Hi vancity and welcome to Marriott Insiders! I also have a 7 night Category 8 hotel cert that I plan to use at the Sydney Marriott in Australia.
Here is a link to a list of Marriott's Category 8 properties: https://www.marriott.com/hotel-search/Category8.hotels/
Also if you find you are not ready to book your stay by June you can always call Marriott Rewards Customer Service and request an extension on your certificate.
I don't think there is a wrong choice. All of the islands are great. My two personal favorites are Kauai becuase it's so quiet and laid back, not to mention beautiful, and the Big Island because there is such a variety of sights. I've never been to Maui, but that will change later this year. Numerous Insiders have spoken very highly of that island which is part of the reason I added it to my trip.
I Was wondering the same as Frogs, how do you obtain the 7 day certificates?
My 7-Night Cert came from a Travel Package which includes 7 nights at a Marriott Hotel and airline points/miles to the airline of your choice. The travel packages are really the best use of Marriott Points. Here is a link to the Travel Package Options:
I chose the 7 Day Category 8 Travel Package with 120k Southwest Points Package for 360,000 Marriott Rewards Points. The Southwest Points posted right away which made me eligible for a Companion Pass (110k needed) which can be used through Dec 2016 for unlimited companion flights. Then a 7 Night Cat 8 Cert was deposited into my Rewards account that I can redeem at anytime. The cert expires within one calendar year but can be extended if you call Marriott Rewards Customer Service.
I signed up for a 7 night cat 8 travel package with SWA a couple of weeks ago. Just got my Companion Pass for my wife thru Dec 2016. Looking at another post on Insiders, I think I will go to Scrub Island for the 7 night cat 8 hotel. I will use SWA to fly free with my wife to San Juan then SPG points to fly to Beef Island.. 3 Cheers for Travel Packages!!!
Can curiousone or anyone else comment on having separate recipients of the airline miles and the hotel certificate in the travel package? Curiousone's post above implies he was able to deposit the SWA miles into his wife's SWA account to get her the companion pass while the 7-night certificate went into his Marriott account. I'd like to be able to split a travel package in that way to give the CP to my wife and retain the certificate since I'm a Plat and my wife has no status.
To my knowledge the only way to redeem is to put both the miles and the cert into the accounts of one person- either me, or I could transfer the points to my wife and she could redeem for the package into her accounts, but they won't allow a split as above.
I think you misunderstood curiousone 's posting. My interruption was that he named his wife as his travel companion for the SW Companion Pass that he obtained from the Marriott travel package.
You could always call Marriott Rewards customer service and ask if the miles can be deposited into someone else's account. I'm pretty sure the 7 night reward certificate would have to be credited to your account.
vancity, it is my understanding that you can not split it. What you might be referring to is that if you are a Marriott Time Share owner you can request a 5 day hotel package, which is what I did for my travel package. However, if you do a 5 day hotel package they do not give you the 5th night free like they do on the 7 day package.
You may be referring to the old Island Hopper certificate that allowed you to break up stays among 2 or 3 hotels. I used to use the Euro Hopper cert that allowed 2-2-3 nights in a combination of hotels.
Unfortunately, they stopped those certs a number of years ago. Miss them!!! They were great as I don't typically spend 7 nights in one place.
Maui and Kauai are both great! Kauai is best for scenery and hiking. The Waiohai property is wonderful with great snorkeling right in front of the resort. No buildings can be higher than a palm tree so there are no mega resorts. Maui is also very scenic but there are mega resorts there. The Marriott Maui Ocean Club is a great property right on Kaanapali Beach. Take the drive to Hana on Maui but leave very early to miss the traffic on the narrow winding road. The Big Island is also nice but we like Kauai and Maui better. Try the Lahaina Grill on Maui or the Beach House an Kauai for great fine dining!
Kauai is my favorite island. Just got back yesterday from a 17 day trip that also included the Big Island.
The resort you choose depends on the type of experience you want. Those certificates are for hotel rooms, not timeshare units, so your choices should be from those properties.
The Big Island is like landing on the moon, but has a fabulous category 8 property. The Mauna Kea is on a fabulous beach in a lovely tropical setting. It is quiet and upscale. The certificate is good for a deluxe, golf view room. If you are gold or platinum with Marriott rewards, you may get upgraded to a very nice beachfront room. I did, as well as the couple I traveled with. Occupancy determines this and we were lucky, since they'd been full for several weeks before we arrived. It is a short 30 minute drive to the tropical side of the island and about 45 to 60 minutes to Volcano park. The volcano is now showing activity and should best be seen in the evening. A car is a must for this island.
The Kauai Marriott has hotel and timeshare units. The property is a gorgeous resort and I never tire of staying there. The pool is large and right next to a lively beach. There are also many dining options. The staff is great and you can request a microwave be put in your room. It comes with a generous coffee maker and a mini fridge. You need a car on all islands because you need to get out and actually experience them. However, this resort has free airport transportation. They also have a car rental agency on site, so you could just rent for a couple of days easily.
Maui has the Marriott in Wailea which is very quiet on lovely. You definable need a car, so plan on that. There is a Starbucks on site and a nice restaurant, but I suggest getting out and trying some of the local places. Traffic can be heavy on this island, but it is a must visit. Whales can be seen swimming by the hotel from November to early April.
Oahu is a very happening place for those who aren't looking to drop out and want night life. I recommend getting a hotel in Honolulu for 1 or 2 nights just to experience it. We normally stay at the Holiday Inn Beachcomer because the price is reasonable and the location is great. You can walk to almost anything from there and the beach is right across the street.
The island is actually lovely and I did a circle island tour that was great, as well as a food tour that educates you on local specialties. The Ko Olina resort defiantly requires a car and is a good distance from Honolulu. I believe the Marriott Marquis offers a redemption opportunity but check the category since I haven't stayed there.
Good luck and have a great time. I go every few years and am already making plans for a return visit. I love those islands and the weather is a real bonus.