How To Use Marriott Boundless Free Night Certificates How To Use Marriott Boundless Free Night Certificates

How To Use Marriott Boundless Free Night Certificates

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Right now, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 3 Free Night Awards worth up to 50,000 points each. That’s a potential 150,000 points worth of stays with Marriott if you maximize the value of these certificates!

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card!
  • Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Long after you’ve turned this lucrative bonus into a cherished travel memory, the Marriott Boundless will continue to deliver value. Each year you renew your account, you’ll earn a Free Night Award worth up to 35,000 points. This benefit alone can often justify keeping this card over the long term, as it takes very little work to redeem the Free Night Award for more value than the $95 annual fee.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about redeeming those 50K and 35K Free Night Awards from your Marriott Boundless card.

How to Earn a Marriott Free Night Award

Applying for the Marriott Boundless

If you’ve decided to apply for the Marriott Boundless card or you’ve recently been approved, you just need to spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening to earn your 3 Free Night welcome bonus.

Once you’ve met that spending requirement, your three certificates—each worth up to 50,000 points—will be available in your Marriott Bonvoy account.

Holding certain Marriott co-branded credit cards

Earning an anniversary free night certificate is even easier! Marriott free nights are an annual benefit received when you renew your account each year. There are currently three Marriott Bonvoy cards available to new applicants that offer an anniversary free night certificate:

All that's required to earn your free night certificate is to hold onto your card past the first anniversary and pay the annual fee. After your first year, you receive a free night certificate every year thereafter.

Redeem your 35K Marriott Free Night certificate at The Blackstone, Autograph Collection in Chicago
Redeem your 35K Marriott Free Night Certificate at The Blackstone, Autograph Collection in Chicago

Marriott Free Night Limitations

The principal limiting factor of Marriott Free Night Awards is their stated value. Until recently, a Marriott Boundless cardholder could only use a 35,000-point certificate at a property charging 35,000 Bonvoy points (or less) for the night.

Fortunately, Marriott has introduced the ability to “Top Off” Free Night Awards. That means you can now add up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points from your account to redeem your certificate for a property with a higher price. This huge improvement puts hotels charging up to 50,000 points per night within reach of the 35,000-point Free Night Award with a top-off of Bonvoy points.

Marriott Award Pricing

Marriott is in the process of making some changes to the way hotels are priced for award stays. Under the old system, each property was assigned a category number that determined its standard award price. Depending on the season, you could be charged the peak, standard, or off-peak rate for the hotel's category:

CategoryOFF-PEAKSTANDARDPEAK
15,0007,50010,000
210,00012,50015,000
315,00017,50020,000
420,00025,00030,000
530,00035,00040,000
640,00050,00060,000
750,00060,00070,000
870,00085,000100,000

On March 29, 2022, Marriott began rolling out dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing means the cost in points will vary depending on demand. Marriott calls this new system “Flexible Redemption Rates”.

Now, you won't see the terms Off-Peak, Standard, and Peak or the legacy categories on the Marriott website. However, the loyalty program assured members that prices for 97% of its hotels will remain between their former off-peak and peak rates (in the table above) through the end of 2022. Here are the Marriott hotels where award prices may vary outside the peak/off-peak bounds.

From 2023 onward, all hotels will move to dynamic pricing, making the current award chart obsolete.

Despite the changes, it's possible to receive hundreds of dollars in value from Marriott Free Nights Award certificates—especially now that you can “top off” your certificate with up to 15,000 points to put more expensive properties within reach.

Award Night Certificate Validity

Once Marriott issues the certificate, you get twelve months to use it. However, unlike IHG free night certificates, you need to complete the free night stay within those twelve months—not just make the booking.

Note that Marriott made an exception in response to COVID-19. If you had a certificate set to expire in 2021 or anytime before June 30, 2022, Marriott extended its validity through June 30, 2022. Unfortunately, Marriott is refusing to extend these already-extended Free Night Awards further, even in exceptional cases.

However, some members have reported some success requesting a one-year extension of the validity of an unextended Free Night Award. Marriott requires that you call in the same calendar month that the Free Night Award expires. Then, an agent may be able to process an extension. Just note that this extension isn't guaranteed, so we don't recommend counting on it.

How to Redeem Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Certificates

When you're ready to redeem your free night certificate, start by going to Marriott's homepage. Once there, the process largely mirrors that of making a points booking. Type your desired location and dates, and check the box for “Use Points / Certificates”:

Start your Marriott free night search like any other point booking

You'll see all the properties that fit your search listed with their respective award rate. As long as the rate is at or below the value of your certificate, you should be able to book a free night.

Screenshot of Marriott award search results in Chicago to use free night award certificate

In this case, let's assume you have a 35K certificate to use, and you want to book The Blackstone in Chicago. Once you select “View Rates”, you'll see a screen displaying all of your booking options—including rates for point bookings, cash bookings, or a combination of both. Select the points rate.

Use Marriott free night awards at pricing like this, less than 35,000 points per night

With Marriott's move to dynamic pricing, this hotel is showing 33,000 points on the first night of my search and 35,000 points the next night. Many other nights in the same month cost more than 35,000 points. In these cases, you would need to redeem some points along with the certificate for those nights.

