The Best Uses of Marriott’s 85,000-Point Free Night Award

That 85K free night award could go a way toward making a stay at one of these dream properties more affordable.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Edited by Meg Lee

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Do you have an annual free night award from Marriott? These come as a perk on a handful of different Marriott credit cards. Each year, you’ll be able to redeem these awards for single-night stays at various Marriott properties around the world.

However, only one card comes with the coveted 85,000-point Marriott Free Night Award: the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

Let’s examine the five best uses of your 85,000 Marriott point award and whether they’re worth getting.

What is the 85,000-point Free Night Award worth?

The 85,000-point award is provided each year to those with a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Marriott points at 0.8 cent each, making this award worth $595. This means you’ll want to redeem your award for a hotel stay at or above this amount to get the best value.

Does the free night award pay for itself?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium travel card with an annual fee to match. You’ll pay $650 in fees each year, but in return, you’ll receive the 85,000-point award, a $300 dining credit and a variety of other perks. Terms apply.

The card also comes with a pretty hefty welcome offer: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

With such a hefty fee for the card alone, the free night award, at minimum, will return a large chunk of the annual fee. It’s also possible to redeem your award for hotels charging over $1,000 per night, which means you can get great value from the award.

The best Marriott 85K hotels

Marriott dropped its award chart in March 2022 in favor of a dynamic award chart; pricing for award nights is now tied to the cash rate of a room. As a result, you’ll find dramatic pricing changes for properties based on demand.

While this change makes it more challenging to plan redemptions, it is possible to sort through nightly rates at ultra-high-end hotels to find outsized value for your free night award.

So, what can you get with 85,000 points at Marriott?

1. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort — Miami, Florida.

Are you looking to stay within the United States? The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is a 5-star resort located directly on the beach in Miami. Room rates here are universally expensive, which means you’ll be able to snag a great redemption value at this property.

Even better, the base room includes an ocean view, often considered an upgrade at other hotels.

While it can cost as few as 80,000 points for your stay, you can still use your free night award — valid for stays up to 85,000 points. And with a cash price of more than $1,000 per night, you’re still coming in well above this award's $595 baseline value.

2. The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert — United Arab Emirates

Famous for its exclusive destination within a nature reserve, the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah is located in the UAE. Each room here is its 1,700-square-foot villa and includes a private pool for maximum enjoyment.

Cash rates at this property usually exceed $1,000 per night. In the below example, 5,116 AED converts to $1,392 — making this a great use of your free night award.

3. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort — The Maldives

The quintessential award traveler's destination, it’s easy to redeem your Marriott Free Night Award in the Maldives. The hotel chain features multiple properties, but among its best is the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, whose base room includes an overwater villa and private pool.

Cash rates for these rooms are exorbitant — you’ll often find pricing upwards of $3,000 per night, so redeeming your award here becomes an especially appealing option.

Note that you’ll still be on the hook for transfers. In this case, a shared seaplane transfer costs $745 round-trip per adult, so you’ll want to factor that into your vacation budget. Also, you'll probably not want to go to the Maldives for a single-night stay, so be sure your trip budget can absorb the nightly rate for stays before/after you redeem your award.

4. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua — Hawaii.

If Hawaii has been on your list, consider the Ritz-Carlton Maui, whose rooms average $1,000 per night. While you won’t have a whole villa here, its location is much easier to access than other farther-flung destinations.

This hotel tends to have better close-in availability, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for room rates as your vacation approaches. Otherwise, the hotel charges a default of 120,000 points per night, which is well above the bounds of your free night award.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Max My Point is an excellent free website that’ll show you a year’s worth of award availability for Marriott hotels, making it easy to find dates for your free night award.

5. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch — Colorado.

Are you a fan of the outdoors? The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, located in Colorado, offers unparalleled access to the wilderness.

As a ski-in resort, you’ll be able to hit the slopes outside your room without needing a shuttle. In the summer, you can enjoy the excellent hiking nearby or the resort’s easy access to world-class golf courses.

Be aware that room rates here vary significantly according to the season. You’ll see nightly prices ranging from $320 to $3,100, so redeem your award with care.

If you want to redeem 85,000 Marriott points

Marriott’s most premium credit card awards cardholders a free night award worth up to 85,000 points each year. With its new dynamic pricing system, it can be more challenging to find great value when redeeming these awards, but there are still some excellent properties if you’re willing to search.

Whether you’re looking to snorkel at the St. Regis Maldives or ski at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, you’ll be able to redeem your award for a hotel stay that maximizes your Free Night Award.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Marriott Cards from our Partners
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

on Chase's website

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card. 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 3 Free Night Awards (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!

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

on Chase's website

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® and 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains). 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.

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