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Now live: Top up your Marriott free nights using up to 15,000 points

April 30, 2022
6 min read
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We've seen a lot of Marriott Bonvoy news recently, and a change announced four months ago is finally here.

Last year, Marriott Bonvoy announced plans to eventually shift to fully-dynamic pricing for its 8,000+ properties. And last month, this change went live for some hotels. However, the loyalty program did announce that that you would soon be able to add up to 15,000 points to your free night certificates that come with select Marriott credit cards. This would open up properties that cost more points.

While there was no date in the original announcement, the ability to "top up" your Marriott free nights is now live.

Here's how it works.

How to add points to Marriott free night awards

To use this new feature, start your award search as normal. Log into your account at Marriott.com and search for a hotel as your normally would. Make sure "Use Points/Certificates" is selected to see pricing in points, rather than cash.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

Once you've found a property you want to book, click on the View Rates icon to see the details of the award price.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

From there, you'll see the total number of points you'd need for the stay across the different room types (note that for stays of two nights or longer, you'll have to click on Customize Payments to see the nightly award rates).

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

After you click Select on your desired room, you'll be taken to the confirmation page — and there you'll see the option to redeem points or select any applicable certificate(s) plus additional points to make up the difference.

In this example, a 35,000-point certificate wouldn't have been applicable to this stay in the past, since the award rate is 40,000 points for the night. However, you could use 5,000 of your Marriott points to supplement the certificate — a fantastic value, since the paid rate for this night comes to a whopping $643.30 (with taxes and fees).

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Note that this functionality just went live, so it may take some time to appear for all properties and all members.

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

Rules for topping up Marriott free night awards

While this flexibility is a nice addition, there are some rules and limitations to keep in mind.

First, you can only add 15,000 points to your free night certificates. Thus, if your certificate is worth 35,000 points, the maximum you can redeem for is 50,000 points after adding the maximum of 15,000 points. Hotels priced at 50,001 or more points will be out of reach for this free night award certificate.

Second, free night certificate redemptions do not qualify for Marriott's "fifth night free" policy. This perk only applies to points redemptions.

And, of course, you'll face the standard restrictions that these free night awards have always had. You must book and complete your stay prior to the expiration date on your certificate. For many that were extended due to the pandemic, this could be as early as June 30, 2022 — giving you just a couple of months to put them to use.

If you try to search for a stay past the expiration date, the certificate will not show up as a payment option.

How to get Marriott free night award certificates

If you're wondering how to get these free nights, there are two options.

Marriott Titanium Elite members can choose a free night award certificate as their annual choice benefit. This award is worth up to 40,000 points.

A simpler path to obtaining free night award certificates with Marriott Bonvoy is via credit cards. The following credit cards offer a free night award each year that you carry the card and pay the annual fee:

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

This could open up luxurious resorts like the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island on certain dates.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card review

Bottom line

As of today, Marriott Bonvoy now allows members to combine free-night certificates with up to 15,000 points to book award stays across its global portfolio. This comes on the heels of IHG One Rewards, which also added the ability to top up free night awards recently.

With the full implementation of dynamic pricing still months away, it's unclear whether this new functionality will ultimately deliver value in the long-run. However, it's a great additional option for those with certificates who struggled to find eligible properties at which to use them.

If you're planning a trip and see a hotel that costs more than what your free night certificate is worth, you can now add up to 15,000 points to your award to make that trip a reality.

Featured image by (Photo by Ben Smithson/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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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023