Category 1-4 Hotels/Award nights....
The Marriott Rewards program gives a member multiple ways to rack up free nights (megabonus, credit card free night, quarterly promotions, etc.) but these free nights are typically Category 1-4 stays. For example, I earned the max 3 free nights in Q4 2012, will do the same in Q1 2013, and have the credit card, giving me 7 free nights in Cat 1-4; I am guessing that anyone approaching Gold status or higher can easily claim the same. Woo hoo, you say....but not so fast....
Here's the question; Where do you use these rewards? I can't find a decent Cat 4 or lower hotel in San Fran, San Diego, really anywhere on the water or at any sort of 'destination'. I always like to use my reward points to take a special trip with my family; payback for all of my time away from them. Sure I can use points for that, but these 7 free nights seem mostly useless in that regard. Again, no 'destination' type properties at the Cat 1-4 level.
So here are my questions for the community:
1. Anyone experieincing the same frustration? I am thankful for the free nights, but can't exactly figure out how to use them.
2. Anyone have any hidden gem category 4 hotels they'd like to recommend?
3. Can I use these award nights to put up family and friends locally at a Courtyard, Springfield or Fairfield; e.g. HS graduation this summer, folks coming to town, can I use these free nights for them?
4. Any chance Marriott will offfer Cat 5-7+ rooms in their promotions, so that we can use them to travel to actual destination spots? I would happily take 1/2 the free nights at higher category properties.
I appreciate any inputs, thank you!
This discussion should give you some ideas as to where others were using their category 1 - 4 certificates:
Haven't stayed at either of these properties, but Hawaii has 2 category 4 properties:
The second location isn't anywhere near a beach, but puts you in a great location to explore the island from. Both aren't what you'd call destination properties either, but hey, category 4 in Hawaii?
exmarlin21, if you're lucky enough to have a decent cat 4 property around, then you could make the reservation for them under your name. That way you can earn points & elite nights for any paid nights stayed beyond the e-certificate nights. But, doing this means you'll have to be there to check in and check out.
If one is flying in or out of LAX or visiting the LA area in general, the Renaissance LAX is quite a nice category 4 hotel in my opinion. I have stayed there several times over the past few years, once just hooking up with my daughter who flew into LAX and I drove down from my home 4-1/2 hrs away. They have a nice concierge lounge and a most hospitable staff. It is a smaller hotel than the nearby Marriott LAX and has a quieter atmosphere.
Oops, now I see that with the new rewards categories coming in May, the Renaissance LAX will be going up from a 4 to a 5 which does not surprise me. But, bummer, nonetheless. I think our Mega Bonus offers should change those certificates to Cat 1-5 since most everything else seems to be getting upgraded...