There has been lots of discussions about the free Category 4 and 5 Certificates on the Insiders earned from Marriott and Credit Card promotions. Since the Year is almost over I'm curious to hear from other Insiders about where they used their free certificates.
I used my two free category 4 certificates at the Courtyard San Diego Mission Valley while in town for Comic Con. I was lucky that I made the reservation prior to the hotel being moved to a Category 5 type and it saved me a lot of $$ since hotel rates were much higher because of the event.
I haven't used my category 5 certificate yet but plan to on New Years Eve in Atlanta at the JW Marriott in Buckhead. A friend of mine in Atlanta has a party each year with an art show and the JW Marriott Buckhead has an excellent spread in the concierge's lounge on NYE. This certificate will save me over $300 for this night alone.
So where did you use your free Certificates?
Great question, vaboy. We used Category 4 certificates at the Houston International Airport Marriott and the New Orleans Marriott Lakeway for mid-week stays. We'll be using a Category 4 certificate at the Lebanon, New Hampshire Residence Inn and a Category 5 certificate at the new Residence Inn Chelsea, Massachusetts (near the Boston Airport) during our upcoming leaf-peeping trip.
We haven't had a chance to use ours. Here are our plans/options:
For the Cat. 5, a weekend at the Long Beach Renaissance or the Courtyard in SLO.
For the Cat. 4's, one will be used on a road trip to Boise, one at the Oakland Marriott (BART right across the street, 12 minute ride to Union Square) for a budget SF weekend getaway, one and perhaps two will be used at the FFI in San Jose, for our goings and comings to HI.
We also like to use the Cat. 4's in Salinas, near the Monterey Peninsula.
We used our Cat 5 certificates at the Norfolk VA Waterside Marriott back in March. It was great. Booked tickets to see Wicked at Chrysler Hall. It was a beautiful evening and an easy walk to the Theatre. Looking forward to doing the same next year when Jersey Boys comes to town...
I used my two Cat 4 certificates at the Renaissance Montura LAX for two nights in September when my daughter flew to LAX and I drove the 4 hours down from my home near Mt. Whitney. We had a special get-together without the spouses and other children. It's a lovely hotel. I am using my Cat 5 certifcate there before heading to Canada early next month. Even though the hotel is 'only' a Cat 4, it feels like a 5 and it's worth spending the certificate there.
Alas, no rubber duckies for us last month. Though the Renaissance Montura may be an airport area hotel, it is an easy quick drive to Venice, Santa Monica, or Manhattan Beach (via surface streets or freeway) where one can enjoy the ocean....a special treat for this reluctant high desert dweller.
Ah, the rubber duckies! We have only three after all these years but love them. The first two were from the Renaissance Dallas Richardson. As we stayed near Halloween, they were dressed as a pumpkin and a little devil. Our most recent was from the Marriott Ft. Collins. The property was under construction at the time so this ducky was a building contractor. We had a great laugh with that one. They now adorn our master bath. I wish more Marriott hotels would do this. I'd love to build the 'collection'.
Thanks to the heads up I received on the Insider site I was alerted to the fact that the Courtyard Coconut Beach on Kauai was going to be upgraded to a category 5 about a week before it actually took effect so was able to book my stay while it was still a category 4.Nothing fancy but located on a lovely and quiet beach and friendly staff.
Stayed there years ago and it was nice!
If you go try to have one meal or at least a refreshment at one of my favorite places to take a break while in Beverly Hills. The Avalon Hotel is really an interesting place to see and enjoy. It is within walking distance of The Residence Inn and has a wonderful cabana setting to enjoy a meal or drink.
A peaceful meal can be hard to find in LA, but not at The Avalon, in Beverly Hills!
I usually saved my certificates for the holiday season and used for them friends and family that come to Florida to visit... The Renaissance in Plantation (category 4) is great hotel with wonderful service and ideal location... I highly recommend this hotel... Happy hunting...
5950 Victoria Ave
You can see the Falls better on the Canada side; however, to perform the major attractions. It is much cheaper to walk to NY. I was told the attractions are seasonal running from April until end of Oct. It was a great experience; however, the currency rate was not in my favor.
We used our Category 5 at the Denver Marriott City Center (one of our 9 nights during a drive from CA to PA) - a beautiful hotel with a great concierge lounge and good location. We plan to use two Category 4 nights at the Residence Inn in State College in November and the third Category 4 at the PHL Renaissance before we fly to Las Vegas in December. Just love those free nights!
I plan on using 2 of my category 4 certificates in Maui in February. There is a new courtyard by the airport which is a category 4 hotel. Since we are arriving in Hawaii late at night we decided it was a good time to use one of the certificates. Also, this hotel is hear Mama's restaurant that I have heard excellent reviews about so we are going to spend another night and maybe take the road to Hana before moving over to the Marriott in waimea for the rest of our 7 night stay. We are using points for that stay but only have enough points for garden view room. Hoping we won't be disappointed that we didn't spend the extra money for a ocean view.
