Marriott beats Hilton for category 1 and 2 hotels in USA

Marriott Rewards beats Hilton HHonors for the number of category 1 and category 2 hotels available in the USA. Marriott Rewards has 816 hotels in Category 1 and 2 awards. Hilton HHonors has only 101 hotels in the USA at the Category 1 and Category 2 award levels.

A common miles and points analysis seen in blogs is comparing the amount of spend correlated to the award night cost.

Category 1 Hotel Award Night Comparison for Hilton and Marriott

Hilton HHonors Category 1 hotel award night = 5,000 points.

Marriott Rewards Category 1 hotel award night = 7,500 points.

The analysis is HHonors members earning Points & Points earn 15 points per dollar. This means a basic HHonors member can earn 5,000 points with $334 in hotel spend. That is used as a measure to claim Hilton HHonors has the fastest earning hotel program for free nights.

Marriott Rewards members earn 10 points per dollar or even less at 25% of the hotels in the USA in Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites brands earning only 5 points per dollar. This means it can take $750 to $1,500 in spend to earn 7,500 points for a free category 1 hotel night.

Hilton HHonors wins the fastest earning award night since $334 is a lot less hotel spend to earn points for a category 1 hotel night.

Category 2 Hotel Award Comparison

Hilton HHonors Category 2 hotel award night = 10,000 points.

Marriott Rewards Category 1 hotel award night = 10,000 points.

HHonors base member needs only $667 to earn 10,000 points compared to $1,000 to $2,000 for a Marriott Rewards members.

Hilton HHonors members obviously need less hotel spend to earn 10,000 points for a category 2 award night.

Is Hilton HHonors a better loyalty program than Marriott Rewards for low category award nights in the USA?

The main factor missing from this simple analysis is the availability of Category 1 and Category 2 hotels in Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards. The table below shows that Marriott Rewards has far more hotels available for low category hotel award nights than Hilton.

  • Hilton HHonors Category 1 Hotels in the USA = 5.
  • Marriott Rewards Category 1 Hotels in the USA = 162.
  • Hilton HHonors Category 2 Hotels in the USA = 96.
  • Marriott Rewards Category 1 Hotels in the USA = 654.
Marriott v HH cat-1-2 hotels-7-7-14

Marriott Rewards compared to Hilton HHonors for number of hotels in award category 1 and category 2 for each state in USA

The amount of spend needed to earn points for any specific hotel award category paints only part of the picture. In theory, Hilton HHonors is a faster earning program than Marriott Rewards based on hotel spend needed to earn and redeem points for category 1 and category 2 hotels.

In reality, the Hilton HHonors member will be looking at category 3 awards at 20,000 points to buy hotel award nights at many properties comparable to Marriott brand hotels available for 10,000 points as category 2 award nights with Marriott Rewards.


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 current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »


  1. Over the course of a year I usually see Marriott have some sort of bonus point promo like 5,000 pts for 2 stays at a specific brand of Marriott.

    2 hotel stays + bonus points can easily get you to that 7500 pt threshold.

  2. @DJP – Marriott Rewards has MegaBonus which has run about 10 months per year for the past couple of years. MegaBonus tends to be one free night after two stays with a maximum of two free nights a member can earn during the promotion. Hotel stays can be any Marriott brand anywhere.

    Currently Marriott is running a double points promotion June 1 to August 31, 2014 for 20 points per dollar at most brands, except 10 points per dollar at Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites.

    Even better is a Marriott member can earn 2,000 points every 30 days.
    Marriott Rewards Plus Points social media campaign May 8-Nov 8, 2014. Earn 2,000 free points every 30 days for connecting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare accounts to Marriott Rewards Plus Points. Then, ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ hotels and brands, use hashtags in social media and post geotagged photos. Easy and quick to simply like or follow a different hotel during eight days of each 30 days to max out 2,000 points every 30 days offer.

Comments are closed.