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Because of the interest in free stays thanks to the increased Marriott card offer and the new ability to convert Starwood points to Marriott, I asked the Million Mile Secrets team to let y’all know a few hotels they personally recommend based on their experiences.
After the reviews I’ll remind you how to earn points for your award stays!
Courtyard Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Year Stayed: 2015
Jasmin: The Courtyard Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort is NOT your typical Courtyard Marriott cookie-cutter hotel geared to business travelers. It’s a full-service resort on a beautiful beach, has a lovely (albeit rather small) pool with a swim-up bar, and plenty of lounge chairs and hammocks by the water.
The Courtyard Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort is a Marriott category 7 hotel and costs 35,000 Marriott points per night. Paid rates range from ~$132 during off-peak times to ~$216 in the high season (not including tax). I booked through Hotwire during peak season (March) and got a rate of ~$137 per night plus tax, but didn’t earn points for the stay.
Tip: Some folks might love the fact the hotel is located directly across the street from San Juan airport – you can be at the hotel in ~5 minutes! Certain rooms overlook the runway, so if you’re concerned about noise, it’s best to ask for a room closest to the ocean. But you’ll still hear the jets taking off and landing if you’re outdoors, even by the beach.
Residence Inn Miami Coconut Grove
Year Stayed: 2016
Andrew: Before flying to Aruba, I chose to stay at this all-suite hotel because of its close proximity to the airport and Little Havana. The hotel staff was beyond accommodating, upgrading me to a 2-bedroom suite when they noticed I was traveling with a toddler. The complimentary full American breakfast was also a nice treat.
I used my Chase Marriott anniversary free night certificate instead of paying the typical $175+ per night, which was an incredible value. Anytime I can use my free night certificate on a room that sells for over $150, I consider that a big win because the annual fee on my Chase Marriott credit card is only $85.
Tip: Monday through Wednesday night the dining area has light snacks along with free beer and wine!
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Phoenix Midtown, Phoenix
Year Stayed: 2016
At $101 for a 1-bedroom suite, this hotel offers fantastic value for downtown Phoenix! Save your Marriott / Starwood points for a more high-value target. And I wouldn’t use a free anniversary night here for the same reason, because for an annual fee of $85 you’re only getting a room ~$16 more in value.
The room was very spacious, but wasn’t much on the eyes. They offered a free hot breakfast that was surprisingly good, though.
Tip: There’s a free local shuttle from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. And it’ll drive you within a 3-mile radius of the hotel.
Hanover Marriott in Northern New Jersey
Link: Hanover Marriott
Year Stayed: 2016
Keith: The Hanover Marriott is located in northern New Jersey and is a ~45 minute drive from New York City. If you’re a football fan, you could stay here in the summer months to see the New York Jets at their practice facility, which is ~15 minute drive from the hotel.
You can use 25,000 Marriott points for a free night or pay ~$150.
The hotel rooms and lobby are newly renovated. And there’s a great outdoor seating area with a fire pit and fire place to sit around and talk with friends and family.
Tip: Don’t forget anything in the car. The hotel parking lot fills up quickly and it can take you quite a bit of time to get from your room to your vehicle if you’re on a top floor.
With the Chase Marriott card, you’ll earn 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. And another 7,500 Marriott points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same timeframe.
So I asked the team for personal Marriott recommendations. Andrew, Jasmin, and Keith, have stayed at Courtyard Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort, Residence Inn Miami Coconut Grove, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Phoenix Midtown, Phoenix, and Hanover Marriott.
Which Marriott hotels would you recommend to fellow readers?