9 places to maximize the new 85,000-point Marriott award night certificate
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We’ve regularly seen Marriott award certificates available via the different cobranded Marriott cards valid at hotels that cost up to 35,000 or 50,000 points per night, but getting one that’s valid for rooms costing up to 85,000 Marriott points per night is a rare treat.
But for a limited time, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is offering a very increased welcome offer of not only 150,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points but also a bonus award night worth up to 85,000 points when you make $5,000 in eligible purchases on the card within the first three months of card membership. Offer ends Nov. 3, 2021.
If you value Marriott points at 0.8 cents per point as TPG does, then the 150,000 points are worth $1,200 and the 85,000-point night is worth up to $680 if fully maximized.
Since the 85,000-point Marriott certificate that could unlock some very high-end stays is an unusual offering for Marriott Bonvoy and its cobranded cards, we thought it would be fun to see how different TPG staffers would put that valuable award night to use out in the real world.
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General maximization strategy
You don’t have to use a certificate to its maximum capacity. You could cash in a Marriott certificate worth up to 85,000 points for a hotel selling for 30,000 points per night. That’s better than it going totally to waste — but it’s clearly not ideal. If that’s your plan, you’re better off getting a card that comes with a lower-tier certificate.
You’re obviously best off using an 85,000-point certificate somewhere that costs as close to 85,000 points per night as possible — but in “The Price Is Right” fashion, without going over. That means you can book a standard room at any Marriott property in the Bonvoy program on all but peak nights for the top-tier Category 8 properties that cost 100,000 points per night.
Of course, some of these top-tier properties are in pretty far-flung locations you wouldn’t only visit for one night, so you could pair using the certificate with cashing in Marriott points for some other nights around that award night.
You can even pair it with a points booking where you get the fifth award night “free.” In that case, you’d pay points for three nights, use the award certificate for one night and then get that fifth night for no additional points charge. In that case, five consecutive standard award nights at a hotel that cost 85,000 points per night would cost you 255,000 Marriott points and the 85,000-point certificate.
The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos
The brand-new Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos property sits on a postcard-perfect stretch of beach in Turks and Caicos along the calm, blue waters of Grace Bay.
Marriott Bonvoy perks are light at Ritz-Carlton properties, including this one, but with low COVID-19 rates on the island and cash rates starting at $600 for many nights and spiking higher in the winter, it’s a solid spot to use Marriott points and your 85,000-point certificate as most available dates are currently pricing at that award level.
Pro tip: Book a sunset cruise on the house catamaran, Lady Grace, if you make the trip.
The St. Regis New York
The St. Regis New York offers over 100 years of classic, borderline over-the-top big-city opulence located at East 55th Street and Fifth Avenue. There are chandeliers in the rooms, butlers at the ready, turndown service, decadent room service breakfast and pretty much anything else you might need available at your fingertips. Normally, all of this comes at a steep cash cost of $800-$1,000 per night for a standard room, but if you have a Marriott 85,000-point certificate to burn, then you are in for a treat.
Most weekdays are pricing at 85,000 points, while you may hit weekends and holidays that are out of range of the certificate due to being priced at the peak 100,000-point rate.
Pro tip: This hotel gets extra special with decorations and a festive vibe around the holidays and is a fabulous choice if you plan to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which often comes down the street just a few blocks away.
The St. Regis Deer Valley
If you want ski-out St. Regis-level service, the convenience of The St. Regis Deer Valley in Utah is a solid choice for that 85,000-point certificate. Since this area is just a relatively short drive from the Salt Lake City airport, it can make more sense for a shorter ski trip than some of the farther-afield Colorado resorts.
During the ski season, rooms here are often over $1,000 per night and weekends are often going to come in at that 100,000-point rate, so use a flexible date calendar to spot the 85,000-point nights.
Pro tip: You can rent ski equipment on-site, and make sure to use the ski valet. If anyone in your group is brand-new to skiing and can’t make use of the ski-out location or needs to be dropped off at ski school, the hotel has a free shuttle to the base of the mountain.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
Nestled right on the banks of the scenic Kamo River with views of the forested Higashiyama mountains, the 136-room Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto is within easy walking distance of the city’s famous, historical Gion district. Its spacious rooms decorated with traditional Japanese craft items help it rank among Japan’s most luxurious hotels, though chef Katsuhito Inoue’s intricate tasting menus at La Locanda Saletta Privata, which are conceived of as a journey through Japan’s 72 microseasons, are reason enough to book a stay here.
Cash rates start at $660 per night during less busy times of the year like the winter, but skyrocket to nearly $1,700 during prime cherry blossom season in March and April. Award rates range from 70,000-85,000 points per night through much of the year, but are more typically 100,000 points during the holidays and cherry blossom time.
