The Top Hotels for Using Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Free Nights The Top Hotels for Using Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Free Nights

The Top Hotels for Using Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Free Nights

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One of the principal benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy co-branded cards is a free night certificate issued each year on your account anniversary. The free night certificate is good for one night in a Marriott property up to the value assigned to your card's free night award, and you’ll continue to receive one every year for as long as you hold the card.

Cards that receive anniversary Marriott free night awards include:

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn three bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Redemption level up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each bonus Free Night Award, at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Earn 3 Marriott Bonvoy® points for every $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on gas stations, grocery stores, and dining
  • Earn 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Each of these cards provides an annual free night certificate just for holding the card. Provided the free night is worth more than the yearly fee, you’ve effectively reduced your out-of-pocket costs to $0 or even made a small profit. Free nights that don’t require additional card spend are a fantastic benefit that provides tangible value for long-term cardholders.

Free night certificates are perfect when you can stack a couple for a weekend getaway if you have two cards or if a friend or family member is a primary cardholder with their own free night certificate. Keep in mind that Marriott allows cardholders to top up the value of the free night award with up to 15,000 points from their Marriott account, providing ample opportunity to use your free night, even if the hotel costs a little more than the free night certificate is worth on its own.

For example, if you top up the 85,000-point free night certificate provided by the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you could potentially stay at Marriott's top-tier properties even if they are charging 100K per night!

How Do Marriott Free Night Awards Compare to Those from Other Cards?

Both the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card and The World of Hyatt Credit Card offer a free night certificate each account anniversary (IHG has requested we call it a reward night) without needing to meet an additional spending requirement, as does the premium Hilton card.

The Hilton free night reward can be redeemed at almost any property, any day of the week. With any of these hotel cards, most folks will have no trouble recouping the value of their credit card's annual fee.

How Do the Free Night Certificates Work?

When you’re ready to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy free night certificate, the process is straightforward and can be done online.

  • Log into your Marriott account.
  • Search for hotels at your destination.
  • Isolate your search to hotels that are equal to or less than the value of your certificate.
  • Select a hotel with standard rooms available.
  • The reservations page will display a message confirming you have an unused free night certificate that can be applied to the booking.
  • Select the option to attach your certificate, top up the transaction with points if needed, and finish your reservation as you normally would.

Related: How To Use Marriott Boundless Free Night Certificates

Our Top Picks for Redeeming Marriott Free Night Certificates

As the value of the free night awards differs between cards, we've included a selection of Marriott properties ranging from 25,000 points for holders of the old Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card to properties asking 100,000 points per night for folks holding the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card since you can top off the certificates with up to 15,000 additional points. Here are a few of our top picks from the U.S. and further afield.

Note that Marriott introduced fully dynamic pricing on award stays in 2023, so you may not find availability using your free night awards every night of the year at these properties.

Irvine Marriott – Irvine, California

Hotel website

outdoor fire pit at the Irvine Marriott
Credit: Marriott

The Irvine Marriott was completely redesigned in 2016 and features restaurants and bars, an onsite Starbucks, and an updated pool and gym. Located less than a mile from John Wayne Airport (SNA) with complimentary shuttles running around the clock, the Irvine Marriott is one of our top picks for free night awards valued at up to 35,000 points.

We found nights priced between 30,000 and 42,000 points throughout 2023, making this redeemable with 25k or 35k free night award certificates — plus topping off with points as necessary.

Marriott Irvine points pricing for 30,000 points per night, making this one of the top hotels for using Marriott free night awards

The Henry, Autograph Collection – Dearborn, Michigan

Hotel website

indoor pool and jacuzzi at The Henry Dearborn Michigan
Credit: Marriott

What does a Ritz-Carlton do when it retires? It reinvents itself as The Henry and slots into Marriott’s luxury Autograph Collection. This award-winning hotel is located in Dearborn, Michigan and provides visitors to the Detroit area with a contemporary luxury that is hard to find. If you’re chasing a mix of luxury and elegance, and a kick-ass indoor pool, The Henry sits near the top of the list for Marriott free night awards valued at 20,000 to 30,000 points.

points calendar for October 2023 at the hotel
This is pricing for October 2023.

St. Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club – Chepstow, Wales (U.K.)

Hotel website

St Pierre Chepstow Wales gardens and front entrance
Credit: Marriott

Heading over the Atlantic to Chepstow in Wales, the St. Pierre is situated amongst 400 acres of pristine parklands. Housed in a 14th-century manor home, you’ll have access to a phenomenal indoor heated pool and a full-service spa, two championship golf courses, and a top selection of cocktail and dining venues. We found rates for this property ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 points per night throughout the year.

