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Which European Marriott Bonvoy hotels are Category 1 (5,000 to 10,000 points)?

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We recently ran an article looking at Hilton Honors hotels which cost 5,000 or 10,000 points per night. It was a relatively simple job because there are not many of them. None are in the UK.

Today I thought we’d do the same exercise for Category 1 hotels in Marriott Bonvoy.

The UK does have one Marriott Bonvoy hotel in Category 1 – Moxy Aberdeen Airport. Here’s the website.

Why is this interesting, apart from the ability to have a cheap stay in Aberdeen? Because Marriott Bonvoy counts reward nights towards status. They do NOT count towards a status challenge but they do count towards standard status. If you are pushing for Marriott Bonvoy status this year, a few reward nights here could be a good investment if you live locally.

For clarity, you won’t be allowed to book and check-in without visiting the hotel in person. If you explain your plan, however, you should be allowed to check-in and not be seen again until the day of check-out.

What do Category 1 Marriott Bonvoy hotels cost?

A Category 1 redemption in Marriott Bonvoy costs:

  • 5,000 points per night off-peak
  • 7,500 points per night at standard rates
  • 10,000 points per night peak

You can buy Marriott Bonvoy points for just over 0.6p each in their current promotion so, on off-peak nights, you can see the value here if you are just a few nights short of a new status level.

Where are the Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 hotels?

There are 277 hotels globally in Category 1.

The easiest way to search them is to go to the main Marriott hotel directory page here, filter by Category 1 (the filter button is a little hidden) and then select the part of the world that interests you.

23 of the 277 hotels are in Europe. Some are in remote parts of Russia so I have ignored those, given that you are unlikely to be visiting.

The Spanish options are particularly interesting, I think. These are not budget hotels – all are part of the AC Hotel brand which generally operates in the four-star market. At 5,000 to 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, you are getting good value.

Spain

  • AC Hotel A Coruna (pictured above, looks smart)
  • AC Hotel Algeciras
  • AC Hotel Badajoz
  • AC Hotel Elda
  • AC Hotel Guadalajara
  • AC Hotel La Linea
  • AC Hotel Murcia
  • AC Hotel Palencia
  • AC Hotel Ponferrada
  • AC Hotel Palacio de Santa Ana

Hungary

  • Four Points by Sheraton Kecskemet

Kazakhstan

  • Renaissance Aktau Hotel

Montenegro

  • Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin

Poland

  • Moxy Poznan Airport

Turkey

  • Aloft Bursa
  • Courtyard Istanbul West
  • Residence Inn Istanbul Atasehir
  • Four Points by Sheraton Izmir
  • Sheraton Grand Samsun

UK

To find out more about any of these hotels, click here and filter by Category 1 and then by Europe. You can also look up where all of the 277 Category 1 hotels are via the same method.


Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (August 2021)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 points sign-up bonus and Gold Elite status Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (21)

  • Gtellez says:

    I stayed in AC Hotel Badajoz a couple of months ago (it is in a small town in the border with Portugal) and got outstanding value. Paid 25k points for 5 nights (cash value around 300-350 euros), got an upgrade to a suite and due to status 100 USD to spend at the hotel (10 usd per person per night). The service and the hotel were really good for the price. It was in April and they were already at 50% capacity, probably more than many hotels in Barcelona or Madrid.
    Most of these hotels in Spain are in non-touristic cities, but prices can be quite high during the week (80-120 euros a night), as these are business hotels.
    The one that looks pretty nice (their website mentions it is a 5 stars hotel) is AC Palacio Santa Ana, next time I go to that area I’ll give it a try.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Are any of these remotely near a beach?

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Algeciras and also La Linea, which, in normal times, is a comfortable reasonably priced option for visiting Gib.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Both interesting but at the risk of sounding stereotypical, doesn’t the bit of Spain just outside Gib have a drug smuggling and violence problems?

    • Gtellez says:

      Murcia and A Coruña are by the beach too.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        A Coruna looks interesting, although never heard of the city so not sure about it. Murcia is not exactly close at 15 km

        • Gtellez says:

          Well the question was if there was any “remotely close to a beach”, not beach front!
          A Coruña is quite nice, and the food is super good, especially seafood (Galicia in general). Plus if you have a car there are many one day trips available.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Just looked up the Lonely Planet travel guide for A Coruna, curiosity peaked!

        https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/cantabria-asturias-and-galicia/la-coruna

        • Genghis says:

          Never been to La Coruna but Galicia in general is an excellent place to visit.

  • Mr. AC says:

    > Some are in remote parts of Russia
    1 is within 2 hours driving distance from Moscow, 2 are around 1 hour by plane, the most “remote” one is 1.5 hours by plane from Moscow (Samara).
    If that’s remote, I don’t know how would you describe anything beyond the Urals!

    • bsuije says:

      “The lands that time forgot”?

    • Alex Sm says:

      Haha, so true! England even played in Samara during 2018 World Cup and many English fans travelled there. So, if I were Rob, I would reconsider for definite. Kazakhstan’s Aktau is definitely more remote and not even in Europe! Geography has never been the strongest point of HfP…

  • Bagoly says:

    Moxy Poznan Airport (100m walk from the terminal) opening in November 2019.
    When flight timetables are back to normal, and the obligation to enrich Boris’s chums by buying overpriced Covid tests has gone, it will make it easy to get an early morning flight back to the UK after having dental treatment in Poznan.
    Many practices have English-speaking dentists and are interested in fly-in business.
    Most offer nitrous oxide, if not IV sedation, and the overall cost is a fraction of typical UK prices.

  • Bertster says:

    Checking out via the app means there is no need to be there in person on the day you are scheduled to leave. Perfect for turning a one night stay at a Moxy / Aloft into a multi-night stay on cheap / redemption rates for elite nights purposes.

    • Rob says:

      Not really because the hotel is likely to check you out early when it finds the room empty.

      You never need to check out anyway, either online or in person. I have done loads of one night runs where I walked into the room, left the key on the desk, had a coffee and walked out. 100% posting record.

      • Bertster says:

        From my experience both Moxy Heathrow and Moxy Stratford will respect a Do Not Disturb for a five night stay. Using the app then just confirms that you have gone.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Never been checked out of a short stay in a hotel like that. Reasonable to be hopping about too.

  • meta says:

    I’ve done one 3-day mattress run a few years back and luckily it went smoothly. Just put the do not disturb sign and checked out via the app.

    I imagine this will work well now with covid restrictions as you can just decline housekeeping. I think the unwritten rule now is that they won’t come into your room for 3 days anyway.

  • N says:

    Have done a mattress run at La Linea (Marbella to Gib bus times didn’t quite work out for the GIB-LHR flight and left a 4-5 hour gap). V straightforward, but the room key was an actual (metal!) key. Had a shower, messed up the bed a touch then left the key at reception. Checked out in app the next morning and all went well.

  • KP says:

    I have bad good experiences staying in AC hotels in Madrid and Istanbul. Definitely recommend

    I believe you don’t get offered free breakfast even if Platinum, a small amount of credit

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