For travelers, there’s nothing better than figuring out ways to travel more while spending less money. We travelers love to use points and miles to fly for free and stay at hotels for free. This makes any trip that much more satisfying because of the money saved.
If you’re a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program, you can leverage Marriott free night certificates for free stays in Marriott properties in over 130 countries around the world. Many of the best hotel credit cards offer free night awards, but only certain co-branded Marriott cards have free night certificates specifically for Marriott stays.
In this guide, we’ll show you how Marriott free night certificates work, including how to use and redeem them. We’ll also give you a variety of examples of where you can use your free night certificate so you can get an idea of which Marriott properties are available and the kinds of vacations you might plan.
How Marriott free night certificates work
Marriott provides free night certificates to Marriott Bonvoy members who hold certain co-branded Marriott credit cards. If you compare credit cards from different hotel brands, the best ones typically have a perk for a free night stay, often given out on your card anniversary date. This makes it easy to get an annual free night simply by having the right credit card.
Marriott has partnered with both American Express and Chase to offer different credit card options for fans of Marriott hotels. Because American Express credit cards and Chase credit cards include many of the best travel credit cards available, Marriott’s partnership with these two giant credit card issuers makes sense.
Keep in mind, not every Marriott card has the free night benefit. To get a Marriott free night award, you’ll need one of the following cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Receive a Marriott free night certificate each year after your account anniversary date. This free night is redeemable at any Marriott property with a redemption value of up to 35,000 points. This card has an annual fee of $95. Even better, the current welcome bonus for this card lets you earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Receive one Marriott free night certificate every anniversary year. This free night is valid for a stay worth up to 50,000 points at any Marriott property. This card has an annual fee of $450.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Receive one Marriott free night certificate each year after your card account anniversary. In addition, cardmembers can earn another free night award after making $60,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year. These free nights can be redeemed for stays worth up to 35,000 points at any Marriott property. This card has an annual fee of $125.
Marriott free night certificates are also available through certain Marriott promotions, travel packages, and the Marriott Annual Choice Benefit. If you stay at least 75 eligible nights at Marriott properties in a year, you can choose to receive a Marriott free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points. The 75-night Marriott Annual Choice Benefit is available to loyalty program members who have achieved Titanium Elite status.
How to use a Marriott free night certificate
Marriott has a no-blackout-dates company policy, which is good news if you’re trying to book an award night, either with Marriott Bonvoy points or a free night certificate. With this policy, there shouldn’t be any date that doesn’t have some sort of award space available for you to book. However, this policy doesn’t mean the award space can’t run out.
If there’s a specific date you want to book with your free night certificate, it’s best to check for availability at your preferred Marriott properties as soon as you can. Although there’s plenty to choose from, as Marriott currently has about 30 different brands in its hotel portfolio.
The Marriott hotel chain brands include:
- AC Hotels
- Aloft Hotels
- Autograph Collection Hotels
- Bulgari Hotels & Resorts
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Delta Hotels
- Design Hotels
- EDITION Hotels
- Element by Westin
- Fairfield by Marriott
- Four Points by Sheraton
- Gaylord Hotels
- Homes & Villas by Marriott International
- JW Marriott Hotels
- Le Méridian
- Marriott Executive Apartments
- Marriott Hotels
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Moxy Hotels
- Protea Hotels By Marriott
- Renaissance Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott
- Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
- Springhill Suites by Marriott
- St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
- The Luxury Collection
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott
- Tribute Portfolio Hotels
- W Hotels
Also, a select few Marriott locations may not participate in the no-blackout-dates policy. This primarily includes a few hotels within some of Marriott’s luxury brands and certain hotels in popular vacation destinations.
Here are the hotels that do not participate or fully participate in the Marriott no-blackout-dates policy:
How much a Marriott free night certificate is worth
Marriott free night certificates are available in two varieties: 35,000 points or 50,000 points. This means one type of free night certificate is good for stays at Marriott properties that cost 35,000 points or less, whereas the other type of certificate works at properties that cost 50,000 points or less. All Marriott free night certificates typically have an expiration date of one year from when the certificate was issued.
When it comes to how much Marriott points are worth, it's about .8 cents per point. This would make 35,000 points worth $280 (35,000 x .008 = 280) and 50,000 points worth $400 (50,000 x .008 = 400). Keep in mind, though, the actual value of your points will change depending on the cash price of your stay. For instance, if you pay 50,000 points for a room with a cash price of $500, each point would be worth one cent ($500 / 50,000 = .01). That would be a higher than average redemption rate for your points.
Here’s the breakdown of Marriott hotel categories and how many points you need for an award stay during off-peak season, peak season, and standard nights:
Because Marriott free night certificates are good for stays at properties worth 35,000 points and less or 50,000 points and less, the category of property available to you may vary depending on the time of year.
During standard times, a free night certificate worth 50,000 points would get you a stay at any Category 6 property and below. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the case if you were looking for dates during the peak season, as those nights cost 60,000 points. On the other hand, you could stay at a Category 7 property for 50,000 points during the off-peak season.
