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Big changes may be coming to your next hotel search, especially if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy member. Sonesta Hotels, a previously little-known company with five brands at different price points, is adding 88 properties to its portfolio by the end of March — and every one of them is transitioning from Marriott.
It’s part of Sonesta’s rapid ongoing expansion, which could mean a change of plans for your next U.S.-based vacation. It might even have you reconsidering your preferred hotel loyalty program.
If you're a Marriott Bonvoy member (especially one who earns bonus points with a Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card) who stays at any of these hotels or would like to, it might be time to sign up for Sonesta Travel Pass.
The Sonesta brand is growing fast by bringing existing hotels into the fold. At the beginning of 2020, Sonesta had 58 hotels; today, it has nearly 300. In the past six months alone, Sonesta has grown its portfolio 350%. All of the new Sonestas were previously part of other loyalty programs — mostly Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards.
Some notable Marriott properties converting to Sonesta include:
Marriott Kauai becomes Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort.
Marriott Nashville Airport becomes Sonesta Nashville Airport.
Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile becomes Sonesta ES Suites Chicago Downtown.
Courtyard by Marriott Oakland Emeryville becomes Sonesta Emeryville.
Courtyard Kansas City Airport becomes Sonesta Select Kansas City Airport.
The new properties are being converted to one of Sonesta’s five brands: Royal Sonesta, Sonesta Hotels and Resorts, Sonesta Select, Sonesta ES Suites, and Sonesta Simply Suites. For most of them, the transition is now complete. If you’re a member of the Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program, you can take advantage of your membership benefits immediately at these hotels.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program
Places you’ll see the Sonesta name
Among the 88 hotels transitioning from participation in Marriott Bonvoy to Sonesta Travel Pass, there are a couple of standout options. The Courtyard Oakland Emeryville hotel in California is converting to the full-service Sonesta Emeryville.
Further, Sonesta is now in the Hawaiian Islands as well as Boca Raton, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina. In Charleston, there will be two Sonesta hotels to choose from — Sonesta Select Charleston Airport and Sonesta ES Suites Charleston. Boca Raton will have a Sonesta Select Boca Raton property.
Sonesta brands will now have a substantial presence in several cities. For example, the Sonesta name will be on 14 properties in Chicago, 13 in Atlanta, 12 in the Boston area, 12 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and 10 in the San Francisco Bay area. Scottsdale, Arizona, has four Sonesta brand hotels, while both Nashville and Kansas City have three.
Which Marriott hotels are changing to Sonestas?
Sonesta Select. There are 49 Courtyard by Marriott properties that are being converted to the Sonesta Select brand. These include several prominent airport Courtyard properties including locations near Atlanta, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham and San Francisco airports. Sonesta Select features onsite food and beverage options (no free breakfast) and business-focused guest rooms, which aligns with what Courtyard by Marriott hotels traditionally offer.
Sonesta ES Suites. There are 32 Residence Inn by Marriott hotels that are shifting to the Sonesta ES Suites brand. These are airport hotels in cities including Baltimore, Raleigh/Durham and San Francisco. The conversions also include hotels located near popular landmarks, like the Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile and Residence Inn San Antonio Downtown/Alamo Plaza. Sonesta ES Suites is Sonesta’s extended-stay brand with one and two-bedroom suites featuring full kitchens plus free breakfast, which means it will deliver a lot of what you’ve come to expect from Residence Inns.
Sonesta Simply Suites. Four TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotels will convert to the Sonesta Simply Suites brand across Detroit, Scottsdale, Seattle, and Falls Church, Virginia.
Royal Sonesta. One property in Kauai will be converting to a Royal Sonesta hotel by the end of March.
Sonesta. Two properties now under the Sonesta name instead of the Marriott name include the Sonesta Nashville Airport and the Sonesta Emeryville.
How does Sonesta Travel Pass work?
Each of these properties participates in the Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program, which is free to join.
Members earn 10 Sonesta Travel Pass points for every eligible dollar spent at most properties booked through Sonesta, either on its website or by phone. Everyone earns a flat rate of 10 points per dollar spent, no matter their elite status. There is no bonus for elite members like with other programs.
Members can redeem points at Sonesta Travel Pass-participating properties by filling out the online redemption request form or calling Sonesta directly. The number of points you’ll need for an award night are based on a tier system, with Tier 1 properties going for 10,000 points per night, Tier 11 properties going for 50,000 points per night and lots of mid-priced options in between.
Sonesta has two elite levels in its loyalty program. Among the benefits for frequent Sonesta guests are food and beverage discounts and the option for early or late checkout. The highest tier comes with room upgrades and the option for complimentary breakfast or club lounge access where available.
Sonesta Travel Pass offers a status match program for elite members in other programs. Members can email their elite status credentials and Sonesta Travel pass number to [email protected] to be considered. This could be a smart move if you stay at many of these newly added Sonesta properties regularly.
The bottom line
With Sonesta hotels popping up all over the country, now is a good time to sign up for the Sonesta Travel Pass program. This is especially true for Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards program members because many of the hotels Sonesta acquired participated in one of those programs.
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:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card