Some states are starting to reopen to travelers, but not everyone is comfortable hopping on a plane. So it could be time to start thinking about road trips.
Ever since Route 66 opened in the 1920s, Americans have been fascinated with the allure of the American Southwest.
Now, with 30 brands to choose from, Marriott and their frequent traveler program, Marriott Bonvoy, offer you a lot of great chances to enjoy a summer vacation across the Southwest U.S.
So dust off your wood-paneled Oldsmobile, fire up a mix tape and head out on the open road. Here are some of the best suggestions for how to use your Bonvoy points on an unforgettable adventure at one of these locations — just a small slice of the offerings in the Southwest.
The Southwest may be the best region in the country for experiencing national parks: the quantity, variety and ease of access you’ll find in this corner of the U.S. can’t be beat. It’s also home to some of the most-visited national parks, which makes it easy to find great hotels nearby.
Want to head to Yosemite National Park? Marriott’s got you covered with two properties, one on each end of the budget spectrum. If you want more of a lodge feel and enjoy the higher-end lifestyle, the Westin Monache Resort at Mammoth (a Category 7 hotel) is your best option, starting at 50,000 points per night. This is a great destination for visiting Yosemite — less than 40 miles away — any time of year, and it’s a fantastic winter destination if you’re into skiing or just staying warm at the resort with a cup of hot cocoa.
If your budget is tighter and you’d like to dole out your Marriott Bonvoy points at a slower pace, the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Oakhurst is scheduled to open in July. Although not yet taking reservations, it sits just 15 miles from the park entrance and, as a Category 3 property, will only set you back between 15,000 and 20,000 points per night. Swift reminder: The welcome bonuses for Marriott credit cards range between 30,000 and 75,000 points, which would be sufficient for a couple nights at one of these properties.
The Grand Canyon is, undoubtedly, one of the most breathtaking places in the U.S., and there are plenty of hotels to cater to every traveler visiting the park. A favorite jumping-off point for this park is Flagstaff, Arizona, where you’ll find five different options in the Marriott family — Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Courtyard and Fairfield Inn & Suites — as well as a new and different option for vacation rentals: the Homes and Villas Curated by Marriott International.
They are all either Category 5 hotels, which cost between 30,000 and 40,000 points per night, or Category 6, ranging from 40,000 to 60,000 Bonvoy points per night. Check the necessary points for each individual Home and Villa option, as prices vary by the luxury and amenities offered.
» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose?
Nothing is more calming than gazing at the still desert landscape, especially from inside your suite with a cold, refreshing drink in hand. A great hotel for this experience is the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. As a Category 6 property, it’s bookable anywhere between 40,000 to 60,000 points a night. As the name indicates, it’s a resort and spa, and you’ll find restaurants, coffee shops, a full-service spa and — should you need it — a Marriott-certified wedding planner. It’s worth noting this property is pet-friendly, too.
If hiking in the mountains is more your style, and you wouldn’t mind going for a swim in a lake, why not drive down to Lake Tahoe to unwind and enjoy nature? If you have some Marriott Bonvoy points to treat yourself, the Category 8 Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, on the California side, may be everything you could ever hope for. Point rates go from 70,000 to 100,000 per night, but as they say, you get what you pay for.
As usual, when you redeem points with Marriott Bonvoy, your fifth night is free. If you're interested in a slightly longer stay, there’s nothing like an extra free night. Considering you’ve driven all the way out there, find a nice spot to sit back, relax and enjoy your time away.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card