Best uses for Marriott free night certificates (35K and 50K)


In recent posts, I asked readers for recommendations for the best places to use free night certificates, and the response was awesome.  In the second iteration of this post I present many more of the best Marriott hotels bookable with 35K and 50K certificates. Most of the content is thanks to readers who took the time to write-up their favorites.  In this version I’ve also begun to flesh out international options, but I’d love to get more recommendations.  Marriott has a huge portfolio of hotels and I have no doubt that many are amazing places to stay.


This post was last published May 25, 2021.  Since then, I’ve updated the post with many reader recommendations. This includes both hotels that are new to this post and existing entries in which I’ve added additional reader reviews.  Icons next to each hotel name indicate whether the hotel has been newly added to this post or updated with additional information:

🆕 = Hotel newly added to this post
✍ = Hotel updated with new reader review(s)

Table of Contents

About Free Night Certificates

Marriott’s 35K and 50K free night certificates are given to cardholders each year on your card’s anniversary.  Each certificate is good for one year from issuance and travel must be completed (not just booked) before expiry.  Free night certificates can be used at any Marriott Bonvoy hotel where a free night is available to be booked with points for the certificate value or less.  For example, a 35k free night certificate can be used to book a free night at a hotel that costs up to 35,000 points for a free night, but cannot be used at a hotel that costs 40,000 points.  You cannot use these certs on cash+points bookings.

35K Free Night Certificates

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

The following credit cards offer a 35K free night certificate each year upon renewal:

50K Free Night Certificates

Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Award Chart. Awards available for booking with 50K free night certificates are highlighted yellow.

The following credit cards offer a 50K free night certificate each year upon renewal:

Best Uses for 35K Free Night Certificates in the U.S.

The sweet spots for 35K free night certificates are category 4 peak (30K), category 5 standard (35K), and category 6 off-peak (35K).  Only category 4 and 5 hotels are shown in this list.  You’ll find some category 6 options in the section about best uses for 50K certificates.


ADERO Scottsdale, Autograph Collection (Category 5) 🆕

This one didn’t come from reader recommendations, but I think it looks really nice!  Here’s how the hotel is described on Marriott’s website:

ADERO Scottsdale, perched high above the Sonoran Desert, is the only Autograph Collection® destination in a certified Dark Sky Community. The AAA Four Diamond Resort was also named to the prestigious T + L “It List” and Condé Nast Traveler’s “Hot List” for 2021. All 177 spacious rooms (including 16 oversized suites) feature a private balcony for guests to enjoy unrivaled starry skies and sweeping views. An idyllic setting for intimate celebrations and gatherings, ADERO offers guests endless opportunities to indulge in the great outdoors. An elevated escape with a world-class fitness club, luxurious desert-inspired spa, farm-to-table cuisine, poolside oasis, on-site trailheads for hiking and mountain biking, access to neighboring SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, nightly stargazing, and 17-acres of wonderous desert setting to host your next meeting or event. ADERO invigorates the mind and stirs the spirit for getaways that are true adventures for the soul.


Little Rock Marriott (Category 3) 🆕

Since this hotel is only category 3, you’ll probably be better off paying with points rather than a free night certificate.

Pam says:

Little Rock Marriott is a great point/cert redemption. Tho Cat 3, you can often find rooms for 15k/17k MRs. It is formerly a Peabody Hotel (like the duck hotel in Memphis) that has gone thru a major transformation

The on-site restaurant, Heritage Grille, has some of the best steaks you will ever eat. The river views from the elevator to your room floor are spectacular (reminds me of those old Hyatt Regency elevators). Good about huge suite upgrades, rooms very comfy. They even have those thoughtful motion lights at the base of the beds for when you get in/out. All about service as is attached to the convention center. It is also located next to historic bldgs with plenty to walk around & see.

Across the street is the Capitol Hotel. Go inside for a peek at the elaborate lobby & the balcony above. Or the extea large elevator built for horses in the day. Is an iPrefer prop bookable with their points. Considered best hotel in Arkansas.

You can walk or bike across the “Big Dam Bridge,” the longest pedestrian and bike bridge in the US, spanning over 4,000 feet across the Arkansas River.

From March-June you can tour
P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm, an epicenter for the local food movement. About a 30-45 min drive north of LR. Absolutely gorgeous property & a really fun day.


