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Everyone travels differently. So, it’s not surprising that everyone uses their hotel points differently. For example, some people prefer to spend their points on a night or two at aspirational hotels. Meanwhile, other travelers prefer to stretch their points for as many nights as possible.
If you spend a single night at a Marriott Bonvoy Category 8 property like the Al Maha Resort, St. Regis Bora Bora or Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina, you’ll spend between 70,000 and 100,000 points on one night thanks to Marriott’s peak and off-peak pricing. Meanwhile, that same amount of points could get you a week or more at Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 or 2 properties.
There is no right or wrong way to use points. But, today I’m going to show you how you can stay at Marriott properties for up to 25 nights using 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or less. Then, I’ll highlight some of my favorite Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 and 2 properties, both domestically and abroad.
Wondering how to get 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points quickly? The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card both currently offer a 100,000 point welcome bonus after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex offers an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of card membership. Both of these elevated offers end on Jan. 13, 2021.
Now, let’s take a look at how many nights you can get from 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Then I’ll discuss some of the best Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 or 2 properties where you can maximize the number of nights you’ll get from 100,000 points.
Want to stretch your points with a different loyalty program? Check out our guides for doing so at Hilton domestic, Hilton international, Hyatt domestic, Hyatt international, IHG domestic and IHG international properties.
In this guide, I’ll only consider Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 and 2 properties. After all, these are the properties where you’ll be able to stay the most nights with 100,000 points. Category 1 properties cost between 5,000 and 10,000 points per night, worth between $40 and $80 based on TPG’s valuations. Meanwhile, Category 2 properties cost between 10,000 and 15,000 points per night, which TPG values between $80 and $120.
If you quickly do the math, you might assume that you’d be able to stay 10 to 20 nights at Category 1 properties or six to 10 nights at Category 2 properties using 100,000 points. But since Marriott offers you a complimentary night when you redeem points for five nights, booking your stay in increments of five nights will actually get you up to 25 nights at Category 1 properties and up to 12 nights at Category 2 properties.
Now that we know how many nights can be squeezed from 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, let’s consider some of the most attractive Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 and 2 properties. If you’re looking to book a particular property and have flexible dates, be sure to use the flexible search function on Marriott’s website to check whether you can stay during off-peak dates.
Marriott has 272 Category 1 properties, which represent about 3% of the entire Marriott portfolio. Of these 272 properties, 42 are located within the U.S., 22 are in Mexico, eight are in Canada, 22 are in Europe, one is in Central America and several are great for a points and miles fueled safari in Africa.
As a reminder, Category 1 properties cost between 5,000 and 10,000 points per night. So, you’ll only need between 20,000 and 40,000 points for a five-night stay since you’ll get the fifth night free. Based on TPG’s valuations, 20,000 points are worth about $160.
Here are four of the best-located domestic Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 properties:
Frankly, Marriott Category 1 properties abroad are more impressive than the ones you can find domestically. Here are some of my favorite international Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 properties:
I have plans to visit several of these international Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 properties. In fact, I was about a week away from staying at the Protea Hotel Lusaka Safari Lodge in Zambia this March when I decided to return to the U.S. to ride out the coronavirus pandemic.
Marriott has 1,167 Category 2 properties, which represent about 15% of the entire Marriott portfolio. Of these 1,167 properties, 715 are located within the U.S., 25 are in Mexico, 42 are in Canada, nine are in Central America and 79 are in Europe.
As a reminder, Category 2 properties cost between 10,000 and 15,000 points per night. So, you’ll only need between 40,000 and 60,000 points for a five-night stay since you’ll get the fifth night free. Based on TPG’s valuations, 40,000 points are worth about $320.
Here are several appealing domestic Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 properties:
As with Category 1, the Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 properties abroad are much more impressive than those you’ll find in the U.S. Specifically, here are some of my favorite international Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 properties:
Of course, these are many other excellent Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 properties that might fit into your next trip. For example, I’m personally looking forward to visiting the Le Méridien Dahab Resort on a trip to Egypt. But I didn’t include this property in the above list because it’s located in a less-visited part of Eqypt.
There’s something to be said for using your points to stay at luxurious properties. But if you’re looking to stretch your points as far as possible, there are plenty of Category 1 Marriott properties that cost between 5,000 and 10,000 points per night and Category 2 properties that cost between 10,000 and 15,000 points per night.
I was impressed when I found multiple Category 1 safari lodges in Africa. And there are also several Category 2 Le Meridian properties in Egypt, Morrocco, India and China. But there are also many Category 1 and 2 properties in the U.S. if you don’t want to travel abroad.
If you’re looking to plan a trip using as few Marriott points as possible, head over to Marriott’s hotel directory, filter by Category 1 and/or 2 and see if any of the locations work for your trip. If possible, book five-night stays or longer when using points so you’ll get one of your award nights for free.
Apply now for the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, or check out our guide to which Marriott card is best for you.
Featured image of Cape Town, South Africa by Vicki Jauron/Getty Images.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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