St. Pierre Jan 2024 points pricing; this is one of the top hotels for using Marriott free night awards

JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi – Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotel website

JW Marriott Hanoi has an irregular shape and lots of windows
Credit: Marriott

One of our favorite Marriott properties, your first glimpse of the cantilevered JW Marriott Hanoi is a sight to behold. Located well out of the traditional town center in the new CBD of West Hanoi, the JW Hanoi is a top-end luxury hotel unlike anything else you’ll find in Hanoi. Within walking distance to the National Convention Center and the Hanoi Museum, this property charges 22,000 to 30,000 points per night.

JW Marriott Hanoi points pricing flexible dates in December 2023

Warsaw Marriott Hotel – Warsaw, Poland

Hotel website

indoor pool at the Marriott Warsaw
Credit: Marriott

Located in the heart of Warsaw, this Marriott Hotel is a five-star property featuring designer furniture across all rooms, flat-screen TVs, 24-hour room service, five on-site dining options, and a top-class spa. Nightly points pricing ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 throughout the year.

points pricing with flexible dates at the Warsaw Marriott

Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort – Los Cabos (Mexico)

Hotel website

Solaz Los Cabos shows sunset behind a beachfront hotel
Credit: Marriott

The Solaz Luxury Resort in Los Cabos recently reopened after its abrupt closure for renovations in 2021. With six on-site restaurants, you'll have plenty of dining options. Many of its rooms have outdoor showers, private plunge pools, and awesome views of the Sea of Cortez. Nightly cash rates hover above $1,000 with taxes and fees, so using 85k free night award certificates at this property provides great value.

Solaz Los Cabos sometimes has rooms for 85000 points per night making this one of the top hotels for using Marriott free nights


AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach

Hotel website

AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach
Credit: Marriott

The AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach offers stunning waterfront views. It's located near shops, dining, nightlife, the Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), and the Port Everglades cruise port. With its modern design, convenient location, and beachfront setting, the AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach is one of the top hotels for Marriott free night redemptions, pricing at 25,000 to 30,000 most nights.

AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach is available for 25,000 points per night sometimes


Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai

Hotel website

Al Maha, Dubai desert resort
Credit: Marriott

Whether Dubai is your destination or you're just transiting, this property would be a nice way to break up your journey. Al Maha is a desert oasis and one of the best Marriott points redemptions for luxury stays. Al Maha is a five-star resort located about an hour outside Dubai. As an all-inclusive resort, you'll gain access to daily activities like falconry, camel rides, and archery, as well as all meals. However, some activities, like a desert drive, have an additional surcharge.

We found nights for under 100k Marriott points at Al Maha during the off-season from May to October. A night in September would require an 85,000-point free night reward certificate + 7,000 additional Bonvoy points. The cash rate for the same night was about $1,150 — making this an excellent use of the 85k free night reward that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card.

Al Maha Redemption pricing showing use of a free night award


The Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg, Germany

Hotel website

Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg Germany
Credit: Marriott

One of the top hotels for the 35,000-point certificate issued with the Marriott Boundless or the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card can get you a night in The Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg. You'll find this property just 90 minutes west of Berlin by train. This five-star hotel is located within Volkswagen's Autostadt theme park and is surrounded by automotive and architectural design. Some of its unique offerings are its Aqua restaurant, which boasts three Michelin stars, and the floating swimming pool.

Given the cash price of staying at Marriott's top hotels, cardholders should have no issues getting enough value from this use of free night award to compensate for their card's annual fee. We found nightly rates for this hotel to be in the 400–500 Euro range, so using a 35,000 free night certificate would provide above 1.3 cents per point in value.

Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg Germany using 35k free night certificate when pricing is 33,000 points per night

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa

Hotel website

Le Meridien Maldives aerial view
Credit: Marriott

Could any points redemption list be complete without mentioning the aspirational Maldives? While it's not exactly a destination for a weekend getaway, using a free night award here could make sense if you want to extend a planned points redemption. You could take advantage of Marriott's fifth free night when redeeming points and add additional nights using free night awards, making this one of the top Marriott hotels for avoiding cash rates by redeeming instead.

Some nights price at under 50,000 points at this property, which means you could use a 35k certificate and top off as necessary. 

Le Meridien Maldives flexible dates points pricing showing some nights at 50k

Final Thoughts

There's an argument for only redeeming free night certificates when the comparable cash price of the stay is high. But the reality is different. If you find a property that sits at or under the redemption value of your certificate, it works for your travel plans, and it saves you the out-of-pocket expense of paying for the hotel with cash, then it's a good redemption.

If you’re willing to put in some legwork, the free night certificate offered from Marriott co-branded cards can return a ton of value, making these cards an excellent long-term addition to your rewards portfolio.

What do you think are the top hotels for redeeming Marriott free night awards? Do you think we missed any?