The Ben, Autograph Collection, West Palm Beach (Category 5) 🆕

Jerry says: ““The Ben” in West Palm Beach is also a terrific use of the cat 5 cert. Rates are regularly above $300 a night. They seem to also price weekends at the peak price quite often, which is of course frustrating when you want burn a cert.”

Bohemian Hotel Celebration Autograph Collection (Category 5)

Budd Cann says: “We stayed at Celebration Bohemian several years ago prior to checking in to timeshare. My most vivid memory is watching an osprey catch a fish in the lake, then seeing a bald eagle take it away in mid air! Neat little community, started as Disney planned community.”

Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection, Sarasota (Category 5) 🆕

Diane says: “I’ve stayed at the Art Ovation in Sarasota recently and loved it. Staff super friendly, free breakfast, bikes, beach chairs. In a great spot downtown near restaurants. So I checked out the reviews for the Sarasota Modern. They were horrible. Think I will stick with the Art Ovation.”

The Sarasota Modern, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel (Category 5)

GatorLitigator says: ” Instead if the Art Ovation, which is less impressive than the website would make you think, stay at The Sarasota Modern, which is Tribute Portfolio vs. Autograph, but still a category 5. My wife and I like it much better. As a Titanium, you’ll get free breakfast off the menu and can probably get an upgrade to one of those great large suites on the top floor with a Tub and Shower out on the balcony (you still have an indoor shower if you prefer). It’s a great hotel with a nice relaxing pool and you can still walk a couple blocks over to view the artwork in the lobby and ‘gallery’ at Art Ovation.”


Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay (Category 5)

This resort on Hawaii’s Big Island gets mixed reviews.  Many reviews state that the hotel is dated, and some complain about the staff.  That said, I’ve been on the grounds of this property and it is drop-dead gorgeous.

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (Category 6) 🆕

Note that this is bookable with 35K free night certificates only when it is priced 35K: off-peak, PointSavers rate.  But apparently that’s not uncommon at this hotel:

NK3 says: “I used a 35k cert at the Marriott Waikiki a couple months ago, and we were really surprised by how much we liked it. The common areas are uninspiring, but the rooms were recently renovated. Usually I am lukewarm on Marriott-branded hotels, but the room was spacious, tasteful, and they upgraded us to a great Ocean Front room. We did end up moving to one of the city view rooms for a late checkout, which was a little smaller, but still nicely redone. This is a category 6 hotel but has had a lot of PointSaver & off peak availability lately (bringing it down to 35k). We actually booked a 5 night stay for June at 140k.”


The Blackstone Hotel, Chicago (Category 5) 🆕

Suggested by ActualMichael.

Hotel Chicago, Autograph Collection (Category 5) 🆕

Suggested by ActualMichael.


Inn at Bay Harbor, Michigan (Category 5)

The Inn at Bay Harbor is a long-time favorite of mine.  The best time to visit is in the summer, but you’ll have to book way in advance to snag a summer room for 35K per night.  Start looking in September or October for the following summer.  Often, the hotel requires booking 2 nights at a time or 3 nights for weekend arrivals, and so searches for 1 night stays may not result in any availability.  To use your 35K free night certificates here, you’ll likely have better luck booking a fall or spring getaway.


Hotel Saint Louis, Autograph Collection (Category 5)

Kirby says: “Also in St. Louis is an Autograph Collection Marriott Cat. 5… the Hotel St. Louis gets great reviews and is in a bit nicer location than the Last Hotel. Have reservations for later this summer.”


Metropolitan at the 9, Autograph Collection (Category 5)

This one looks super cool! It has a bar named “The Vault” which appears to be made out of an actual bank vault.

Gino says: “I’ve stayed at the 9 in Cleveland a couple times and it is an excellent hotel – definitely good for a trip for two given the bathroom setup in the standard rooms. They have an excellent rooftop bar and a good restaurant as well.  If you can find a night that’s not peak-priced, it’s an excellent use of a Marriott FNA. They’ve priced almost every weekend night at peak through the end of the year.”


Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City, Autograph Collection (Category 5)

Pam says: “Start at the Ambassador Hotel downtown OK City – historical, interesting, & redone. Autograph Collection Cat 5. Tour the bombing memorial & museum. Especially the outdoor chairs lit at night, you’ll never forget. Exceptionally well done, & you feel in a small way you were a part of that awful day.”

