Marriott Rewards MegaBonus starts up again today. This recurring promotion offers one of the best promotional values for a hotel traveler.
Stay two times and earn one free night certificate for a category 1-4 hotel. You can earn this bonus twice during the promotion.
Before you register, try calling Marriott Rewards and see if they will bump your offer up to Category 1-5 hotel certificates. I made the call after I registered for the category 1-4 offer and my account was noted to be changed to category 1-5 certificates by calling Marriott Rewards again in early May after the promotion ends. The customer service agent told me she could have switched the offer to category 5 certificates prior to my MegaBonus registration, but now I have to wait until after the promotion ends to get upgraded certificates.
In 2013 Marriott reassigned over 50% of the hotels in category 4 to category 5. This change moved hundreds of hotels to category 5 and greatly reduced the opportunities available with a category 4 reward night.
Still, there are good finds in category 4. My stay in January 2013 at The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan was a great value category 4 hotel where I burned two category 1-4 free night certificates from the winter/spring 2013 MegaBonus.
There are 70 full-service Marriott hotels in the USA in category 4, Renaissance has 13 hotels and there are nearly 650 hotels in category 4 in other Marriott brands around the USA.
Marriott Rewards category-4 has 786 hotels around the world that can be searched with this link.
Marriott Category 5 hotels has 554 hotels around the world. At this level, the number of Marriott and Renaissance hotels increases significantly with 95 full-service Marriott hotels and 25 Renaissance hotels. There is even JW Marriott Houston in category 5 rewards.
In Europe, the number of hotels rises from 13 hotels in category 4, mostly Courtyard brand to 60 hotels in category 5 with 36 Marriott hotels, 13 Renaissance and one Autograph Collection property with AC Palacio De Santa Paula in Granada, Spain.
My stays with Marriott are motivated by MegaBonus reward certificates. I find these reward certificates are worth about the same as it costs me to earn the free nights on single night low-cost Marriott brand hotel stays.
Marriott MegaBonus is one of the highest value offers currently among the hotel loyalty promotions for stays over the next three months. The only easier to earn deals are Club Carlson 38,000 points if you plan a 3-night stay by April 13 or Hyatt Gold Passport free category 1-4 hotel night if you have a 5-night stay. Marriott MegaBonus free night certificate can be earned with two one-night stays.
I will certainly look to complete four stays by April 30, 2014 and add to my collection of category 5 reward night certificates. These certificates have an expiration date one year from date of issue.
Marriott MegaBonus Registration required by March 31, 2014.
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.