4.2 / 5 - (13 votes)
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  • William Dillon says:

    Just used our free night certificate at Marriott Las Vegas convention center. A nice hotel off the strip with lovely rooms thanks for a great post

  • Susan Melvin says:

    More fun 4 and 5 Marriott’s please. Great list!

  • The Austin one is now a category 6??

  • Now I need to get to Vietnam.

  • We typically just use our free night on a simple room we would have otherwise paid for but it’s nice to think about actually making a trip out of the free night certificate!

  • It’s helpful to have a reference point on what’s possible with the certs.

  • Travel card people fall into two camps – those that seek to reduce the cost of their usual (“necessary”) travel and those that seek additional travel with the points. I see comments about why use the card for a courtyard in anywhere USA when you could 4x it in some exotic locale. I get it but I am not trying to add trips (cost) beyond the family’s annual plan. Even driving 3 hours to Dearbon Mich to “optimize” my certificate is not smart when I end up spending hundreds more for the privilege of a cool hotel room. I would rather use on a springhill (free paring, free breakfast, free internet, often a pool that works for the kids) on my way to a cruise or WDW – even though the cash value is $90 versus the $300 Autograph. Not judging those in the first camp – burning a few hundred thou in MR or UR points to fly two people in first to SE Asia – but it is not me. The next blog should be the secret deals near WDW, NYC, FLA beaches that are both clean and category 5.

  • Love this list too. I am interested in more domestic ideas. Are there any beach properties in the USA?

  • I thought cat 5 ( or less ) would be easier to find in more usable locations. Don’t have the marriot card but have a free cat 5 night from the current promo: not sure where to actually use it without going well outside of a city center just for the sake of using it.

  • If coming to Austin, another good Category 5 is the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Fredericksburg, Texas (in the Texas Hill country wine region 90 minutes West of Austin)

  • Would you really use the Cert for a Cat 4 ($87/night) hotel? The cert effectively costs $85 via the annual fee on the card. I’m new to the certificate side of the game, having just picked up IHG and Hyatt cards this year.

  • Gotta try some of these 😉

  • That Hanoi hotel is so amazing! I wish I can visit the place next year.

  • Can you save the free night one year so that you have 2 nights the next year?

  • just booked the Courtyard Newark Airport with a cert. Not the most pricey use of it, but it was going to expire soon and we have an overnight at the airport coming up.

  • Thanks for the ideas. I never know what to do with my cert every year. Searching manually was so painful.

  • This is a great list. Thanks! Marriott has some sweet spots.

  • Some great properties to consider. Keep in mind that good deals on redemption can also be found at smaller properties. We recently redeemed a free night at a Courtyard by Marriott where the nightly rate was over $250. Not exactly an inspirational property, but a good value for using the free night certificate.

  • Sadly I am above 5/24 rule from chase. Or I will definite get this Marriot benefit.

  • THanks for the post! Hope to see some great cat 1-5 marriotts in California! (I’m still looking.)

  • Thanks for U.S. option advice. Love the looks of Austin.

  • Great list – thank you! Will need to get to Hanoi again. I’ve used mine at the Marriott Bangkok Sukhumvit and while not necessarily a super value (rates are rarely more than $140 there) it is a beautiful hotel in a great location – the seventh floor pool with a view and the rooftop bar are awesome.

  • makes me wish….

  • Thank you for the thoughts on the best hotels to use it for! I was reading an article about hotels that still had available suites or rooms for the Thanksgiving day parade in NYC. Know any we could use our certifs or points for? Or maybe which to stay at if you want that magical Christmas in NYC?

  • The JW Phu Quoc is definitely on our list for the next time we’re in Vietnam!

  • Courtyard Hangzhou China is also amazing value as a Category 2 and rated one of the best hotels in that city.

  • This is great! Im about to earn a free night.

  • thank you, perfect timing. I am thinking of booking a night in Austin.

  • Some of these look amazing! I definitely want to visit them.

  • I dont have a favorite per se but I find any redemption that saves me out of pocket cash, worthwhile. By the looks of it though that one JW MARRIOTT Phu Quoc looks amazing and would likely end up being my favorite LOL!

  • IMO if you are getting a Marriott VISA, do not put too much weight in that annual category 1-5 certificate because that value of that certificate has really diminished as Marriott greatly devalued their rewards program in the past 10 years. As an example, their annual free cat 1-5 certificate used to NOT allow cat 6 and 7 hotels, and there were only like five cat 7’s in the world. Today, that SAME annual free cat 1-5 night certificate cannot not be used at cat 6, 7, 8, and 9 hotels, of which there are numerous cat 9’s in the world. If you can actually find good use in the certificate, that is good for you as you would be in the minority; but in the past, many people could find value in the certificates.