Ambassador Hotel Tulsa, Autograph Collection (Category 5) 🆕

Lynn says: “Another standout we recently visited was the Ambassador Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Historic hotel with beautiful and large rooms, great restaurant and friendly and helpful staff. Category 5.”


Courtyard Erie Bayfront (Category 5) ✍

I added this one because it offers both indoor and outdoor pools, and beautiful lake views.

T. Jones says:

Many Courtyards are ok. Some, not so much. This one is a cut above your average Courtyard.

I used a 35K certificate at this place back in 2018 on a road trip headed to New York’s Finger Lakes. As Titanium, I was upgraded to a room with a balcony overlooking a gorgeous Lake Erie sunset. I had a Lake Erie Monster burger for dinner which was pretty tasty. Sadly, I couldn’t eat it all.

Our room was clean. Service was friendly. I’d make a point of staying there again if I found myself in the area. You’ll pay for onsite parking as there really is no other convenient place to park. Don’t remember the price.

They got the $10 F&B credit wrong and only applied it to me rather than applying it for my wife as well. I wasn’t familiar with the bizarre Marriott breakfast rules at the time, so I never brought it to their attention.

That’s the quick rundown anyway. I’d give it a thumb’s up.

The Oaklander Hotel Autograph Collection, Pittsburgh (Category 5) ✍

Dee says: “The Oaklander Autograph Collection in Pittsburgh is in Oakland, not downtown. The new AC is downtown, but I haven’t seen it yet. Oakland is home to Univ. of Pitt, CMU, Carnegie Museums, Phipps Conservatory and Schenley Park. So, lots to do. Good restaurants in two adjacent neighborhoods – Shady Side & Squirrel Hill. I live in Sq Hill and have eaten at the hotel restaurant, which is good and has nice views since it is on the top floor.”

The Industrialist Hotel, Pittsburgh, Autograph Collection, Pittsburgh (Category 5)

New hotel, no reviews yet

Becky writes: “Downtown Pittsburgh is a really fun getaway.”

Puerto Rico

Courtyard Isla Verde Beach Resort (Category 5)

Ava says (Via Frequent Miler Insiders on Facebook): “I stayed here in 2019 and enjoyed it. Nice beach and pool. It’s close to the airport and I saw some reviews online about plane noise, but we didn’t have a problem.”


Barfield Autograph Collection By Marriott, Amarillo TX (Category 4)

This is a brand new hotel and so we do not yet have any reader recommendations for the hotel itself.

Pam says: “A visit to the Palo Duro Canyon is a must. It is the second largest canyon in North America, the Grand Canyon of Texas. Even if you choose not to eat there (but actually pretty good), pay a visit to the Big Texan Steak Ranch.”

The Adolphus, Autograph Collection, Dallas (Category 5)

GatorLitigator says: “I just stayed at the Adolphus a few months ago and it is a top notch choice.”

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center (Category 5) ✍

  • Trent Peng says: “One place that comes to mind is Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas (technically, Grapevine, TX). It’s an all-indoor resort with beautiful fountains, a faux Riverwalk, lots of kid-friendly activities, several restaurants, nice rooms with balconies, and a shuttle taking you to the waterpark next door. I’d gladly take my 35K FN there. Oh and it’s close to the DFW airport too.”
  • PeterSFO says: “I was there for a conference, the hotel itself is huge and amazing although I seem to remember the area around it being pretty dead. I don’t think we ever left the hotel although that might have had something to do with the company sending us to Dallas in February…”
  • Dee says: ” I stayed at the Gaylord TX for conventions several times. My industry loved Gaylords for conventions. There are more of them, but I think TX is the oldest. Denver might be the newest. They are huge indoor resorts often quite a distance from a city. The “pretending you’re outside when you’re not” thing is not my bag, but Gaylords are a wonder.”

Hotel Vin, Autograph Collection, Grapevine, TX (Category 5)

Pam says: “The Hotel Vin is a new Autograph Collection several miles from the airport (Dallas Fort Worth). Cat 5 & very nice. Good suite upgrades. Steps from charming Grapevine Main St with lots of restaurants & shops. Hotel has an attached Food Hall, probably nicest ever seen. Right off the Vintage Railroad you can take into Ft Worth.”

