follow my example.  Suddenly, at the start of the week, all of them were upgraded to Marriott and Starwood Platinum status despite not completing the challenge.  Some had not completed a single night.

There are two possibilities here:

it is a big mistake, or

Marriott has realised that it doesn’t have the IT capabilities to track challenge stays once the two schemes merge in a few weeks, and thought it was easier to ‘clear the decks’ by upgrading everyone and then not having to worry about it

For clarity, it is not certain that this ‘comped’ status will last until early 2020.  Marriott would be in its rights to drop you down in early 2019.  If you want to be certain that your Platinum status will last until 2020 then I recommend that you complete your challenge as originally planned.

Some people will have got lucky over this. On the other hand, others were unlucky when Marriott pulled the challenge without notice.  That’s how it rolls.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (June 2022)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (51)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Condolences says:

    Rest in Peace, Dave.

  • guesswho2000 says:

    RIP Dave

  • Ken Snowdon says:

    Bit of an abrupt segue from the news about Dave’s sad death to ‘Pleasant surprise for Marriott Platinum Challenge participants’.
    Don’t you think it would have been nicer for Dave to have the post on his own and resisting the urge to get back to business so abruptly?

    • Danny says:

      Completely agree with you Ken.

    • Will ThisBeDeleted? says:

      This is the first thing I felt when I read “In brief: Dave Stringer passes away”. In brief? Insensitive choice of words I think. It wouldn’t have been difficult to create a separate post here and would have been a far better idea. That way condolences can be kept in one thread as well. Though Rob has shown a lack of judgement recently (England World Cup exit post), though he did rectify that post rather quickly so maybe he will do the same here.

      • JayG says:

        The irony that you went from the death onto football in a single comment isn’t even lost on you.

      • Jeff says:

        Missed that one.
        What exactly was rectified?
        Was the article insensitive to England’s demise?

      • Rob says:

        With the greatest respect to Dave and his family, he was not a contributor here, I had never met him and we had only featured his site once. There was little more I could add to what I wrote.

      • Alex Sm says:

        For those who missed this one (on WC): what did exactly happen?

        • Rob says:

          I suggested that England’s World Cup exit was down to the team being rubbish – a suggestion which, whilst mocked at the time, was rather driven home by the defeat to Belgium a few days later ….!

        • Alex Sm says:

          Rob, with all due respects to others I think you were not terribly far from the truth!

  • Go says:

    Spoke with a Starwood agent yesterday and they told me they don’t expect the schemes to merge until late August as they have had no updates

  • Nick says:


    • the real harry1 says:

      Yep poor old Dave, dealt a very unfair hand to die so young.

  • The Original Nick says:

    RIP Dave.

  • Mikeact says:

    I never knew Dave, but felt I did in some way. I’ll miss his interesting blogs.

  • Tracey says:

    I hope that Dave’s family see the tributes paid to Dave. As well as this article there is a thread running on MSE and his thread on Flyertalk. Dave used the name PeacefulWaters on both if anyone wants to find them.
    RIP Dave

    • Louise says:

      Oh never realised, thanks Tracey, I’m sure I’ve read a few of his trip planning stuff on the overseas travel forum on MSE over the years ????

      RIP Dave, thanks for letting us know Rob

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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