Having traveled 170+ days/yr every year for the past several years with the exception of 2020, I’ve frequently utilized rewards programs from major hotel chains that offer US and International stays such as Marriott, taking advantage of their Marriot Bonvoy membership program to earn travel perks and free hotel stays at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts.
But, I realize that the world of travel perks and rewards can often be intimidating and daunting when faced with learning it on your own. There’s so much information out there. The truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know… Don’t worry, your girl Geeves is here to help.
Luckily, I had my then boyfriend to teach me a thing or two about hotel loyalty programs. At first I’ll admit, it was a bit annoying to constantly hear about. Guess I can’t complain now! I’m just as bad sharing what I know with anyone who will listen… friends, family, shoot.. I’d tell my friend’s dog if could understand me. 😉
Alright, let’s not waste anymore time. You have a lot of traveling and perk collecting ahead of you.
If you missed the other blogs in this Marriott series, I’ve shared…
Part 1: Marriott Bonvoy Membership: Your Ultimate Guide to Marriott Hotels and Resorts
The perks of signing up for a free Marriott Bonvoy membership
Part 2: How to Leverage Marriott Points and Miles with Marriott Partners
How to earn points toward future free stays and leverage travel rewards with the cruises, airlines, restaurants Marriott has reciprocal agreements with
Part 3: Marriott Hotel Reviews: Some Island Favorites and a Little Cajun In-Between
Some of my recent favorite Marriott hotel experiences and some tips I’ve learned from staying in hotels and traveling 170+ days/yr. the last several years
And now… get ready for Part 4!
Who wouldn’t want to earn something extra for their stay?
*** This blog is not sponsored, although it should be 😉 ***
Marriott Bonvoy Membership
With a Marriott Bonvoy membership, each night translates into points. The more hotel stays you rack up, the more you build your status which translates into even more points which translates into more free stays and nice perks that can take a trip from “good” to “amazing”!
Turns out, being loyal has its benefits.
Looking back, whenever I’ve recalled a really amazing trip, a lot of it had to do with the hotel.
But, sometimes, having a Marriott membership doesn’t do all that much if you’ve chosen a hotel that doesn’t honor your favorite perks (as I’ve experienced).
In this blog series, I’m going to give Marriott the full Real Girl Review and share some of my favorite things about the hotel chain. Including a few of the most recent trips I’ve taken, hotels I’ve stayed at, and the great membership perks I’ve gotten to enjoy at each Marriott property.
Remember though, this is Real Girl Review, we keep it real. So, you’re going to get it all… the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I’ll list my favorite hotel stays as well as my not-so-favorite hotel stays, separating them by whether they were a “Boom” or a “Bust”.
Just a heads up, this isn’t only a post about Marriott’s Bonvoy Membership program.
While there are many perks to having a Marriott Bonvoy membership and I’ll include the link so you can sign up if you wish, I’m not going to try to persuade you or tell you all the reasons why you should.
I’m mostly sharing some of my most memorable Marriott hotels and resort experiences with you and what I enjoyed on each trip.
And so that you don’t make the same boo-boo’s that I made, I might also sneak in a few tips I’ve learned along the way that might help you if you decide to book a Marriott stay. 😉
[This post was originally posted February of 2021. Updated November of 2022]
How My Love Affair with Marriott began
When I first started my travel adventures, I didn’t know much about memberships or rewards but figured, what the hey, may as well sign up, I’m traveling anyway.
Over the years, I’ve stayed at over 100 different properties and can honestly say that I’m going to be a member for life.
As amazing as it is to go on a trip and explore, sometimes having so many options can make the planning stages overstimulating though.
Become a member, it’s free!
I’m a Marriott Bonvoy member and love it! You can check out all the benefits here and sign up here to start earning points with your next stay.
In full disclosure, I’m currently at Titanium level. However, during my travels, my partner was an Ambassador level so a lot of the perks we received were because he traveled about 100 days more a year than I do and he is strictly Marriott. Whereas I also utilize 2 other hotel rewards programs which I’ll write about in another blog.
How to Find the Best Hotels and Resorts with Marriott Rewards?
How Do You Find “The One”?
So, you’re about to go on a trip, yayyy!
There’s so much planning involved… booo!