U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix

Carambola Beach Resort St. Croix (Category 5)

Suggested by Brian (Via Frequent Miler Insiders Group on Facebook).

Note from Greg: There are quite a few very negative recent reviews.  Make sure to read up on recent reviews before committing to a trip here.


The Alexandrian Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection (Category 5) ✍

  • GatorLitigator says: “Instead of the Morrison House, consider The Alexandrian, also a category 5 Autograph Property. It is located right on King Street, just down from the Waterfront. There is great walking, shops and restaurants all around downtown Alexandria and you are close enough to walk to the George Washington Masonic Memorial. As a bonus, since you seem to be a Kimpton fan, the Alexandrian was a Kimpton hotel called the Hotel Monaco, Alexandria until about 2015. I stayed there both before and since the changeover and the hotel retains the Kimpton vibe and a solid breakfast at the restaurant as well as an afternoon complimentary wine hour in the lobby, although I don’t know if COVID cancelled that.”
  • Dee says:”We stayed at the Alexandrian in Old Town Alexandria a couple of years ago during cherry blossoms. Lovely place. Excellent location right in Old Town. We took the water taxi at the end of the block across to DC.”

Morrison House Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection (Category 5)

Wendy says: “If you haven’t been, the Morrison House in Alexandria is a favorite of ours. Lovely property and great location in a quaint city.”


The Historic Davenport Hotel, Autograph Collection, Spokane (Category 4) ✍

Wendy says: “The Historic Davenport in Spokane is another great choice.”

Pam says:

We enjoyed the Davenport in Spokane. One of the prettiest lobbies & ballrooms of any hotel I have ever seen. The Doge & Marie Antoinette ballrooms esp beautiful.

The Davenport was the first hotel w a/c & inventor of the Crab Louie, named for the owner Louis Davenport. You can still order the original salad at the Palm Court restaurant. Rich history commemorated throughout the stunning public areas. Bing Crosby performed there. Spend a coupla hrs to walk around & take in all the memorabilia.

Where all the glamor somewhat falls apart are the rooms themselves. I’ll lv it at “historic.” We had a jr suite upgrade, but the Circus Room #708 is the one to book if you’re not creeped out by painted circus animals circling your bed! It is the only surviving original guestroom. The layout is weird with 2 KS beds but ask the front desk to see it if you go, it’s one of a kind.

Nice 4th fl rooftop bar. Soft peanut brittle was invented at the hotel, & you can purchase at the lobby shop for gifts to take home. As for the other Marriott choices, Lussa is boutique and across from the Davenport. It is newer & certainly may be a better room option (though small), just make sure to chk out the Davenport public areas & restaurants/bars.

The Tower is one block over. No idea about its rooms, but its African themed lobby is interesting. The Grand is across town. It was built for the convention crowd with a Las Vegas bent. It’s nice enough but completely different from any of the other Marriotts described.

About 30 min to Coeur d’Alene ID. The resort can be booked with Choice or iPrefer points. Charming town, the lake reminds me of Lake Tahoe. Beautiful in the fall. If you are still feeling adventurous, the northern 4 hr drive to Whitefish MT on 2 thru Libby is not to be missed. One of the best road trips in the US.

Best Uses for 50K Free Night Certificates in the U.S.

The sweet-spots for using 50K certs are category 7 off-peak (50K) and category 6 standard (50K).  Using these certs for category 5 peak (40K) can also make sense.  You can find category 5 suggestions above, and category 6 and 7 suggestions below.


The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, Tucson (Category 6)

I’ve personally stayed here, and loved it.  See my review: Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain Tucson. Bottom Line Review.


Hotel Trio, Healdsburg (Category 6) 🆕

BL-K says: “For 50k certs in California, Hotel Trio in Healdsburg is category 6. In wine country you’re paying for the location. Healdsburg is a great launching pad for different Sonoma wine regions. This property is a residence inn, so don’t expect a luxury property. It’s a newer though and our room was very nice. The other Marriott properties near wine country that are worth staying at are category 7, so off peak availability would be a possible use of 50k certs. I would skip the all the category 5 properties in near wine country.”

The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay (Category 7)

Recommended by BL-K.

Keep in mind that category 7 hotels can only be booked with 50K certs when they are priced off-peak.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point (Category 7) 🆕

Recommended by Ryan: “RC Half Moon Bay obviously deserves its spot on this list. But I’d vote RC Laguna Niguel over RC Santa Barbara 10/10 times.”

