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The newly combined Marriott loyalty program features multiple co-branded credit cards that offer a free award night worth a variety of points for each annual card renewal after the first year. These certificates really help offset the cost of the annual fee — assuming you put them to good use. The following cards all offer a certificate worth 35,000 Marriott points each year:

A 35,000-point Marriott certificate is nice, but what’s even nicer is the 50,000-point certificate you get at each renewal with the brand new Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card. (The Ritz-Carlton Rewards card also offers the same 50,000-point certificate, but that card is no longer available to new applicants).

The new SPG Luxury Card comes with a $450 annual fee, but the annual 50,000-point award night, combined with the annual $300 statement credit to use at SPG and Marriott properties, help recoup that cost. If you value the $300 statement credit at roughly face value and you can get more than $150 from your annual free night award, then the card quickly becomes a long-term keeper.

For the rest of 2018, you can use these 50,000-point certificates at any Category 1–6 Marriott or SPG hotel with standard award availability. However, when peak and off-peak pricing is introduced in 2019, the certificates won’t be valid during peak Category 6 dates but will be valid during off-peak Category 7 dates. Marriott has not yet announced the parameters of peak and off-peak times, but here’s the complete chart:

TPG just did a story on “7 Great Ways to Redeem the SPG Luxury 50,000-Point Free Night Certificates,” and they’re fabulous uses of these annual free nights. But they aren’t all practical for families, so with spring breaks, winter breaks and long weekends in mind, here are 10 of the best uses of the Marriott 50,000 point certificates for families.

Note: Be aware that many of these resorts do charge resort fees in addition to the annual award certificate.

The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa

Photo courtesy of the Westin Grand Cayman
The Westin Grand Cayman. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

The Westin Grand Cayman is located on world-famous Seven Mile Beach, which is basically a perfect destination for families. The sand is soft, the water is calm and it’s so clear it almost looks like a swimming pool. The hotel itself has been recently renovated and has rooms with two double beds that can sleep four people. If you want to save a bit on meal costs, head across the street to the nondescript strip mall for some very good and affordable restaurants.

If the Westin Grand Cayman isn’t available for your dates, try the nearby Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, which is also 50,000 Marriott points per night.

Atlantis, Royal Towers, Autograph Collection

Photo courtesy of Atlantis
The Atlantis resort complex. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

While Atlantis isn’t my own personal favorite destination, my girls love it. There’s a 141-acre Aquaventure water park, 11 pools, five miles of beaches, a casino and lots of (expensive) dining options. The less-expensive Atlantis Coral Towers is a category 5 property that costs 35,000 points a night, meaning you can use your regular SPG Amex or Marriott Premier Plus free nights to stay there. But the nicer Royal Towers will require a 50k Marriott certificate, and cash rates for this particular tower can reach $400+ per night. (If you want to get Atlantis wristbands without actually staying there, here’s my #1 tip.)

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney World Swan
The Walt Disney World Swan. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin have skyrocketed in the number of points per night required in recent years and now cost 50k Marriott points per night, though paid rates can hit $300+ on peak nights. There are many less expensive award options in the Disney area, but if you want to actually be on Walt Disney World property while still using hotel points, these resorts may be your best bet. From the Disney Swan and Dolphin you can walk (or take a boat) to EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (If this property doesn’t work for your Disney vacation, here are some other nearby spots you can use your hotel points and still get some Disney perks.)

Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

Photo courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Main Gate
The Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

You might be confused why a Courtyard by Marriott property is on my list of recommended places to use an annual award night worth 50k Marriott Rewards points. The short answer is that this hotel is just across from the gates of Disneyland, gets great reviews, sells for over $300+ on peak dates, features a waterpark/pool area that kids would love and has rooms with bunkbeds that sleep six. If you’re looking for Disneyland convenience for your family, I don’t think there’s a better use of a 50,000-point Marriott certificate.

SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion National Park

The Springhill Suites Zion National Park, (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

In what may be another surprising inclusion on this list is the Springhill Suites Marriott Zion National Park. Whether you’re on a cross-country family road trip visiting national parks or just visiting Zion, this property looks like a winner. It’s very close to the entrance of Zion National Park, has rooms that sleep five, features free breakfast, gets rave reviews and paid rates during peak season can be over $300+ per night for this very modern-looking SpringHill Suites.

A room at the Springhill Suites Zion National Park, (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Hotel Talisa, Vail

Photo courtesy of Hotel Talisa Vail
The Hotel Talisa Vail. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

The Hotel Talisa in Vail was modernized from top to bottom in a multi-year renovation before opening under the SPG/Marriott flag in 2018. This luxurious ski-friendly hotel is ski-in and lift-out as long as your crew can handle tougher green or easy blue runs. Otherwise, you can take the free hotel shuttle a few minutes to the base of Vail to catch up with the ski-school or take the gondola up the mountain. If you want to be right next to the base of Vail, you can use 60,000 Marriott points per night to stay at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort (or hope that off-peak dates where you’d be able to use a 50k certificate include some portion of the winter), but we loved our time at the Hotel Talisa last ski season.

Sheraton Waikiki

Image courtesy of Sheraton Waikiki.
The Sheraton Waikiki. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

Waikiki is a logical entry point for a trip to Hawaii, and while I don’t recommend spending your whole Hawaiian vacation on Waikiki, a night or two in the neighborhood can make a whole lot of sense. The Sheraton Waikiki is close to famous and beautiful Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and a ton of shops and restaurants. The Sheraton Waikiki has an infinity pool, a Club Lounge and a third-party child care center located within the hotel. Or if you want another 50k Marriott option on Waikiki, you can check out the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

The Westin New York Grand Central

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

New York City hotels can be very, very expensive — $300 to $400 per night is far from unheard of for mid-range hotels in Manhattan. The Westin Grand Central isn’t anything particularly special, but it’s consistent and can meet the needs of a family visiting the Big Apple. The hotel is located close to Grand Central and has rooms with two double-beds that can sleep a family of four. Some other 50k Marriott Rewards properties in NYC include…

Believe it or not, there are also some decent options in Manhattan if you want to use a 35k Marriott certificate.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Photo courtesy of the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island
The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

This list of the best places for families to use the Marriott 50,000-point certificate from the SPG Luxury Card is not all SpringHill Suites and Courtyard level properties. There’s also The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, which you can book with your free night certificate instead of paying rates that can creep close to $500 per night!

This Northern Florida beachfront resort has a kids club, family pool and even a pirate-themed tent for “camping” in the room! Ritz-Carlton resorts also usually have fabulous Ritz Kids programs that allow them to make family getaways extra special for the little travelers.

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

The Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Standard points rate: Category 6 — 50,000 points per night

Last but far from least on the list of the best places for families to use 50,000-point Marriott certificates is the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Aruba’s Palm Beach is picture-perfect for families, and this Marriott resort has pools and kid-friendly activities to help take things up to the next level. If you want a few minutes away from the kids, there’s also an adults-only pool area and, of course, the casino.

Bottom Line

Remember, if you and/or your partner both have an SPG Luxury Card, you could string together a multi-night stay using one certificate for each night of your vacation. Personally, the Sheraton Waikiki is on our short-list of choices for a night on Waikiki during our next Hawaiian adventure, but I’d love to hear where your family plans to use your Marriott 50,000 point annual credit card certificates!

Featured image of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino courtesy of the hotel.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

This card has a $450 annual fee, but that's offset by up to $300 in statement credits that you can earn each year for Marriott and SPG purchases. You'll earn 6x points at Marriott and SPG properties, 3x points at US restaurants and on flights purchased directly from the airline and 2x points on everything else.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you use the Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating SPG® or Marriott Rewards® hotels.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74%-26.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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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