This piece is an overview comparing Marriott Rewards to Hilton HHonors in the number of hotels in the USA at Category 1 and 2 low level reward nights for 10,000 or fewer points. Both programs have their advantages. Here are the numbers with my thoughts and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hilton HHonors has several advantages over Marriott Rewards.
- Nearly all paid hotel nights for Hilton HHonors members can earn at least 15 points/$1 as a Points & Points earner. Or earn 10 points /$1 and airline miles with every stay.
- Lowest hotel category reward night is only 5,000 points for Hilton HHonors Category-1 hotels.
- Points & Money Rewards reduce the cost of hotel nights by 60% fewer points for a small cash portion like $35 for a category-2 hotel. This is a change in Hilton HHonors over the past couple of years. Marriott Rewards does not offer this type of cash and points option found with Starwood and Club Carlson.
- HHonors Gold elite is easy to earn by credit card for benefits like 25% elite bonus points and more opportunities for complimentary free breakfast. HHonors counts reward nights and stays for elite credit which is a big advantage for the guest on the margins of elite status.
Yet, this post will show why I think Marriott Rewards offers better value for members, especially those traveling around the USA.
Here are the related terms for Marriott Rewards members.
- Marriott Residence Inn and Townplace Suites brands earn only 5 points/$1. These two Marriott Rewards brands comprise about 800 hotels around the USA; about 25% of all USA properties. All other Marriott Rewards brands earn 10 points/$1.
- Lowest hotel category reward night is 7,500 points per night for Marriott Rewards Category-1 hotels. Category-2 hotels are 10,000 points per night with both Marriott Rewards and Hilton HHonors. Marriott Rewards has vastly more hotels in the low category rewards with 801 hotels for Marriott in category 1 and 2 compared to 106 hotels for HHonors.
- Marriott Rewards allows upgrades for points or cash at some properties whether staying on a points rate or paid rate.
- Marriott Rewards category-3 hotels are 15,000 points per night compared to Hilton HHonors category-3 hotel reward at 20,000 points.
- Marriott Rewards members do not earn elite qualifying nights credit for reward nights.
- Marriott Rewards members with frequent stays in Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites are earning points at one-third the rate of Hilton HHonors members. That is a significant factor for some Marriott Rewards members that can favor looking to Hilton HHonors for better earning potential.
Marriott Rewards: Number of Hotels by Category in USA
- Category 1 (189) Hilton HHonors = 5 hotels in USA in category 1.
- Category 2 (612) Hilton HHonors = 101 hotels in USA in category 2.
- Category 3 (887)
- Category 4 (711)
- Category 5 (450) 2,849 hotels in the USA at category 5 or lower.
- Category 6 (246)
- Category 7 (75)
- Category 8 (38)
- Category 9 (5)
- 3,213 Marriott brand hotels in USA.
The following table compares Marriott Rewards and Hilton HHonors in terms of the number of hotels in category 1 and category 2 across the USA.
Hilton may allow members to earn points more quickly, but at the Standard Reward level, the balance is strongly in favor of Marriott Rewards at the lowest two category levels for hotel reward nights using points for free hotel nights.
Your chances of finding one of the 189 Marriott Rewards category 1 hotels in the USA are far higher than running into a Hilton HHonors category 1 hotel. Sure that HHonors category 1 is a steal at only 5,000 points, but there are only five locations in the USA.
At the Category 2 reward level both programs charge 10,000 points for a reward night and offer 5th night free. Hilton HHonors members can argue they get 15 points per dollar and earn free nights for 10,000 points with less hotel spend than on average for a Marriott Rewards member to earn 10,000 points.
Although, Marriott Rewards members have fairly strong confidence that with over 800 hotels in category 1 and 2 across the USA they can actually find a hotel reward at 10,000 points in a place near where they are traveling.
Marriott Rewards has 801 hotels compared to 106 hotels for Hilton HHonors members across the USA in category 1 and 2 rewards. That gives the Marriott Rewards member a far higher probability of being able to redeem for a low category hotel reward stay.
The international portfolio of hotels in category 1 and 2 is another aspect of Marriott Rewards and Hilton HHonors to consider. And that will be a follow-up post.
Related Loyalty Traveler posts:
- Hilton HHonors Category 2 Hotels International list of 33 hotels (Oct 21, 2013)
- Hilton HHonors Category-2 hotels in Europe (Oct 20, 2013).
- Hilton HHonors 101 Category-2 hotels in USA (Oct 19, 2013)
- Hilton HHonors 35 Category-1 hotels (Oct 18, 2013)
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out my page of collated current hotel promotions.