Home Hotels Don’t Use Your Marriott 35K Free Night Certificate To Stay At This Hotel

Don’t Use Your Marriott 35K Free Night Certificate To Stay At This Hotel

by joeheg

When we were flying home from Iceland to JFK Airport, we weren’t scheduled to arrive until 7 PM. It would be almost impossible to arrange for a connecting flight to Orlando, building in time to get through immigration and rechecking our bags. So I looked for a place to stay near the airport before the flight home that I booked for the next morning.

Since we have plenty of free night certificates to burn, I figured this was as good of a chance as any to get some use from them.

The majority of our free nights are with Marriott so I looked for one I could use at the lowest point value. The Courtyard New York JFK Airport is located near the airport and was available for 35,000 points a night. Perfect to use the certificate we get from my Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.

Even better was the hotel is the #1 ranked hotel in Jamaica, NY by TripAdvisor.

I didn’t believe that this hotel ranked higher than the TWA Hotel, but that hotel is ranked #55 out of 121 hotels in Queens.

So how does the #1 Hotel in Jamaica describe itself?

Although Courtyard New York JFK Airport is in Jamaica, Queens and not the island, you’ll still feel like you’re in paradise when you visit. Conveniently situated less than a mile from John F. Kennedy International Airport, our modern hotel provides easy access to attractions nearby including Belmont Park and Resorts World Casino New York City.

Was our stay like a paradise in Jamaica??? I bet you know the answer to that question.

Courtyard New York JFK Airport 
145-11 North Conduit Avenue, Jamaica, New York

I was familiar with this hotel because it was next door to the Hampton Inn where I stayed for 14 nights on my last work trip before the lockdown

When we arrived at JFK and made it to immigration, I called the hotel to ask about the shuttle. I was told to go to the Federal Circle station on the AirTrain. When we arrived at the bus stop, I called again and was told a bus was on the way.

It was only a short drive to the hotel. As it turned out, there was a Delta flight to Africa that was canceled and several passengers were given hotel vouchers to the Courtyard. When we arrived, the line was out the door, with only one desk agent to help everyone.

I tried to check in using the Marriott App but I never received a room number or mobile key. It took over 30 minutes to speak to anyone.

The front desk agent was nice, considering the situation she was in. We received the amenities suited to our status and were told that the hotel restaurant, Nosh!, and the accompanying bar were open if we needed anything to eat. When I mentioned that we weren’t able to use the app to check-in, her response was “Oh well, that never works for anyone.” #Bonvoyed.

At this time we just wanted to get to our room, but we did need something to eat and I knew there was nothing in the area besides what was available at the hotel.

We weren’t hopeful about the hotel offerings since in the hotel elevator they told you how to download a food delivery app.  Is the food at the hotel that bad???

Speaking of the elevator, in the age of COVID, is this how you want your elevator to look? We pushed the button of our floor and immediately looked for our hand sanitizer.

We arrived at our room, which was located at the end of the hall. Which was apparently also the place where housekeeping stored the vacuum cleaner, which was there for the duration of our overnight stay.

I know that people don’t expect much more from airport hotels than a bed to sleep in and a ride to the airport. That’s about all we got from the room.

We did have a large bed with lights, nightstands and plugs on each side of the bed.

However, I’ve come to expect a certain brand standard when I stay at a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. In fact, it’s almost boring to review them because they all look like this one.

This room fell short on many levels. How many?

The desk area had a single chair and a lamp. The only other chair in the room lacked a table so it was impossible for two people to work in the same room.

The rest of the room was sparse, with a sole LG TV on the counter and a stand for a single suitcase.

Not to mention the unused phone jack on one side of the bed. I’m glad the dust has evaded Marriott’s Commitment to Clean for the duration of the pandemic.

And before you give me grief about complaining about cleanliness, here’s the carpet in the hotel.

And the elevator buttons on our floor. I wished I had brought gloves (Note from Sharon: Since we hadn’t, this is what we did).

After leaving our bags in the room, we were hungry. The last thing we ate was at Reyjavik Airport many hours earlier and we didn’t want to try to catch an Uber. We ended up in line at the hotel bar to wait for the one person taking orders from everyone who was on the canceled Delta flight and was given a $20 meal voucher for dinner at the hotel.

While I didn’t have a meal voucher, I did have a Marriott Hotel credit from our Bonvoy Brilliant card and decided this would be a great place to spend it.