  • Thanks for the tips

  • Catherine Soulard says:

    Dont forget about The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews By-The-Sea. Great hotel, was a Fairmont before changing to Autograph collection. Spent 3 nights there this past summer using 3 free nights certificates, nightly rate was 350USD. Upgraded to a suite thanks to SPG platinum.

  • My favorite is the courtyard edgewater NJ. It is located just across the river to NYC, a short ferry ride away. And parking is free! A cheap alternative to staying in Manhattan.

  • I will have to consider getting one more credit card?

  • Bertrand Say says:

    I wish there were no category restrictions like the chase Ihg card on the free night certificate.

  • Always interesting to see what properties are within our grasp. Thx.

  • Luciano Amorim says:

    Updating my wish list!

  • thanks for the info

  • Phu Quoc looks amazing

  • Thank you for the rundown. I never wanted to apply for a hotel car instead of a airline bonus card because of the number of airline mile offers available, but I do see it’s value (and that of the other hotel cards you provide as a comparison.

  • Some useful info here, and great places to stay.

  • Patrick O’Hearn says:

    That’s a great list , unlikely i would visit any but 2: Austin and Wales. The problem I have discovered with the Hyatt and Marriott categories is, for example, in So. California if I wanted to take a road trip weekend there’s very few locations that are at all appealing. For example, if you want to go to the desert, mariott no longer offers accommodations in Palm Springs; you have to drive further out to one of their hotels right off the main freeway not located anywhere where you really want to be. Hyatt may be a bit better, but IHG is the best because their top of the line properties worldwide are included. I got an entirely free weekend at the Venetian in Las Vegas with my anniversary certificate as well as my ambassador welcome certificate; I’ve also used it for the stay at the Intercontinental in Lisbon. And with Platinum ambassador status (and being nice to the front desk), generally they seek to please and might upgrade you or allow you to use the ambassador club.

  • Phu Quoc seems a great option.

  • this is such a nice list! love it.

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    Great resource as usual!

  • That Hanoi and Wales ones look attractive.

  • Great list, thanks for compiling it.

    Like you, I’m looking for good value. My vote for a Marriott 1-5 would be the Courtyard Miraflores in Lima, Peru. I had a very memorable breakfast (included in the cert rate) that might be my best hotel breakfast ever.

    Since the Marriott travel package lowest rate also are for Categories 1-5, we are exploring the options. The AC Madrid was centrally located in downtown Madrid, near the Prado and train station. That made it a good launch point for day trips by train to nearby points of interest.

    Neither of these recommendations are “aspirational,” but good clean hotels in a good location.

  • Have used the Marriott certificates for several years. While you may not have an amazing room, many of the hotels are located in places that are well worth visiting. Loved seeing the Austin hotel on this list. Besides that, there are several Residence Inns in Virginia within a couple of blocks of the Metro for sightseeing in DC. Another example is staying in Bellevue, near the Museum of Flight and Seattle.

  • I am able to find Category 5 availability in areas I visit. They may not be aspirational but as you say they provide value to me and save me money. An individual’s valuation is most important but you make dreaming nice too.

  • Sarah Willard says:

    Wow! Thanks for doing the leg work. I see several that I may have to detour through on future vacations.

  • I got a great deal using Marriott points at a Residence Inn for December.


    I have stayed at the Henry before. Very, very nice property. It can be hard to find a parking spot, however, and I would avoid the nearby mall.

  • Marriott Warsaw, can’t believe it’s a category 1-5. Heck Don Trump, our President, stayed there. It’s a fantastic hotel and right next to the train station and a short ride to the airport.

    • Agree. It is a great hotel, fantastically convenient location, with tremendous staff. Superb value either using the free night or even for that old fashioned commodity, money!

  • I have a free night from Marriott and Hyatt, but neither will help me when I travel to Hawaii next year (Oahu and Big Island) because everything is above a category 5.

  • Thanks for creating this amazing list. Lot of good choices to use my points with.

  • I just used mine for a trip to Arizona. Nice place to visit this time of year.

  • I need to check out the JW Hanoi, although its location doesn’t really look that good for tourists.

  • Great inspiration material!

  • thanks for the list and advise.

  • Thanks, some interesting options here…

  • Great list with the tiers. Thanks for listing.

  • Thanks for the info! Very helpful.

  • I’ve had the IHG Card for years. I’m going to have to seriously consider getting this card also. (And maybe the Hyatt Card). I consider the night not to be free, but paid for by the annual fee. Which can give great value.

  • Great list! Thank you!

  • Thanks for the list. Manually searching is painful.

  • Thanks for this list. Do you think the Marriott card offer will go beyond 80,000 points anytime soon, or as this as high as it’s likely to get before the merger?