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How I Traveled for Free: A Weekend in Florida Using Marriott Free Nights

Jan. 11, 2019
Loyalty Programs, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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This cardholder and a friend both had free night certificates from Marriott, so they decided to put them together for a quick getaway.

The cardholder

Name: Ronnie Barker
Age: 61
Occupation: Crisis Responder/Victim Advocate
Credit card: Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

The stay

Hotel name and city: Courtyard Naples in Naples, Florida
Dates of stay: June 2 – 4, 2018
Type of room: Standard room with two queen beds

Q: What amenities did you take advantage of?

A: I used the fitness center.

Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?

A: I stayed at the hotel with a friend. I live in Florida and my friend was visiting me from New York. I had a free night available as a Marriott Rewards cardholder and my friend had one as well, so we decided to use them back-to-back and share a room in Naples for the weekend. We went kayaking in the mangroves and explored the city and surrounding areas such as Marco Island.

The card and loyalty program

Q: What credit card did you use to get a free stay?

A: Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card.

Q: How long were you a cardholder at that time?

A: Just over two years.

Q: How long were you planning/saving for this stay?

A: Two months.

Q: What’s your favorite perk of this card/program?

A: The annual free night certificate.

Redemption and booking

Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?

A: No.

Q: Where/how did you book?

A: I called to book the free night and make sure the reservations were connected so we wouldn’t have to change rooms.

Q: How many points/rewards did this cost?

A: It would have cost 25,000 Marriott points per night, but we used two free night certificates.

Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?

A: No.

Q: Any surprises or hassles?

A: No.

What’s your next travel rewards goal?

I am planning a trip to Costa Rica and use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points I have saved up for the flight.

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 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
How I flew for free: Miles to the rescue for a family emergency
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About the author