We told the bartender/waitress/server that we’d like to eat the meal in our room as the lobby was a bit too crowded for us to feel comfortable eating dinner. We were told to sit down and they’d bring our meals out to us. 45 minutes and $60 later we were back in our room with a cheeseburger, 1/2 chicken, and 2 beers, enjoying our first meal back in the US. And people say Iceland is expensive.

We did much better than the people who asked for the breakfast benefit. Because we had to leave the hotel before 8 AM, breakfast hadn’t started yet. Here’s the grab-and-go breakfast selection.

Those five trays contain the saddest-looking bagels I’ve ever seen. It was enough to bring a tear to a native New Yorker’s eye thinking that this would be someone’s only experience of a bagel. Of course, you could always grab a 4 ounce yogurt…that’ll fill you up!

Final Thoughts

I’ve rarely felt that redeeming a Marriott free night certificate I received by paying a $90 annual fee wasn’t worth it. However, I’d have to say that for this property, I didn’t get my money’s worth.

The only value comes from that this hotel often charges over $200 a night plus a $25 valet parking fee. Compared to the $200+ a night we paid to stay at in the TWA Hotel and even to the Hampton Inn located next door, I couldn’t recommend staying here to anyone. Use your free night somewhere else if you can. This place isn’t worth the $90 you’re paying for the free night certificate.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

13 comments

Christian September 13, 2021 - 2:17 pm

If only the cancelled flight had been American instead of Delta the lines would have been nonexistent with AA’s new “We’re never responsible for our customers” policy. Still, snark aside it seems like a pretty awful hotel.

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B September 13, 2021 - 3:04 pm

This is about what can be expected at an airport courtyard when hotels are struggling to get staff. I’ve stayed here pre-covid and it was just fine including the food. The room is compact but again it’s an airport courtyard. You need a suite, book a suite.

You did get unlucky the cancelled Delta flight influx was right then but no reason to hold that against the hotel.

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joeheg September 13, 2021 - 5:20 pm

Honestly, the food wasn’t bad. It was more that I think must have been 1 person working in the kitchen and the woman at the bar was also the food runner. I might have gotten a drink while I waited but I wasn’t to add another thing to her task list. The hotel was filthy and quite run down and I don’t think that’s COVID’s fault. Maybe it would have been cleaner but that wouldn’t mean the carpets would have stains removed and the elevator buttons not be a mess.

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Donkey Quixote September 13, 2021 - 6:50 pm

First World problems, you got a hitel, got a private room , and apparently got to sleep in comfort if not an aesthetically pleasing airport hotel experience.

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Jared September 14, 2021 - 3:58 am

Kidding, right? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a hotel that charges $200 a night to offer more than just a “private room” and all of the comfort of not sleeping on the street.

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Luis September 13, 2021 - 10:22 pm

Similar experience while in Puerto Rico, Courtyard San Juan Miramar, old and not well care building, noisy elevator, no breakfast benefit offered, outdated rooms, I will never come back.

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Don September 14, 2021 - 2:22 am

A “flight to Africa,” huh?…

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joeheg September 14, 2021 - 7:07 am

I figured it must have been the Delta JFK flight to Accra, Ghana. I didn’t research the details at the time.

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John l Crawford September 14, 2021 - 6:51 am

I’m surprised you could even find a hotel to use your 35k certificates. Most of my searching has only found highway off ramp hotels near small cities for those points rates. Heck I have even seen paid hotel rate of $81 and the points rate at 50k.

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joeheg September 14, 2021 - 7:09 am

While not an aspirational hotel, I’ve regularly been able to use the 35K certs for our travels. Now the 25K cert is a whole other issue 🙂

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Ted September 14, 2021 - 12:58 pm

You are making too much of this. You got a decent room considering lack of staff and a flight cancellation. Not sure why you had to write this negative story.

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Junior September 14, 2021 - 2:42 pm

The things being complained about are kinda insignificant. A “line out the door” only took 30 minutes with 1 person working. That’s a celebration. The elevator buttons look bad but you’re not grasping them, you’re pushing 1 button (use a napkin). The vacuum cleaner in the hallway (really?). Doesn’t seem like a horrible place considering it’s an airport hotel in NYC and it was free (or $110 discount after annual fee).

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M September 14, 2021 - 4:54 pm

I waited close to 30 minutes at Hilton CDG with nobody in front of me and two agents working. It puts things in perspective.

Reply

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