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If you don’t want to pay with cash for a stay at a Marriott, you have two options: using your Marriott points or using a free night award certificate. The certificates are provided as part of the welcome offer or as an annual perk on certain Marriott credit cards. The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card come with an up to 50,000-point free night certificate every year after your card renewal month while the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card comes with a 35,000-point free night certificate. Terms apply.
If you’re instead looking for information on how to use 50,000 Bonvoy points, check out this article.
What is the 50,000-point free night award worth?
Marriott points are worth 0.7 cent each, valuing the 50,000-point free night award at $350.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart
Does the free night certificate pay for itself?
The 50,000 free night award is worth approximately $350, according to NerdWallet's valuations. The value of the certificate more than offsets the two Marriott cards' annual fee. In addition to the Free Night Award, you can also earn the following welcome offers:
Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card (annual fee: $250): Earn 125,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card (annual fee: $250): Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy card should I get?
The best ways to use your Marriott free night award
It's easy to use the 50,000-point free night award at Marriott, as the hotel group is one of the largest international hotel chains. Its portfolio has over 7,600 properties in 131 countries and 30 different brands ranging from mid-range to luxury.
» Learn more: Marriott Bonvoy program: The complete guide
Although this list is by no means exhaustive, we’ve narrowed down five properties in the U.S., Caribbean, Europe and Asia that could be booked with the 50,000-point certificate.
How to use your Marriott free night award
1. Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest
The Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, reopened in Budapest in spring 2021. The former imperial palace was built in 1902. The hotel boasts a lot of history and is even listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
If you’re fancying a stay at a palace during a trip to Budapest, consider using your 50,000-point free night certificate when the property is offered at an off-peak rate. We checked 2022, and the off-peak rate was widely available in January and February 2022.
2. Courtyard New York Manhattan/SoHo
Thinking about a trip to New York City? You could use your free night to stay in trendy SoHo at the Courtyard New York Manhattan/SoHo, which is a Category 6 hotel. New York City has many Marriott properties in midtown or the Upper East Side, but staying downtown can provide a more authentic experience. The hotel also has a gym that includes Peloton bikes and free Wi-Fi for all guests.
A scan of the calendar through September 2022 shows rates between 35,000 and 60,000 points per night, with plenty of availability at the 50,000-point nightly rate.
If you stay for five nights, use your free night certificate for a night that costs 50,000 points. This way, your entire stay will only cost 140,000 Bonvoy points (assuming a 40,000-point rate per night).
3. Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel
The Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel is a Category 7 property with solid availability at the off-peak rate of 50,000 points over the next several months. This five-star hotel is a block away from the Place Vendome and the Tuileries Garden, as well as a 10-minute walk to the Louvre museum and Opera Garnier.
Although winter is a cold time to be in Paris, it’s still a beautiful city with a lot of history and culture to explore. So if the cold doesn’t deter you, taking advantage of the off-peak rate at this property could be worthwhile. You could use the free night certificate to splurge if you have a layover in Paris or add it onto a five-night award stay, which would cost 160,000 Bonvoy points.
A scan of the calendar through September 2022, shows ample availability in January and February 2022.
» Learn more: Here's how much your points and miles are worth
4. Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
The Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is a five-star Category 6 property on floors 38 through 57 of Japan’s tallest building. If you’re headed to Osaka for business and want to add on an extra day for personal time, this property could be a great option for using your free night certificate.
The hotel is near Universal Studios Japan, the Shinsaibashi shopping district and the Dotonbori district, which is popular for nightlife and entertainment.
A glance at the calendar through September 2022 shows a lot of availability through mid-April and again in August 2022 at the 50,000-point rate. If you’re planning a trip to Japan during the cherry blossom season in the spring, you could still score a night at this property using your certificate.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
5. Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel
Hong Kong is a common overnight layover destination on long-distance flights from the U.S. to Southeast Asia. If you have a layover in Hong Kong, consider using your free-night certificate at the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel. After such a long flight, pampering yourself at this fancy property could be exactly what you need.
The hotel is located in Wan Chai, which is close enough to nightlife and sightseeing, so it’s a good option as a base for exploring. The rooms have views of the hotel’s gardens, the outdoor pool or Victoria Harbour, which is truly beautiful. The property also has a tennis court and a 24-hour gym if you want to work out. Hong Kong’s metro system is extremely efficient, so it's easy to get around and see a lot, especially if your layover is a long one.
The hotel’s calendar shows decent availability at the 50,000-point rate all through September 2022.
How to find more off-peak rates at Marriott hotels
To see when off-peak rates are available for a specific hotel, go to the hotel’s webpage and instead of entering exact dates, select “flexible dates” and choose a month so you can see a calendar of daily rates.
Then, you'll see a calendar showing the nightly price. There are two tricks to finding off-peak rates: Be flexible and travel during shoulder season.
For example, above is the nightly price for a room on points in January 2022 at the Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest, which is a Category 7 property. The off-peak rate is 50,000 points, which could be booked with your free-night award. If you’re traveling in January rather than December (a popular holiday season), you’ll be able to find a room at a reduced rate.
If you want to spend your 50,000-point free night award
The annual up to 50,000-point free night certificate that comes with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a huge perk. As long as you keep paying the annual fee, Marriott will deposit the free night certificate each year on after your card renewal month. Terms apply.
When incorporating the $300 annual credit at Marriott properties and the $350 value of the free night award, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card's $650 is completely offset, as long as you actually spend that much at Marriott properties every year. In September, the $300 Marriott credit will be replaced with a new benefit of up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide. Terms apply.
Whether you choose to use your certificate for a single night or add it into a bigger vacation plan, you’ll have plenty of hotel options to choose from.
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 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card