Keep in mind that category 7 hotels can only be booked with 50K certs when they are priced off-peak.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara (Category 7)

Recommended by BL-K.

Keep in mind that category 7 hotels can only be booked with 50K certs when they are priced off-peak.


Courtyard Marathon Florida Keys (Category 6)

This Courtyard hotel gets excellent reviews.  If you’re looking to stay in the Florida Keys with a free night cert, this may be your best bet.


The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (Category 6)

Most Marriott high end resorts in Hawaii are category 7 or above.  Since you’re unlikely to find any of those pricing off-peak, it’s refreshing to find this one at category 6.  It gets mostly excellent reviews.


Hotel Distil, Autograph Collection, Louisville (Category 6)

This one gets phenomenal guest reviews (average 4.9).  The following description is copied from the Marriott website: “Hotel Distil is for those who thirst for new experiences. It’s an authentic hotel in a historic location on Louisville’s Whiskey Row. It’s a home for connoisseurs of the finest comforts and gracious service. It’s a space with intriguing juxtapositions where you’ll pass through a historic façade to enjoy modern amenities. Hotel Distil is setting the standard for luxury in Louisville hospitality.”


The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph Collection, Cincinnati (Category 6) ✍

This new hotel in Cincinnati gets amazing guest reviews (average 4.9).  The following description is copied from the Marriott website: “Situated within a classic 1909 building, The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph Collection beckons guests to stay at Lytle Park’s newly transformed crown jewel. Our brand-new hotel honors its refined roots in the Lytle Park Historic District in Cincinnati, all the while providing a refreshing hospitality experience. Meet the beautiful outdoor setting inside our hotel, offering guests an elegant oasis in the city with park-inspired designs. Dine on Northern Italian fare in our fine dining restaurant, Subito, share cocktails in a lively lobby bar or experience our multi-functional Marketplace. For business trips or social gatherings in Cincinnati, Ohio, our event venues boast diversity, flexibility and style, including the rooftop space, featuring a fully retractable cover that is perfect for indoor and outdoor events. Inspired by an elegant past with contemporary touches, our hotel invites you to encounter the exhilarating side of Cincinnati. Discover a new getaway between park and city at The Lytle Park Hotel.”

Jess says: “The Lytle Hotel is fantastic! We stayed there last Oct and got free breakfast off the menu up to $30/person for being Titanium. They did a great job on the renovation! We live 1-1/2 hours away and it is a great getaway.”

South Carolina

Hotel Bella Grace, Charleston (Category 6) 🆕

Bob says: “Hotel Bella Grace in Charleston, SC. Technically a Residence Inn, it has it’s own style and unique design. Free breakfast is in an adjacent restaurant. It’s in downtown Charleston, a very difficult city (rated by Conde Nast as the #1 most desirable small city vacation) in which to get downtown with only a 50k cert. A Cat 6, you can get a room (outside of weekends) for 40k a night (off-peak). Good use of the Titanium bonus free night cert or even the 50k cert . . .”


SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion National Park (Category 6) ✍

It’s a bit strange to have a SpringHill Suites in this post at all, let alone within the 50K certificate section, but there you go.  This one appears to be an absolute gem.  And, in my opinion, any excuse to return to Zion National Park is worth considering.

Isavethings says: “I stayed at the Springhill next to Zion a few nights last summer. It is a Springhill, but only because it doesn’t have a bar/restaurant. Excellent hotel and really nice rooms. This hotel is a lot of fun. It is expensive, but the location and quality of the facilities make it worth the points.”

Jess says: “The Springhill Suites Springdale, UT (Zion) was also fantastic for our stay in Sept 2019. There aren’t many pools with a better view. And they have a great outdoor firepit area. It is an easy walk to the Springdale shuttle stop that takes you around town and to the Zion NP entrance. Considering how tight parking is in Springdale, their free parking is a deal!”

GP_7677 says:

Can also vouch for the Springhill Suites Zion. Have stayed there twice in the past 9 months and it’s a great property. They are back to offering a full buffet breakfast and the pool and firepit areas have great views. There are also public balcony areas scattered around on the second floor that most people seem to not know about.

Don’t sweat it if you don’t get a room on the back side of the property that backs up to the river and rock faces. Views from the front side are great too.

