Here at the Minivan Bucket List, we're all about traveling as much as possible as affordably as possible. But for us, that doesn't mean cheap motels and flying on Frontier airlines with no luggage. It means exploring awesome locations closer to home, so we can drive instead of fly, and it means maximizing travel rewards.
One of our favorite places to go is Southern California. LA has great beaches, Universal Studios, lots of cool museums and attractions for free, along with a great sports scene (10 pro sports teams!), including our 2020 World Series Champs, the LA Dodgers. Orange County has even better beaches, not to mention Disneyland.
And one of our favorite hotel rewards programs is Marriott Bonvoy. They have 30+ brands of hotels, ranging everywhere from affordable family suites to absolute luxury. The sweet spot with Marriott is 35,000 points per night.
Why is 35,000 points the benchmark? Because when you sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy card from Visa, you get 3 free nights that are worth up to 35,000 points per night, as well as 1 free night per year in the form of an e-certificate also worth up to 35,000 points per night.
Tip: If you want to find more hotels like the ones on this list at which to use these e-certificates, simply filter for 'Category 5' hotels and you can find similar-priced Marriott hotels anywhere in the world.
So if you're California dreaming and you want to stay in a nice place as affordably as possible, here are our top recommended hotels in Southern California where you'll be able to enjoy those 3 free nights:
Best Marriotts Under 35,000 Points in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Airport Marriott - 10 minutes from SoFi Stadium where the LA Chargers and LA Rams play on any given Sunday. As low as 35,000 points/night or average $174/night
Residence Inn Pasadena/Old Town - 4 minutes from Rose Bowl Stadium where the UCLA Bruins play and 15 minutes to Universal Studios Hollywood. As low as 30,000 points/night or average $270/night
Courtyard L.A. Live - walking distance (1/3 mile) to the Staples Center where the Lakers and Clippers both play. As low as 30,000 points/night or average $303/night
Westin Bonavenure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles - in DTLA 6 minutes from Dodger Stadium (2020 World Series Champs). As low as 30,000 points/night or average $264/night
Best Marriotts Under 35,000 Points in Orange County
Fairfield Anaheim Resort - closest Marriott to Disneyland, walking distance to the main gate. As low as 30,000 points/night or average $342/night
Renaissance ClubSport Aliso Viejo - hotel with on-site child care and massive fitness club, 12 minutes from Laguna Beach, 20 minutes from Newport Beach, and under 30 minutes from Disneyland. As low as 30,000 points/night or average $202/night
Anaheim Marriott - 4-star hotel 1 mile from Disneyland. As low as 30,000 points/night or average $174/night
Anaheim Marriott Suites - all-suite hotel near Disneyland. As low as 30,000 points/night or $101/night