Lobby area of the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha

5 Great Options for the Marriott Credit Card Category 5 Certificate Outside the US

One of the perks of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is the annual free night certificate for any category 5 hotel. Unfortunately, the luxury beach resorts and fancy 5 star hotels all over Europe don’t exactly fall in this category. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost as there are still some decent options for redeeming your free night certificate.

For this analysis, and to get the most out of the certificate, we only considered hotels falling under the following brands; Marriott, JW Marriott, Gaylord, The Autograph Collection, and The Renaissance. Additionally, we wanted to ensure a paid night came in over $85 a night since this is the yearly fee associated with the card and generally speaking you will find a night costing much more than this.

Note that these aren’t the only options for redeeming a certificate, but simply some great options to consider when deciding on your next stay.

1. Renaissance Santiago Hotel ~ rates from $150

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Image courtesy of Renaissance Santiago Hotel website

Whether traveling for work or pleasure, the Renaissance Santiago Hotel offers a great redemption option for the category 5 certificate. Pictured above, the hotel features a fantastic concierge lounge with views of the city of Santiago as the backdrop. On the lower level you will find a tranquil pool area with loungers and palm leaves, perfect for a relaxing afternoon. The hotel also offers a full service spa, fitness center, and trendy lobby bar that does its best to combine the culture of Santiago with the flare of the Renaissance brand. With rates starting at $150 a night you can get a nice return on the $85 annual fee. Visit the Renaissance Santiago Hotel website for more details and photos.

2. Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel ~ rates from $168

Sporting two identical looking towers and a location in the capital city of Qatar, the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha offers a great option to redeem a category 5 certificate. Between the two towers this hotel offers plenty of rooms, the majority of which come with excellent views of the surrounding city and Persian Gulf. The hotel is connected with the city center mall and has a chill pool with poolside bar area. With rates starting at $168 this provides great value for the Marriott Credit Card certificate. The hotel is around 12 miles from Hamad International Airport (DOH) so it is the perfect option to combine with a Qatar Airways transit visa and check Doha off your bucket list at a reasonable cost. Visit the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha website for more details and photos.

3. Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit ~ rates from $119

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Image courtesy of Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit website

For another great option, try checking Thailand off your travel bucket list and visit its bustling capital of Bangkok. The city is known for having an abundance of rooftop bars and this particular Marriott doesn’t disappoint with its very own version of the sky bar, called Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar. The hotel also has very modern rooms, an outdoor pool on one of its lower rooftops, and is located near a lot of action on a main metro line. With rates starting around $119 a night it doesn’t offer the best return on this list but it is still a respectable option. Visit the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit website for additional photos.

4. JW Marriott Hotel Beijing ~ rates from $146

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Image courtesy of the JW Marriott Hotel Beijing website

One of the great things about Asia is the number of luxury branded hotels that fall at or below a category 5. Obviously the downside is you have to be traveling here to use them. But if you are, the JW Marriott in Beijing is an excellent way to burn a free night.  The hotel has multiple restaurants, an indoor pool, and an executive lounge. If you have always wanted to check out Beijing and see the Great Wall try going with a friend who also has the card. You can both use a free night and pay for an additional night to give you 4 nights in Beijing at a budget friendly cost of 1 night a piece. Personally, climbing to the top of the Great Wall was by far the coolest thing I did while in Beijing and I highly recommend doing it to anyone who has the opportunity. And there aren’t many better ways to do it than making this 5 star hotel your home base during your time in Beijing. Visit the JW Marriott hotel Beijing website for more details and photos.

5. Rome Marriott Park Hotel ~ rates from $94

romau_phototour39Image courtesy of Rome Marriott Park Hotel Website

The final hotel on this list can have rates that start just above the annual fee on the Marriott Rewards Credit Card. Yes, I realize this isn’t ideal as it would be nice to get more value. But if your travel plans don’t really involve one of the other options for a category 5 and you are taking a trip to Italy this hotel is great for a one night stay transitioning to Rome. The real value here can be had if you are a Gold or Platinum member. The hotel offers an excellent buffet breakfast in the lobby that normally costs around 25 EUR. So for two people that can really increase the value of the stay. When I stayed here it was after a late flight into Rome and I didn’t want to spend the money on an expensive hotel in the city center when all I was going to do was go to sleep upon arrival. They also have an airport shuttle service that can be booked for 5 EUR. This made it perfect, easy arrival, straight to bed, and then an excellent breakfast before starting the day and moving to our hotel in the city center. It would also work well if you are arriving on an early morning flight in the summer time as you can fight off your jet lag at the hotel pool with a cocktail in hand. This is a great option to start or end a trip with and the hotel does offer a bus that drops off and picks up guests at various spots throughout Rome. Visit the Rome Marriott Park Hotel website for more.

Final Thoughts

While it would be nice if they upped the perk to a category 6, or allowed it for use as points credit, the Marriott Premier Credit Card certificate can still offer plenty of value if used properly. I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest credit card out there, but if you travel and like to frequent Marriott branded hotels then having this card in your wallet can more than pay for itself every year with this single perk. Personally I feel like there are some nicer options available when redeeming outside the US, but this all varies by individual travel plans. Also consider combining your free night with a friend or significant other who has the card to maximize the perk over an entire weekend once a year. What is your favorite category 5 Marriott branded hotel to redeem your free night for?

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