Couple of tips for the area:
Restaurants get crowded. Make reservations or go early or late. Bit & Spur right across the street from the hotel has a great outdoor dining space.

We’ve taken the shuttle into the park and also rented e-bikes. I would recommend the e-bike route if your budget allows. Great fun and better than waiting with the masses for the shuttle buses. Book shuttle bus tickets in advance if you go that route. Only way into the park is shuttle bus, on foot, or on bike.

There’s a liquor store next to the hotel, across the parking lot. With Utah alcohol laws being what they are, thought this would be useful for some.


Courtyard Burlington Harbor Hotel (Category 6) 🆕

Suggested by Nitin

International Options

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is currently a category 5 resort.


JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro (Category 5: 35K Standard) 🆕

Executive Lounge View

Julie says: “I stayed at the JW Marriott on Copacabana Beach in Rio during Carnival and enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed the rooftop pool, and the club/lounge had excellent food in the morning and evening including full entrees and sides.”

Delta Hotels Toronto, Canada (Category 5: 35K Standard) 🆕

Isavethings says: “The Delta in downtown Toronto is a fantastic hotel, directly across the street from the CN Tower and a few blocks from the water. One of the best cat 5 hotels I’ve stayed in.”

Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos (Category 7: 50K Off-Peak) 🆕

Eric G says: “Just used my 50k certs for 4 consecutive off-peak nights at Solaz, Luxury Collection, Cabo (Cat 7). Such an amazing property!”


Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel (Category 6: 50K Standard) 🆕

PeterSFO says: “The Osaka Marriott Miyako is 50k certificate eligible and quite a hotel with a fabulous view in every direction.”

JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok, Thailand (Category 5: 35K Standard) 🆕

Dave A Chakrabarti says: “I’d definitely compare cash rates for anything in Thailand; the country has absolutely *stunning* hotels for very low cash rates, making it a poor use of a cert or points in dollar terms a lot of the time.  The JW Marriott in Bangkok is a good example; great hotel, usually in the $100-$125 range pre-apocalypse. 35k points.”


Hotel Bristol, a Vienna, Austria (Category 6: 50K Standard) 🆕

Greg says: “I stayed at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna frequently from 2006-2008. What I loved about the hotel was how every room was different making it a fun surprise after check-in. The rooms themselves were each spectacular and I look forward to going back one day.”

Hotel am Steinplatz, Berlin, Germany (Category 5: 35K Standard) 🆕

Euro says: “I stayed at the “Hotel am Steinplatz” in Berlin 2 years ago. First Autograph Collection hotel that I stayed at and it made me a fan of the brand ever since. Large, elegant rooms with small hints of personality just here and there. Understated luxury, great breakfast and wonderful staff. Located in a quiet neighborhood.”

Schloss Lieser, Germany (Category 5: 35K Standard) 🆕

Who wouldn’t want to stay in a castle?

Recommended by Air Bud

Powerscourt Hotel, near Dublin, Ireland (Category 6: 50K Standard) 🆕

Recommended by Air Bud

Courtyard Basel, Switzerland (Category 3: 17.5K Standard) 🆕

Kris says: “The Courtyard Basel (Switzerland) is only a Category 3 but the cash rates can easily top $200 per night. So it might be better value with points than a cert, but I’ve used both. Basel is home to a very charming Christmas market that I love – my sister and her family lived in Basel for several years which meant several Christmas seasons in Switzerland. While the hotel is outside the city proper, it is within walking distance of the excellent tram (free with hotel stay), and they have a serviceable breakfast buffet that is free for Marriott elites.”

Middle East

Dubai Marriott Harbour, United Arab Emirates (Category 6: 50K Standard) 🆕

Lynn says: “When traveling with my 3 older kids, space is king. The Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites is a category 6 and an absolute GEM. Every room in this hotel is a massive 2 bedroom suite (look at photos on the website) with a large living room and full kitchen. It is actually a 3 bedroom because there is also an old “servant’s room” that is an interior space, but has a bed in it. I assume these used to be condos? Excellent views of the palm-tree shaped islands. The restaurant was great and the staff extremely friendly and helpful. Location was very good. Dubai was a very fun trip – my teenagers loved it.”

