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There is huge value in the 50,000-point free night award that comes with one of the Marriott co-branded credit cards. You just have to figure out how to maximize it. In short, you will want to redeem it for expensive nights at properties that fit within the 50,000-point redemption threshold. That’s why finding the sweet spots for where best to use it can pay off.
For now, Marriott Bonvoy will let you top off an award with as many as an additional 15,000 points if you find a redemption for up to 65,000 points. This means you can extract even more value from the award’s 50,000-point limit.
While Marriott did away with its helpful award charts that provided a framework of how many points you would need for a given redemption night, we did some sleuthing to find hotels where this award might still work within its points limit or by topping it off with additional points. With its new dynamic pricing model, Marriott charges a variable number of points per night depending on the date. When the hotel is in greater demand, the redemption cost in points is typically more expensive.
How much is the 50,000-point Free Night Award worth?
According to NerdWallet’s latest valuations, Marriott points are worth 0.8 cent each, which means the baseline value of the 50,000-point Free Night Award is worth several hundred dollars.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card comes with its own free night award, but it is only valued at 35,000 points. Terms apply.
Could the Free Night Award be worth more than the annual fee?
The annual fee for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card is $250, and NerdWallet values the Free Night Award at $350. If used properly, you can get immediate benefit when using this at Marriott properties, but it can be stretched even further for more value at some hotels. Terms apply.
On top of that, the cards come with a welcome bonus, elite night bonuses toward Marriott Bonvoy elite status and additional points when using the card (especially when staying at Marriott properties). Terms apply.
» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy card should I get?
What are some of the best uses for the Marriott Free Night Award?
With more than 8,000 properties in 139 countries and territories across 30 different brands ranging from mid-range to luxury, you are sure to find something that appeals to you.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Marriott Bonvoy program
So many choices mean that the free night award’s best use will vary for each person. We’ve picked a few excellent redemption options to serve as a guide for how to squeeze the most value out of the Free Night Award. After all, you wouldn’t want to redeem the free night at a property charging 20,000 points for an award redemption when it is good for a property charging 50,000 points (or even 15,000 points more).
While not exhaustive, here are a handful of great properties where you can score solid value with the Marriott 50,000-point award.
1. JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa - The Maldives
On some nights, the JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa offers a redemption award for less than 65,000 points. This means you can use the award in an exclusive destination for a prized overwater villa. These romantic accommodations are usually quite expensive and rarely available for a standard points redemption elsewhere. Luckily, this resort chooses to stand out from the pack and mark many of its overwater villas as the standard category.
This means when redeeming points here, you can choose between an overwater pool villa or be upgraded to a beachfront villa if you have elite status. While you would have to tack on additional points to use the award here, we think this is a tremendous value considering that one night in an overwater villa in cash can sometimes cost more than $1,100 for the same night (not including tax).
» Learn more: A review of the JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa
2. JW Marriott El Convento Cusco - Peru
If Machu Picchu has been on your bucket list, your Marriott credit card free night award can make that dream come true. Many nights of the year, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco in Peru goes for less than 50,000 points, meaning that you won’t need to supplement it with any of your own points. From here, you can take the train and a subsequent bus to reach Machu Picchu, and this is a popular hotel for those making the famed day trip.
The hotel is housed in a former convent, and it is in Old Town Cusco, putting guests near the main square, great dining options and the area’s history. On many nights, the cash rate is just over $300, which means you aren't fully maxing out the $350 value, but if you have elite status, don’t forget the value of benefits like complimentary breakfast for two people and bonus points that can put you over the edge when visiting an iconic destination.
3. W Aspen - Colorado
A longtime favorite of skiers for its ski-in, ski-out access, W Aspen has a colorful side that goes beyond a snowy backdrop. During the spring, summer and fall months, W Aspen has regular award redemption nights that cost below 65,000 points.
On the dates we checked in fall, many nights were 64,000 points. This means that you could top off your free night award and stay in downtown Aspen. You’ll be within walking distance of fashionable shops, trendy restaurants and the base of the ski resort.
A paid night at W Aspen can cost around $400 per night without tax, ensuring that you’re getting great value from this award. Don’t expect to find this at the peak of ski season (when cash rates can approach four digits), but it’s a great way to experience one of Marriott’s fashion and music-themed brands during the shoulder period.
» Learn more: Hotel review: The W Aspen
4. The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection - New York
Thinking about a trip to New York City? There’s no question that such a visit can be quite expensive, and using this award in New York for a hotel that costs more than $350 is a great way to secure extra value. But it’s not always about surmounting that room rate. Sometimes, it is imperative to factor in the location, too.
If your reason is to use the free night to stay near Times Square and catch a Broadway show from your centrally located room, The Algonquin has some off-season 50,000-point redemption rates. While cash rates may be below $350, the value you can secure from using the award and saving money on taxis to get around may make sense. Remember, it’s not always an exact science.
Sometimes, it depends on the neighborhood you want to be in when it comes to deciding if using this award makes sense.
5. The Westin Paris - Vendôme - France
The Westin Paris - Vendôme offers some low-season redemption nights at 52,000 points, across from the Tuileries Gardens and near the Louvre Museum. These redemptions are usually available during winter, a cold time to be in Paris, it’s still a beautiful city with a lot of history and culture to explore. Using the free night award on such a perfectly located hotel, especially with cash rates between $400-500 before tax, is a solid redemption.
» Learn more: Here's how much your points and miles are worth
How to search for off-peak rates and other good Marriott deals
Now that Marriott has switched to dynamic pricing, it may be possible to find points rates that are often below what the previous categories used to charge.
To search for off-peak rates and other good deals with a specific hotel, start at the hotel’s webpage and select “flexible dates” and choose a particular month so you can see a calendar of daily rates.
Then, you'll see a calendar showing the nightly price with the lowest price highlighted on the calendar. If you travel during shoulder season, you are more likely to find lower rates than during busy periods or holidays.
Maximizing your 50,000-point Free Night Award recapped
The annual up to 50,000-point Free Night Award that comes with two of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards is a huge perk. After paying the annual fee each year, Marriott will deposit the free night award after your card renewal month. Terms apply.
There are many opportunities to extract more value from the award than it may be worth at face value if your travel plans are flexible and you know where to look.
Information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
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 2023, 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