How to redeem your Marriott free night certificate
The process for redeeming your Marriott free night certificate is simple and straightforward.
- Log in to your Marriott Bonvoy account to verify your free night certificate is there. You can see your awards in the “Activity” section of your online account.
- Once your free night certificate has been located and verified, go to the Marriott homepage to start the booking process. Put in your destination and preferred dates and be sure to mark the “Use Points / Certificates” box. Then click the “Find Hotels” button.
- Find the hotel you’d like to book for your free night and check the points redemption rate to see that it aligns with how much your certificate is worth. If everything looks good, click on “View Rates.”
- Pick a room that lines up with how much your free night certificate is worth and then click “Select.”
- The system should automatically pull up your Marriott free night certificate as an option if the hotel and room you’ve selected are eligible for the free night. Then it’s just finishing the booking and getting ready for your free night.
4 amazing examples of the best use of a Marriott free night certificate
To help get your travel planning inspiration started, we’ve compiled a short list of possible locations where you can use your Marriott free night certificate. Because the two main free night certificates are worth different amounts of points (35,000 points or 50,000 points), we’ve handpicked a few properties for each type of certificate.
Properties for certificates worth 35,000 points
The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
If you’re interested in visiting the capital of Malaysia, you’d have the opportunity to use your 35,000-point certificate at one of Marriott’s more luxurious brands. The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur is conveniently located in the middle of the city, close to the KL Sentral transit station. From here, it’s easy to explore the sites and landmarks of the city, including the Petronas Twin Towers.
You can also sit back and relax in this Category 5 property and catch views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline as you enjoy the hotel’s dining options, spa, or a drink at the rooftop bar. You can expect the cash price of a standard room here to be at least $150 per night.
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
If you’re going to Hawaii, you most likely want to be close to the beach. At the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort, you and your family will easily be within walking distance of the beach and the beautiful Hawaiian waters.
Top hotel services and amenities include the buffet breakfast and other dining options, plus the outdoor pool area and fitness center. Cash prices for a standard room at this category 5 hotel can easily hit above $300 whereas the points redemption rate is usually 35,000 points.
Properties for certificates worth 50,000 points
JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort
It’s hard to get much closer to Disneyland than by staying at the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort. This newly opened JW Marriott Category 7 hotel typically takes 60,000 points on a standard-priced night, but in the offseason, you can snag a night for 50,000 points. This will put you in one of Marriott’s more luxurious hotel brands and give you the perfect location for your Disneyland adventure.
If you have flexible dates, it’s not hard to find 50,000-point availability in the months leading up to summer and the high season. For cash prices, you can expect to pay around $500 for a standard room.
The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino
If the coast is calling, then you can’t beat a visit to Greece and the Costa Navarino. The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino is a Category 6 Marriott hotel that provides the perfect spot for families to gather and relax together. There’s an Aqua Park, children hubs, indoor sports arena, spa, and individual infinity pools.
Points redemptions are typically 50,000 per night, whereas a cash price might set you back over $300 each night.
Where do I find my Marriott free night certificate?
You can see the Marriott awards you’ve earned, including any free night certificates, when you log into your Marriott Bonvoy online account and look in the “Activity” section. This section will also show you how many points your free night certificates are worth and when they expire.
Do Marriott free night certificates expire?
Marriott free night certificates normally last for one year from the date they were originally issued and this date cannot typically be extended. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, though, Marriott has extended any free night certificates expiring in 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.
With your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, you will receive a free night certificate each year at your anniversary date.
Does Marriott offer 5th night free?
Yes, Marriott offers a fifth-night-free benefit when you redeem your points for five consecutive nights at eligible Marriott properties. With this benefit, you’d only have to use enough points to cover four award nights and you’d get the fifth night for free. Marriott’s fifth-night-free offer is open to anyone, not just Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program members.
Hilton also offers a fifth-night-free reward, whereas IHG offers a 4th night free. You have to be a Silver member or above in its loyalty program to qualify for the Hilton deal, and the IHG promotion is available only to holders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Hyatt doesn’t offer a fourth- or fifth-night-free promotion.
Can someone else use my Marriott certificate?
Marriott free night certificates cannot be used by anyone other than the Marriott Bonvoy member who has the certificate. You can, however, use Marriott points to make an award redemption reservation for someone else if you contact Marriott member support.
Marriott is one of the premier hotel brands in the world, offering its customers high-quality lodging and services across its thousands of properties. If you’re interested in staying at Marriott hotels, a Marriott free night cert is a great way to experience a location you may not have otherwise paid to stay at.
With both Amex and Chase offering multiple co-branded Marriott rewards credit cards, you have plenty of credit card offers to choose from. And that means you also have plenty of easy opportunities to receive Marriott free night certificates each year. In addition, Marriott enthusiasts can earn more free nights through Marriott promotions, Marriott travel packages, and Marriott member benefits.
Don’t forget, it’s easy to stay at a hotel for multiple nights for free when you use points in combination with free night certificates. And it’s easy to earn Marriott Bonvoy bonus points by spending on Marriott cards, participating in the Marriott Bonvoy dining program, staying at Marriott properties, and more.