Pro tip: Although the rooms with city and mountain views are stunning, for the ultimate relaxing stay, opt for a garden-view one instead to take in the property’s perfectly manicured Zen gardens.
The St. Regis Bora Bora
Bungalows perched above aquamarine waters are the hallmark of this South Pacific paradise. Of course, you could spend your days at the St. Regis Bora Bora enjoying signature treatments at the Iridium Spa, or nibbling gourmet fare at The Lagoon by Jean-Georges restaurant, but leave plenty of free time to snorkel Bora Bora’s famous lagoon, among other activities.
Paid rates over the next several months start at just over $800 per night, while you can find award availability at 85,000 points per night on several dates in October, November and December. That said, rates spike to 100,000 points on many nights this fall, too, so use Marriott’s flexible calendar search to narrow down your search.
Pro tip: If you want a dose of local life and culture, take advantage of the hotel’s free daily shuttle to the main island and the village of Vaitape (not available Sundays or holidays).
Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale
You don’t need to travel all that far to get outsize value from your 85,000-point Marriott free-night award. At the Phoenician Residences, located within the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, your 85,000-point certificate could get you a 1,700-square-foot two-bedroom residence.
Cash rates can drop as low as $760 per night during less busy times of the year but often exceed $1,200. Generally, you’ll have the best luck finding award availability during warmer months.
Each residence comes complete with a separate living room, dining room and full kitchen, while some even offer a private plunge pool. Residence guests have access to all of the main resort’s activities, including a three-level pool complex, spa, tennis courts, golf course and a water playground.
Pro tip: Unlike the main resort, residence guests don’t need to pay an added resort fee.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
As one of the newest properties to open in the Maldives, the Ritz-Carlton exudes contemporary luxury while having the added benefit of easy access to Velana International Airport.
Even the base-level room is an overwater villa with a private pool and features an expansive indoor-outdoor setup stretching over 1,600 square feet. The property features five world-class restaurants, a stunning infinity pool and a circular spa that resembles a futuristic spaceship at the center of the villa complex.
As a Category 8 Marriott Bonvoy property, The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives will range in price from 70,000 points per night during off-peak season to 100,000 points per night during peak season.
Pro tip: All Marriott elite members (excluding Silvers) get daily complimentary afternoon tea service.
London Marriott Hotel Park Lane
London is home to endless excellent hotels, but one that stands out is the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane. The hotel is on the city’s Park Lane, right at the foot of Hyde Park. This means you have easy access to all that London has to offer with a just quick walk or ride on the Tube.
The property’s luxurious rooms are well designed and have touches of classic British style. Further, the lobby is posh and the hotel has a popular on-site restaurant — Lanes of London — that serves contemporary British cuisine and traditional afternoon tea. Plus, those with Platinum elite status or higher can visit the on-site Executive Lounge for breakfast, drinks and refreshments throughout their stay.
So while it may not be the most over-the-top hotel on this list, its perfect location and upscale amenities make it worth a visit. Nightly rates start at just over $600 this December, so your free-night certificate goes a long way.
Pro tip: You’re right down the block from Marble Arch Tube station, which can whisk you to Central London in minutes.
Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris
Step off fashionable Avenue George V and through the doors of this Art Deco gem and you will find yourself transported to the 1920s Paris of the so-called Lost Generation…with a few glam updates by star designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, of course.
The hotel is just around the corner from the Champs Elysées and the flagship boutiques of globe-spanning fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton on nearby Avenue Montaigne…oh yeah, and you can walk to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower pretty easily, too.
This over-the-top luxury hotel has just 116 rooms and 43 suites, so rates tend to soar over $1,100 per night … which makes the ability to book award nights for just 85,000 points (and even 70,000 on some this fall and winter) make a trip to Paris feel even more worthwhile than usual.
Pro tip: You might miss it if you’re not in the know, but the hotel actually has a small spa, including a so-called Wellness Suites by spa guru Olivier Lecocq, complete with a private hammam, green-mosaic shower, massage area and treatments incorporating rejuvenating Unique Elixir Paris products.
You have a world of choices at your fingertips with a Marriott 85,000-point certificate. And while it’s hard to go wrong when you have your pick of almost any Marriott property, options like these nine examples will help you really get the most reward from your valuable certificate.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card — Earn 150,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points and a bonus award night worth up to 85,000 points with $5,000 in eligible purchases on the card in the first three months.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh, Benji Stawski, Chris Dong and Eric Rosen.
Featured photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy.
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