Carrying a co-branded hotel credit card can have many benefits beyond points, and few perks are more lucrative than free night certificates. Marriott free night certificates that come with many Marriott Bonvoy credit cards are no exception.
These certificates get you a free hotel night every year you hold the card open, often making it easy to come out way ahead on whatever annual fee you're paying. But there are some constraints on how you can use these Marriott free night certificates, and the certificates themselves vary based upon which Bonvoy credit card you have.
We'll highlight how Marriott free night certificates work, how you can earn one, and our favorite places to cash yours in.
Related Reading: 8 Best Credit Cards That Offer Hotel Free Night Certificates
- What is the Marriott Free Night Certificate?
- Which Bonvoy Cards Offer a Marriott Free Night Certificate?
- Where Can You Use a Marriott Free Night Certificate
What is the Marriott Free Night Certificate?
Just for holding one of the four co-branded Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, you will receive an annual free night certificate worth 35,000 or up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points each year upon your card renewal. Just how many points your certificate is worth depends on which version of the card you have – more on this later.
You won't get the free night when first opening the card, but in year two and each and every year thereafter. Once you earn it, you'll have twelve months to use it before it expires.
And as Marriott shifts to a dynamic pricing model – eventually charging unpredictable award rates that hinge mostly on the cash cost – there’s a silver lining: Marriott is also introducing an award top-off feature starting sometime this year. As of publication, this feature is not yet available.
That means Marriott Bonvoy credit cardholders will have the ability to “top off” a free night award certificate with up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. So for example, if you have a free night certificate to use at any Marriott property that costs up to 50,000 points each year, you could apply up to 15,000 of your own Marriott points to book a property that costs up to 65,000 points.
Which Bonvoy Cards Offer a Marriott Free Night Certificate?
There are currently five co-branded Marriott Bonvoy cards offering an annual free night certificate.
While some certificates are worth more than others, you can easily get two to three times the value out of these certificates than what you're paying for an annual fee. Here's a look at those cards.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card will get you a Marriott free night certificate to be used at any property costing 35,000 Bonvoy points or less each night starting in your second year with the card.
Considering the card's annual fee is only $95 each year, you can come out way ahead just by utilizing your Marriott free night certificate – not to mention all the other benefits the card provides.
Click Here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
The Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express was rebranded as the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card in February 2019, after the Marriott and Starwood Merger was completed. This card is no longer open for new applications, but if you have one, it is eligible for the Marriott free night certificate at any property costing 35,000 Bonvoy points or less each night.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card will earn a Marriott free night certificate to be used at any property that costs 85,000 Bonvoy points or less each night starting in your second year with the card.
You'll receive automatic Platinum elite status each and every year you hold the card. Plus you'll earn 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, and 3x points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. You'll also earn 2x points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Plus, every year you hold the card, you'll get up to a $300 statement credit to use restaurants worldwide (handed out in $25 monthly increments).
So while the card has a $650 annual fee (see rates & fees), you can offset much of that by using the $300 statement credit, and utilizing a much more valuable Marriott free night certificate.
Click Here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card from American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card get your a Marriott free night certificate to be used at any property costing 35,000 Bonvoy points or less each night starting in your second year of holding the card.
In addition to the free night certificate, you'll also earn 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, and 4x points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. You'll also earn 2x points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Click Here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card.
Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card was rebranded as the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card in February 2019. This card is no longer open for new applications, but if you have one, it is eligible for the Marriott free night certificate for properties costing 35,000 Bonvoy points each night or less.
Where Can You Use a Marriott Free Night Certificate
Once you've got a free night certificate, you'll want to use it wisely. Here are some of our favorite options.
And remember, if you have a certificate that can be redeemed for properties costing 35,000 points per night, you'll soon be able to apply up to 15,000 Bonvoy points to book a property costing up to 50,000 points per night.
Have a 50,000-point free night certificate from the Bonvoy Brilliant Card? You'll soon be able to apply up to 15,000 points to book a property that costs up to 65,000 points per night.
But for the purposes of this list, we are focusing on properties that have base rates bookable with either certificate.
The Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas, Avon / Vail Valley
These premium vacation rental villas are located at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain and just minutes away from year-round outdoor activities like skiing and hiking. A stay in the Colorado mountains can get expensive during the peak ski seasons, but this property is a great use of your Marriott free night certificate.
The Coral at Atlantis, Autograph Collection
This Autograph Collection hotel is classified as a category 6. So in order to use a Marriott free night certificate at the property, you'll need to book during an off-peak time – or have a 50,000-point certificate issued from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.
It has a superb location near Marina Village. If you were paying cash for a night at the property you can expect to pay between $300 and $400 depending on the time of the year.
Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village
Let's face it: A Disney family vacation to Orlando is not cheap. Use your Marriott free night certificate for a night at the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista to offset some of the cost of your trip.
While it isn't the nicest hotel on this list, it's located near Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and as a Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel, it offers the ability to purchase tickets and utilize the free shuttle service to any Walt Disney World park.
If you are paying cash for a night at the property, expect to pay between $120 and $200 depending on the time of year.
See our guide on 7 tips to save money on a Disney World Vacation.
Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas
Another fantastic option during the Colorado ski season is the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas. A night at the property during the peak Colorado ski season will run between $500 and $600 per night. Just by using your Marriott free night certificate here, you can easily get five to six times the value you are paying for your Marriott credit card's annual fee.
The St. Regis Bangkok
One of the only St. Regis hotels eligible for your Marriott free night certificate is the St. Regis in Bangkok, Thailand. The property has a prime location in the city center and can easily run between $150 and $300 a night if you are paying cash.
Chandolin Boutique Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels – Switzerland
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world for tourists. If you can use your Marriott free night certificate here, it's a huge win.
Nestled into the Swiss Alps is the Chandolin Boutique Hotel. If you were not using your Marriott free night certificate here, you could expect to pay between $300 and $400 each night depending on the time of year.
This is just a small sample of the hundreds of ways you can put a Marriott free night certificate to good use. For a full list of Marriott properties by location and hotel category, check out this link on their website.
After the merger with SPG was completed a few years ago, Marriott is now the largest hotel chain in the world – by far. There's likely a Marriott option anywhere you're headed across the globe.
These free night certificates are the reason I keep my Marriott cards open. It shouldn't be hard getting far more than your card's annual fee out of this benefit.
Le Dokhan’s, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Paris is now a category 6 hotel.
You are absolutely correct. Thanks for the update. I have removed the property from this list.
I believe the Sheraton Kauai is now a category 6.
Hey John. I just checked and it is still listed as a Cat 5 on the Marriott site.
The free night awards certificates are of limited to no use. When your search using the points/awards filter for the City of New York there isn’t one hotel in the City that accepts the award for the 35k or 50k award. I would challenge Marriott to provide the statistics on availability of booking using the Award certificate and how many are actually used, not used and the number of award certificates actually issued. Seems like this program is consumer fraud, perhaps the NY AG office should investigate!