Planning a summer staycation? Book these Marriott Category 8 properties by June 30
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Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
It’s been months since the coronavirus pandemic began and nearly a third of Americans are ready to travel again, according to a TPG nationwide survey. While it might be a while until most of us are comfortable getting on a plane, you can still get a nice change of scenery by taking a staycation or “nearcation” — somewhere you can drive to from where you live. But you’ll probably want to start planning soon.
On Monday June 15, Marriott announced that it will only charge off-peak pricing in some markets for award bookings made through June 30 for stays completed by July 31, 2020. In other words, many properties will be charging their lowest redemption rates during what might normally be their busiest periods, including the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
While hotels of all categories are being discounted, you’ll likely get the most value from this promotion by booking Marriott’s top-tier, Category 8 hotels. Think St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton properties where nightly rates may sometimes exceed $1,000 and off-peak pricing may only come during less-desirable travel times.
These hotels typically require 70,000, 85,000 or 100,000 points per night on off-peak, standard and peak dates, respectively. That equates to about $560 to $800 based on TPG valuations, so you’d be saving up to $240 per night. Now, given the drop in demand, the cash rates are also lower than usual, but there are a number of reasons why it might be wise to redeem your points and miles before spending cash on travel this year. Plus, Marriott will always give you one of your nights for free when booking stays of five nights (or more) with points.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the top eight Marriott Category 8 properties in the U.S. that will be open this summer and offer the discounted rates.
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Aspen is a year-round, high-end destination, and the St. Regis is one of the city’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel offers a Remède Spa, a heated outdoor pool and Michelin-starred fine dining. Guests also get to enjoy the signature St. Regis butler service, which includes complimentary coffee and clothes pressing.
The property is located within walking distance of Aspen’s many luxury shopping and charming dining options. Summertime activities in the area include mountain biking, hiking, golfing, horse-back riding, whitewater rafting and fishing.
Re-opening date: Now open
Resort fee: N/A
Availability: Most days in June and July for 70,000 points per night
Although a beachfront hotel in South Beach is a vacation destination for many, it can be the perfect staycation retreat for those from the area. The Ritz-Carlton South Beach recently underwent a $90 million renovation project, and it shows. The hotel is located right on the beach, offers beautiful rooms and has great food and drink options. Aside from the pool and gym, the hotel has a spa and terrific club lounge.
It isn’t a sprawling megaresort but does charge a resort fee like most other hotels in the area (though it wasn’t added to TPG reviews editor Nick Ellis’ bill on his recent award stay there).
Re-opening date: June 28
Resort fee: $45
Availability: Most dates in July for 70,000 points per night
If you’d like to visit the Miami Beach area but not stay in South Beach, The St. Regis Bal Harbour is a more peaceful alternative. It’s a beautiful property inside and out and offers excellent service, as well as extremely generous upgrades for elite members.
The hotel features two pools for hotel guests — one for families and one for adults — three restaurants, a stunning bar, wine vault and an on-site Remède spa. It’s located right on the beach where guests can enjoy complimentary chairs and umbrellas, and it’s across the street from the Bal Harbour Shops, an ultraluxe outdoor shopping center that houses stores like Alexander McQueen, Chanel, De Beers, Gucci and Rolex.
Re-opening date: July 1
Resort fee: $45
Availability: Every day in July for 70,000 points per night
Many Manhattanites have escaped the city entirely, but if that isn’t an option for you, The Chatwal will soon be ready to welcome you. It will be the first Category 8 hotel to reopen in the city, with most other ones slated to reopen in September.
This landmark Luxury Collection property is located in Midtown Manhattan and offers some gorgeous suites, but upgrade options are limited. However, normal amenities include a complimentary Mercedes Benz house car, complimentary bicycle rentals, an on-site spa and 24-hour in-room dining.
