Best Uses of the Marriott Free Night Certificate (2021)
Marriott Free Night Certificate

The Best Ways to Use a Marriott Free Night Certificate in 2021

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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 free night certificate works, how you can earn one, and our favorite places to cash yours in.

 

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 earnit, you’ll have twelve months to use it before it expires.

As you can see from the award chart below, 35,000 points are enough for a free night stay at a category 5 property during standard and off-peak times of year. A 50,000-point certificate can get you a standard night at a category 6 property or an off-peak night in a category 7 property. Marriott rolled out peak- and off-peak pricing back in 2019, so the cost of an award stay can vary based upon the season.
Marriott Free Night Award Chart

 

Marriott Free Night Certificate Extensions

As of Dec. 11, 2020, Marriott Bonvoy members who had a free night certificate set to expire in 2020 (or an expiration date before July 31, 2021) now have through Aug. 1, 2021, to redeem them.

No action is required to extend the date of your certificate, as Marriott has applied this extension automatically.
Marriott free night certificate extension

Read more on Marriott Bonvoy Members & COVID-19

 

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.

In addition to the free night certificate, you’ll also earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership and receive automatic silver elite status each and every year you hold the card. And if you spend $35,000 or more on purchases each year, you’ll receive Marriott Gold Status. You’ll also earn 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, and 2x points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

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.

Read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. 
Marriott bonvoy boundless card
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 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 amex card

 

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card from American Express will earn a Marriott free night certificate to be used at any property that costs 50,000 Bonvoy points or less each night starting in your second year with the card. That means you can use the certificate at a category 6 hotel, or a category 7 hotel during the off-peak season.

In addition to the free night certificate, you’ll earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. You’ll also get a $200 statement credit to use at U.S. restaurants. This limited time offer is good through May 12, 2021,

You’ll receive automatic Gold 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 purchases.

Plus, every year you hold the card, you’ll get a $300 statement credit to use at Marriott hotels.

So while the card has a $450 annual fee, you can offset much of that by using the $300 statement credit, and utilizing a much more valuable Marriott free night certificate.
Marriott bonvoy brilliant card
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.

The card has a welcome offer of 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership.

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 U.S. restaurants, 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 purchases.
Marriott bonvoy business card
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.
Marriott bonvoy premier plus

 

The Best Uses of 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.

 

Azor Hotel in Ponta Delgada, Azores

It may not be a top-category property, but it’s still a great value.

The Azor Hotel in the Azores is a category 4 hotel, which means it typically costs just 25,000 points per night. But when paying cash, you can expect to pay 200 to 300 Euros ($240 to $350 USD) per night. I had a chance to stay there in the summer of 2018 and thought it was fantastic.

Note: The property is currently closed and their website notes they will be back on March 31, 2021. Bookings at the property are not currently available.

Check out our post on why you need to visit the Azores.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
The Azor Hotel: Ponta Delgada, Portugal

 

Sheraton Kauai Resort

Hotels anywhere Hawaii can be an expensive, so using your Marriott free night certificate makes for a great option. The Sheraton Kauai Resort is a category 5 property located on Kauai’s south shore in the heart of Poipu Beach. If paying cash, you can expect to pay between $400 and $500 each night.

Headed to Kauai? Check out our guide here.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
Sheraton Kauai Resort. Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

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.

marriott free night certificate
Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas. Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

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.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
The Coral at Atlantis. Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

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.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista, photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

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.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas. Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

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.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
St. Regis Bangkok, Thailand. Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

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.

Marriott Free Night Certificate
Chandolin Boutique Hotel, Switzerland, photo courtesy of Marriott.com

 

Bottom Line

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.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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