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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
There aren’t many things in life that give you that same rush as booking an amazing family vacation using your points. You know that fun and memories are on the way, but your cash is safely in your bank account. For a few more days, until April 24, both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card are offering increased 100,000-point welcome bonuses. Both cards have the same limited-time welcome bonus if you spend $5,000 in the first three months, though they do have different annual fees. The Chase-issued Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is running the same 100k offer until May 16.
Here’s a look at whether the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is a good match for families.
Based on TPG’s valuations, 100,000 bonus Marriott points are worth $800, and if you use your points wisely — and are traveling during peak seasons, like school breaks — you may get even more value than that.
While the March 2019 Marriott Bonvoy award chart changes hurt not only the TPG point valuation, but also the real-life redemptions, there are still good deals to be had if you look around. With the increased bonus deadline looming, here are five ways to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for a family vacation.
1. Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels are your only points options that are actually within the Walt Disney World complex. The two separate, but similar, hotels are located within walking distance of EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (the park where Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be located).
These two hotels both cost 50,000 Marriott points per night, which is a lot, but that may be much less painful than the $350+ per night rates they sell for during peak seasons. And it’s higher still on the priciest nights. When you stay here, you get most of the perks of true Disney Resorts, such as 60-day FastPass+ bookings and Extra Magic Hours, though not Disney’s Magical Express Bus that goes to and from the Orlando airport.
If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, at each account anniversary you will get a certificate to use at a 50k Marriott property, such as these Disney-friendly spots. There’s no question that 50k points feels a little high, but staying here puts you in the middle of the Disney action without the Disney price tag if you use points.
Should you want to stretch your points a bit and don’t need to stay onsite at Disney (and get those perks), check out the nearby Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort, which costs just 25,000 Marriott points per night, allowing you to spend 100,000 Marriott points for a five-night award stay with the fifth night free.
2. Go to a World-Class Beach
There are a number of on-beach Marriott properties to pick from when redeeming your Marriott points. Ever wanted to take your kids to the Atlantis water park on the postcard-perfect beaches of the Bahamas? With Marriott points you can book the one of the various towers at Atlantis starting from 40,000 points per night.
Back in action after hurricane damage, and looking better than ever based on online pics, the Westin St. John Villas can be booked for 60,000 points per night. If you start hopping around the Virgin Islands, you can spend a night on Scrub Island for 85,000 Marriott points per night, but check cash rates as they may be more favorable than using points.
The St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Casino can be booked for 35,000 Marriott points per night, the Aruba Marriott Resort and Casino on picture-perfect Palm Beach goes for 50,000 Marriott points per night or the nearby Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino that has its own 40-acre private island is just 35,000 Marriott points per night. There’s also the Westin Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic that is 35,000 Marriot points per night.
I’m a sucker for some of the beaches of the Caribbean, but I know that not every family wants to leave the United States for their beach trip, so keep in mind that you can also use 35,000 Marriott points per night somewhere like the Fairfield Inn & Suites Destin, Four Points Destin – Fort Walton Beach or the Sheraton Sand Key in Clearwater. (Here are even more Florida ideas.)
If you booked a five-night stay at a 25k per night Marriott hotel, such as the Residence Inn Amelia Island, you would pay just 100k Marriott points as the fifth award night is free! Since this isn’t a resort, the hotel may not be the highlight of your time in Florida, but the price would certainly be tough to beat for some beach time in the sun.
While it isn’t as easy to get to as Florida for most of us in the US, I have to include the historic Moana Surfrider in Waikiki as a place you could consider using your 100,000 Marriott sign-up bonus points. This property first opened in 1901 as the original hotel in Waikiki, and has been the site of lots of Hawaiian history since that time. It is now a Marriott property that is currently the equivalent of 60,000 Marriott points per night, but you can’t beat the beachfront location, the relaxing rocking chairs, large white columns and charming plantation-style architecture for a night or two in Waikiki. We are staying there (again) this summer on an overnight in Honolulu and I can’t wait.
3. Book a Ski Vacation
I like to use my hotel points to ski, and with Marriott you have your choice of some premier ski destinations at affordable award rates. Thankfully, these redemptions were largely spared by the March 2019 award chart changes. You can still book some nights at the slopeside Westin Snowmass near Aspen for just 35k points per night (and take advantage of being feet from one of the best ski schools in the US), at the Westin Monache Resort in Mammoth Lakes for 50k points per night, at the Sheraton Steamboat in Colorado (shown below) for 35k points per night or at the Westin Mt. Tremblant in Canada for 50k points per night.
If those aren’t enough choices for powder, you can also book the Vail Marriott Resort in Lionshead, which is walking distance to the gondola, ski school and more for 60,000 Marriott points per night. If you want to head to Whistler, you can stay at the Delta Suites in the Whistler Village for 50,000 Marriott points per night. In contrast, the nearby Westin Whistler will cost you a bit more, 60,000 Marriott points per night, but is in a great location. (Here are tips for skiing with kids at Whistler and a story on why Delta Hotels may be a good match for your crew.)
Another good ski option for families is the Residence Inn Breckenridge, which you can book for 35,000 Marriott points per night. This property even has standard rooms with two queen beds plus a sleeper sofa rated for up to five people, which is not always the case when using points. The Marriott Mountain Valley Lodge at Breckenridge is 50,000 points per night and in a good location, but award availability is more limited at this property during peak season.
4. Splurge on a St. Regis Stay
Another option with 100,000 bonus Marriott points is to splurge. St. Regis stays now cost as much as 85,000 points per night, but they can make for some memorable destinations.
Thankfully, not all St. Regis resorts cost 85,000 points per night. For example, the St. Regis Langkawi is available for 50,000 points per night and recently reopened The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico goes for 60,000 points per night even though paid rates are regularly $500+ per night.
If you really want to burn through the points in a hurry, using 85k points at the St. Regis New York during the holidays is an extra-special treat.
5. Stretch 100k Points for Five Nights at Category 4 Hotel
If the idea of blowing 100k points in just a couple of nights at a St. Regis hotel or resort makes your stomach turn, there are thousands of choices at the Marriott Category 4 level and below. Again, with the fifth award night free, that means that a 25k point per night Category 4 hotel would just cost 100,000 points for five whole nights!
Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite Marriott 1 – 4 hotels, such as headquartering out of the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach while you explore breathtaking Kauai, which we are trying out this summer, or sleeping at the Four Points By Sheraton Anaheim near Disneyland.
There are many spectacular ways to use the 100,000 bonus Marriott points you can earn from getting the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, the Marriott Bonvoy Business, or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, but you certainly can’t really go wrong with any of these ideas.
Note that you may not be eligible for one of the co-branded Marriott Amex cards if you have one of the Chase Marriott cards, or have had them in recent history (and vice versa). A pop-up box should alert you to that fact before Amex or Chase processes your application, you can learn more details here.
Are you applying for one of the Marriott cards while they are at 100k points for a few more days and if so, what does your family plan to do with your 100,000 bonus points?
Featured image by Summer Hull from the Bahamas
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