Unlock incredible value by using your free-night certificate at Category 7 Marriott properties
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Last year, Marriott switched to dynamic award pricing, which means that award rates for hotels now contain three different tiers: peak, off-peak and standard. While this has meant that many properties have seen an unfortunate surge in the per-night cost, it has also opened up some very high-end properties to holders of Marriott’s anniversary free-night certificate awarded by the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
You can use these certificates at hotels that cost up to 50,000 points per night, which has previously meant that they’re valid at properties up to Category 6. With the change, however, cardholders can now redeem their free nights at hotels up to Category 7 during off-peak pricing.
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Let’s take a look at Marriott Bonvoy’s award chart, featuring all three pricing levels:
You’ll note that for every other award level, there is no cross between category pricing. However, Category 7 hotels at an off-peak rate drop to just 50,000 points/night, which is the same rate as a standard Category 6.
For cardholders, this opens up an incredible opportunity to redeem free-night certificates at ultra-luxurious hotels, like the The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, a high-end hotel in Hawaii where rates regularly run $700 or more per night.
For a credit card with a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees), this is pretty amazing value (not to mention the other numerous benefits, including up to $300 in statement credits for Marriott purchases and automatic Gold elite status). Other options include the The Westin St. John Resort Villas (which also happens to be a PointSavers hotel).
If you don’t have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card (or prefer a card with a lower annual fee), you can still redeem Marriott points for off-peak award nights at Category 7 properties for 50,000 points per night. There are plenty of ways to earn Marriott points, and right now is a good time to consider boosting your points balance because two Marriott cards are offering increased welcome bonuses:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. ($95 annual fee)
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Marriott points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening (no annual fee)
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card also comes with an anniversary free-night award, but it’s limited to hotels that cost 35,000 points or less (up to Marriott Category 5 at standard pricing). You won’t find as many luxurious stay opportunities with a 35,000-point Marriott Bonvoy certificate, but there are still loads of options including family-friendly properties.
We talk a lot about the best ways to use your Marriott free night certificates, but this phenomenal sweet spot doesn’t appear to be widely known. If you’re planning a trip with the 50,000-point anniversary certificate offered by the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, be sure to check Category 7 properties for off-peak pricing. You may just find yourself a very luxurious hotel for free.
Feature photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, please click here.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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