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There are several Marriott cobranded credit cards that have a permanent place in my wallet because of the annual up to 35,000-point award certificate they provide each year. The currently available Marriott cards that award this certificate at each renewal include:

If you maximize the annual 35k award for a property selling for $200 to $300 per night, you’ve likely more than offset the annual fee for these cards each year. (Note that the new Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase does not offer a free night certificate.)

Sheraton Kauai (photo courtesy of the hotel)
Use a 35k-point certificate at the Sheraton Kauai. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

How to Use a Marriott 35,000-Point Certificate

Once you’ve earned your annual free night certificate, it’s easy to use it at a range of properties.

Wait for Your Credit Card Account Anniversary

Once you reach your account anniversary with the cards described above, within eight weeks from that date, a Free Night Award E-Certificate should be automatically deposited in to your Marriott Bonvoy account. I do not recall seeing an email alerting me that the certificate had been deposited in my account, but it is possible I missed a notification. I do know that my Marriott card anniversary date was mid-September and the award was deposited in early November.

Check Activity In Your Marriott Account

To see if an anniversary Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point certificate has been deposited in your account, log in to Marriott Bonvoy and click on “Activity.”

You should see the certificate under “Earned Awards.”

Use a Marriott 35,000-Point Certificate Within One Year

The Marriott 35k anniversary certificates are valid for one year from the date of issuance, so be sure to use the certificate before it expires or its value to you is exactly zero. This is your travel by date, not your book by date.

Search for a 35,000 Point (Or Less) Per Night Hotel

To use the Marriott 35k certificate, simply search for hotels using Marriott Bonvoy points like normal and select one that prices at 35,000 Marriott points per night or less. Choose your desired room type, and at checkout you will be given the option to pay using your Marriott 35,000-point certificate.

While you cannot upgrade the certificate with additional points to stay at a higher category hotel (though that would be awesome), you can use the certificate in conjunction with points to stay multiple nights on the same reservation.

Be Sure the 35k Certificate Is Refunded If You Cancel

If your plans change and you need to cancel the reservation made with your certificate, just keep a close eye on your Marriott account to ensure the certificate is indeed redeposited. TPG has received reports of this redeposit process sometimes requiring a phone call.

Best Hotels for a Marriott 35,000-Point Certificate

Obviously, the best theoretical use of a Marriott 35k certificate is at a hotel that costs at, or very close, to 35,000 points per night — though you can use them for lower-tier properties. You can use the certificates as one night of a longer stay, or when you just need one night of lodging on your journey. Some potential uses include:

Westin Snowmass (photo courtesy of hotel)
Westin Snowmass (Photo courtesy of hotel)

For more ideas on where to use Marriott 35k certificates:

Depending on when and where you redeem your award, these certificates can be used at hotels that sometimes sell for several hundred dollars per night, making them quite valuable.

Bottom Line

Annual hotel award nights make it much easier to say yes to credit cards that carry annual fees. My family will easily get several hundred dollars in value from the Marriott 35,000-point certificates that we will enjoy each year from a variety of our Marriott cobranded cards. These awards can kick-start trips to the slopes for a ski vacation or get you close to a theme park, the beach or even score you an above average room in the middle of a pricey city like Manhattan or Paris.

AC Hotel New York Downtown (Photo courtesy of Marriott)
AC Hotel New York Downtown (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Now that you know how to use a Marriott 35,000-point award, where do you plan to put it to good use?

Featured image by Shuttestock.com

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card offers a lot of the same benefits and a great sign-up bonus. If you're looking to jump start your Bonvoy rewards earning, this card is a good option.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • An additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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