That is a topic that has been covered on this site ad nauseam. All MRIers agree with you. My only advice is to do a search on marriott.com for cat 5 and below and see where the properties are. Maybe you can't use the cert for a vacation but maybe a day trip or weekend away? In my case, I used it for my in laws to stay at a Renaissance near my home. They were throwing us a baby shower at the property on a Saturday afternoon so I thought it a nice gesture to give them a free room for the night for all the money and effort they spent on the shower. They got a chance to grab dinner at the property, have a drink and dessert, then a nice quiet room for the night.
The Cat 5 reward is becoming a joke as a reward. In Indianapolis, there are 4 Marriott properties at one location, a W, Courtyard, Fairfield & Springhill and all are Cat 6. This does not make sense to me. Hopefully MR takes a closer look at this and makes the reward a compliment to being MR member.
While I admit cat 1-5 certs are becoming harder to use, they still have value in some places. I'm using one in Buffalo at the end of this month and another (which I got the date extended) at the Airport Marriott in Columbus (CMH) in about 6 weeks, (the night before I leave for Hawaii ).
I've used certs in IL, TX, TN, NC, SC, FL, MO, OK, VA, NY, OH and in the UK (Bristol). I agree that as hotels move up to category 6 and beyond, finding places to use them is more difficult, but it is by no means impossible. There were a lot of folks upset when the MegaBonus promotions stopped offering certificates. I know foxglove was one of the biggest cheerleaders for certificates, and he wasn't the only one.
We'd all love to see the value move up to keep up with the points inflation of properties. I, personally, won't go so far as to say category 5 certificates are useless. It does take a bit more planning and effort, but if there are still decent properties where they can be used. Just not as many as there used to be.
That said, I'll be cheering along with everyone else if a category 1-6 cert shows up on my CC anniversary next year.
What bejacob said! I still find plenty of uses for Cats 1-5 -- primarily in the South, but in some nice destinations: Wilmington, NC; New Bern, NC; Palm Coast, FL; Waynesboro, VA to name a few. So burn 'em if you got 'em!
That Robin-like boy wonder of the Commonwealth vaboywnder has made it easy to search for properties by name and category with a downloadable spread sheet: MarriottCategoryChanges2015_SortbyCategoryNumber.xlsx - Box
Holy easy property search, Batman! I just wish the certs were still MegaBonus options.
I love the certificate and been able to use them. I would love for them to be cat 6 as well since that would give us so many more options. I've used mine in cambell courtyard where prices could go upto $350 or more. There are new residence inns and towneplace that just opened half a mile from San Jose airport all category 5 with a ridiculous cash cost. Lastly I've used my last cert at the residence inn las vegas hughes which is a cat 4 and it was such a good hotel specially now that's it's renovated.