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Marriott Rewards has nine hotel categories that range from 7,500 – 45,000 Marriott points per night, and that’s not even counting the various Ritz Carlton tiers or the Starwood properties you can book by transferring your Marriott points to Starwood. However, it is only the first five Marriott hotel categories that come into play for those with the very common Marriott Category 1-5 award certificates. These certificates are awarded via the Marriott co-branded credit cards and many Marriott bonus promotions, but they can present a challenge to use since there are thousands of Marriott properties where you cannot use as they are ranked Category 6 or higher.

Because of the prevalence of the category limitations on these awards, finding the best Category 1-5 Marriott hotel is always an issue. Not only is finding the best Marriott Category 1-5 hotels a bit of a challenge, but the list is ever-changing thanks to hotels coming, going, and changing category. I wrote a post on this topic just a year ago, and most of the information on it is already outdated due to category changes. Now that the 2018 Marriott annual category adjustments have happened, it is time for a fresh look at the best Marriott Category 1-5 hotels in 2018.

Note that not only are Marriot 1-5 properties important for the 1-5 certificates, but also for the Marriott Hotel + Air packages that lump together airline miles and 7 nights at a Marriott property. With the Marriott Hotel + Air packages, the base level packages include seven nights at a Category 1-5 Marriott property + anywhere from 35,000 – 120,000 airline miles. This really can be a good deal for the right family, but finding a Marriott Category 1-5 property that you want to spend a week as part of that package can be a bit of a challenge at first.

Whether you are looking to just spend a night somewhere using a Marriott Category 1-5 certificate, or you want a full week as part of a Marriott Hotel + Air package, let’s take a fresh look at some of the best Marriott Category 1-5 properties around the world in 2018.

The Best Marriott Category 1-5 Properties Around the World

Headquarter out of Phoenix for an Arizona adventure.

There are a number of Category 5 Marriott properties in the Phoenix area including the new Courtyard Phoenix Downtown, The Courtyard Phoenix Camelback, AC Hotel Phoenix Tempe/Downtown, and a new Residence Inn Phoenix Downtown.

Courtyard Phoenix Downtown

Ski and Stay in Salt Lake City

Similar the situation in Phoenix, there are a couple Salt Lake City Category 5 Marriott properties, such as the brand new AC Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown, that very much has caught my eye as being a good place to rest between outdoor Utah adventures such as skiing or hiking.

The Fairfield Inn and Suites Salt Lake City Downtown and SpringHill Suites Salt Lake City Downtown are also Category 5 budget-friendly Marriott options to stay in the vicinity of all that Salt Lake City has to offer.

California Adventures

Having fun in the California sun is a travel goal shared by many families, and fortunately, there are Category 5 Marriott hotels in and around Anaheim, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and more. You can easily put yourself near wine tasting, ocean breezes, and California theme park fun. The hotels themselves may not be the most memorable part of your trip, but some of the cities where the hotels are located do rank very highly for family fun.

Springhill Suites Huntington Beach

Some examples of California Marriott Category 5 properties include the Courtyard Cypress Anaheim Orange County, the fresh-off-the Category 6 list Courtyard Anaheim Resort/Convention Center, the Fairfield Inn and Suites Palm Desert in Palm Springs, and the new SpringHill Suites Huntington Beach Orange County.

Fairfield Inn and Suites Palm Desert in Palm Springs

Family Fun in Florida

Florida has no shortage of hotels, so thankfully there are Category 5 Marriott hotels pretty much all over the Sunshine State that can put you close to everything from the big Orlando theme parks to beaches in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and beyond. Many of these will be the Courtyard and SpringHill Suites type of properties, but since you will probably be spending all days outdoors, what you are probably after is a clean place to sleep and shower at night.

I mean, when you can see roller coasters from your window, how much time will the kids want to spend in the room?

TownePlace Suites Orlando at SeaWorld

A few examples of Florida Category 1-5 Marriotts are Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village, Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista, TownePlace Suites Orlando at SeaWorld, Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Courtyard Miami at Dolphin Mall, and the Residence Inn Miami Aventura Mall.

Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista

Visit the Lone Star State

Texas is a big, diverse, and inexpensive place to vacation, shop, and explore. If you find yourself in my home state, your Marriott Category 1-5 certificates can go a pretty long way thanks to a pretty low cost of living and visiting. You can stay at a Category 5 Marriott in a very nice part of Houston next to some world-class shopping at the JW Marriott Houston across from the Galleria and the next day head down to Galveston to stay at the beachside TownePlace Suites Galveston Island.

JW Marriott Houston

If you crave big city life (or just have a convention to attend) in Dallas, you can use a Marriott 1-5 certificate at the AC Hotel Dallas Downtown or the Renaissance Dallas Downtown.

AC Hotel Dallas Downtown

If you would like to head to Central Texas, you can explore what Keeps Austin Weird while staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Austin South or drive south to San Antonio and visit the historic Alamo and enjoy the festive Riverwalk while staying at the quant Marriott Plaza San Antonio.

Those are some US-centric suggestions, so if your travels take you beyond the US borders, here are a few international Marriott Category 5 or below properties that are worth a look.

International Category 1-5 Marriott Hotels

Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino

If you are in the mood for some ocean breezes and a nice tan, you can use your Marriott 1-5 certificate in Santo Domingo at the Renaissancence Santo Domingo.

Renaissance Santo Domingo

Courtyard Montreal West Island

This Canadian hotel is a bit off the beaten path in terms of being near the popular things to see and do around Montreal, but it is a newer property where you can use your 1-5 certificates for a nice place to rest at night before you hit the ground running experiencing Quebec.

Courtyard Montreal West Island

Experience Vietnam

In Vietnam, you could use your Marriott 1-5 certificates in either Ho Chi Minh City at the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon or at the upscale JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi. You will find that in some places that are outside the United States your certificates will take your way beyond a SpringHill Suites type of property.

JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi

Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi 

If you want to use your Marriott 1-5 certificate at a swanky looking hotel, then the Marriott Hotel Al Forsan in Abu Dhabi deserves a look as it is gorgeous and certainly a cut above many other Category 5 Marriott properties…and it’s actually just a Category 4!

St. Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club

This UK based hotel is located within a 14th-century manor surrounded by 400 acres of parkland. There is also a heated indoor pool, on-site spa, restaurant, and golf courses at this truly stunning location.

Multiple Options in Madrid

While in Madrid, you can stay at the Category 5 AC Hotel Carlton Madrid or the very well located Courtyard Madrid Princesa that just dropped from a Category 6 to a Category 5 Marriott.

Courtyard Princesa Madrid

Stay in Style in the Netherlands

If you have a Marriott Category 1-5 certificate to use in the Netherlands, you are in for a treat well beyond your basic cookie cutter Marriott as you can use it at the new Moxy Amsterdam or The Hague Marriott Hotel

Moxy Amsterdam

You can, and should, view the entire Marriott Category 5 list here to find some other gems for yourself. While we are on the topic of Marriott award stays.

I’d love to hear about some places where your family has utilized a Marriott Category 1-5 award and which favorite spots are next on your list!
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