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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!
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- 5 Top San Diego Hotels Using Marriott & Starwood Points
San Diego Marriott and Starwood Hotels With Points
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.
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
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!
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!).
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.
And be sure to check out the San Diego Bay Walk, for waterfront restaurants and jet-ski rentals!
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.
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!
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.
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)
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)
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.
3. 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.
You can use Marriott and Starwood points to stay at terrific hotels in San Diego!
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?