As you continue the booking process, Marriott will note that “you have eligible e-certificates that match your reservation” on the final booking page. This is where you can choose to either use points to complete the booking, or redeem your certificate.

At checkout, you can apply a Marriott free night certificate instead of points

If you decide to redeem your certificate, it'll disappear from your Bonvoy account when the booking is confirmed. In this case, a 35K certificate saves you over $300 compared to booking the same room at the cash rate!

How to Use a Marriott Free Night + Points

As noted above, you can now expand the value of a Free Night Award with up to 15,000 Bonvoy points from your account. This feature applies to Standard Room Types and PointSaver redemptions only. Unfortunately, you cannot book upgrades or suites by adding points to a Marriott Free Night Award.

Fortunately, the booking process couldn't be easier. Here is a property that costs a little more than the value of my 35K certificate:

Editorial-Marriott-35k-Top-Off-300x82

After selecting this hotel and choosing a room type, I am automatically presented with the option to top off my Free Night Award with an additional 2,000 points from my account.

Editorial-Marriott-35k-Top-Off-Pricing-300x188

Best Hotels to Spend a Marriott Free Night

If you're looking for inspiration, check out our article covering the best Marriott properties for redeeming free night awards. Meanwhile, here are a few of our favorite aspirational properties to redeem Marriott free night awards and get you started.

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa

One of the newest and nicest Maldives resorts is also one of the best values using a Free Night Award. The Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa can often be booked for under 50,000 points. That means a free night can be booked with a 50K certificate — or a 35K certificate plus up to a 15K Bonvoy point top off — on many nights.

Le-Meridien-Maldives-Resort-May-2023-calendar-300x246

Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection

Part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, Pier One Sydney Harbour is a 5-star property located (literally) in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This makes it the perfect gateway for a vacation down under.

sydak-bridge-view-9686-hor-clsc-300x200

A 35K certificates can secure a night in a “Heritage Guest Room” many nights of the year. Some nights might need a top off of just 3K Bonvoy points:

PIER-ONE-SYDNEY-HARBOUR-AUTOGRAPH-COLLECTION-award-calendar-300x242

Cash rates often exceed US$300 per night, meaning you're getting incredible value using your Marriott Free Night Awards.

San Francisco Marriott Union Square

For a stay in the heart of San Francisco, it's hard to beat the San Francisco Marriott Union Square. This well-rated Marriott is just a block from Union Square and within striking distance of all that San Francisco has to offer. Best of all, you can use your Marriott Free Night Awards to stay there for nothing out-of-pocket.

With dynamic pricing, award nights start at 41,000 points per night. So, you'll need to top off your 35K Free Night Award with at least 6,000 points. But that's still a great deal for a stay in the heart of such an expensive city.

San-Francisco-Marriott-Union-Square-award-calendar-300x206

Sheraton Grand Danang Resort

The Sheraton Grand Danang Resort is on the coast of Vietnam near the historic Hoi An Old Town and the Marble Mountains. On-site amenities include a spa, wedding & event facilities, and multiple pools. There are also restaurants to suit all tastes.

 Sheraton Grand Danang Resort exterior with view of pool and ocean in the distance

You can use a 35K Marriott free night award here nearly any night of the year. PointSavers pricing may be available, further reducing the award redemption costs.

Sheraton-Grand-Danang-Resort-Dec-2022-award-calendar-300x250

Base rooms come with a beautiful view of the bay and typically cost over $200 a night.

Track Your Marriott Free Night Certificates with AwardWallet

The only downside of earning Marriott free night certificates is having to keep track of them. Nobody should have to go through the pain of realizing you accidentally let one expire. Thankfully, AwardWallet makes it easy to keep tabs on all of your free night awards.

Marriott-AwardWallet3

If you add your Marriott account to AwardWallet, you'll receive reminder emails whenever your certificates get close to expiring. This makes using them (and not losing them) a lot easier.

Final Thoughts

We love hotel credit cards that offer free night awards. In almost every case, the free night easily justifies the annual fee—even before factoring in other benefits. No card exemplifies this better than the Marriott Boundless. The 35K anniversary free night award certificate easily justifies the card's $95 annual fee.

On a final note, don't get caught up thinking you have to use your certificates at the highest category hotel possible. While we've used comparable cash values as the value metric above, there are other ways to calculate their worth.

For example, I often end up using my certificates for last-minute overnight stays in airport hotels. It's simple, convenient, and it saves me from paying cash when I don't want to. Plus, waiting for the perfect moment to redeem a certificate is a recipe for it to expire unused.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card!
  • Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

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Comments

  • tassojunior says:

    Westin Hapuna Bay is many of our favorite hotel in the world. Stunning beach and architecture. Cheaper than the next door Mauna Kea AC, the Westin is usually in the low 50’s outside of June/July/August.

    St Pancreas Renaissance in London is usually around 50. In the historic train station from where the bullet train to Paris leaves.

    Royal Palm in South Beach is low 50’s in high season and is an outstanding hotel.

  • Michael Dikovitsky says:

    Love the hotel free night certificates. Traveled last year on a 10 day, 9 night road trip to National Parks and used all free nights and points.