Re-opening date: July 6
Resort fee: N/A
Availability: Every date in July (once reopened) for 70,000 points per night
Lake Tahoe is an idyllic, year-round destination for travelers coming from across California and Nevada. The rooms at the Ritz are are a luxurious alternative to traditional rentals, and all feature floor-to-ceiling windows with terrific views. The hotel offers a full spa and a heated outdoor lap pool. Guests also have exclusive access to the waterfront Lake Club with direct beach access, watersports and al fresco dining.
While it’s unclear how many of these amenities will actually be available, the property is still tacking on a pesky resort fee. It’s supposed to include access to complimentary Wi-Fi, an evening s’mores experience, shuttle transportation to and from North Shore Beach and Lake Club, the fitness center with select group exercise classes, access to the spa’s facilities, a seasonal welcome beverage and more.
Re-opening date: Now open
Resort fee: $55
Availability: Every day in June and July for 70,000 points per night
Although best known for its slopeside ski access, the St. Regis Deer Valley could still make for a great summer nearcation for those in the Park City, UT area. The hotel is heavy on amenities, featuring a multilevel outdoor heated pool complex, a 14,000-square-foot Remède spa, three dining establishments and a bar.
The property is supposed to offer St. Regis’ signature butler service, but TPG’s director of travel content Summer Hull didn’t experience that on her recent stay there. Summertime activities in the area include hiking and mountain biking.
Re-opening date: Now open
Resort fee: $38
Availability: Most days in June for 80,000 points per night (participating in Marriott PointSavers), then most days in July for 85,000 points per night
How to quickly earn Marriott Bonvoy points
The quickest way to earn a bunch of Marriott Bonvoy points is with a Marriott credit card. While you likely won’t be able to earn a welcome bonus in time to boost your balance before June 30, you might still consider picking up a card now so you can book your award right away the next time off-peak awards become available. Many of Marriott’s Chase and Amex cards are also currently offering extra perks in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Here’s a quick glance at the welcome bonus, annual fee and unique perks of some of the best Marriott credit cards:
|Credit Card||Bonus||Annual Fee||Bonus Value*||Unique Perks|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. Offer ends 5/12/2021.||$450 (see rates and fees)||up to $1,200||Annual award night worth up to 50,000 points, $300 annual travel credit at Marriott properties, instant Gold Marriott elite status with the ability to earn Platinum with $75,000 in annual spending on the card. Terms apply.|
|Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card||Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 5/12/21. Terms apply.||$125 (see rates and fees)||$800||Annual award night worth up to 35,000 points. Earn a second free night worth up to 35,000 points by spending $60,000 in a calendar year on your card. Immediate Silver status, ability to earn Gold status with $35,000 in annual spending on the card. Terms apply.|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card||Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$95||$600||Annual award night worth up to 35,000 points. Immediate Silver status, ability to earn Gold status with $35,000 in annual spending on the card.|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card||Earn 30,000 Marriott points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.||$0||$240||Marriott Bonvoy Silver status thanks to the 15 elite night credits awarded by the card.|
*Bonus value based on TPG valuation and not provided by the issuer
Things to keep in mind
Understandably, not everyone is ready to begin planning future travels yet, but if you do plan on booking one of these hotels, you’ll want to keep these important things in mind:
- Marriott is strengthening its cleanliness standards for all of its hotels.
- Brand standards and elite benefits guarantee are suspended until July 5, 2020.
- Points Advance won’t lock in the award rate if you don’t have enough points in your account now.
- Marriott does not usually waive the resort fee on award stays as other hotel brands do. However, you may ask for it to be waived or at least reduced if the amenities are reduced due to coronavirus.
Finally, you’ll definitely want to crunch the numbers to make sure that it makes sense to use points for these rooms (as opposed to paying for them outright). As an example, the St. Regis Bal Harbour is showing prices as low as $381 for mid-week stays or $450 for weekend nights, so while the 70,000-point, off-peak award rate is tempting, that may not offer the best redemption value.
Featured image courtesy of St. Regis Aspen.
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*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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