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How I used 15 Marriott Suite Night Awards in 10 months with 100% approval

Aug. 04, 2022
9 min read
Suite at the JW Marriott Bogota
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Earlier this year, I wrote about how I planned to use 23 Marriott Suite Night Awards this year. In response to my story, I got plenty of emails from readers telling me there was no way I'd be able to use all of the Suite Night Awards before their expiration dates.

After all, my husband and I had 13 Suite Night Awards to use between when I wrote my post in February 2022 and their expiration date on June 30, 2022. But, I'm thrilled to say that we used all 13 of our Suite Night Awards before they expired.

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Of course, now we have 10 more to use by Dec. 31, 2022 — but today's story is about how we've used all of our Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Awards that expired on June 30, 2022, with 100% approval.

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How we've earned Suite Night Awards

A suite at the Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel and Resort. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

My husband and I relied on the Marriott Gold Elite status that comes as a benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express — until he earned Titanium Elite status in 2019 and I earned Platinum Elite status in 2020.

So, neither of us earned any Suite Night Awards until 2019. The first set of Suite Night Awards he selected as a 50-night annual choice benefit would have expired on Dec. 31, 2020. But, in April 2020, Marriott extended these Suite Night Awards through Dec. 31, 2021. And Marriott later extended Suite Night Awards set to expire by Dec. 31, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

So, we've had the following Suite Night Awards to use:

  • Five as a 50-night annual choice benefit for stays in 2019 (expired June 30, 2022).
  • 10 as 50-night annual choice benefits for stays in 2020 (expired June 30, 2022).
  • 10 as 50-night annual choice benefits for stays in 2021 (expire Dec. 31, 2022).

We can accrue enough elite nights with Marriott each year — while still earning mid to high tiers of elite status with other hotel loyalty programs — by earning 30 elite night credits each year from Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.

In particular, we each earn 15 elite night credits and a free night award worth up to 35,000 points each year from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. And we also each earn 15 elite night credits and a free night award worth up to 35,000 points each year from the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card.

Related: Here’s why you need both a personal and business Marriott Bonvoy credit card

How we've used Suite Night Awards

You might wonder how we used 15 Suite Night Awards in 10 months. Here's an overview of how and where we used our Suite Night Awards between August 2021 and May 2022:

  • JW Marriott Hotel Bogota in Colombia: Two Suite Night Awards cleared us from a deluxe guest room to a one-bedroom junior suite in August 2021.
  • My Suite Night Award request was cleared five days before arrival.
  • The hotel downgraded us from the suite confirmed via Suite Night Awards before check-in. But, the hotel moved us back to the suite confirmed through the Suite Night Award after we showed the Suite Night Award confirmation at check-in and requested that the Suite Night Award be honored.
  • Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur City Square in India: One Suite Night Award cleared us from a standard guest room to a city view one-bedroom suite in April 2022.
  • My husband's Suite Night Award request was cleared five days before arrival.
  • The property was older, but it was great to have a lot of space to spread out in for a night after traveling from the U.S. and before heading to Hyatt’s Alila Fort Bishangarh. I wouldn't have requested a Suite Night Award for this stay if it hadn't been expiring a few months later, though.
  • Jaipur Marriott Hotel in India: Five Suite Night Awards cleared us from a standard guest room to a suite in April 2022.
  • My three-night Suite Night Award request was cleared five days before arrival, while my husband's two-night request was cleared four days before arrival. Since both requests cleared into the same room type, the front desk again said at check-in that we could stay in the same suite for all five nights.
  • The suite was effectively two rooms with a connecting door. One room offered a sitting area, while the other offered a bedroom and a large bathroom. The sitting area and extra space were useful considering we used the hotel as a base from which to work remotely between two weekends of sightseeing in Rajasthan.
  • We loved the club lounge perks — which we got as Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite members — that were offered nightly in the lobby bar. Each night we got drinks and enjoyed hearty appetizers while watching Indian cricket matches on the television.
  • Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel and Resort in Brazil: Seven Suite Night Awards cleared us from a partial ocean view guest room with a balcony to an oceanfront executive suite corner room with a balcony in May 2022.
  • My husband's Suite Night Award request was cleared five days before arrival. One benefit of this property is the sheer number of rooms available for request when using Suite Night Awards.
  • In reality, our upgrade was only into a slightly larger room — it would be a stretch to call what we got a suite. And the room felt worn and in need of renovation. But I loved the view over Rio's beaches from the balconies of our corner room.
  • The club lounge perks were also wonderful at this hotel. We enjoyed a substantial buffet of snacks — including some local Brazilian treats — and drinks from a friendly bartender each night.

Granted, we might have snagged some of these same upgrades at check-in with our Titanium Elite statuses even if we hadn't requested Suite Night Awards.

But, all of the Suite Night Awards we requested in this 10-month period cleared. And most cleared five days before arrival, with just one clearing four days prior. So, in the next section, I'll discuss why I think we had so much success using our expiring Suite Night Awards.

Related: 7 ways Marriott Bonvoy should improve its loyalty program

Why we've had so much success with Suite Night Awards

Although we were able to use all 13 of our Suite Night Awards before they expired on June 30, 2022, some Marriott Bonvoy loyalists have significant trouble getting Suite Night Awards to clear. The issues usually stem from one of two reasons.

The first reason some travelers have issues with Suite Night Awards is that many Marriott hotels and brands don't participate in Suite Night Awards. For example, we couldn't use Suite Night Awards for our stays at The Ritz-Carlton Bangalore in India; Protea Hotel Kruger Gate in South Africa; Aloft New York LaGuardia Airport in New York or Planet Hollywood Cancun in Mexico because these brands don't participate in the program. So, when I was looking to use these 13 Suite Night Awards, I had to purposefully book Marriott hotels that would allow us to request Suite Night Awards.

Even when a brand has some properties that honor Suite Night Awards, not all may do so. And you can't determine whether a hotel will allow you to request Suite Night Awards — or which upgraded room and suite types you can request if the property does participate in Suite Night Awards — before you book (unless you want to call Marriott customer service about each property). As such, I decided to cancel some stays after I booked when I found I couldn't request Suite Night Awards.

The second reason travelers often have issues with Suite Night Awards is that these awards usually don't clear unless the hotel is unlikely to sell the upgraded room or suite. In particular, travelers often struggle to get Suite Night Awards to clear in the U.S., western Europe and at aspirational properties. However, as you can see, we avoided trying to get Suite Night Awards to clear for these types of stays.

Finally, we also requested various room and suite types for each Suite Night Award. So, although we may have gotten less impressive suites than we might have if we were more discerning, we successfully snagged a suite each time we requested a Suite Night Award across those 10 months.

Related: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth?

Bottom line

Even though Suite Night Awards can be difficult to use, most Marriott loyalists who accrue at least 50 elite qualifying nights in a year don't have a better option for their 50-night annual choice benefit. So, if you tend to earn Suite Night Awards, it's worth figuring out how to best use them on your trips.

My advice: Consider requesting suite night awards outside the U.S. or at properties where the room type you want is unlikely to sell out. And try to use your Suite Night Awards sooner rather than later. By doing so, you can attach them to another stay if your initial attempt(s) at using them fail.

For example, my husband requested a Suite Night Award at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel for a one-night stay in late June 2022. But, this Suite Night Award, which expires on Dec. 31, 2022, didn't clear. So, we can still apply this award to other stays later this year.

Featured image by (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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