Marriott Rewards levels in Asia can work for you or against you. In many cases you’re better off paying cash for your hotel rather than wasting points, like, for example, in Indonesia. I didn’t find a single hotel in Indonesia on which I’d be willing to redeem my points rather than book on cash — even with Category 1 and 2 hotels.
Points or cash? The reminder
- Just like with most other hotel programs, my approach is that you can benefit the most if you use your points at the cheapest or most expensive properties, but there are exceptions.
- For destinations I haven’t visited, I evaluate hotels based on a price and location. I don’t do a deep and exhaustive research. YMMV!
- My lowest valuation for Marriott points is 0.8 cents. That means I’m happy to redeem Marriott Rewards points when the cash price is $60 for Category 1, $100 for Category 2, and $140 for Category 3 with taxes and fees. Your valuation may differ and that’s fine, but always add taxes and other fees to look at the whole picture (because you don’t usually pay taxes on an award stay).
- Consider the length of stay – with Marriott Rewards, you get the 5th night free.
- If you stay for 4 days and have the Citi Prestige credit card, try to see if you can get a cheaper cash stay with the 4th night free. There are also all kinds of stackable discounts you can find at Hotels.com and other OTAs, especially if you use gift cards.
- Keep in mind that with cash you earn points, and by redeeming points you don’t.
- See if you can find a cheaper comparable hotel or vacation rental in an area you want to stay in.
- But if you are a Marriott Rewards Platinum member, consider free food and booze.
- My “from” rates are for reference only! I just indicated the lowest rate I could find, and the chances are, you won’t be able to replicate it. It can be a low-ball, non-refundable rate that might be available for just a few days a year. Always check your actual dates to decide between points and cash!
Please note: I’m not covering China and India (India is not technically in Asia, anyway, but that’s not the point). There are 300+ low category Marriott hotels in China and India, and covering them would require one hell of a research! I just don’t have the stomach for it. 🙂
Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 in Malaysia
Malaysia in my list is mostly represented by Kuala Lumpur and Borneo (I also added Penang because of its reputation for food variety and street art).
Kuala Lumpur is not considered a touristy city, but I stayed in Kuala Lumpur for 3 days and loved it. KL hotels are incredibly cheap for a major capital, but the ones below can be worth getting for points. 2 hotels are especially good deals, IMHO: Kota Kinabalu Marriott and JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur.
|Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral (from $59)||7,500||1|
|Element Kuala Lumpur (from $64)||7,500||1|
|Four Points by Sheraton Penang (from $45)||7,500||1|
|Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan (from $45)||7,500||1|
|Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel (from $131)||12,500||2|
|Le Méridien Putrajaya (from $69)||12,500||2|
|Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa (from $108)||12,500||2|
|Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel (from $71)||12,500||2|
|JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur (from $106)||17,500||3|
|Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu (from $121)||17,500||3|
Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 in Vietnam
Vietnam Marriott hotels are often a good deal on points because they’re pricey. I had an award stay at JW Marriott in Hanoi 3 years ago and was upgraded to a mindblowing Grand Suite — I don’t know if they confused me (a lowly Gold) with a head of state or not, but the hotel in any case was amazing even if it’s quite far away from the center of the city. The breakfast buffet was in the top three I’ve ever experienced. In general, I think all of the hotels below look good on points.
|Four Points by Sheraton Danang (from $84)||12,500||2|
|JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi (from $104)||17,500||3|
|Le Méridien Saigon (from $168)||17,500||3|
|Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon (from $124)||17,500||3|
|Sheraton Hanoi Hotel (from $102)||17,500||3|
|Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers (from $172)||17,500||3|
Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 in Cambodia
This is a new resort that opened its doors in 2018, and it looks pretty good (keep in mind that Courtyard hotels and resorts in Asia can be quite upscale). I stayed at another Siem Reap hotel, Le Méridien, twice, and while it’s an impressive property, it’s really showing its age (and is overpriced at 17,500 points, which is why it’s not in here). This one I’m planning to try next time I visit.
|Courtyard Siem Reap Resort (from $85)||12,500||2|
Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 in Thailand
While hotel prices in Thailand have gone up in recent years both in cash and points, here is the list of the ones that represent a good point value. Royal Orchid is especially worth considering if you like the Riverside location, away from Sukhumvit (I personally love exploring Bangkok by the river). Never stayed there, though.
|Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok (from $92)||12,500||2|
|Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 |
|Le Méridien Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Golf Resort |
& Spa (from $104)
|Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers (from $122)||12,500||2|
|Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit (from $122)||17,500||3|
|Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa (from $101)||17,500||3|
Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 in Taiwan
While I’ve never been to Taiwan, I know it’s pricey, so it’s nice to see Aloft Taipei Beitou at 7,500 points. Granted, it’s far from central Taipei (about 40 minutes MRT ride), but Beitou is Taipei’s beloved hot spring district. I could see myself staying there for a day or 2.
Penghu is an interesting option for island hopping. This archipelago in the Taiwan Strait consists of 90 islands and is a popular vacation spot for the Taiwanese.
|Aloft Taipei Beitou (from $111)||7,500||1|
|Courtyard Taipei (from $165)||12,500||2|
|Four Points by Sheraton Penghu (from $111)||17,500||3|
Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 in South Korea
Marriott Rewards values in Korea are so-so. There is nothing cheaper than Category 3, and quite honestly, you often can find lower cash rates that make using points impractical. At certain times, however, hotel prices can go through the roof, so check your travel dates. From what I’ve found, Myeongdong is a very popular shopping district while Gangnam is known for its restaurants and nightlife.
|Aloft Seoul Myeongdong (from $98)||17,500||3|
|Courtyard Seoul Namdaemun (from $122)||17,500||3|
|Courtyard Seoul Pangyo (from $136)||17,500||3|
|Courtyard Seoul Times Square (from $106)||17,500||3|
|Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Gangnam (from $120)||17,500||3|
The Bonus: Marriott Rewards Levels 1 to 3 Sri Lanka (not Asia, but close enough 🙂 )
This beachfront hotel looks like a good place to stay for a few days if you’re exploring Sri Lanka at your own pace.
|Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa (from $117)||17,500||3|
OK, we’re almost done. One post left to go: Best and the Most Expensive Marriott Hotels in the World. Stay tuned!
Have you stayed at any Marriott hotels in Asia?