Is there any other possible use for a reward certificate for a free night to a category 1-4 hotel if the Marriotts that I am staying at in Monterey or San Francisco do not have category 1-4 hotels? In other words can I use the certificate to get a discount for a room in a category higher than 1-4?
I have not figured out any way to do what you want to do. HOWEVER, I have been surprised by what some Marriott Rewards agents have done for me in the past! It is worth calling and asking. I would approach it like "could I pay the difference in points between a Category 4 certificat and a Category 6 certificate?" If they say no, just ask if there is anything else they can do to help you? I would give it a try.
Nothing wrong with trying-i have had plenty of help from MR. However, according to the folks at Flyertalk, this is one thing that Marriott has held fast. Its been a challenge because of how many properties have moved up from a Category 4 to 5. (Likely due to these certificates because categories are assigned based on location and reward redemptions. When the world has a bunch of Cat 4 certs-theres going to be a lot of cat 4 award stays.)
there are full service marriotts which are cat 4. for example 7 in virginia 6 in texas 4 in ohio 4 in california etc. just not in all states. same goes for renaissance. it really depends on where you live and where you are traveling due to them not being widespread throughout the states.
Thanks for pointing that out. While the increase in the number of properties moving from cat 4 to 5 or cat 5 to 6 is not great, there are definitely still some good properties out there in which to make use of certs.