Best Marriott Resorts in the USA for your 35K Free Night Certs

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A perfect storm is brewing. This summer, there will be huge competition for hotels & resorts in the United States. And, on the Marriott front, many Bonvoy members have free night certificates expiring August 1, 2021.  We will be competing against each other to use them!  Right now is the best time to book for summer 2021 travel.

I separately posted a look at the best value Marriott hotels in the US bookable with 35K free night certificates.  In this post, I turned my eyes specifically to resorts.  Which Marriott resorts are bookable and best?

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa bookable with 35K free night certificates

Via Marriott’s website, looked for category 4 and 5 resorts in the US that were available on July 4th for 1 night and for 35K points or less (so that they are bookable with 35K free night certificates).  Below you’ll find all of the matching resorts sorted descending by Guest Rating.

Findings

  • Some of the excellent options don’t show up below because they weren’t available for 35K points or less on July 4th. It’s worth checking Marriott’s website for other dates.
  • Most of the properties on the list cost over $200 for July 4th.  This means that you would be getting better than average value for your 35K cert.  See: What are Marriott 35K certificates worth?
  • I didn’t filter out poor choices from the images below.  Some of the highest rated properties, cost significantly less than $200 and so would be suboptimal choices for your free cert, but these would still be far better than letting your cert expire without using it!  One good example is the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld which costs only $117 on July 4th, but it has a very good 4.5 guest rating.  If you use your certificate here, you won’t get amazing value but you may have an amazing stay (hopefully).
  • There is a resort in Hawaii on the list!  The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay is on Hawaii’s Big Island.  The reason it’s available for 35K points is undoubtedly due to very poor average reviews.  Many reviews state that the hotel is very dated and some complain about the staff.  That said, I’ve been on the grounds of this property and it is drop-dead gorgeous.  If you’re willing to chance a sub-par in-hotel experience, I think this would be a great use of 35K certs.
  • While most of the resorts on the list are in warm-weather destinations (because that’s where most Marriott resorts happen to be), there are a couple in the north.  The Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, in particular, looks like it would make a very nice staycation for those who live in the Chicago area.
  • Marriott Vacation Club properties are at the bottom of the list only because Marriott doesn’t show guest reviews.  These are timeshare properties that are also available to book per-night with points or cash.  Some Vacation Club properties didn’t make the list because they require 3-night or longer stays.  If you’re interested in longer stays, make sure to search Marriott’s website for these properties.

Results Sorted descending by Guest Rating

Award Chart

Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Award Chart. Awards available for booking with 35K free night certificates are highlighted yellow.

As you can see in the above chart, 35K free night certificates can be used at any category 1-4 properties, at many category 5 properties, and at a few 6 properties.  That said, for this post, I only looked at category 4 and 5 in order to try to find the resorts most likely to offer high value.

Conclusion

I haven’t spent much time looking at them, but at a quick glance, the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort & Spa, and JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort look like great uses of free night certificates!

Few of the other results here jumped out to me as being amazing uses for our 35K free night certificates (but I did find some in my companion post looking at all Marriott hotels, not just resorts).  That said, if you’re eager to stay at a resort, I think a good place to look may be at Marriott Vacation Club properties.  There were some that didn’t show up in this post because they require 3 night stays or longer.  If you have multiple certs or can match certs with points, you might find a gem.

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