Even veteran travelers make really stupid mistakes. For example, I was looking at my conference registration for this weekend and realized that I registered for both Friday and Saturday even though I was attending only on Saturday. After fixing the problem I called up the hotel to make the change there and they couldn't find my registration. Apparently um, I didn't book a room! Wow, that would have been the worst travel mistake I've made in awhile. I guess I probably would have discovered the problem when I printed all of my confirmation sheets on Friday before boarding, but I'm glad I took care of it now. It would have been all too easy to not print the hotel confirmation and instead just show up and check-in only to find I had no room.
Bonus, I discovered that Marriott is having a MegaBonus promotion where you receive 2,500 points for every paid stay you make, starting with the second stay. With two upcoming trips, which both happen to be at Marriotts, I'll actually get to take advantage of this offer. I put info on how to take advantage of this offer below in case anybody has some upcoming travel which could be at a Marriott.
Keep in mind that a stay is defined as non-consecutive night's stays so can't just check-in/check-out each day like I've been done in the past to maximize points/stays. A good tip for travel newbies, although slightly inconvenient sometimes would be to switch between two next-door hotels with stacking bonuses. I've been known to stagger between two hotels at a week long conference and get 3 stays at one and 4 stays at another racking up per stay mile rewards and per night hotel points. So instead of getting 500 miles and 20,000 points/night I would get 3,500 miles 20,000 points/night + 2,500 points/stay after the 1st one. Yeah, it can be a pain, but when I spend a week in Hawaii for free at the Marriott on Waikiki beach it will be so worth all the hassle.