Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a 50,000-point free night certificate which allows you to book a Category 1 through 6 stay at a standard rate, a Category 1 through 7 stay at an off-peak rate or a Category 1 through 5 stay at a peak rate. Although the card comes with a $450, the $300 annual statement credit reduces the fee to $150. Terms apply.
Marriott points are worth 0.7 cent each, valuing the 50,000 point free night award at more than $300. If you have any use for the 50,000 free night award, the value of the award certificate more than outweighs the $150 net annual fee. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart
If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, you will receive a free night certificate worth 35,000 points. With that value, you can generally book a night at properties in Category 1 through 5. Given that 90% of all of Marriott’s properties fall into these categories, there are plenty of ways to use that certificate, too.
» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy card should I get?
It's easy to use the 50,000 point free night award at Marriott
Marriott is one of the largest international hotel chains, with over 7,600 properties in 131 countries and 30 different brands ranging from mid-range to luxury. With 97% of all Marriott hotels falling into Category 1 through 6, using the free night award is pretty easy.
» Learn more: Marriott Bonvoy program: The complete guide
Although this list is by no means exhaustive, we’ve narrowed down five great 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 (Category 7)
The Matild Palace is a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest, which reopened in Budapest in the spring of 2021, is a former imperial palace 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 your trip to Budapest, consider using your 50,000 point free night certificate when the property is offered at an off-peak rate. We checked all of 2022, and the off-peak rate was widely available in January and February 2022.
2. Courtyard New York Manhattan/SoHo (Category 6)
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 New York 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.
3. Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel (Category 7)
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 (even leading up to Christmas). This 5-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 scant availability in October and November of 2021, and ample availability in January and February 2022.
» Learn more: Here's how much your points and miles are worth
4. Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel (Category 6)
The Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is a 5-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 famous 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 (Category 6)
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.
You will then 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 (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 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 your account opening anniversary. When incorporating the $300 annual credit at Marriott properties, the $450 reduces the fee significantly, which is more than further offset by the value of the Marriott free night award. 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 2021, 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