Best Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 Hotels in the World [2021]

With 279 Marriott Bonvoy category 1 hotels, you may wonder what properties are actually worth booking. Well, I went through all 279 and found the category 1 hotels that are worth it and narrowed down a few that stand out more than others.

In this article, I’ll give you the best Marriott Bonvoy category 1 hotels in the world and explain why some are so great. Some properties might have a club lounge, rooftop pool, or even be right the middle of a safari, so you might be surprised at how some of these stand out.

Table of Contents

Marriott Bonvoy points categories

On March 5th, 2019 Marriott Bonvoy officially changed to their new award chart ranging from category 1 to category 8. Category 5 is a sweet spot in Bonvoy’s award chart as it can range from business hotels to luxury hotels across the globe. You can easily find an EDITION, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W, and JW Marriott property in category 5. If you want to learn about the best category 5 hotels, check out my article here.

When it comes to category 1 properties, you will find that there isn’t much of a selection for premium brands. Despite being category 1, some offer rooms and service with property amenities that compete quite well with a premium or luxury branded property. Heck, some even have a club lounge.

Here is the Bonvoy award chart for your reference:

Hotel CategoryOff Peak (as of September 14)StandardPeak (as of September 14)
15,0007,50010,000
210,00012,50015,000
315,00017,50020,000
420,00025,00030,000
530,00035,00040,000
640,00050,00060,000
750,00060,00070,000
870,00085,000100,000

As you can see from the table above, off peak and peak seasons started on September 14, 2019. Depending on how you look at it, this could be a good or bad change as it creates inconsistency. So, it’s up to you if you can take advantage of this change.

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Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

There are a total of four Marriott Bonvoy cards. Each card comes with different benefits and annual fees. There are two midrange cards, one premium card, and one entry-level card. These cards aren’t the best for earning points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but in most cases, the benefits like the annual free night make up for the annual fee. Here are my favorite Marriott Bonvoy cards.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

  • 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at any Marriott Bonvoy property.
  • 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Annual free night certificate valued up to 35,000 points.
  • Automatic Silver Elite status.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card

  • 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at any Marriott Bonvoy property.
  • 4 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers & on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Annual free night certificate valued up to 35,000 points.
    • Spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year for an additional annual free night.
  • Automatic Silver Elite status.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $125 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

  • 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at any Marriott Bonvoy property.
  • 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Annual free night certificate valued up to 50,000 points.
  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit.
  • Automatic Gold Elite status.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $450 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy category 1 hotels can be quality

I have this weird fixation for properties that are cheap and great. Some of these hotels are comparable to premium branded hotels, especially when they are newly opened properties. I have actually stayed at some category 1 properties that have service quality going far beyond what might expect from a category 1 property.

Some of these properties will offer rooftop pools or views overlooking safaris and oceans. You might question “why it’s not a higher category hotel?” Well, we should thank our Marriott overlords for keeping these properties category 1.

If Marriott changes the category on these hotels, well I guess we should blame me for writing this article. 🙂

Some things you should know:

  • Courtyards in Asia will typically have a club lounge. Courtyards in Europe or the Americas won’t have a club lounge.
  • Fairfield isn’t obligated to give out free breakfast in the Asia Pacific region unless it’s included in the room rate or you have elite status.
  • You may notice brand standards vary quite a bit between regions. That is normal for any hotel chain brand and why I left out many properties in the Americas as they aren’t as good as compared to other region’s properties.

Best category 1 Marriott Bonvoy hotels

The properties that are bolded are properties that are unique, truly special, or have rooms that make you go wow.

When it’s bolded, the property could be offering a club lounge or other amenities. Maybe something more unique like villa type rooms in a nature reserve great for safaris or with rooms that are truly category breaking.

I looked at every one of these properties. I then double-checked my list making sure it includes hotels that are worthy of the Marriott Bonvoy name. Think of this list as a curated list of good to great category 1 properties. So, without further ado, here is UponArriving’s curated list of category 1 Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

ASIA

Courtyard Wuxi Lihu Lake

Four Points by Sheraton Jiaxing

Four Points by Sheraton Macheng

Four Points by Sheraton Wuchuan, Loong Bay

Aloft Chengdu Shixiang Lake

Courtyard Suzhou Mudu

Aloft Dongguan Dynamic Town

Aloft Bursa Hotel

Four Points by Sheraton Chengdu, Pujiang Resort

Sheraton Yinchuan

The Sheraton Yinchuan is a brand new property located in Yinchuan, Ningxia, China. As a Sheraton, it offers a club lounge for evening cocktails and buffet. You also have premium looking rooms that actually have a chandelier in them, something you might not see in a normal category 1 property.

One minor downside you might have noticed is the location. It’s not in any major city you might know, but it’s certainly a unique city to visit with tourist attractions nearby like Western Xia Mausoleums and Shuidonggou Site. You can easily go around riding camels in the desert while spending a little number of points on the rooms here that go for $70 a night.

Sheraton Yinchuan base room: King/King bedroom

Four Points by Sheraton Izmir

Aloft Zhengzhou Shangjie

Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam

Aloft Dongguan Songshan Lake

Four Points by Sheraton Chengdu, Anren

Element Suzhou Science and Technology Town

Four Points by Sheraton Guilin, Lingui

Four Points by Sheraton Chennai OMR

Four Points by Sheraton Surabaya

Courtyard Xinchang

Yet another category 1 property that has a club lounge, but this time it’s offered at a Courtyard. The Courtyard Xinchang is located in Xinchang, Zhejiang, China. The property is nearby some interesting attractions that might like bamboo forests, temples, and mountains.