Additional International Options

I hope to flesh this out in future posts, but for now I’ll simply list a number of options that caught my eye as potentially interesting (usually because they were high-end brands that were highly rated).  Apologies for the bizarre and seemingly random ordering of hotels within each section…


  • The Ritz-Carlton Rabat Dar Es Salam, Morocco (Category 5: opening Jan 2022)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Tamuda Bay, Morocco (Category 5: opening June 2021)


  • The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, Autograph Collection, New Brunswick (Category 5)
  • Le Méridien Versailles, Quebec (Category 5)
  • The BRIX, Autograph Collection, Trinidad and Tobago (Category 5: Opening August 2021)
  • JW Marriott Hotel Bogota (Category 5)
  • W Bogota (Category 5)
  • JW Marriott Hotel Lima (Category 5)
  • Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort, Paracas (Category 5)
  • JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, Peru (Category 6)
  • Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco, Peru (Category 6)
  • Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado, Peru (Category 6)
  • Hacienda Puerta Campeche, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Campeche, Mexico (Category 6)
  • JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City (Category 6)
  • JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa, Mexico (Category 6)
  • Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Jose, Mexico (Category 6)
  • JW Marriott Parq Vancouver (Category 6)
  • Punta Islita, Autograph Collection, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Category 6)
  • Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection (Category 6)


  • JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa (Category 5)
  • Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok (Category 5)
  • The St. Regis Bangkok (Category 5)
  • The St. Regis Beijing (Category 5)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore (Category 5)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Astana, Kazakhstan (Category 5)
  • The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place (Category 5)
  • The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali (Category 5)
  • Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront, Bhutan (Category 5)
  • The St. Regis Changsha, Hunan (Category 5)
  • The Azure Qiantang, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hangzhou (Category 5)
  • JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa, Thailand (Category 5)
  • Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa (Category 5)
  • W Xi’an (Category 5)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Xi’an (Category 5)
  • Hiyori Chapter Kyoto, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel (Category 6: Opens June 2021)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, Malaysia (Category 6)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Macau (Category 6)
  • The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket (Category 6)
  • The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay, Hainan (Category 6)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Bali (Category 6)


  • Le Méridien Bodrum Beach Resort, Turkey (Category 5)
  • JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus (Category 5)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul (Category 5)
  • Paragraph Resort & Spa Shekvetili, Autograph Collection, Georgia (Category 5)
  • Hotel am Steinplatz, Autograph Collection, Berlin (Category 5)
  • Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu, Greece (Category 5)
  • Gekko House, Frankfurt, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Germany (Category 5)
  • Hotel Palacio De Santa Paula, Autograph Collection, Granada, Spain (Category 5)
  • Falkenstein Grand, Autograph Collection, Koenigstein, Germany (Category 5)
  • Hotel Football, Old Trafford, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Manchester, UK (Category 5)
  • Penha Longa Resort, Quinta da Penha Longa Sintra, Portugal (Category 5)
  • Hotel Telegraaf, Autograph Collection, Estonia (Category 5)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, Germany (Category 5)
  • The Hotel Lucerne, Autograph Collection, Switzerland (Category 6)
  • Aegon Mykonos, Autograph Collection, Greece (Category 6)
  • Le Méridien Nice (Category 6)
  • Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mallorca (Category 6)
  • Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Category 6)
  • Academias Hotel, Autograph Collection, Athens, Greece (Category 6)
  • Hotel Ercilla de Bilbao, Autograph Collection, Spain (Category 6)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Category 6)
  • Falisia, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Portopiccolo, Italy (Category 6)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, Tenerife (Category 6)
  • The St. Regis Istanbul (Category 6)

Middle East

  • The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo (Category 5)
  • The St. Regis Cairo (Category 5)
  • W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island (Category 5)
  • Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Saraya Aqaba, Jordan (Category 5)
  • Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha, Qatar (Category 5)
  • The Abu Dhabi EDITION (Category 6)
  • Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi (Category 6)
  • The St. Regis Abu Dhabi (Category 6)
  • Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai (Category 6)
  • Assila, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jeddah (Category 6)
  • Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Oman (Category 6)

South Pacific

  • The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania (Category 5)
  • W Brisbane (Category 5)
  • Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection (Category 5)

Reader Suggestions?

Have you stayed in any Marriott category 4, 5, 6 or 7 hotels which you’d recommend?  Have you been to any of the ones listed above?  Let us know your impressions.  Please comment below!

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