We generally take a pragmatic view toward our use of the free night at a Cat 5. This year, as we were running short on time, we had a trip planned for the East Coast and wound up using it for the Residence Inn Newark/Elizabeth- Liberty Int'l Airport (Cat 4). Used the location to have a good visit with some friends in the area before moving on to Connecticut (also a factor: some shopping across the street, a rare Saks Off-Fifth discount outlet).
Most years though we have tried to make it more sexy -- a nice weekend somewhere, a new discovery in a new town, that kind of thing...
There is a Courtyard in Prague that is a Cat. 4. Only a couple of stops from the historic center. There are also a couple of CY's in Vienna, Austria that are less than Cat. 4. We'll have to see what changes take place regarding hotel categories in the next couple of months, and then update the thread if needed.
Just used 2 Cat 1-4 certificates at RI in Rosslyn VA, a short walk over Key Bridge to Georgetown.
Am reading the other posts, and am confused.
How do you get Cat 5 certificates?
I would love to have these and would solve a lot of my problems, as my favorite hotel, the Key Bridge Marriott, and the most convenient hotel, the FS at EWR, are both Cat 5. Would love to be able to use my certificates there.
Also, NYC has no Cat 4 properties, and WDC has only 1 on NY Ave which is a horrible place to stay.
Which location did you stay in Savannah, bretta?
Savannah, GA is really a great place to visit, especially out of season. I went there with my sister in the summer once when I picked up my sister in Brunswick, GA. Traffic is terrible in some of the narrow, cobble stone streets by the water. Still gorgeous and interesting, though.
I recently used a Cat. 4 at the Courtyard Flora in Prague. I have a reservation with a Cat. 4 for Burbank Marriott in Sept. (now a Cat. 5) and the Courtyard San Francisco Airport/Oyster Point Waterfront (was a 4, now a 5) for July.
I now have three Cat. 5 certs on account, and will likely be using them for properties that I used to use Cat. 4 certs at. I sure would've liked to have been able to use them at a number of properties that last year were Cat. 5, but now are Cat. 6.
I used a category 4 certificate for Fairfield Inn Napa American Canyon. That hotel, like the Courtyard Novato Marin / Sonoma, is now a Category 5 and the SpringHill Suites is now a category 6.
The SpringHill Suites is typically $289/night. Room rates vary at the other two--they tend to go anywhere from $159 to $209/night.
Cat 4 certificates, I booked in Residence Inn in La Jolla, San Diego this coming 4th of July (2nights).
Cat 5 cert, I booked at Goleta, Santa Barbara - Courtyard for 3 nights (paying 2nights). I heard this is a new hotel.
My first time on both hotels.
And I booked both prior to the cat. changes as suggested here in insiders.
I don't think I can use my certificates. I'm travelling to Japan for work(pre-booked hotel), then on my return we are moving to Hawaii. There are no 1-4 on any of the islands. My certificates will expire.
Does anyone have tips or tricks? Transferability, extending the expiry? Using points to make up the difference between a cat 5 and 4?
My wife and I often use ours for a quick romantic getaway at the Courtyard in Allen, Texas. This property is more like a full Marriott than any Courtyard I've ever stayed at. This is a very new, modern, and simply beautiful property that is set in the heart of north suburban Dallas. It is surrounded by great dinning, shopping, and entertainment in the Fairview and Allen Village Town Center open air malls.
welcome jeffreydurbin. You can get free certificates a number of ways. The Marriott Premier visa card gives you an ecertificate each year you renew. There are numerous bonus programs that can get you free nights as well such as mega bonuses or fall promotions, etc...
When you have been around as long as some of the posters on this site such as pained, jerrycoin, pluto, ssindc, gemprincess, erc, missgee and iahflyr, Marriott will probably just give them to you because you practically live there anyway...
There are probably some other ways as well so I will leave it open to the guys I mentioned above to fill you in.
You might have been registered for the "Unexpected Bonus" that's going on right now that has different assignments. Check on your Bonus in your personal account. If you haven't been pre-registered, call customer service to register for the one that begins soon and ask if it's too late to earn for the unexpected one.
There is also a way to earn extra points by referring friends and family. Both you and your referral get 2000 points for each stay up to 5 for the first year, and up to 50,000 points (I think) for the one who submits the referral. Be sure to do it yourself and include your rewards number so you can get credit.
I used our 2 x Cat. 4 certificates at Redmond, WA on July 9th & 10th at the Residence Inn. It was located in a quaint area with shops and restaurants. It's about a 20 minute drive into Seattle. I chose to stay further from Seattle to use my certs because this hotel had good reviews. I used our 1 - Cat. 5 certificate in Seattle at the Courtyard Downtown Lake Union. The view was nice of Lake Union. Some construction going on nearby. Yes, we had to switch hotels to use up our cat. 4 & 5 certs that were expiring, but it was a free stay so no complaints .