The property goes for $70 a night. Having a club lounge, the property boasts a premium feel that goes beyond the standard of other Courtyard properties. Plus, Platinum Elites and above can certainly enjoy suite upgrades with club lounge access.

Courtyard Xinchang deluxe king room

Courtyard Jiangsu Taizhou

Courtyard Zhengzhou East

Wait, another club lounge at a Courtyard? I wonder when a Courtyard in the USA will get a club lounge? Anyways, the Courtyard Zhengzhou East is in another city in China, but it’s nearby lots of interesting temples, museums, and mountains. Henan province is a beautiful province and offers lots for nature lovers.

The property starts off at $68 a night. The rooms are modern with many room categories that offer elites many upgrade opportunities. Plus, the club lounge has afternoon tea along with breakfast and evening cocktails and buffet making it a club lounge that rivals many premium brands club lounges.

Courtyard Zhengzhou East deluxe king room

Courtyard Xi’an North

Xi’an is one of my favorite Chinese cities for food. While Courtyard Xi’an North is not in the center, it’s still close to public transportation like the bus and metro. If you don’t know Xi’an already, it’s the home of the terracotta warriors, temples, and many eats that will make your mouth water.

The rooms are modern and start at $67 a night. Many room categories for upgrades and don’t forget the club lounge.

Courtyard Xi’an North deluxe king room

Courtyard Shunde Longjiang

Four Points by Sheraton Luohe

Four Points by Sheraton Changchun, Hi-Tech Zone

Four Points by Sheraton Changsha, Meixi Lake

Four Points by Sheraton Manado

Four Points by Sheraton Puchong

Sheraton Shanghai Fengxian

A brand new Sheraton property in the south suburbs of Shanghai offering a club lounge and famous Sheraton amenities. The property doesn’t have many things to do around and public transport is somewhat limited.

Rooms start at $77 a night. As an elite and an avid new hotelier, I would love to stay at this property. If you ever get a chance to stay in a new hotel, you will understand why it’s so exciting. Even though the location is not great, I would still stay here.

Sheraton Shanghai Fengxian king deluxe guest room

Courtyard Changsha South

Changsha is a lovely city with many things to see all around the mountainous region. The Courtyard Changsha South isn’t central, but being a category 1 property in a major city like Changsha is really something. The property boasts a club lounge with modern rooms and beautiful views. Rooms start at $70 a night.

Courtyard Changsha South standard room

Courtyard Zhengzhou Airport

Courtyard Madurai

Fairfield by Marriott Belitung

Africa

Protea Hotel Lusaka Safari Lodge

Not many points hotels are in private game reserve for safaris, but Marriott has you covered. With regular guest rooms in the main building and villas, you have the options for different rooms that make you question how this property is still a category 1.

Once you walk outside of the property you may encounter some wildlife chilling, playing, or fighting. It’s a unique property and with rooms starting at $118 a night, you will get a good value out of your points and a unique location.

Protea Hotel Lusaka Safari Lodge king chalet

Protea Hotel Pretoria Loftus Park

United States

Aloft Tulsa

Middle East

Courtyard Istanbul West

Four Points by Sheraton Izmir

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South America

Four Points by Sheraton Cuenca

Four Points by Sheraton Cali

Aloft Panama

Mexico

Courtyard Chihuahua

Four Points by Sheraton Veracruz

Four Points by Sheraton Queretaro Norte

Courtyard Queretaro

Aloft Queretaro

Brand new and ready for guests, the Aloft Queretaro is a great new property that still has the grand opening rates up. The property is so new that it doesn’t even have a TripAdvisor page yet.

Rooms normally start at $77 a night, but the grand opening rate is $71 a night. While not a great property to use your points at, but when the prices go up it could be an even better redemption than today.

Aloft Queretaro guest room

Courtyard Hermosillo

Courtyard Leon at the Poliforum

AC Hotel Veracruz

Courtyard Villahermosa Tabasco

Four Points by Sheraton Puebla

Aloft Celaya

Four Points by Sheraton Veracruz

Europe

Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin

Courtyard Nizhny Novgorod City Center

AC Hotel Algeciras

The AC Hotel Algeciras is located in the most southernmost part of Spain making it a lovely hotel for a stopover between Morocco and Spain before or after catching the ferry. Rooms are alright, but when it comes to location it’s actually great as the city is lovely. Room rates start at $53 a night.

AC Hotel Algeciras guest room

Aloft Bursa Hotel

Four Points by Sheraton Kaluga

AC Hotel Palacio de Santa Ana

AC Hotel A Coruna

Canada

TownePlace Suites Fort McMurray

TownePlace Suites Medicine Hat

Final word

This list took me a while. I never realized how many category 1 hotels there are in the Marriott portfolio. However, I am glad I made this list as I will be personally using it to stretch out my points.

If you have any other suggestions, drop them in the comments below.

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

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6 comments

  1. Great compilation. It’s nice to see your highlighted places with more detail. The Four points Kolasin resonates with me. Thanks!

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