How to use a Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point certificate

Feb 11, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with information about Marriott’s award chart changes. 

I’ve got multiple Marriott cobranded credit cards in my wallet because of the annual up-to-35,000-point award certificate they provide each year. Paying the annual fees on these cards is more than worth it to me because of the big value I get out of the annual award night.

The currently available Marriott cards that award this up to 35k point-certificate at each account renewal include:

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

The news of Marriott’s upcoming March 4 award chart changes means now is a good time to consider using any Marriott 35k certificates you’ve been sitting on. That’s because, as TPG’s analysis indicates, many more properties will be moving up a category on March 4 than moving down. In fact, 216 current Marriott Category 5 hotels will be moving up to a Category 6, and out of range of a 35k certificate.

So, let’s review how to use these certificates in case the property you have your eye on is moving up a category.

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Courtyard Kauai (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

How to use a Marriott 35,000-point certificate

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

Wait for your credit card account anniversary

Within eight weeks from the card anniversary day on an eligible Marriott credit card, a Reward Night Award e-Certificate should be automatically deposited into your Marriott Bonvoy account. I received an email when the certificate was deposited. In terms of timing, my Marriott card anniversary date was mid-September and the award was deposited in November.

Check activity in your Marriott account

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

You should see the certificate under “Earned Awards.”

Courtesy of Marriott

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. Note that during peak dates, a Category 5 property will be out of range of a 35k certificate. Choose your desired room type, and at checkout, you will be given the option to pay using your Marriott 35,000-point certificate.

Courtesy of Marriott

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.

Courtesy of Marriott

Be sure the 35k certificate is refunded if you cancel your stay

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 to Marriott.

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.

If you are booking before March 4, some hotels to consider include:

  • Westin Snowmass
  • Sheraton Kauai Resort
  • AC Hotel New York Times Square
  • Renaissance Aruba Resort
  • Marriott Marquis Houston
  • W New Orleans – French Quarter
  • The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club

But, after March 4, those are off the table. Options remaining after March 4 include:

Sheraton Kona (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Use your 35k award at the Sheraton Kona (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

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.

Courtesy of Marriott

Related: Best places to use a Marriott 35k award certificate

Bottom line

Annual hotel award nights make it much easier to say yes to credit cards that carry annual fees. And, even with Marriott’s award chart  changes, my family will still likely get several hundred dollars in value from the Marriott 35,000-point certificates that we enjoy each year from a variety of our Marriott cobranded cards.

These awards can kick-start trips to the slopes for a ski vacation, take you to an all-inclusive resort, the beach or even score you an above-average room in the middle of an expensive city like Manhattan, where you can still use the certificate at places like Moxy NYC Chelsea and Residence Inn New York Downtown. Or, there’s always Paris.

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

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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