Q: I am enrolled in the Marriott Rewards program. Why are there so many different categories of Marriott hotels? And what is the difference between those tiers anyway?
A: Marriott Hotels fall in one of nine categories.
I believe they use so many different categories because they have so many different brands of hotels. And in those brands also need to distinguish among resorts, roadside hotels, and everywhere in between.
The hotels in Categories 1 through 5 include hotel properties with both room and suite accommodations. While the ones in Categories 6 through 9 include those properties that are considered resort properties or offer spa or other services.
In addition, some of the hotels in Categories 5-9 can be considered 4-star or luxury hotels.
This does not mean that the hotels in the lower categories are less desirable. All hotels in the Marriott chain must meet the high quality standards for cleanliness and comfort that have been set by Marriott.
When cardholders use credit cards that are issued in cooperation with Marriott, such as the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, they are awarded points for each purchase that is made using the card. When enough points have been accumulated, cardholders can redeem them for one-night stays at Marriott Hotel properties.
For example, 7500 points will earn a one-night stay at a Category 1 property. From there, 10,000 points earn a one-night stay at a Category 2 property. The points needed for stays at properties in higher categories than increase by 5,000 points needed per night.
Note, however, that if you redeem points for four night, the fifth night will be free. Since Marriott Rewards Premier credit card holders also get a free night at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after each account anniversary, it may be possible to arrange a stay of six nights and only need points for four. Not too shabby.