5 Top San Diego Hotels Using Marriott & Starwood Points

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If you’ve never been to San Diego, I highly recommend it!  From the beautiful beaches to top-notch San Diego Zoo to the festive Gaslamp Quarter, there are plenty of reasons to swing by San Diego.

I recently stayed in San Diego during FinCon 2016.  And I loved the city!
San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
San Diego Is the 2nd Biggest City in California

Here are my top 5 Marriott and Starwood hotels for folks visiting San Diego.  And a budget hotel for folks who want to make their points last longer!

Top Marriott & Starwood Hotels With Points Index

San Diego Marriott and Starwood Hotels With Points

Link:   Marriott Hotels in San Diego

Link:   Starwood Hotels in San Diego

You can redeem Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood points for award nights at all 3 hotel chains.  However, the closest Ritz-Carlton is over 1 hour away from the city.

If you collect Marriott points, you can transfer points instantly to your Starwood account at a 3:1 ratio.  And vice versa!

Before you book your stay, be sure to link your loyalty accounts to get an instant status match.  This way you’ll enjoy all your perks regardless of which hotel chain you choose!

1.   Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection

Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection is a relatively small resort located on Imperial Beach, just steps from the ocean.  It’s in the southernmost area of San Diego, just a 15-minute drive to the Mexican border.

Inside the hotel is the highest-rated restaurant in the Imperial Beach area, SEA 180 Coastal Tavern.  The restaurant has an outdoor patio with gorgeous stone fire pits, perfect for watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

This is a perfect hotel for a “getaway” vacation, just 15 miles south of San Diego.  So if you plan to explore the city, you’ll have to drive or Uber to your destination.  There is also a subway station 3 miles away.

San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
You Can Hear the Soothing Ocean Waves From Your Room

This hotel is a Category 7, so you’ll spend 35,000 Marriott points for a free night.  Or you can convert 12,000 Starwood points to Marriott points.

Using points will save you ~$275 per night.

2.   THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego

Built by Ulysses S Grant Jr., THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a recently renovated historic building located in the Gaslamp Quarter, with plenty to keep you occupied.

If you’d like to see a show, you’re in luck.  The hotel is surrounded by venues!  The San Diego Civic Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theater, and House of Blues San Diego are all no more than a 4-minute walk from the hotel.

Lots of folks comment highly about Grant Grill, the upscale and delicious in-house restaurant.  If you’d like something else, the streets are bursting with restaurants!

San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
This Historic Building Was Built in 1910, and Last Renovated in 2006

This hotel is a Category 5, so you’ll spend 12,000 Starwood points for a free night.  Or you can transfer 36,000 Marriott points to your Starwood account.

Using points will save you $300 or more per night.

3.   Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Diego

If you want to book a suite with your points, the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse might be your best bet!  You can book directly into a 1-bedroom suite with your Marriott points, or even a 2-bedroom suite for just a few thousand more!

The hotel is currently renovating the rooms, beginning at the top.  So the higher the floor you can get, the better your chances for a beautifully refurbished room!

This hotel has a great location, just a few blocks from the historical Gaslamp Quarter, with plenty of restaurants and events to keep you busy.  It’s also just 1 mile from Balboa park, and the San Diego Zoo (one of the best in the US!).

San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
If Your Main Concern Is Space, Book Directly Into a 2-Bedroom Suite

The hotel is located at the top of a fairly steep hill.  So if you are entering the hotel from the south, folks recommend entering the hotel from the attached Symphony Towers, which are located at the bottom of the hill.

This is a Category 7 hotel.  You can book straight into a suite for 40,000 Marriott points.  Or, if you collect Starwood points, you can transfer 14,000 Starwood points to your Marriott account.  These rooms generally sell for $150+, so that’s not a great deal for your points.

But, you can book into an 844 square feet 2-bedroom suite for 45,000 Marriott points, or 15,000 Starwood points.  A 2-bedroom suite goes for $350+!  You’ll just need to pay parking, which is $35 per day.

4.   Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina sits apart from the city, right next to the water.  It has great views of both the marina and the city.

Located just south of the Gaslamp Quarter, there are still plenty of things nearby.  The New Children’s Museum is a 4-minute walk from the hotel, and Petco Park is just half a mile away.

