Best Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 Luxury Hotels (35,000 Free Night) [2021]

With over 1,170 category 5 properties in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, you can easily find a property that is considered a sweet spot, and category 5 properties are currently the best category you can use your midrange Bonvoy credit card annual free night, which covers nights up to 35,000 points.

In this article, I will go over my top hotels that are category 5 and explain why they are unique, even if the property is on the other side of the world. I’ll also show you a long list of other luxury properties that you might want to consider using you free night at.

Table of Contents

Marriott Bonvoy category 5 pricing

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. 

The other great thing about category 5 properties is the fact that credit cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card both offer an annual free night for up to 35,000 points. Then the premium credit card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, offers an annual free night for up to 50,000 points.

35,000 points equal to the standard points needed for category 5 when it’s not off peak or peak season. Here is the Bonvoy award chart:

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

How Marriott’s credit card annual free night works

There are three Marriott Bonvoy credit cards that are open to applicants. However, there are other Marriott credit cards that aren’t open to applicants, but people are still able to hold the credit card like the old SPG personal credit card (now known as the Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express) that is also eligible for the annual free night up to 35,000 points.

In this article, we will focus on their Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card that are still open to applicants.

The annual free night will only arrive once you have had the card for 1 year and then it will come at the same time every year after your first anniversary.

For example, if your application got accepted for one of the credit cards above on March 7th, 2019, you will be able to get the annual free night on March 7th, 2020 and every year after that. (Do note, sometimes the annual free night might take up to 8 weeks to show up in your Marriott account.)

The annual free night is redeemable for any properties that equal 35,000 points or less. In the screenshot below, you could use the annual free night at the properties shown, even though some are less than 35,000 points.

Here are just a few properties in Jakarta that you could use the annual free night certificate at.

Note: if you redeem the annual free night for a property that is less than 35,000 points, you won’t receive the points difference in your account.

For properties that require more than 35,000 points, you cannot use the annual free night at those properties. Think of the annual free night as a certificate or a voucher. It’s useable up to a value, but you cannot combine it with points or cash to redeem for a more valuable property.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

There are a total of three Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Each card comes with different benefits and different annual fees. There are two midrange cards and one premium card. These cards aren’t the best for earning points like other cards, but in most cases, the annual free night makes up for the annual fee.

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.

Other cards you might want to consider are the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the American Express Platinum. Currently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has an elevated welcome offer for 60,000 Chase Ultimate points after spending $4,000 dollars in the first 3 months. You can also transfer any points earned with Chase Ultimate Rewards directly to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.

Best Marriott Bonvoy category 5 hotels

The best category 5 hotels might be a little subjective since each individual will have different wants and needs for hotels along with what they value for the best.

For me, I like unique or boutique hotels. Fewer rooms at a property are better in my eyes. For the most part, I don’t care if it’s centrally located, as long as it is worthwhile to stay a little bit out of the center of a city or even in the middle of nowhere. I do enjoy destination properties where the property is the main attraction. That said, I do love city hotels.

Now that you know what I value and look for in hotels, here is the list of my top 7 Marriott hotels that are a Bonvoy category 5.

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

Location: Kien Giang, Vietnam
Average price: $276 USD
Opening: 2017
Number of rooms: 234
Hotel website

Turquois Suite bathroom at JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

By far the most aspirational property on this list has to be the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa. Once a university, this newly opened hotel is one of the most beautiful properties. Sitting on Phu Quoc beach in Vietnam, it has both beautiful beaches and renovated rooms along with buildings that date back to the opening of the 19th-century university.

The beach at JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

Elite recognition is consistent with Platinum Elites and above getting upgrades to suites like the Turquois Suite shown above. Villas are also available here, and some elites do get upgrades to villas sometimes.

Deluxe Emerald Bay View room at JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu

Location: Moraitika, Greece
Average price: $548 USD
Opening: 2018
Number of rooms: 113
Hotel website

HRH Pearl Bedroom at Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu

This adults-only seasonal beach resort on Corfu island was initially built in the late 1960s and was running independently until a massive multimillion euro renovation from 2017 to 2018. Now under the management of Luxury Collection, you are able to use your annual free night certificates and points at this property while earning points, elite nights, and receiving elite benefits.

Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu

The property has rooms, suites, and villas. As an elite, you can be upgraded to a suite, but maybe if the occupancy is down during that time, you might have a chance for a villa. Since this property is seasonal and will be closed for half a year, it’s only open from mid April to mid October, and some nights they are entirely sold out. While I still could find availability for using points, during August, it’s somewhat harder to find availability.

I never knew about this property until recently. So, this year I might end up staying here when I go to Europe in September and October. I especially want to eat at this property too since Michelin-starred chef Tassos Mantis created the menu for both of the restaurants at the property.

Pavilion Retreat Sea View Deck at Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu

W Kuala Lumpur

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Average price: $229 USD
Opening: 2018
Number of rooms: 150
Hotel website

Marvelous Suite Bedroom at W Kuala Lumpur

Located within walking distance to the Petronas Twin Towers (aka, KL Twin Towers) this newly constructed W property is in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Just like other W properties, the design is unique with gleaming surfaces. What makes this property stand out is the fact that it’s so new.

The front desk at W Kuala Lumpur

Elites are welcomed with upgrades to suites. The pool offers views of the Petronas Twin Towers, and the Wet Deck is a comfy place to reside with a drink while eating tapas. During my visit to Kuala Lumpur, I stayed at this property and had a wonderful stay. You can read my full review here.

Wet Deck at W Kuala Lumpur

The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio

Location: San Antonio, Texas
Average price: $311 USD
Opening: 1909
Renovated: 2015
Number of rooms: 277
Hotel website

King guestroom at The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio

In the heart of San Antonio near attractions like the river walk and the Alamo, plus 5 restaurants, you can stuff your face during your stay and keep busy with all that is around. The property restaurants are busy during the week and weekend making it a spot for both tourists and locals to eat at.

Lobby/main floor at The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio

Elites are welcomed to suites like the junior suite. The rooftop pool offers views of San Antonio, and the cabanas offer a place to relax outside on a sunny day.

I stayed at the property back in 2017 and would stay again if I go back to San Antonio.

Junior Suite living room at The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio

JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

Location: Uttarakhand, India
Average price: $254 USD
Opening: 2014
Number of rooms: 115
Hotel website

Studio king suite at JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

In the Himalayas, this JW property is showing the natural beauty of India. Famous for hiking trails throughout the mountains, this property is a hikers dream. Then after a long day, visit one of the four restaurants, and you will never go hungry. The resort features a full spa, fitness center, and a sparkling pool.

JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

Elites are welcomed with two suite types that the hotel will upgrade them to, the Studio King will be more common of an upgrade. Kids are able to enjoy the bowling area and play area with a merry-go-round. Something truly unique for a category 5 property.

The Den bowling area at JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Average price: $284 USD
Opening: 2007
Number of rooms: 337
Hotel website

King Guest Room with a view at JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids

In the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan the JW Marriott is still one of the nicest properties in North America with a very reasonable price and award category. Located right on the river next to Grand Valley downtown campus and clubs nearby, the property is always busy in the lobby with both guests and locals hanging around.

jdek Bar at JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids

Elites will be happy since the property does have an executive lounge. Platinum and above can access the lounge for free with one guest or anyone that has a concierge level room.

When I have stayed at this property the few times before, I enjoyed the executive lounge, and they didn’t care about the number of people I brought in. For a US property, this lounge is nice, but I still prefer international lounges in Asia.

Club Lounge at JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids

The Sanya EDITION

Location: Sanya, China
Average price: $158 USD
Opening: 2016
Number of rooms: 512
Hotel website

Ocean View Suite at The Sanya EDITION

Many people might not know, but EDITION was Starwood’s brand new modern luxury brand. Since Marriott took over Starwood, I have seen Marriott push EDITION just as much as Starwood and still plans to open 11 new properties in the coming years.

The Sanya EDITION is a beachfront property with three different pools, a play zone for kids, bumper cars, and rock wall. Located on the beach facing the South China Sea, this property is one of EDITION’s flagship properties.

