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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 I wrote a post on this topic just a year ago, and most of the information on it is already outdated due to category changes.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Earn 75,000 Marriott Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months - worth up to $675 in value based on our most recent valuations. On top of the sign-up bonus you'll earn 6x points at participating Marriott and Starwood properties and 2 points on everything else plus a free reward night (worth up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary.
- Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
- Earn 6X points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels.
- 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Guaranteed Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year.
- Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
- Coming in 2019, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get Free Night Stays faster.