11 best uses of Marriott 35,000-point certificates for family vacations

Sep 27, 2019

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In the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, there are cobranded credit cards offering an annual free night worth up to 35,000 points at each renewal. This perk makes it (more than) worth it to pay the annual fee each year on these cards. For example, if a low annual fee allows you to stay at a property selling for $200 to $300 per night, then that card goes in the “keep” column for me. The cards currently available that offer the 35k Marriott certificate valid at properties selling for up to 35,000 Marriott points per night include:

There are some additional legacy Marriott/SPG cards that are no longer available to new applicants that also offer the certificates. These 35,000 point certificates can be used at Marriott Category 1–5 hotels, but a new wrinkle has been introduced with Marriott’s peak and off-peak pricing that took effect in September 2019. Peak dates at Category 5 properties now cost 40,000 points per night and are out of range of the Marriott 35k certificates. On the flip side, a Category 6 property on an off-peak date that is also a PointSaver date is now within range. More on this in a minute.

TPG has an article on the 6 Great Uses of the Marriott 35,000-Point Certificates, and they are fabulous uses of the annual certificates, but they aren’t all practical for families. I mean, the St. Regis Bangkok looks amazing, but we aren’t heading there for a long weekend anytime soon.

If you and/or your partner have a few of these Marriott cards, you could string together a multi-night stay using one certificate for each night of your vacation. With spring breaks, winter breaks and long weekends in mind, here are 11 of the best uses of the Marriott 35,000-point certificates for families.

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

Sheraton Kauai Resort

Sheraton Kauai (photo courtesy of the hotel)
Sheraton Kauai (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

It is no surprise that oceanfront rates in Hawaii can be $300 to $400 per night during some parts of the year, so any place in Hawaii that takes a 35,000-point Marriott certificate is worth consideration. The Sheraton Kauai specifically is worth a look as it is on the sunny Poipu side of Kauai. This is by no means the fanciest hotel on Kauai, but it has undergone a renovation recently and you can’t beat the oceanfront location.

Some other Hawaiian Marriott properties where you can use the 35k certificate include:

St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino

Marriott St. Kitts Beach Club (photo courtesy of hotel)
Marriott St. Kitts Beach Club (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

St. Kitts isn’t the easiest Caribbean island to reach, but it is certainly a very calm, beautiful and relaxing destination that is worth the effort. This particular hotel is located on Frigate Bay, steps from the ocean shore, and features multiple pools, a casino and activities for those ranging from oldest to youngest. If you are trying to decide between the Park Hyatt St. Kitts and this property, know that the Park Hyatt is in a much more secluded location and there is significantly more activity around the Marriott. Which is better in that regard will be entirely personal preference.

Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection

If your family craves adventure in Costa Rica, check out the Hotel Punta Islita, a property bookable with a Marriott 35k certificate. This hotel has a menu of included eco-adventures and cultural experiences such as canopy zip-lining, hiking, horseback riding, monkey safaris, art projects and traditional cooking lessons.

Image courtesy of the Hotel Punta Islita
Image courtesy of the Hotel Punta Islita

Should you just want to relax for a bit, you can also do that in the infinity pool or head to the spa. Standard rooms bookable for 35k Marriott points have one king or two double beds. Here are six adventurous activities families should love in Costa Rica (just in case you want to venture beyond the hotel’s included activities). The hotel offers a $45 shuttle to travel the 75 miles to the Liberia Airport.

The Westin Snowmass

Westin Snowmass (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The Westin Snowmass is a steal on winter dates when using a 35,000-point Marriott certificate, as paid rates can be hundreds and hundreds of dollars per night at this ski-out location. Peak winter dates are likely to be 40k per night, but some winter dates can still be found for 35k points or a 35k certificate. Snowmass is in the Aspen Snowmass family of ski resorts, and Snowmass, in particular, is one of the more family-friendly of the mountains in the area — much more so than Aspen itself. This property is on my own family’s short-list since just a few feet down the mountain is a tremendous ski school program for the younger 3- to 4-year-old skiers that mixes indoor playtime with outdoor learning.

Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas

Sheraton Steamboat Villas (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The Sheraton Steamboat Villas are in a five-star location for skiing at Steamboat, and like at any mountain ski destination, paid rates can get truly crazy during the winter. We stayed here a few years ago, and the location was perfect. The hotel itself wasn’t particularly fancy — I mean, it’s a Sheraton. However, they are now undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation, so perhaps in the future, they will have a five-star ski location and a fresh interior facelift to go with it.

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

Renaissance Aruba (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Aruba is a tremendous family-friendly beach destination in general, but the Renaissance Aruba specifically is a special choice because guests have access to a private 40-acre island accessed by boat. Best of all, the resort has adults-only and family-friendly sections so everyone can be happy. Booking a hotel with a private island in Aruba for just a 35,000-point Marriott certificate? Yes, please.

AC Hotel New York Times Square

AC Hotel New York (Photo courtesy of hotel)
AC Hotel New York (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The AC Hotel New York Times Square gets very solid reviews, is close to Broadway shows and can be a good choice for families because rooms with two double beds are available at the standard 35,000-point rate. Not all hotels in NYC have rooms for four people available at the standard award rate, so this is a great option for just a 35k-point certificate.

Some other NYC Marriott properties where you can use your 35k certificates include:

We also have an entire article dedicated to the best Marriott 35k hotels for families in New York.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Marriott Puerto Vallarta (photo courtesy of hotel)
Marriott Puerto Vallarta (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

This Mexican beachfront resort has multiple pools, a variety of restaurants, a spa and even a kids club for those ages 4–12. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta consistently receives above-average reviews, but this year it is also undergoing a renovation to make the inside of the hotel as nice as its oceanfront location.

The nearby Westin Puerto Vallarta is another good option for families looking to use a Marriott 35k certificate. Here are some tips for families who plan a trip to Puerto Vallarta.

SpringHill Suites at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center

SpringHill Suites at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The Springhill Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center gives families plenty of space by offering standard rooms that are true suites plus free breakfast and easy access to Disneyland. This is not the closest Marriott to the entrance of Disneyland, but it looks to be the nicest and newest in this price range. If you want to sleep even closer to Mickey Mouse, you can also use your Marriott 35k certificate to stay at SpringHill Suites Anaheim Maingate. I personally had a great stay with a 35k certificate at the Fairfield Inn by Anaheim Resort just a couple blocks from Disneyland. If none of those meets your needs, here are other points hotels you can book near Disneyland.

Westin Kierland Resort

Westin Kierland Resort
Westin Kierland Resort (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The Westin Kierland is a massive 250-acre resort set in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are the typical Scottsdale amenities such as a golf course and spa, but there is also an Adventure Water Park with a lazy river, Kierland FlowRider surf simulator, a little private island, 110-foot waterslide, zero-entry pool, splash pad, Kid’s Club, daily activities and more. While the Westin Kierland Villas cost 50k Marriott points per night, standard rooms at the Westin Kierland Resort can be yours for the price of a 35k Marriott certificate per night.

Book a Category 6 hotel with a 35k certificate

File this bit under “chasing rainbows and unicorns”, but it is now possible to book a Category 6 Marriott with a 35k point certificate if all the stars align. For example, the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort has some PointSaver dates available this fall. Combine that discount with off-peak dates, and the standard 50k award price drops to 35k. That means you can snag the booking at a higher category hotel using just a 35k point certificate.

If you want some early season skiing, the Grand Residence in Lake Tahoe also has some scattered 35k availability into mid-December, when that property is also normally 50,000 points per night. Marriott PointSaver availability is fluid, but head here to keep an eye on some available options. The key is finding a Category 6 hotel with PointSaver rates on an off-peak night.

If these 35k properties aren’t what you are after and you don’t want to cross your fingers for the chance to use your 35k certificate at a Category 6 property, look into the up to 50k annual award available with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

I’d love to hear where your family plans to use your Marriott 35,000-point annual credit card award nights!

Featured image courtesy of the Sheraton Kauai Resort

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