One major beef I have as a Marriot Rewards member and Marriott Rewards Signature Visa cardholder is that the free night I get every year up through category 5 is most often unused. That is because most of my vacation stays with Marriott are at hotels above category 5. There should be a partial credit towards a night at categories above 5 so that this benefit does not go unused. This is not a ridiculous request and want it to receive considerable attention from Marriott Rl free night on my rewMarriott Visa ttewards management.
My concern is that if there are category changes again next year, these cat. 5 free nights will be even harder to use! .
We had a Cat. 5 to use before expiration & we were headed to San Diego & there are no Cat. 5 hotels in the central area. We happen to find a charming CY in Solano Beach, Cat. 5, newly renovated about 25 minutes from San Diego, so that worked out well since it was near the beach. I think they should let us redeem additional points to upgrade from a Cat. 5 to a higher category.
I don't have that problem since I tgake a lot of road trips and use my cert at an FI or RI on the rod.
Nevertheless, i agree with you totally. Cat 5 certs should be good at higher rated hotels with the payment of a fee for the category differene. An alternative would be to make a cat 5 cert worth some dollar value toward a higher category hotel!
By the time that happens, I will be lifetime platinum and if it reaches the point where I cannot find cat 5s to stay at, I'll drop the MR credit card and use another card. The free night is a major beni to the MR card and if it loses too much value, I'll re-examine whether to continue to use that card.
Remember, however that the card used to get us a cat 4 room and they upgraded it to 5. It would not surprise me if they change to a cat 6, to keep this benefit attractive.
I'm fortunate that I have lots of hotel options in the Northern Virginia area that are Cat 5 or less. But I totally agree with the inflation of hotel categories each year it can make the Cat 5 certificate a challenge to use for many people. There should definitely be an upgrade to this Chase Card Benefit.
This topic comes up fairly often on these boards, and whenever one of the MRI moderators passes the question of using a Cat. 1-5 certificate for partial credit for a higher category to the MRewards team, the answer always comes back that promotional certificates have neither a cash value nor a points value; thus, they cannot be combined with either cash or points for a night's stay at a higher-category property.
Personally, I've never had a problem finding a use for the certificate -- lots of properties Cat. 5 and under in the South.
2 years in a row I couldn't use my certificate. This year I was going to SLC. Tried to make a reservation using the certificate at a Cat 3. The property I wanted wasn't available that day. Since I was staying multiple days I figured I'd try to make a regular reservation then apply the cert. Reservation, no problem. Apply cert? No. Asked at the property. No.
Went to Las Vegas. Cat 5. Same story. Can't make a reservation using the cert, no rooms available. 2 night stay. Was not allowed to use the cert for 1 night.
Living in Hawaii, there isn't a single Marriott property that's Cat 5 or below in the entire state. The Waikiki Beach Marriott & the CY Waikiki used to be, but now the minimum is Cat 7. And that's for the CY, which itself isn't all that great... At least I'm still able to use my Hyatt annual free night locally. Crossing my fingers that doesn't change too though.
I let a night expire last year and I wish I would not have. This year I had 2 and was determined to use them. I was able to in Houston at the JW galleria (it was a 5! crazy huh!)... anyway I was so determined to use them I was going to book a room in Lafayette (staycation thing). They now count towards your elite nights so if you aren't LTP - it is worth it alone for the night earned. Of course if there isn't a single property like in kharada46 case, hen yeah they go wasted.
SeaTexan, we used a free cert for the JW in the Galleria area last year ....paired it with a nice meal out during Restaurant Week and had a fun, easy staycation. (I live in the northern suburbs of Houston.)
I also made great use of a cat 5 certificate in September when I flew from Houston to Burlington, Vt for a wedding. Naturally, there are no direct flights and I didn't want to chance missing a connection so I booked a late flight to Newark that Thursday and an early flight to Burlington on Friday morning. I used my free cert to stay at the Renaissance right by the airport Thursday night, worked great.
Last year hundreds of properties were downgraded in category. No one ever mentions that part.
Some people find great value in the certificates. Others don't. Some people find great value in being cross-elite in United Airlines (not a perk of the card, but elite status at Marriott) and other do not.
No single benefit, including, apparently, free rooms, is going to please every cardholder.
I like the certs. They can be an excellent resource for staging for long trips, cruises, weddings, or to park the Mother in law.
We generally use ours to celebrate something special and build a trip around the certificate. Sometimes several days with "better" hotels and locales included. Our last redemption included a "fancy" dinner with family joining us. Creative travel is all part of our adventure! C
They can also come in handy if you have an unexpected flight delay, and don't have to spend out of pocket to stay over or can put yourself in a nicer property than the airline would have given you for no additional real cost. I can think of a lot of ways to use the certs.
They are definitely easier to use than my old companion certs for DL Amex, though that's another can of worms entirely.
The certs are always nice to have in your pocket just in case you find that CAT 1-5 in a place you least expect it just like the JW Galleria in H-Town. I find a few nice joints near airports when you have a flight the next day just like flyingsouth did as well as when visiting family and they have a full house of guests in places like OKC or El Paso.
Hey flyingsouth, north burbs huh, 59/69 side of 45 side and how far?
Boom. What insertcoffee said. True, the amount of "higher value" properties has slid, but these certs can still provide a lot of value if you know how to employ them. The GF and I have used these from getaways to a Courtyard in downtown Halifax, to putting my GFs Mom and Stepdad up at a Courtyard down the street. I do understand the frustration as yes, the overall value of the free night has slid over the years. Still, for me personally, the value still remains enough to keep me paying the $85 AF each year. I would say though in the next year or two, if Marriott doesn't tweak the free night or card benefits in some way shape or form to restore some of the value it has lost, I will have to seriously reevaluate keeping the card. My guess is after the merger of spg and Marriott and Ritz Rewards are complete we may see an attractive offer materialize in the form of a new card w new benefits......or more of the same. Either way, a free night and 15 nights credit for $85 is hard to thumb my nose at. For now.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the SPG folks are all fully under the broader MI umbrella, and if the two programs are fully integrated then, which will be the surviving card. I don't know the details on the contracts with either card, but if the two programs are fully integrated, from a business perspective I can't see both card programs surviving. 2018 promises a lot of interesting developments.
We don't get any Certs with the UK card, the only bonus is 2,000 points every anniversary. I guess if I save up for 12 years I too can get a night at a cat5 from that! You really don't want to sample the thin gruel that constitutes UK credit card offerings! Mind you at least they're better than the rest of Europe, as ramoneur frequently points out.
Oh, and yes, there's lots of opportunities to use those Cat1-5 certs. On my tour of Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey and Texas I stayed at 11 different Marriott branded hotels of which 7 were cat5 or lower (3 Cat 5, 1 cat3, 2 cat2 and 1 Cat1). Even though 90% of the 60 Marriott branded hotels in the UK are full service, we still have over 20 Cats 1-5.