And be sure to check out the San Diego Bay Walk, for waterfront restaurants and jet-ski rentals!

San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
The Marriott Marquis San Diego Is Located Near the San Diego Convention Center, so It Can Get Crowded at Times

This is a Category 8 hotel, so you’ll spend 40,000 Marriott points for a free night.  Or you can convert 14,000 Starwood points to Marriott points.

Using points will save you ~$350 per night.

5.   San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter

The San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter is located on the southern edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, just a 15-minute walk from the marina.

Altitude Sky Lounge is a very highly-rated rooftop bar 22 stories high, with an incredible view of the city.  You can even peer into Petco Park!

Take a short stroll through the beautiful Gaslamp Quarter and eat at one of the many well-reviewed restaurants in the area, like Hodad’s, Richard Walker’s Pancake House, and Seasons 52.  Foodies rejoice!

San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
Parking Can Get Expensive at This Hotel. Leaving Your Vehicle in One of the Many Surrounding Parking Garages Will Save You Lots of Money

This is a Category 8 hotel, so you’ll spend 40,000 Marriott points for a free night.  Or you can move 14,000 Starwood points to your Marriott account.

Using points will save you ~$260 per night.

Bonus – Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego Hotel

The standout features of the Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego Hotel are the price and the friendly staff.

Folks on TripAdvisor speak highly of the hotel employees.  But not a lot stands out about the facilities.

The hotel is located just off the highway, less than 5 miles away from San Diego.  There are plenty of restaurants and stores just across the highway, less than a 15-minute walk from the hotel.  You’ll find large shopping complexes like Fashion Valley Mall and Westfield Mission Valley.

San Diego Marriott And Starwood Hotels With Points
The Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego Hotel Is a Bit Dated, but Its Low Price Makes Up for It!

This is a Category 3 hotel, so you’ll spend 7,000 Starwood points for a free night.  Or you can transfer 21,000 Marriott points to your Starwood account.  And you’ll need to pay a $16 parking fee per day.

Using points will save you ~$160 per night.

Need More Marriott or Starwood Points?

1.   AMEX Starwood Cards

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (personal)

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (small business)

You can earn 25,000 Starwood points after completing the minimum spending requirements on the AMEX Starwood personal and small business credit cards.

I recommend using the AMEX Starwood cards for non-bonus spending, because you’ll earn 1 Starwood point per $1 you spend.  And 1 Starwood point can be converted to 3 Marriott or Ritz-Carlton points.  Which is a better deal than earning just 1 Marriott or Ritz-Carlton point per $1 you spend with the Chase Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards!

Plus, AMEX cards are easier to get than Chase cards because of Chase’s stricter approval rules.

Just remember, you can only earn the bonus on any AMEX card ONCE per lifetime.

2.   Chase Marriott Cards

Link:   Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card (personal)

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Business Card (small business)

With the personal and small business version of the Marriott Rewards Premier card, you’ll earn 80,000 Marriott points after completing minimum spending requirements.

If you get the personal version of the card, you can earn another 7,500 bonus Marriott points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months of opening your account.  The $85 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.

The $99 annual fee on the small business version of the card is also NOT waived for the first year.  You can read my review of the offer here.

3.   Chase Ritz-Carlton Card

Link:   Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

You can earn 3 free nights at participating Ritz-Carlton Tier 1 through 4 hotels after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening a Chase Ritz-Carlton card.

You’ll also get 10,000 Ritz-Carlton points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same time frame.

Note:   The nearest Ritz-Carlton hotel to San Diego is over 1 hour away.  So you probably won’t want to use your sign-up bonus of 3 free nights.

The $450 annual fee is NOT waived the first year, but the card offers perks that offset the annual fee.  Here’s my review of the deal.

Even if you’ve opened 5+ new cards in the past 24 months, you’re still eligible for the Ritz-Carlton card.

Bottom Line

You can use Marriott and Starwood points to stay at terrific hotels in San Diego!

You can stay in a 5-star hotel, like The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel.  Or book into a large 2-bedroom suite in the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse.

Redeeming points can save you hundreds of dollars compared to the cash cost of a room night!

Before you book, link your Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood loyalty accounts.  This way you’ll enjoy the benefits of your elite status across all 3 hotel chains!

What’s your recommendation for a stay in San Diego Marriott and Starwood hotels with points?

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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