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INSIDER SECRET: Some of Marriott’s best US hotels cost exactly 35,000 points per night. You can use the annual free night certificate with certain Marriott cards to stay for free!
While the dramatic and frustrating roll-out of Marriott Bonvoy has caused a lot of people to lose faith in the world’s largest hotel chain, I feel exactly the opposite.
Sure, I’ve had my fair share of frustrating moments since merging my Marriott and Starwood accounts into one, but overall I continue to get an incredible value from my relationship with Marriott. Part of that is definitely because of my Titanium elite status, which gets me bonus points, suite upgrades, and free breakfast on almost every stay, but some of my best value redemptions were simply about scoring a free night in an otherwise expensive city.
If you’re low on Marriott points and looking to stock up, here are the current offers you can take advantage of:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: Earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card: Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
Let’s dive into some of the best hotels to use your Marriott points at in the US!
1. JW Marriott Chicago
This stunning property is a perfect example of why I’ll happily pay the $95 annual fee (see rates & fees) on my Amex Bonvoy Business Card year after year after year. I was in Chicago earlier this month for a few days, and unfortunately my trip coincided with a major oncology conference that was driving up hotel prices around the city. The JW Marriott cost over $800 per night, but I was able to redeem a free night certificate and book it for free. If you don’t have a free night certificate, you can also redeem 35,000 points.
The hotel is in a great location, has a solid executive lounge, and some of the best tasting room service I’ve had in recent memory. The thing is Chicago is a big city, and the JW Marriott is just the beginning. You can also redeem your 35,000 point free night certificates at any of the following luxury properties, all of which receive high ratings on TripAdvisor:
- W Chicago Lakeshore
- W Chicago City Center
- The Westin Chicago River North
- The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel
- Hotel Zachary, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
- Hotel EMC2 Autograph Collection
And many, many more options! Taken together these hotels cover all the best Chicago has to offer, from the loop to river north and the magnificent mile. You can even stay right across the street from Wrigley Field at Hotel Zachary, and cheer on the Cubs all day long.
2. W Boston
Less than a block away from historic Boston Commons, the W Boston brings a young and energetic twist to this popular vacation spot. The W is a great choice whether you’re simply looking to relax in a comfortable room or keep the party going late into the night.
The W is a category 6 property which costs 50,000 points per night. If you have the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, you can use your anniversary free night certificate here! Rates at this property are highly seasonal, but they can climb above $600 in the summer so always make sure to double check the cash rates before you start redeeming your points.
3. The Westin Princeville, Kauai
The Westin Princeville is the nicest Marriott hotel on my favorite Hawaiian island, Kauai. My family had a great time when we stayed here a few years back, and we’ll always return to Kauai when we want to escape the crowds while still enjoying stunning beaches and mountain hikes.
The rooms were spacious with mini kitchenettes for extended stays, and our free elite breakfast was a delicious way to start each morning. The hotel had a number of different pools to choose from, so you could mix and match your vibes and views on a day-to-day basis. The Westin costs 60,000 points per night, but you can bring that cost down by booking a five night stay and taking advantage of Marriott’s fifth night free.
4. Courtyard New York Manhattan/Fifth Avenue
While Courtyard is generally one of Marriott’s less expensive brands, expect to shell out $400 or more to stay at one in New York. On a jam-packed trip to a busy city you might be better off opting for a cheaper and more convenient hotel, instead of paying for a luxury room when you’re out and about all day.
The Courtyard New York Manhattan/Fifth Avenue offers a prime location right across the street from the New York Public Library, and just a 10 minute walk from Times Square. You might even appreciate the “grab and go” layout of the Courtyard, where a Starbucks in the lobby takes the place of a more traditional hotel restaurant.
You may get lucky and score a low rate here, but it’s also not unusual to see this hotel selling for $500+. In that case, redeeming 35,000 points or a free night certificate a night seems like a no brainer. In other words, your ~$100 annual fee from a Marriott Bonvoy credit card just bought you a $500 hotel room.
5. W New Orleans French Quarter
I can’t think of a single city better suited to the W vibe than New Orleans. Odds are if you’re visiting the city’s historic French Quarter, you’re looking to sample at least a little bit of the night life, as well. The W will start your night off right with SoBou, a Creole saloon and restaurant showcasing New Orleans street food and craft cocktails.
The W New Orleans is – wait for it – another incredible category 5 hotel for you to use your free night certificates at, or to simply redeem 35,000 Marriott points. I was surprised by how much the cash rates varied here, starting as low as ~$150, but once they start to climb this hotel turns into a fantastic redemption.
I absolutely practice what I preach, with over half of the 50 nights I’ve spent in Marriott hotels this year coming from category 5 hotels. Not only is it easy to frame your hotel search around the value of free night certificates you’re trying to redeem (especially when you have multiple to use each year), but at 35,000 points this is a great sweet spot in the Marriott award chart.
You can choose between staying at a luxury hotel in a smaller market (like the W New Orleans), or simply getting a free room in a city like New York that might otherwise be prohibitively expensive.
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For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card , click here.