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One of the principal benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy co-brand 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, 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 – Free night valued at up to 35,000 points
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Free night valued at up to 25,000 points
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Free night valued at up to 25,000 points
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card – Free night valued at up to 50,000 points
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express – Free night valued at up to 35,000 points
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Free night valued at up to 35,000 points. Terms Apply.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card – Free night valued at up to 50,000 points
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 for a couple that wants to piggyback two of them for a weekend away if each is a primary cardmember on their own card.
How Do Marriott Free Night Awards Compare to Those from Other Cards?
Both the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and The World Of Hyatt Credit Card offer a free night certificate each account anniversary, without needing to meet an additional spend requirement, as does the new premium Hilton card.
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card – Free Night up to 40,000 points after each account anniversary year – $89 Annual Fee (Sweet spots with IHG free night certificate)
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card – Free night certificate every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 hotel or resort – $95 Annual Fee (World of Hyatt Sweet Spots)
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – One Weekend Free Night Certificate each year on your account anniversary – $450 Annual Fee
The IHG free anniversary night has the lowest annual fee, but the new category restrictions on the IHG free night and the increased annual fee on the card have reduced the value of the free night. When you factor in the annual fees, the annual free night received with the Marriott cards is comparable in value to any of the cards above, and most folks will have no trouble recouping the value of the annual fee.
How Do the Free Night Certificates Work?
When you’re ready to redeem your free night certificate, the process is straightforward and can be done online.
- Log into your Marriott account
- Isolate your search to hotels that are equal to or less than the value of your certificate
- Search for hotels in your destination
- Select a hotel with standard rooms available
- The reservations page will display a message confirming you have an unused free night certificate
- Select the option to attach your certificate and finish your booking
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 Rewards Card, through to properties fetching 50,000 points per night for folks holding the SPG Luxury Amex. Here are a few of our top picks from the U.S. and further afield.
Having just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, the refreshed Irvine Marriott has been completely redesigned and features new room/suite designs, new restaurants and bars, an onsite Starbucks, and an updated pool and gym. Located less than a mile from John Wayne Airport with complimentary shuttles running around the clock, the Irvine Marriott is one of our top picks for free night awards valued up to 35,000 points.
- Category 5 (35,000 points) / $185 per night
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 Detroit 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 up to 25,000 points.
- Category 4 (25,000 points) / $249 per night
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.
- Category 4 (25,000 points) / $105 per night
One of my 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. Walking distance to the National Convention Center and the Hanoi Museum, the JW Marriott Hanoi dropped from a category 4 to a category 3 during recent award chart changes, charging just 17,500 points per night.
- Category 3 (17,500 points) / $172 per night
Located in the heart of Warsaw and fresh of the back of a stunning renovation, the Warsaw Marriott Hotel is a 5-star property featuring designer furniture across all rooms, flat-screen TV's, 24-hour room service, five on-site dining options, and a top-class spa.
- Category 4 (25,000 points) / $159 per night
The DO & CO Hotel is located in the heart of Vienna, overlooking St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Walking distance from the Viennese opera house, the Hofburg Imperial Castle, and the Albertina museum, the hotel falls under the Design Hotels umbrella and offers 43 rooms and suites. The DO & CO Restaurant located on the top floor of the building offers impressive views over the city skyline with the cathedral front and center. If food plays a big part in your travel experiences then this hotel should tick all the boxes.
- Category 5 (35,000 points) / $319 per night
Trawling the thousands of changes to the Marriott award chart recently we stumbled onto the Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park, which has increased from 40K per night to 50K, right on the money for the high-end free night award issued with Marriott affiliated cards. The hotel is walking distance from the Rockefeller Center, Broadway Theatre, Times Square and Central Park, and when you're done exploring the Big Apple, you can retire to your room and soak up the views.
- Category 6 (50,000 points) / $332 per night
The St. Regis Mexico City is located on the historic Paseo de la Reforma Boulevard, an iconic European style boulevard tracking through the heart of Mexico City. You'll gain access to the famous St. Regis Butler service, a stunning indoor pool, and multiple high-end dining options, all within a stone's throw of the Independence Angel statue and the Castle of Chapultepec. The St. Regis Mexico City drops from 60K points a night to 50K points in Marriott's latest round of award chart changes.
- Category 6 (50,000 points) / $453 per night
While not returning the same monetary value on your free night certificate as other hotels on this list, the Château de la Resle offers a rare experience for points and miles fans that is hard to place a cash value on. Located 90 minutes north of Paris in the winemaking region of Burgundy, the Château de la Resle a privately run B&B style château advertising itself as the smallest hotel to fall under the Design Hotels umbrella. Boasting an immense private art and sculpture collection, each room has been handcrafted to compliment the one-of-a-kind artworks it houses. This property previously cost 60K Rewards points per night, but thanks to the recent Marriott reshuffle, it has dropped to 50K. A perfect redemption for the free night on the SPG Luxury Amex.
- Category 6 (50,000 points) / $343 per night
Note: All sample room rates were taken 3 months out using the lowest-level standard room.
There's an argument for only redeeming free night certificates when the comparable cash price of the stay is high. But the reality is if you find a property that sits at or under the redemption value of your certificate, it works for your travel plans and 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 with the Marriott co-brand cards can return a ton of value, making these cards an excellent long-term addition to your rewards portfolio.
What’s your favorite hotel to redeem Marriott free night certificates? Let us know in the comments.
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