I don’t know about you, but for me, planning every detail of a trip from the destination and activities to the flight and hotel can be so overwhelming that it kills the hype a bit.
Trying to find the right hotel is like trying to find the right man or woman….
If it’s more than a one-night thing, it should be stylish, fun, and full of character yet, feel comfortable, convenient, reliable, and available whenever you need them.
You want to be relaxed but taken care of. Who doesn’t want to be?
Yet, the reality is, trying to figure out which hotel is the right fit for you can easily take hours of research and be the most headache-inducing experience of all time, even if you know the hotel chain you’re staying with.
It can drive even the calmest, enthusiastic, and organized person up the wall.
It All Starts with the Hotel
A hotel is so important that it has the ability to make or break a vacation.
If you make the wrong choice, that’s what you end up with for the whole trip. And maybe you won’t have another trip for a very long time.
Talk about pressure! Who would’ve thought going on vacation would create so much freaking stress, am I right?!
Or maybe you’re just super chill and have your #@$% together. Good for you babe.
No matter which traveler you are, don’t worry, Geeves has got you covered. 😉
Later in this blog series, I’ll share my favorite and not-so-favorite Marriott hotel experiences and trips.
A Hotel and Resort for Every Travel Style and Budget
The amazing thing about Marriott is that their properties aren’t one size fits all. Sometimes you travel with family and want something more relaxed, kid-friendly, and comfortable.
Other times, you’re on a romantic getaway and want something a bit more refined and luxurious.
Marriott currently has over 7,000 properties across 30 hotel brands worldwide which are categorized by several different levels. I like to think of them as hotel personalities!
There are hotels and resorts for pretty much every style and budget which is perfect for the modern traveler:
Bespoke and superb amenities and services. Discover popular luxury hotels in destinations around the globe that offer unparalleled service and amenities
Sophisticated and thoughtful amenities and services
Smart and easy amenities and services
Amenities and services that mirror the comforts of home
Uniquely designed, each offering distinctive to luxurious experiences
Real Girl Review Explains: What Do the Categories Mean Next to Each Hotel in This Blog?
How can you tell which hotel you have enough points for? Or, how to filter upscale hotels from budget-friendly ones?
Marriott has 8 categories in total.
Each category indicates the hotel’s brand, location, pricing (including off-peak, standard, and peak), as well as how many points are needed for free nights. (During peak season, more points are needed obvi)
Later, when I share my hotel experiences, you’ll see I’ve put a category next to each hotel. That way, you know what type of hotel it is.
*** Note: Marriott has recently changed the Category value for a lot of hotels, some of which are in this blog. I put the new Category in “( )”.
What are Marriott’s Hotel Categories?
Categories 1-4: These Marriott hotels are more budget-friendly and known for “comfort”.
Categories 5-8: These Marriott hotels are more “luxurious” stays and offer even more amenities.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the category, the higher the quality but also, the higher the hotel price and resort fees too.
Whether you want to use points for a free stay or use cash + points, you can find more redemption info by viewing the Marriott hotel category and redemption chart here.
Marriott hotel categories and point redemption are further explained here.
Stay tuned for my next blog coming up here I share the skinny on my recent stays……….. TRUST ME you won’t want to miss this.
Are you part of the Marriott Bonvoy membership? Do you have a favorite hotel rewards program?
I love hearing from my readers! If you enjoyed my post, leave a comment below!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
20 Helpful Tips for Traveling with a Chronic Illness
How to Leverage Marriott Points and Miles with Marriott Partners
Marriott Hotel Reviews: Some Island Favorites and a Little Cajun In-Between
Best and Worst Marriott Hotels I’ve Stayed In, Boom or Bust
Real Girl Review strongly values truth and strives for accuracy. If you read something that doesn’t sound right, feel free to contact me and I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary. Posts are updated regularly.
Always keep it real…
Hi Carpediemeire! That’s the thing isn’t it.. you have to travel enough to reap the benefits. Ah well, chain hotels are not always what they’re cracked up to be. There are some great boutique hotels and Airbnbs as well! I’ll be writing more blogs in the future for folks like yourself about boutique hotels & Inns. Stay tuned!
Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂
Looks like some great perks. I never stay in chains, and I definitely don’t travel enough like you, so sadly I’ve never reaped benefits like this.