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In the new Marriott loyalty program, there are four primary co-branded credit cards offering an annual free night worth up to 35,000 points at each renewal. This is a brand-new perk to those with the SPG cards, but it is one that can make it (more than) worth it to pay the annual fee each year. For example, if a $95 annual fee allows you to stay at a property selling for $200-$300 per night, then that card goes in the “keep” column for me. The cards offering this 35k Marriott certificate valid at properties selling for up to 35,000 Marriott points per night include:
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
- Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
- Marriott Rewards Business Premier Plus Credit Card
For now, that means you can use these certificates at any Category 1 – 5 Marriott or SPG hotel with standard award availability. However, when peak pricing is introduced in 2019, then the certificates will not be valid during peak Category 5 dates. TPG just did a great post on the 7 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 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 10 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 the annual award certificate.
It is no surprise that oceanfront rates in Hawaii can be $300 – $400 per night during some parts of the year, so any place in Hawaii that takes a 35,000-point Marriott certificate is worth a 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/SPG properties where you can use the 35k certificate include:
- Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport
- Residence Inn Maui Wailea
- Courtyard Waikiki Beach
- Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay
- Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach 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.
The Castle Hotel is on International Drive in Orlando, so that puts it within a reasonable distance to Universal Studios and Disney World. The unique and colorful design (and name) of this property may help convince your kids that they are staying in a castle of their very own! If the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are now out of your award price range at 50k Marriott points per night, this could be a good option as long as you are okay staying off theme park property.
The Westin Snowmass is a steal on a peak winter date 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. 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.
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 is a Sheraton. However, they are now undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, so perhaps in the future, they will have a five-star ski location and a fresh interior facelift to go with it.
Aruba is a tremendous family-friendly beach destination in general, but the Renaissance Aruba specifically is a special choice because guests have access to 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.
One of the very positive outcomes of the Marriott and SPG merger is that many hotels in NYC became more affordable on points. 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:
- SpringHill Suites New York Midtown Manhattan/Fifth Avenue
- Element New York Times Square West
- Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel
This Mexican beach-front 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 the oceanfront location.
The Springhill Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center gives families plenty of space by offering standard rooms that are true suites and offers 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. 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 (just 25,000 points per night.)
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 board-sport simulator, a little private island, 110-foot water slide, 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.
If you these 35k properties don’t meet your family’s needs, keep in mind that the brand-new Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card offers a public offer of 75,000 points after $3,000 in spending in the first three months. That card provides an annual award night at each renewal that you can use at Marriott/SPG properties costing up to 50k points per night, but it also has a much higher annual fee at $450.
I’d love to hear where your family plans to use your Marriott 35,000 point annual credit card awards!
Featured image courtesy of the Sheraton Kauai Resort