Bumper cars at The Sanya EDITION

Elites aren’t going to get anything special at an EDITION, including Sanya EDITION. While upgrades are given, breakfast isn’t since EDITION is one of Marriott’s brands that doesn’t have to provide breakfast to guests.

Ocean View King Bed Room at The Sanya EDITION

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

List of category 5 hotels

Across the globe, there are 1,173 category 5 hotels. But I think listing off all 1,173 category 5 hotels might be crazy. 

In this list, I will only list off luxury brands. Marriott’s luxury brands are Edition, Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, W Hotels, JW Marriott, and Bulgari. Note, Bulgari doesn’t participate in the Bonvoy program. So, you aren’t able to use points at Bulgari properties.

United States

JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead

JW Marriott Charlotte – New

JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek

JW Marriott Grand Rapids

JW Marriott Houston Downtown

JW Marriott Indianapolis

JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Miami

JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America

Connected right to Mall of America you can shop until you drop.

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa

Events like nightly tequila toast are a thing.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner

The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio

The Whitley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Atlanta Buckhead

W Atlanta – Downtown

W Chicago – City Center

W Chicago – Lakeshore

W Minneapolis – The Foshay

Canada

JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District

Mexico

JW Marriott Monterrey Valle – New

Central America

JW Marriott Panama

The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort, Panama City

W Panama

South America

JW Marriott Hotel Bogota

JW Marriott Hotel Lima

JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro

Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort, Paracas

Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buenos Aires

W Bogota

W Santiago

Africa

The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

The Ritz-Carlton Rabat Dar Es Salam – Opening soon Jan 2022

The Ritz-Carlton, Tamuda Bay – Opening Jan 2030

The St. Regis Almasa Hotel, Cairo – New

The St. Regis Cairo

Asia

The Sanya EDITION

JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok

JW Marriott Hotel Macau

JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity

JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square

JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai Fengxian – New

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus

JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa

Beach resort in Khao Lak, Thailand.

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong

JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu

JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Sanya Haitang Bay Resort & Spa

The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai

The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street

The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place

The Ritz-Carlton, Astana

The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore

The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing

The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou

The Ritz-Carlton, Harbin – Opening soon Dec 2021

The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur

The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen

The Ritz-Carlton, Xi’an

Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow

ITC Gardenia, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bengaluru

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok

The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Yerevan

The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok

The Azure Qiantang, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hangzhou

The Castle Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dalian

The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali

The St. Regis Bangkok

The St. Regis Beijing

The St. Regis Changsha

The St. Regis Chengdu

The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

The St. Regis Lhasa Resort

The St. Regis Mumbai

The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan

The St. Regis Shenzhen

W Guangzhou

W Kuala Lumpur

W Xi’an

Oceana

The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur

The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali

The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart – Opening soon Dec 2021

The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

W Brisbane

W Kuala Lumpur

Europe

Hotel Berlin Central District – New

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus

Penha Longa Resort

A specialty Ritz-Carlton property.

The Ritz-Carlton, Astana

The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul

The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg

Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu

Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw

Hotel National, a Luxury Hotel Collection Hotel, Moscow

The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Yerevan

Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland

Middle East

Burj Rafal Riyadh, A Marriott International Hotel

Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel

A specialty Ritz-Carlton property.

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

The Ritz-Carlton, Doha

Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, Ajman

Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Saraya Aqaba

Al Messila, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Doha

Sheraton Kuwait, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kuwait City

The St. Regis Doha

W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island

W Muscat

Final word

While this list might be a little biased and only geared for luxury properties, this could be a good start to a more extensive list.

So, what category 5 properties would you recommend that are or aren’t on this list?

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 comments

  1. The JW Marriott Phu Quoc isn’t a converted old university. It was specifically built to look like an old French university. It’s a beautiful resort and they did a great job, but I’ve seen comments in reviews from people being disappointed (even though they enjoyed the hotel) that the hotel isn’t actually a converted school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *