Just try to book a hotel with my Spring Mega bonus "free night." No HOTEL room available in any of the areas I asked about....the bonus is worthless unless you want to stay in a run down property in a bad area.... asked about hotels in Flagstaff, Durango, Aspen, Cresta Butt, Vail, Snowmass, LAX, Pasadena and I was told that I could stay in "10" properties in Atlanta........seriously.......oooo I also overheard the supervisor on the phone tell the call rep not to waste his time talking any more about it....
Life Time Platinum Elite
Here's a list of full service properties you could try. Re: Where can I use my category 1-5 certificate in the USA?
i won't say they're all in desirable locations, not can I assure anyone of their condition (except for the few I've visited which were all very nice). The list doesn't even include non-full service brands (CY, FI, SHS, etc.).
We all agree that category 5 certificates aren't fantastic. There are, however, some reasonable places to use them.
I'm no American but even I know LA, Vail and Aspen are some of the more expensive places to visit in the US.
If we just concentrate for a moment on the effort I put in to my free cert. Well I (like everyone) made 2 stays at Marriotts. For me personally, one cost £90, the other £65, and both those figures include tax! So I stayed 2 nights costing £155 ($220) inc tax and got a free Cat 1-5 certificate. Alas all the hotels in the UK capitals London, Edinburgh, Cardiff are Cat6 and above. But I can stay near Derby, Leicester, Peterborough, Swindon and even within a short drive of a (long) subway ride into London.
I didnt need to show much love for the certificate. I can't really expect Marriott to flash me their finest silken knickers for the minimal commitment I made.
There are however lots of places to redeem your cert, well over half of Marriotts inventory is available to you and below is an excellent summary of the full service Marriotts which are cats 1-5, it even includes a JW or 2!
I have to say, I just used one at Long Beach, CA at an RI. The service there was some of the best I've ever recieved --I got a phone call telling me I can come to the hotel to pick up my key if I want to check in early (That has NEVER happened at any hotel I've stayed at) and we had a simply lovely time in a hotel that was normally 200/night.
I have to work at it a bit to use the certificates, but really folks #firstworldproblems.
I tend to tack them on to trips, so I just did 3 nights at the Long Beach Ren. and 1 at the RI. Obviously there's differences between the two, but then again in many ways there weren't. I liked them both, but the service I had at the RI was much better and that was with a certificate and the other I paid cash.
Also, if you can't figure out how to use them for yourself, I think you call the reservation desk and make the reservation in somebody else's name. Not super sure, but that might be a good fix.
Certs can only be used in your name, in my experience. You have to physically check-in and show your ID. After that, what you do with your room key (give it to someone else to enjoy) is up to you. But if you are trying to do a favor for someone you are geographically separated from, it won't work. Actually, there are other sneaky ways around this, but, they all constitute disobeying the T&C's.
Rather than trying to do something over the phone with the vast number of locations to choose from for Cat 1-5 (3319 worldwide, 2755 of which are in the US), try using the web site that will give you the information much more conveniently and you can browse the list. If someone actually did say to not waste time, I can only guess it was because the sheer volume of properties that it could be used for would take days to communicate over the phone.
Here's a link to the worldwide list, which you can easily filter to find something worthwhile for you:
Great search there.
And shows offer 2,500 options for cat 1-5 in the USA alone.
So, no... Cat 1-5 certificates are definitely NO JOKE.
I reckon you and I should get a job on mythbusters, eh hassmh
Not really a reply to you Goodyear, but a comment in general as there have been several of these posts.
I can not understand why something that is essentially free stirs up so much negative emotion. Maybe I have it easier up in Canada using the Cert. There are no Cat 5's near downtown Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver and Niagara is all above Cat 5, but I don't see the point of complaining about that.
I think what Marriott should do is create something that allows members, who can not use these certificates to donate them to people who need them, something akin to Ronald McDonald House or families going to Invictus Games or something like that.
I was in LA last weekend. LA is not Manhattan. It's huge. Traffic is horrendous. Not sure what was going on, but all of the Marriott's (all brands) were even more expensive than they usually are (I'm pretty familiar with the market). I found cat. 5 property to stay at (though it, along with about 3 of my regulars will be moving up to 6 after next week), but it was very inconvenient to my purpose in terms of distance and traffic. There used to be so many more and then it was wonderful. Each time one flies above a cat. 5 during the annual category shuffle and the pot gets smaller and smaller, there is disappointment and we read these threads, as people work through their disappointment.
Yes, it's clear from the longtime membership that it was better many years ago, and regret that I missed out on those days. But it is also the case that some properties (admittedly not many) do move down from 6 to 5, like the JW Houston is about to, so it's not always bad news. I was just responding to the seemingly knee-jerk reaction that there are no places to redeem except run down properties in bad areas. Perhaps that is true, and all 60+ Cat 1-5 locations in the LA metro area, including 4 FS Marriotts, are all run down in bad areas, just seems rather unlikely. But to your point, the disappointment at not being able to use a certificate in a popular location, especially if used in the past, is understandable and inevitable.
I'm sure the OP would have been less frustrated if using marriott.com to peruse the possibilities instead of trying to query a representative over the phone, as it is much easier to find something on marriott.com than trying to convey one's wishes over the phone to the representative who is essentially using marriott.com and reading the results off the screen. There are probably many desirable destinations with viable Cat 1-5 options that the OP did not consider while discussing on the phone, but could be easily found searching on marriott.com.
You're getting a lot of push back. I will only say, I feel your pain, and by the way, feel free to vent about "first world problems" if that's what you need to do in a moment. I would hope you're among friends here. As far as the cert, keep trying. Hopefully you'll find something that will work for you at some point, though it may not fulfill your initial excitement and expectations over the prospect of what you would gain from it. The certs. used to be much more guest friendly, before the economy improved, at which time we began to experience a heavy amount of category creep. The number of full service properties where these can be used has greatly diminished, and so has the number of properties in general (where certs can be used) at popular cities/destinations, to the point that many travelers find them difficult to use. It continues to be best to book them as early as possible, as one never knows what the occupancy levels of a given property will be on a given date.
Yes, nowadays, they do open up a wide avenue for disappointment for some. We all travel differently, live in different places, and our needs and capabilities to travel to different places vary. In any event, I hope you can find some gain, no matter how small, and now you know what you're dealing with and the value that your unique individual travel needs/capacities can expect to gain from this "bonus." Travel safe and well.
goodyear, I feel your pain. I let one of my free Cat 5 certs expire which I feel kind of bad about. I didn't have any trips anywhere that I could use a Cat 5 cert. I should have given it away or booked one of my local properties and just taken the kids to swim awhile then left. But our local Cat 5s are not very impressive. I'd rather stay home. It just depends on where you're traveling I think.